Watch your little ones' faces light up as they see the glow coming off a spectacular holiday or Christmas light show across Long Island. Is there a better way to usher in the holiday season?
We've rounded up our favorite holiday light shows in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including one new addition for 2018. Most of these destinations are complete with hot cocoa, ice skating, and photo-ops with Santa.
For more seasonal fun, see our Long Island Holidays Guide. Our events calendar is packed with up-to-date holiday activities for kids of all ages, including more holiday lights at private houses around Long Island.
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The Holiday Express headlines the Bayville Winter Wonderland celebration. Photo courtesy of Bayville Winter Wonderland
Bayville Winter Wonderland — Bayville
November 23, 2018-January 1, 2019; dates and times vary.
Captain Bay's Yo-Ho Holiday Light Show tells the story of a pirate's first Christmas. Santa's Toy Factory Fun House boasts bright flourescent-colored walls that can be seen in 3D with glasses. Wander through a tricky hall of mirrors and then to Santa's workshop as you listen to sounds from the North Pole. Other attractions include Blizzard Bay's Arctic Skating Adventure, the Holiday Express train ride, and a magical meeting with Santa. Tickets are $23.75 for adults and $20.75 for children 8 and younger. Santa experience costs extra.
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Stroll the Long Beach boardwalk for a festive holiday illumination. Photo courtesy of Command Electric
Boardwalk Lights — Long Beach
Thanksgiving weekend to mid-January 2019
Boardwalk Lights is a nautical-themed holiday light display on the Long Beach boardwalk. New lights appear this year thanks to relief funds from superstorm Sandy. The six-week event is highlighted by special evenings that include a tree lighting, menorah lighting, holiday music, and more. FREE
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The nautical-themed Festival of Lights ushers in the holiday season in Freeport. Photo courtesy of Freeport's Nautical Mile of Lights Annual Boat Parade
Festival of Lights — Freeport
December 1, 2018
Boat owners go all out, adorning their vessels with lights and decorations, in a parade along the Nautical Mile in Freeport. Homes along the parade route also join in with backyards adorned with lights. Bundle up for some FREE holiday fun. The festivities officially begin at 7pm.
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The amazing display at Magic of Lights at Jones Beach is a Nassau County holiday tradition. Photo courtesy of Live Nation
Magic of Lights — Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh
November 16-December 30, 2018
The much-celebrated event is back with all of your favorite holiday characters and a spectacular tunnel of lights. Pile the family into the car and drive through 2½ miles of light displays with animation that captures the imaginations of young and old. Price is $20 per car.
West End Electric Light Parade — Long Beach
December 8, 2018
From antique cars to fire trucks, and even bicycles, get ready for a parade of vehicles wrapped in holiday lights. Parking is available at Long Beach Catholic Regional School with shuttle buses to the West End starting at 4:30pm. Enjoy free hot chocolate along the parade route, and restaurants will offer specials and kids' activities after the parade. FREE
Proceeds from the Brookhaven Ecology Site's display support its many animal residents. Photo courtesy of the site
Brookhaven Town Holiday Spectacular — Brookhaven Ecology Site, Holtsville
December 1,2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 2018
This indoor, walk-through holiday light show supports care for the animals at the Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site. There are opportunities to participate in raffles and photos with Santa for additional fees. Tickets are $6 per person and can be pre-purchased here or at the door the day-of.
Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Holiday Lights Show — Smith Point County Park, Shirley
November 29-December 30, 2018
Enjoy almost two miles of dazzling light displays at the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County's 15th annual holiday display. Note: Tickets are sold at the gate only via debit or credit cards; no cash or advance sales. Tickets are $20 per car.
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Thrill to a tunnel of spectacular snowflake lights at the Town of Riverhead Holiday Light Show. Photo courtesy of the show
Town of Riverhead Holiday Light Show — Calverton
November 16-December 30, 2018
New to the region this year, you can experience this dazzling light show from the warmth of your car. About 20-25 minutes long, this is the longest drive-through light show in Suffolk County. Prices at the gate are $25, but can be purchased at a discount online.
Writer Gina Massaro contributed to this post, which was updated for 2018.