I’ve visited a lot of Christmas light shows in PA (over 20) over my years of travel, and, without a doubt, the Festival of Lights near Tunkhannock is easily among the best.
The Festival of Lights is held on the back nine at the Stone Hedge Golf Course in Wyoming County, PA, about a 15-minute drive from Tunkhannock. It’s also only about 30 minutes from Scranton and 45 minutes from Wilkes-Barre, making it an easy light show to visit if you are in one of those areas.
The driving path winds its way through the golf course and a forested area adjacent to it on a combination of paved and dirt paths. The roadway is in great shape, and I had no issues taking a standard car on the route.
At 2.5 miles in length, I’m pretty sure this is the longest drive-through Christmas light display in Pennsylvania, and it might even compete with Shady Brook Farms in Bucks County for being the display with the most lights in the entire state.
The display starts near the course’s main entrance, a few miles south of Route 6. It’s worth noting that, if approaching from the north and Route 6, the route to the light display is rather steep and winding. Use caution if there is winter weather, and maybe consider approaching from the south, which is a bit less steep.
After paying your admission ($30 per car Monday-Thursday and $35 Friday-Sunday), the route starts winding its way through the course. The roadway here is narrow, but not overly difficult to follow as it’s often lined with purple lines. Just make sure you don’t take your eyes off the road too much when driving your car.
The displays at the Festival of Lights are incredibly diverse, and, in 2022, started with a selection of various superheroes and casts of children’s TV shows/movies created in lights. These are really neat to see and were unlike anything I’d ever seen at other light shows I’ve done.
As you continue through the display, you’ll also see other characters pop up throughout the display areas, such as Minions, the Flintstones, and Paw Patrol.
While the open areas of the course were great for being able to see so much, my favorite parts of the drive through the Festival of Lights at the Stone Hedge Golf Course were the wooded areas.
In these spaces, nearly all of the trees near the road were wrapped in lights, often depicting the theme of the section or simply red and white stripes like candy canes. These wooded areas made the display seem a bit more intimate and full, which added a lot to the experience.
There were even spots where you could see pretty far into the woods, with dozens of trees draped in lights. Definitely a magical experience.
My favorite display in this area was probably the very large stream that was created entirely with lights. This is probably the largest single light display I’ve ever seen and featured a kayaker going down the waterway while dodging jumping fish.
Like I said, they had some very very unique displays here.
I also really liked the two light tunnels that were on the route. I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, but the way they were lit was very different from other light tunnels I’ve done, and felt much fuller than many others. They were definitely another highlight of the driving route.
After the route is done, there is an area where visitors can get out of their cars, grab some snacks and warm up by the fire pit. There are also photo areas, including a large Christmas tree and an ornament you can walk into.
If I were basing my review totally on the quality and length of the light display, it’s possible that I might say this is the best light display in all of Pennsylvania. However, there are two things that do bump it down a little, though only into the second or third position (so not bad).
The first is that very few of the lights actually had anything to do with the holiday season. While the lights here were very unique and inventive, the large sections here were themed into topics like dinosaurs, sea life, and cartoon characters.
The actual holiday lights that you typically see at light shows such as Santa Claus, manger scenes, and the 12 Days of Christmas were few and far between. In fact, despite having millions more lights than most displays, I’d say they definitely had fewer holiday lights than just about any other display I’ve visited in PA.
While some might appreciate this, given it’s the holiday season, I would have loved to have seen more Christmas-themed displays mixed into the route. However, as I said, above, the quality here is off the charts and they do have a lot of really fun lights to be seen here.
Secondly, the Festival of Lights doesn’t have its own radio station with music to be played, something that is common at other large light displays. While they did tell me about a local Christmas music station when I asked, the station is a normal radio station with commercials. If you can, bring your own Christmas music with you to listen to as you drive through the display as none of the lights are synched to the suggested station.
All that being said, I do still very highly recommend visiting the Festival of Lights near Tunkhannock, PA, as it’s definitely among the top few light displays I’ve done in all of Pennsylvania (and even New York).
Of course, the normal recommendations for light displays in PA apply: visit early in the season and on a weekday evening if possible. This will help to limit the crowds that can often be found here. If you visit on a weekend night, especially close to Christmas, be prepared to wait for a while to even get into the show.
You are also at the mercy of the slowest car in front of you for the entire route. While everyone drives slowly through these displays, some really like to take their time, and there is no way to pass or get out early here, so make sure to save plenty of time to drive through the display when you visit.
The Festival of Lights at the Stone Hedge Golf Course is open nightly (except for Christmas Eve) from November 22 – December 31, 2023. It opens at 5pm each night and closes at 9pm Sunday-Thursday and at 10pm Friday-Saturday. The display can be found at the following address: 55 Stonehedge Drive, Tunkhannock, PA 18657.
In 2023, the cost per car is $30 Monday-Thursday and $35 Friday-Sunday.
Note: Don’t confuse this show with the Broome County Festival of Lights in Binghamton, NY.