Less than an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, Georgia, lies the quaint, southern town of Pine Mountain, Georgia, the gateway to Callaway Resort & Gardens and home to some of my most cherished holiday memories.
Our family tradition is to visit Callaway Resort & Gardens each year for Fantasy In Lights, one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays in the World. Every year we indulge in a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in the lovely Piedmont Room, followed by a magical journey through the Fantasy In Lights Enchanted Forest.
If you’re looking for a unique holiday destination, search no more. Here are six reasons to visit Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Resort & Gardens.
1. Fantasy In Lights Enchanted Forest
The Fantasy in Lights Enchanted Forest winds through the gorgeous grounds of Callaway Resort & Gardens along seven miles of roadway flanked with over ten million twinkling lights and holiday scenes. Since we’ve been visiting, beginning in the late 90s, this was and is the main attraction. You can choose to drive your vehicle or take a ride on the Jolly Trolley. I would recommend the latter. The Jolly Trolley drivers narrate the tour with fun facts and lead guests in caroling.
The displays are breathtaking. That word is probably overused, but it’s applicable here. Larger-than-life nutcrackers flank the road entering the Enchanted Forest. Festive music fills the air as you enter the mesmerizing Field of Lights. Aside from the fun traditional holiday scenes, you’ll see stunning natural displays. One of my favorites is a lone oak tree covered in thousands of white lights beside a lake. The reflection is magnificent!
Pro Tip: If you choose to ride the Jolly Trolley, it’s nice to bring blankets or throws to lay across your lap. It can get chilly in the open-air trolley.
2. Callaway Christmas Village
The Callaway Christmas Village has grown tremendously over the years. Once a marketplace with a few children’s activities and an incredible Old-World Santa, it’s now an attraction in its own right. The marketplace has been expanded with a selection that goes above and beyond the usual gift shop fare. Walk through a sparkling forest filled with oversize snowflakes and larger-than-life holiday scenes. Expect plenty of specialty and hand-crafted items.
Pro Tip: The marketplace in the Christmas Village is a great place to pick up stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts. They have a lovely selection of hand-crafted items. We purchase an ornament each year as part of our tradition and I usually pick up a few unique things for hostess gifts or last-minute presents.
3. Come For The Lights, Stay For The Night
The resort offers multiple lodging options, including cozy cabins, luxury villas, a lodge, and a spa. Consider staying a night or two! We always booked a Fantasy In Lights Overnight Package, which includes daily Callaway Gardens Admission, a ride through Fantasy In Lights on the Jolly Trolley, a personal shuttle to Christmas Village, and a stay in the overnight accommodation of your choice.
4. Lavish Holiday Buffets
Thanksgiving and Christmas Day buffets are lavish with carving stations, multiple hot entrees, desserts, and more. View the menus here. On all other days, several full-service restaurants offer classic holiday favorites and delicious southern cuisine. If you need a quick bite or snack, there are plenty of holiday treats in the Christmas Village. Hot chocolate and a freshly baked Christmas cookie or some gingerbread? Yes, please.
5. Callaway Resort And Gardens’ Grounds
Tickets for Fantasy in Lights include general admission to the gardens, and you’ll want to take advantage of that. Eight walking and hiking trails range from a half mile to just under two. If it’s warm enough, you can take a ride on the Discovery Bike Trail. Be sure to visit the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. This glass-enclosed habitat is home to hundreds of butterflies and the tropical plants they feed on. Occasionally they even land on you! There is also a gorgeous chapel and pioneer home on the grounds. All of these activities and attractions are included with your garden admission.
6. The Spa At Callaway Gardens
The Spa at Callaway offers a full-service spa with a wide range of services and treatments.
Whether you come for a day or stay for the weekend, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of the area and the incredible light displays and scenes. All spa services include access to spa amenities for the day. If golf is your thing, the resort is home to two of the top golf courses in Georgia. One fair warning is that Mountain View Course, 12-time host of the PGA Buick Challenge, is tough stuff with a lot of water.
Whether you come to Callaway Resort & Gardens Fantasy In Lights for the day or a weekend, I’m confident you’ll add a new tradition to your holiday repertoire.
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