If you’ve seen all the great Christmas light displays in Jacksonville and looking to get out of town for a fun holiday evening trip, the Stephen Foster State Park Festival of Lights has lights, hot chocolate, and snow!
Stephen Foster State Park is located along the Suwannee River in the sleepy historic town of White Springs, FL. This state park offers beautiful historic buildings on site like a museum devoted to the composer and namesake of the park Stephen Foster, who wrote in 1851 “Old Folks at Home (aka Swanee River)” without ever visiting Florida. The impressive Carillon Tower plays concerts daily at 10, 12, 2, and 4 p.m daily.
Enjoy Holiday Fun at Stephen Foster State Park
Just under 1.5 hours away from Jacksonville, my family visited this beautiful park for the Stephen Foster Festival of Lights during the holiday season. Festival of Lights features light displays throughout the park, musicians, complimentary popcorn and hot cocoa, marshmallow roasting by the bonfire, and Santa visits. We didn’t know what to expect on our visit and I am happy to report that my family loved it. The lights among the trees were beautiful to walk through and take photos of.
There was generous snow falling, which delighted my daughters immensely. One of the buildings had trains set up with conductors eager to explain how they work to young and old visitors. Photo ops with Santa were located in the same building.
If you are craving more than popcorn and hot cocoa there were reasonably priced food trucks on site. Local vendors also were set up for last-minute holiday purchases. Admission includes complimentary popcorn, hot cocoa, marshmallows by the bonfire, Santa, food and craft vendors, kids’ crafts, and more. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park does have cabins and camping available if needed. This Festival of Lights just may become a holiday tradition for our family.
2022 Stephen Foster Festival of Lights Information
Dates: December 9-23, 2022
Admission Cost: $4 per person, kids under 3 are free
Address: 11016 Lillian Saunders Drive, White Springs, FL 32096
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Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, a deal loving mama, and has several inspirational travel journals available on Amazon. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.