6 reasons to visit Lake Murray Country, SC this holiday season

View of courtyard lit up by palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights in Lake Murray, SC.
Explore fun holiday activities that you can make into new traditions + book your next trip to the beautiful outdoors of Lake Murray Country | Photo provided by Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB

Looking to book a family holiday gathering outside of Raleigh, or planning a romantic long weekend for two to celebrate the season? Meet Lake Murray — a ~3.5 drive away from RAL + just 15 mins outside of downtown Columbia, SC, home to our sister city COLAtoday.

Lake Murray is a favorite of South Carolinians — maybe because of its stunning shoreline, traditions + endless amount of year-round activities.

Here are 6 festive happenings in Lake Murray Country this holiday season (read: 6 reasons to consider booking your getaway here).

Residents + visitors gather at the Lexington Dam Park Site to view the sparkling boats decorated for the season, enjoy Christmas carols with the local radio station + a fireworks finale | Photo provided by Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB

Christmas Light Boat Parade

Be prepared to be stunned when you include Lake Murray’s annual Christmas Light Boat Parade in your itinerary. The parade kicks off on Sat., Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. Soak up the sparkling lights on the shore from Lexington Park Site at the Lake Murray Dam + feast your eyes on a firework finale. 🎆

The Lights Before Christmas

The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is known for their ‘koala-ty’ holiday celebrations each year as Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition. While most of the animals will be catching up on precious beauty sleep, over a million twinkling LED lights will be sure to keep you awake in ahh + wonder. Pro tip: The Lights Before Christmas event is open select days in November and December, so check out Lake Murray Country’s event page for exact dates + deets. 🌟

Holiday Lights on the River

Each year, Saluda Shoals Park hosts the largest drive-through lights show in all of the Midlands region of SC, decorated with displays using over 1 million glowing lights. If you’re dreaming of a bright Christmas, see over 400 animated displays of all shapes + sizes any day starting Thurs., Nov. 25-Fri., Dec. 31 from 6-10 p.m. ✨

Take in the view of 100+ different light displays at the Carolina Lights event at the SC State Fairgrounds | Photo provided by Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB

North Pole Nights in Newberry 

No snow? No problem. The Wonders of the North Pole are coming to Newberry (a ~30 min drive from Lake Murray Country) on Fri., Dec. 3, 10, and 17 from 6-8 p.m. as downtown’s Memorial Park hosts a flurry of falling snow. And, did you know? The fake snow is non-toxic + evaporates after 5 minutes. Kids can even bring their letters to Santa to drop in the Santa mailbox. ❄️

Young boy catching "snowflakes" in Lake Murray, SC.
Young boy catching “snowflakes” in Lake Murray, SC.

The Nutcracker Ballet 

Watch the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince dance with beautiful snowflakes + tiny toy soldiers at downtown Columbia’s Koger Center presented by Dance Alive, ft. phenomenal choreography, immersive sets + and striking costumes. 🩰

Drive-thru Light Show at the State Fair 

For the third year in a row, the South Carolina State Fair will host Carolina Lights, a drive-through light show from Dec. 4-26. Take in the view of 100+ different light displays for a whole watt of holiday cheer. Tickets are $20 for each car, $35 for mini buses + $70 for vehicles containing more than 25 passengers. 

​​If these holiday activities are something you want to make into new traditions, plan your trip to the beautiful outdoors of Lake Murray Country. 🎄Ⓟ

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