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The best and the brightest holiday light shows

Jones Beach State Park's 11th annual event is among the brightest spots this year.

The Magic of Lights is displayed at Jones

The Magic of Lights is displayed at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

This is the season to take in the twinkle. See the colors of red, green, gold and white illuminate the night when driving through this trio of outdoor holiday light displays around Long Island.

MAGIC OF LIGHTS

It may not be summer, but Jones Beach State Park is still providing entertainment with the 11th season of its annual holiday light show.

Come to the west end of the park to see displays of Santa’s Beach Party, Snowflake Wonderland, Toyland and the 12 Days of Christmas.

“Some are the size of a human being while others are the size of a house,” says general manager Adam Citron. “We bring back the classics, but we also rotate in new themes. This year we have reindeer jumping over your car as well as a blizzard tunnel where the lights are cascading down over your head.”

The fun continues at the Toyota Holiday Village, where a model train display, free arcade games, a holiday hay maze and outdoor firepits are available while seasonal songs play in the background.

“During the show you can’t get out of your car, but in the Holiday Village there are some light displays you can see up close,” says Citron. “You can even take pictures with them.”

Need a sweet treat? Make your own s’mores (two for $10 per kit) or participate in holiday cookie decorating ($6).

For $20 per family, join the Santa Experience, in which a portrait with a real-life Santa gets taken and there are options to have the photo put on other merchandise for sale.

WHEN | WHERE Dusk-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, dusk-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, now through Dec. 30, Jones Beach State Park, Bay Parkway, Point Lookout

INFO magicoflights.com

ADMISSION $25 per car on a weekday, $30 per car on the weekend ($20 in advance online), $55 per limo/RV/small party bus on a weekday, $60 per limo/RV/small party bus on the weekend ($50 in advance online), $125 per bus ($100 in advance online).

RIVERHEAD HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW

WELJ (104.7 FM) plays holiday music for the East End and this year it is pairing its playlist with a new light show at Long Island Sports Park in the Town of Riverhead.

“Drive through and it will make you feel like a little kid again,” says show producer Andrew Adams. “You can even come in your pajamas.”

The 2-mile drive in the hamlet of Calverton has 60 displays ranging from 8 feet to 60 feet tall on both sides of the road with music on the radio that is synched with the lights.

Candyland, polar bears ice fishing, Santa’s workshop and dancing Christmas trees are just some of the festive scenes families can enjoy all lit up.

“We want this to be an annual event,” says Adams. “It’s even more magical in the snow!”  

WHEN | WHERE 5-9 p.m. (Thursdays and Sundays), 5-11 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays), now through Dec. 29 (closed Monday-Wednesday), Long Island Sports Park, 149 Edwards Ave. in Calverton

INFO 631-201-5050, riverheadlightshow.com

ADMISSION $25 ($23 in advance, no buses or large vehicles)

GIRL SCOUTS OF SUFFOLK COUNTY’S HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW

Although they’re known nationally for their cookies, here on Long Island the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County also have a strong reputation for their holiday light show.

“This all started out 15 years ago in a parking lot at Camp Edey in Bayport,” says Christine Terzella, Girl Scouts’ public relations director. “Over the years it kept growing in displays and the number of visitors.”

The mile-and-a-half-long drive features more than 65 light displays as large as 50 feet high. Each vignette showcases a different scene, from a fairy-tale castle to a lighthouse with surrounding sailboats to the Empire State Building with a Manhattan skyline. Cars can tune their dials to 89.3 FM for a holiday-themed soundtrack.

At the end there’s a holiday village where photos with Santa can be taken and where hot chocolate and desserts are sold.

WHEN | WHERE 5-9 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 5-10 p.m. (Friday-Sunday), Nov. 29-Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24 & 25), Smith Point County Park, Fire Island Beach Road in Shirley

INFO 631-543-6622, holidaylightshow.org

ADMISSION $20 per car (no pre-sales, all purchases at the gate are credit card only), $40 per mini bus or RV, $70 per coach bus, school bus or trolley.

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