You've haven't quite experienced the holiday season until you take the short drive to Hot Springs, Ark., for the annual Holiday Lights at beautiful Garvan Woodland Gardens from Nov. 17-Dec. 31.

Imagine being fulling immersed in over 4 million lights as you walk over lighted bridges, see spectacular lighted waterfalls, ponds, all surrounded by the beauty of nearby Lake Hamilton in this wooded 210-acre garden haven. This winter wonderland  of lights is spread throughout 18-acres of the gardens nestled between some of the tallest pine trees in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains.

As you stroll along sipping some complimentary hot chocolate make sure you visit the Chipmunk Cafe for some scrumptious snacks and treats you can enjoy in front of the open fire pit in the gardens. This walking tour can also be seen by renting a golf cart for an extra fee. This is one of the largest Christmas light displays in the state of Arkansas and believe me, it's well worth the drive and visit if you have the time.

Some of the features include the luminescent Garden of the Pine Wind, the 50-foot tall Holiday Tree which plays holiday tunes animated to a light show, the Parterre garden on the Great Lawn, and traditional holiday scenes in the woodlands.

Of course, one of the highlights of "Holiday Lights" is the all-natural wood glass chapel known as Anthony's Chapel, situated in a wooded area on a hill overlooking the gardens. The sheer peacefulness of standing inside the chapel looking out its tall glass windows at the lights below makes you completely understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Other upcoming events include the Jingle Pup Parade and Santa Nights at Holiday Lights. For more information on these events and more go HERE.

I've been making it a tradition to go to Garvan Woodland Gardens every year and everytime that I do, there is always something new to see and it never gets old. If this doesn't get you in the mood for Christmas, nothing else will.

Photo, Mario Garcia
Photo, Mario Garcia

Admission: $15 adults (13 and up), $5 ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and younger. Holiday Lights is open daily from 5PM -9PM with Gates opening at 3PM. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Parking is free and the best time to visit is Mon-Thurs. Expect long lines if you plan on going Friday through the weekend.

It's worth the short drive from Texarkana to visit Garvan Woodland Gardens this holiday season and create some memories that will last a lifetime for you and your family.

Also, if you are going to be traveling in the state of Arkansas, more than 60 communities join in the celebration of Arkansas' Trail of Holiday Lights, which begins the week of Thanksgiving and lasts through the New Year. Cities and towns host official lighting ceremonies, parades, pageants, music and more. Visit their Facebook page or go to

Click here for a listing of all holiday events in Arkansas.

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