I grew up in Southern Florida, and taking short road trips to see holiday light displays was a family tradition. Many folks in sunny Florida go all out when it comes to decorating their houses for the holiday season. Perhaps it’s easier to be outside for endless hours hanging lights and erecting displays when the weather is so temperate. I now live in Western New York, and my fingers are usually chilled to the bone while I scramble up a ladder to hang our house lights in early December. I have to admit, it’s not my favorite holiday decorating activity! But, I still really enjoy visiting great holiday light displays around town with my family.

Here are just a few tips to consider when driving to see lights with your young children:

  1. Select your destinations carefully. Can your kids really handle driving 20 miles across town? Is there a closer option? Or, combine the trip with another activity—eat at Grandma’s house and then see the lights in her neighborhood afterwards.
  2. Find child-friendly destinations. Often city parks and zoos have wonderful, playful decorations and they may also hold special wintertime family activities or events.
  3. Go as early as possible. If you go right when it is getting dark, you will avoid the crowds, and the kids won’t be as tired.
  4. If possible, drive up and down the same street. This will allow the kids to get a good look at the decorations on both sides of the street.
  5. Don’t be overly ambitious. For each excursion, choose one or two that are nearby or that sound like they have the most “wow” factor. If things go well, then you can go to a different destination on another night.
  6. Talk to your kids about the decorations. During the excursions or on the way home, ask each of your children to share their favorite parts of the light displays.

Do you have any great places you like to visit to see amazing holiday light displays? Any tips for making these car trips happy and memorable?