Lake Lanier Lights: Lakeside Lights Spectacular a Must-Visit in 2023

One of the best ways to get the holiday season started is with a trip to see the Lake Lanier Lights at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort!

A couple years ago — after 28 years — the Magical Nights of Lights ended and was replaced with the all-new Lakeside Lights Spectacular. This walk-through light extravaganza has become a popular Georgia holiday tradition in its own right.

So what’s new, what’s coming back, and what can you expect when you go?!  We’ve got the scoop! Here’s everything you need to know about the amazing Lakeside Lights Spectacular at Lake Lanier in 2023.

Lake Lanier Lights: Lakeside Lights Spectacular a Must-Visit in 2023
Photo courtesy: Lanier Islands

LAKESIDE LIGHTS SPECTACULAR

Margaritaville at Lanier Islands’ Lakeside Lights Spectacular is the place to go for a night of nostalgic family fun.

The main difference between this new event and the old Magical Nights of Lights is that the Lakeside Lights Spectacular is a walk-through experience, as opposed to the previous drive-through one.

You will go on a magical walk through an amazing light extravaganza along the shores of Margaritaville at Lanier Islands with a holiday music playing in the background.  (Don’t worry!  It’s only a three-quarter-mile walk.)

Along the way, you can stop for photos and purchase seasonal goodies (like hot chocolate!) while enjoying the light displays at your own pace.

The show features one-of-a-kind holiday lights that range from traditional holiday displays (like the 12 Days of Christmas) to high-tech images and Margaritaville-themed scenes.

You’ll see illuminated tunnels filled with lights, a large 3-story light wall, and many other displays too!

In 2023, Margaritaville’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular runs nightly at 5pm from November 22 – 26 and December 1 to January 3, then weekends only through January 15.

Tickets for the Lakeside Lights Spectacular are $19.99 for adults, $14.99 for children ages 3-7, along with military (active and retired) and seniors 62 and older. Children 2 and under are FREE.

You can also purchase an All-Access Day Ticket — which includes a visit to light show, but also includes an unlimited day pass for snow tubing, the snow play area, the ice rink, and the amusement rides. All-Access tickets are $69.99 for adults and $49.99 for kids. (This doesn’t include parking fees.)

We have more info about snow tubing and the ice rink below.

LAKE LANIER LIGHTS: DRINKS & SNACKS

While you’re walking through the Lakeside Lights Spectacular, make sure to grab a drink or snack to keep you warm!

The Tipsy Elf is the place to warm up! Right in the middle of the light show, the Tipsy Elf is your refill station for cocktails, hot cocoa, and sweet treats.  

If you’re looking for a meal, Landshark Bar and Grill has you covered. They’ve got drinks, burgers, shrimp, tacos, and so much more. You’re sure to find something for everyone in your crew.

LAKE LANIER CHRISTMAS SNOW ISLAND

In addition to your Lakeside Lights Spectacular admission, you can visit License to Chill: Snow Island!

Here you will find snow tubing, ice skating, carnival rides, a fun and snowy play area, plenty of s’mores and hot cocoa, and a gift shop…I mean, Santa’s Workshop.

License to Chill Snow Island opens November 11, 2023.

There is “snow” much to see and do!  (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.)  Here’s what you can expect to find at Snow Island this year.

BLIZZARD MOUNTAIN SNOW TUBING

Trying to create a snow experience in warm Georgia always intrigues me — and this is pretty awesome.

Parrot Mountain is one of the longest snow rides in the United States! Your bigger kids will love to get outdoors and active with adrenaline boosting tubing on the 575-foot-long, eight-story snow slide.

Read More: Snow Near Me: 13+ Great Spots Atlanta Locals Can Find Winter Weather

SNOW ISLAND CARNIVAL RIDES

The sights, scents, and sounds of the carnival area will definitely have your kids begging to ride all the things!

Hop on the carousel, the bumper cars, Ferris wheel and more!  Your kids will be thrilled.

FROSTY’S ICE RINK

Something about gliding around the skating rink goes hand in hand with the holidays!

If you’ve never tried ice skating before, try it out this winter at Frosty’s Skating Rink. It’s a fun way to spend time with family or friends, and great for date night too.

Read More: Ice Skating Atlanta 2023: The Best Rinks for Kids, Teens & Adults

SNOWBALL ALLEY

If you’re ready for more snow — or if your kids aren’t yet ready to take on the snow tubing — Snowball Alley is the perfect place for them.

Your kids can play in the snow, challenge their friends to a snowball fight, and make some excellent snow angels at this snow-filled play area.

HOLIDAY TREATS

One thing I can promise you?  You will not go hungry during your visit to Snow Island.

Glacier Cafe offers spectacular patio views and family-friendly foods like cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, and more.  The Glacier Cafe Bakeshop offers cookies, cake pops, and s’mores kits so you and your kids can make sweet treats over the fire.

You’ll find the Tipsy Snowman in the carnival area — where you can find cocktails, hot chocolate, cotton candy, popcorn, and snacks.

In the Snow Hill area, Jack Frost’s Shark Shack serves chicken tenders, curly fries, and pretzels.

LAKE LANIER HOLIDAY TIPS

LAKE LANIER ISLANDS LIGHTS DISCOUNTS

Lake Lanier Island Lakeside Lights Spectacular and Snow Island is magical, but it can also be expensive.  Check out their combo ticket packages, and be sure to follow Lake Lanier on Facebook for any discount announcements.

WINTER ADVENTURE PRICING

The pricing can get confusing because they offer so many options, but the good news is — there’s something that is sure to fit your plans!

First, no matter which daily admission tickets you choose — you will have to pay the daily $20 parking fee.  (The daily parking fee is included with winter season and annual passes — if you choose to go that route.)

Now, onto the tickets!

You can choose Snow Island Daily Admission — which includes unlimited snow tubing, amusement park rides, ice skating, and snow play.  They sell these as single adult tickets, child tickets, senior tickets, military tickets, and group tickets.

If you just want to attend the Lakeside Lights Spectacular, they offer adult, child, senior, military, and group tickets for just the lights event.  Children 2 and under are free.

And if you want to do both — they offer an All-Access Day Pass that gets you into the light show, and all the fun Snow Island activities too.

They also offer season tickets, which can be purchased inside Santa’s Workshop.

BRING YOUR OWN TREATS

There are picnic tables at the Holiday Village at Lake Lanier and lots of different choices for food and treats. To ease the burden on your wallet, pack a picnic, including a thermos of hot chocolate and s’more fixings for the huge fire pits. You’ll get all the ambiance without all the expense.

GO EARLY

As in early in the season and early in the evening. It’s less expensive, but it’s also less crowded, which I find especially important on the ice skating rink if you have kids who aren’t experienced skaters.

My children were off the entire week before Christmas one year, so we visited on a Tuesday afternoon. There were no lines at all and the kids were able to ride the carnival rides, the sledding hill, and play in the snow area without waiting.

DRESS WARMLY

It can get really cold spinning through the air on the carnival rides. My son thought a simple sweatshirt would do, but as the night wore on, he got cold and wanted to leave well before the others were ready.

STAYING AT LAKE LANIER ISLANDS

To make a visit truly magical, spend the night at the Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Resort. They have so many great packages, that make spending the night at the resort even more exciting for your little ones.

Book the Everything But Coal package and enjoy $50 to play at their newest entertainment venue, Game Changer. Race down the snow hill with your included passes, enjoy unlimited ice skating and carnival rides and then rest easy in your Lodge room complete with an Elf Tuck-In. Wake the next morning to the best buffet breakfast with a special one-on-one visit with Santa! Breakfast with Santa available Dec. 3, 9, 10, and 16–23.

Or try the Santa’s Sleigh-Cation where your children will enjoy a tuck-in from one of Santa’s elves, with a bedtime story plus milk and cookies. In the morning, enjoy a buffet breakfast with Santa himself. Breakfast with Santa available Dec. 3, 9, 10, and 16–23.

Overnight packages that include tickets to Snow Island, the Lakeside Lights, or both are also available.

MORE HOLIDAY FUN:

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Lake Lanier Lights: Lakeside Lights Spectacular a Must-Visit in 2023