It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We’re quickly headed towards Christmas, and one of the things that makes this time of year so special along the Grand Strand is Brookgreen Gardens ‘Nights of a Thousand Candles.’ I make every effort to attend each year, and I know I’m not the only one. For three weekends in December, the already majestic sculpture gardens are transformed by the evening light of over 4,500 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights.

Attendees can wander the paths from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a cup of hot chocolate while enjoying an abundance of live holiday entertainment, carolers singing and a nightly Christmas tree lighting (always a highlight of the night when I’ve attended). In fact the first night the event is open to the public (this Thursday, December 6), the wonderful team at Brookgreen Gardens has arranged for 100 veterans from the Wounded Warriors Project to attend and light the spectacular Christmas tree!

In addition to exploring the gardens by night, Brookgreen Gardens hosts a huge tent where attendees can purchase dinner catered by the ever-amazing Inlet Affairs of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. I always go for their Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits but may switch it up and get the Creek Shrimp Platter instead this year.

It’s certainly not surprising that this event is the recipient of the Charles A. Bundy Award for Excellence in Tourism from the South Carolina Parks and Recreation Department OR that Travel+Leisure Magazine named Nights of a Thousand Candles the “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina.” It’s simply a must-see event.

There are a few things to know before you go… Mainly that you absolutely must purchase your ticket in advance and space is very limited. Tickets are non-refundable but may be exchanged for another night based on availability by calling 1-(888) 718-4253. The deadline to request an exchange is 3 p.m. on the day before the date of your ticket.

The cost of tickets for members is $20/adult and $12/children and for non-members $25/adult and $15/children. Tickets can be purchased on their website or by calling (888) 718-4253. Plan to spend a little more on either dinner or a snack and hot chocolate, because you’re likely going to be in no rush to leave. And lastly, in my experience, it’s worth it to arrive before sundown. Traffic getting into Brookgreen backs up as the night gets going but can usually be avoided by getting there earlier rather than later.

Want a more in-depth look at this event? Check out one of our videos from a couple years ago at Nights of a Thousand Candles.