Enjoy a New-Fashioned Holiday at Lake Lanier Islands

Author Shannon Sickmon

If you need some diversion after a hectic year or want a new way to celebrate the Christmas season or New Year’s Eve, Lake Lanier Islands is a great option.

The fun begins in late November and runs through early January.

Lake Lanier Islands, only a little more than an hour away from Cherokee County, has a wide variety of unique winter festivities that appeal to the whole family. For example, last year the venue unveiled its walk-through Lakeside Lights Spectacular.

Public Relations Director Missy Burgess states, “We have it all at Lanier Islands—world-class accommodations, casual and fine dining, and a wealth of activities—all self-contained within our 1,500-acre resort. The winter theme park, License to Chill Snow Island, and the opportunity to ring in the New Year lakeside offer a winning combination for a truly magical holiday season.”

Whether you want to go for an evening or spend a few nights, the resort offers holiday-themed accommodation packages.

If you have children, be sure to try the Breakfast and Santa Package or the Virtual Elf Tuck-In Package. Guests get cookies and milk and a storybook delivered to their room, and an elf reads the kids a story over Zoom. The Elf PJ Story Time Package involves a breakfast buffet with Santa and a pajama party with the elves in one of the ballrooms.

For an easy daytime activity, rent a resort cart and take part in a holiday-themed scavenger hunt. The Christmas Day Buffet is spectacular, but sells out quickly, so if you’re interested, be sure to get tickets now. You can also customize your package any way you like, to ensure that you have an unforgettable winter vacation. As always, guests can play golf at an impeccable lakeside course or walk off a gourmet meal on the miles of walking trails.

If you don’t want to stay overnight, you can just spend a day—or evening—enjoying one of the other activities.

If you miss playing in the snow, head up to the resort’s License to Chill Snow Island. You’ll feel as though you’ve taken a trip to Vermont without the pricey plane ticket. Snow tubing on Parrot Mountain slide, one of the longest and steepest snow-tube hills in North America, is exhilarating. The slide measures 575 feet long and is eight stories high. You can ice skate and play in the snow while pelting your loved ones with snowballs. If Jack Frost is nibbling at your nose, sit at one of the fire pits and enjoy hot drinks and s’mores. If snow tubing isn’t enough adrenaline for you, you can also get your thrills with the various carnival rides. Santa will also be around, so tell the kids to behave!

Day passes include access to all parts of the winter-themed park. The lines get long on weekends, but you can also visit on a weeknight. Prices are also lower in the afternoons and weekdays too.

If holiday lights signal the perfect Christmas activity for you, you’ll be thrilled to know the resort has revamped its light display. The three-quarter-mile walk is interactive and includes a colorful family-friendly light display. In glorious double-vision, the reflection of the lights shimmer on the lake water. Along the way you can enjoy cocktails, hot chocolate, and snacks. The younger crowd can stop for selfies, while the older folks can lag behind and enjoy the light extravaganza at their own pace. The entire route is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Tickets for the light show start at one price for adults, but discounted tickets are available for seniors, children under seven, and active and retired military. Children under two get free admission.

The light show features traditional holiday displays and music interspersed with high-tech images and unique exhibitions with a Margaritaville theme. The three-story light wall, illuminated tunnel, and giant sixty-five-foot Christmas tree made entirely of lights are all must-see sights. The main portion of the beach also features a fifteen-minute light show, with modern and traditional Christmas music throughout.

Grier Todd, chief operating officer at Lake Lanier Islands, says, “Featuring state-of-the art light technology that truly showcases the lake, the all-new, open-air Lakeside Lights Spectacular allows visitors to travel at their own pace and snap selfies all along the way. Best of all, it is central to many of the other holiday attractions at the resort for a seasonal one-stop-shop experience that will be a new favorite holiday tradition for many.”

The fun at Lake Lanier Islands doesn’t stop when Christmas is over. The location has a big New Year’s Eve celebration as well. This year guests can watch a live band in the Grand Ballroom while ringing in the new year. The party includes a gourmet buffet and an open bar. The celebration works great for families, because adults can sip their drinks on one end of the resort, while at the other end the kids enjoy crafts, games, movies, dinner, and their own balloon drop, all under the mindful supervision of a Legacy Kids’ Club counselor. This package includes overnight accommodations, party reservations for two, buffet dinner for two, a champagne toast at midnight, and brunch for two on New Year’s Day.

Lake Lanier has long been a summer vacation destination for people in North Georgia, but Lake Lanier Islands’ holiday attractions and themed resort packages make it a fantastic port of call for families seeking the ultimate Christmas or New Year’s experience. Contact the resort at 470-323-3440 or visit LanierIslands.com for tickets and more information.