A great memorable and photographic opportunity with your family is looking at Christmas lights. Going to look at Christmas lights displays and neighborhoods is a favorite memory of my childhood. On clear nights, we would load up in the car and drive around enjoying the lights. Some weekends we would watch Christmas on the Water or the King’s Christmas Display. The Gulf Coast has a great selection to enjoy each season.
I have compiled a list of events along the Coast to enjoy during the Christmas holidays. Some are one night events and others run from after Thanksgiving to the New Year. Some are free and some cost entry. However, they are all merry and bright!
Harbor Lights began in Jones Park in 2015 and features over 1 million lights! They charge a general entry fee for $10, children (over 5) at $5 each, and younger children free. They also have pictures with Santa included if you bring your own camera. There are carnival rides as well that are charged separately.
It begins nightly from November 29-December 31 from 5:30-9:30 P.M. (Days and times are weather permitting.)
Note: The Harbor Lights Festival was even featured in a Hallmark Movie!
Last year the King’s brought back their beloved Christmas display. It is free and is a collaboration of the King family and their neighbors on Three Rivers Road. It will begin again December 14-29, 2019. Santa will visit the 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd.
The previous display, began with a Nativity scene in 1956 and ended in 1994. For all my friends that grew up in the 80s and 90s on the Gulf Coast, this is a chance to relive your childhood!
MGCCC Festival of Lights
This event is a best kept secret on the Gulf Coast. The Perkinston Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College hosts a lights display and Christmas Festival one night every December. This year it was on the 8th, but usually is on a Friday night. They have various activities sponsored by campus and community groups. College, school, and church groups sell a variety of drinks and food during the event. There are kids activities such as a petting zoo and train ride.
Enjoy performances by the band, ensembles, and choirs of MGCCC. Santa is always in attendance as well as the beautiful decorations on campus. Check the MGCCC community calendar for times of future events.
Magic Christmas in Lights
With the exception of German Christmas Markets overseas, the Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens is the most impressive lights display I have ever seen. It is open nightly from November 29- December 31st. Entry fees range from 8 dollars for children to 16 for adults to look at the lights only. There is also the historic home on the property. To visit it at the same time is an additional fee.
Allow plenty of time to travel to Theodore, Alabama and to view the light display. The entire property is over 65 acres with 15 scenes. Prepare for crowds, and to eat ahead because refreshment purchasing is limited with long lines. The Bellingrath home has a special coast connection. It is the home of some of the antiques from the City of Biloxi House of Treasures that was destroyed during Hurricane Camille in 1936. The house of treasures was in the historic Baldwin-Wood Home.
Christmas on the Water
Is another traditional annual event held in Biloxi. It now corresponds with the Christmas in the City craft market as well. The boat parade is held the first Saturday every December. It began in 1986 and celebrates our nautical roots. Viewers can enjoy boats decked out in Christmas decor. Normal viewing is between the Biloxi Harbor to the Biloxi Lighthouse. Best of all, it is free!
I enjoy finding random sweatshirts from the event in thrift stores around to wear during the holidays.
This year’s Christmas on the Bayou is December 14th. It is held in Bayou Bernard in Gulfport. You can expect the boats AND the beautiful waterfront homes to be decorated as well. It is also free to attend.
Deck Your Calendar
This is just a small sampling of events and displays I am familiar with on the Gulf Coast. There are other amazing holiday festivals like the on held yearly at Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and beautiful homes decorated along the beach. Take a look at Gulf Live, Coastal Mississippi, or the Sun Herald for other event ideas.
Remember to charge your camera before heading out!
What is your favorite Christmas light display?
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission is you click through and make a purchase.