The weather is warm, and although there is no snow, that doesn’t stop Texans from celebrating the winter holidays. Central Texas has five of the most brilliant holiday trail of lights displays. Check out these twinkling lights in driving distance of Austin: Nature in Lights in Fort Hood, Rock ’N Lights Holiday Light Tour in Round Rock, Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels, and Trail of Lights in Austin.
5 Best Central Texas Holiday Trail of Lights Displays
My family gets into the holiday spirit by packing the kids in the car, turning on holiday music, and driving around to look at the holiday lights. Here are five of the most brilliant Central Texas holiday trail of lights displays.
Nature in Lights in Fort Hood
Nature in Lights celebrates its “Twinkling Twenty” anniversary this year. Over 120 trail of lights line the five-mile drive through the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area. The drive opens nightly from 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm starting on November 11th, and ending on January 8, 2017. Starting on December 15th, Santa’s Village opens nightly at the Live Oak Pavilion.
Take a break to stretch your legs and shop for seasonal crafts or take a picture with Santa. Enjoy homemade cookies and hot chocolate at the Christmas Café. The gate fee starts at $15 for cars, mini-vans and pick-up trucks. Visit the
Visit the Nature in Lights for driving directions to the trail located in the Ft. Hood Military Base.
Rock ’N Lights Holiday Light Tour in Round Rock
Two million lights twinkle along the one and a half mile Rock ’N Lights Holiday Light Tour. The 2016 trail of lights path through Old Settlers Park features all new displays. The light tour opens from November 28 – December 26, 2016, and begins at 6:00 pm each evening. Through December 15th, the tour closes at 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday and 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. From December 16-24, Rock ‘N Lights stays open until 10:00 pm, but on December 25th and 26th, it closes at 9:00 pm. Admission starts at $15 for a family vehicle. Vehicles enter the Rock ‘N Lights at 4111 E. Old Settlers Blvd then exit at Christmas Town.
At Christmas Town enjoy full-size carnival rides at the Thomas Carnival, a light maze, and pedal go-karts as well as holiday food and entertainment. For details and carnival ride prices, visit Rock ‘N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Town.
Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels
Pack your car with family and friends and take a drive through Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels. Drive a winding country road, with an animated trail of lights display with over 1.5 million lights. A concession stand offers kettle corn, roasted pecans, and hot chocolate. Don’t forget to save some cash to buy souvenir shirts and mugs.
Find Santa’s Ranch under the 50 foot Christmas Tree at 9561 I-35 North in New Braunfels, Texas. The ranch opens daily from November 6, 2016, through January 1, 2017. Hours are 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday and 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday. The price starts $28 per vehicle or $56 for a season pass. Find additional information on the Santa’s Ranch website.
Trail of Lights in Austin
It is no surprise that Texas Traveling Mom Rebecca Darling has 11 Reasons Why the Austin Trail of Lights in the Best Holiday Light Display in Texas. The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park is one of the largest annual events in Austin, Texas. The tradition began in 1965 as “Yule Fest” with a simple gathering around a Yule Log. Fifty-two years later, the Yule Log still burns, but now two million lights sparkle in over forty displays.
The walking trail opens nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm starting on December 10, 2016. Located in Zilker Park at 2100 Barton Springs Road in Austin, Texas, the trail closes on December 23rd. Admission is $3 per person, and kids 11 and under attend free with a paid adult. Parking is available at Zilker Park only with a permit purchased in advance online. Ride the shuttle for a combined shuttle plus admission price of $5 per person. Visit the Trail of Lights website to buy tickets and permits.
Each year, City of Austin electricians build the Zilker Christmas Tree. Thirty-nine streamers with 81 multi-colored bulbs each hang from a Moonlight Tower. Make sure to engage in a favorite Austin tradition – standing in the center of the lights and twirling in circles. The tree lights up starting from 6:00 pm to midnight every night from November 28 – December 31.
Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls
Each year thousands of people visit Lakeside Park in Marble Falls, Texas for the Walkway of Lights. Twinkling garland leads you through 400 lighted sculptures with over two million lights. Admission to the Walkway of Lights is free, but bring cash to purchase hot chocolate, beverages, and holiday treats. Santa Claus appears on the weekend for cash-only pictures.
The Walkway of Lights, located at 307 Buena Vista Dr. in Marble Falls, is open from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm nightly from November 18, 2017, through January 1, 2017. Pets are not allowed, and the walkway closes when it rains. Find all the event details on the Walkway of Lights page.
If these five displays in Central Texas aren’t enough for you, consider a trip to College Station for a Texas-sized holiday light extravaganza. Road Warrior TravelingMom Nasreen Stump has 11 Things to Know Before Visiting Santa’s Wonderland.