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The Best Christmas Light Tours in North Carolina

Posted on November 12, 2022
A home, full of sparkling christmas lights, deep in the forest.
Photo credit Al Parker

With winter fast approaching, that means Christmas is just around the corner!

And what better way to ignite your holiday spirit than to explore the best Christmas light displays across North Carolina.

Whether taking the kids on an exciting adventure or just looking to sip a hot beverage while checking out the impressive work of your community, these six Christmas light tours are the best in North Carolina.

From Charlotte, to Winston-Salem, the Triangle and Wilmington, there’s something for everyone.

The Best Christmas Light Tours in North Carolina

South & West Raleigh

Red background. cell phone, featuring the Raleigh Christmas Lights Tour. Red Santa hat sits on phone.
Built Story

Shamelessly residents and lovers of the Triangle ourselves – let’s start here!

Raleigh local, and North Carolina native, Al Parker has curated two Christmas light tours through Wake County for you.

Part 1: South & West Raleigh has 26 stops and covers regions like Morrisville and Cary.

Parker’s Recommendation: Pick one region (Ex. Cary) to explore per night. This gives you more than enough time to view each stop, explore hidden gems throughout the city, and truly take in each home.

Luckily, you can easily pick up wherever you left off whenever you’re ready.

North & East Raleigh

Part 2: North & East Raleigh covers 31 stops and goes through the North Hills up to Forestville and back down to Knightdale.

Similar to Part 1, we suggest you select the regions you want to do each night to fully take advantage of the tour.

Highlights From Raleigh’s Christmas Light Tours

Curated just for you by Parker, these Raleigh tours will truly amaze you and your family. Each home along your journey will be sure to spread Christmas cheer. And some have won national recognition! In case you’re not excited enough already, below are a few highlights you will find along part one and part two of the Raleigh Christmas light tours:

Bradshaw's Holiday Light Display

Picture depicting many christmas characters in front of a house.
Al Parker

Everytime I look at this house, I just can’t get enough.  Something about that tall cheerful snowman in the back, I think. The Bradshaws put so much time and care into their very-merry decorations. This display has over 10,000 lights synchronized to music.  “The choreography of this light display and the overall use of the lights is one of the tightest displays in the area,” says Al Parker.  The display is dedicated to the memory of Caden Rogers and raises money for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Disorder.  

Lights on Goswick

Candy canes along the driveway, snow globe in front of house, lots of christmas lights on home.
Al Parker

Look at this pretty one! “One of the things we liked most about this one is the density of the display,” states Parker, “They cover the yard, the house, and way on up to the very top of the roof.” We agree. Those candy canes lining the driveway–yes please!  

Apex “Star Wars” Christmas

Star Wars - themed Christmas lights home in Apex, NC
Al Parker

If you’re a Star Wars fan, we have the home for you! It’s one of many themed displays throughout the tour.

To say they went above and beyond is an understatement. You can expect inflatables, figurines, lights, and more all centered on Star Wars.

If that isn’t enough, they even have speakers playing music and soundtracks from the films.

Ready to enjoy these spectacular homes, and dozens more? Two self-guided tours are waiting for you! Be sure to check them out this holiday season--Raleigh part one, and part two.

Christmas Lights in Durham

Christmas lights in Durham featuring Minions, a snowman and two deer.
Jessica Iglehart

For a very-merry, charming house tour, don’t miss this self-guided route. Uniquely Durham, come experience this tour for its cozy feel. One of the homeowners along the tour explained, “Christmas is and always has been about family. Decorating brings back so many wonderful memories, and [it] spreads joy to our neighbors.”

Charlotte Christmas Lights

Christmas light home in Charlotte, NC
Harbin Family Christmas Lights Facebook Page

Jumping back out further west, is Charlotte. The Queen City, the holiday lights here are certainly not to be missed. PT Harbin, Charlotte resident whose home is featured on the tour explained, “We are Harbin Family Christmas Lights - We decorate our home and yard with lights and vintage blow mold decorations, including a 22 ft Christmas light tree that moves to music. We collect in person and online for Make-A-Wish foundation and have collected over $20k.”

Winston-Salem Christmas Lights

Christmas lights home in Winston-Salem.  Featuring "A Christmas Story" theme
Marty Hicks

Moving over to Winston-Salem and Lewisville, two tours are ready for you! Part dazzling, part merry, and part “you’ll shoot your eye out!”, each tour has over 20 homes to enjoy along the route. 

Christmas Lights in Wilmington, NC

Christmas light display in wilmington, nc
StarNews Online

Last, but absolutely not least, Wilmington! This historic port city, known for its trendy beer scene and clean beaches, also boasts a community full of dazzling Christmas light displays. One homeowner along the route, Gene Hinson, let us know that she always includes a child-sized chair among her outdoor decorations…just for kids’ pictures.  How thoughtful, and charming!

Getting Ready for Your Christmas Lights Tour

Get the low down on exactly where to go. We’ve designed each route to ensure maximum light viewing, with the least amount of driving (you’re welcome). Turn-by-turn navigation is integrated into the app—making each lights tour easy-breezy, cozy and brilliant. Experience a holiday joke, and read the stories of the people who decorate throughout the self-guided tour, too. You’ll have unlimited access to the route for 30 days—break up the tour if you’d like,and enjoy it on your time! It’s a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

All tours will be live December 1 – and some earlier than that! Add yourself to the email list, and we’ll be sure to send a very-merry notice your way.

Happy touring!

View all holiday light tours available across the country here.

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