Catherine Hiles
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4 Drive-Thru Holiday Light Displays in North Carolina

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drive thru light displays

Christmas lights are one of the most festive parts any holiday season. This year, like last, drive-thru light displays that allow for natural social distancing are sure to be popular with families as the country still struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, North Carolina has plenty of these to go around, including the following.

Piper Lights

Head to Wake Forest to see Piper Lights, which is a drive-thru-only light display scattered over 7 acres. This family-created display is free of charge, though donations are appreciated and go toward light repairs and the family’s electric bill.

This can be a popular destination for families during the holidays, so try to visit on a weekday if you can to avoid long lines. The display is open nightly (closed if it’s raining or snowing) from Nov. 26, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022, seven days a week. It opens at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights, and at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms

The Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville boasts over a mile of Christmas lights to be enjoyed from the warmth and safety of your car. In years past, the farm’s Festival of Lights has included a hayride to view the lights, but due to COVID precautions the farm went full-on drive-thru for 2020 and is set to do the same in 2021.

Entry to the Festival of Lights costs $20 per vehicle (no buses, RVs, or trailers allowed). Cash is preferred, though they also accept debit and credit cards. The drive-thru is typically busy on weekends, so if you can, plan to head there on a weekday to avoid long lines for entry. It’s open from Nov. 25, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.

Fieldstream Farm Festival of Lights

The Fieldstream Farm Festival of Lights’ claim to fame is a super-long light tunnel that incorporates over 200,000 LED lights. This light display in Raleigh opens at 6:30-9:45 p.m. every day from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 2021. The price for one vehicle with up to 8 passengers is $20. You can also bring a passenger van or minibus with up to 18 passengers for $40 per vehicle, or a full-size bus with 19 or more passengers for $75. You must buy tickets in advance; there are no ticket sales at the gate.

Lake Linda’s Christmas Lights

Head to Hampstead to check out Lake Linda’s Christmas Lights. This light display is synchronized to a radio station you can play in your car to really immerse yourself in the experience. The free drive-thru display started in 2011 as just a few small lights and has grown to become a huge attraction for area families during the holiday season. You can also walk through it on a dedicated walking path if you prefer to get out of the car It’s even been featured on national television on the 2020 “Great Christmas Light Fight,” which is available on Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon.

Although the drive-thru display is free, donations to help pay for its upkeep are welcome. Donations also help benefit the local chapter of Toys for Tots and Autism Support and Programs (ASAP).