If a little road trip is on your wish list, head to northern Louisiana.
The Holiday Trail of Lights, which features eight party towns in five sections of the state, has been running well for over 30 years and has multiple events going into the New Year.
There are parades and fireworks, as well as festivals, markets and much more.
Because there is too much to do in a day or weekend, we bring you the highlights, starting with the celebrations nearby – Rapides Parish – and extending to the Shreveport-Bossier area.
Whichever fork you take on the trail is sure to find vacation fun.
LUMINOUS HOLIDAY SAFARI: Select evenings through December 29, Alexandria Zoo, 3016 Masonic Drive. Stroll through the zoo adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and fanciful illuminated animal figures, board the music-filled train, and visit Santa Claus. thealexandriazoo.com.
ALEX WINTER PARTY: Thursday-Sunday, December 9-12, downtown Alexandria. Fireworks, Polar Express, ice rink, food alley and parade at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 12. Free. alexandriapinevillela.com.
95TH ANNUAL NOL NATCHITOCHES FESTIVAL: Until January 6, downtown. Known for its huge display of lights along the Cane River Lake, the festival has grown over the years from a weekend to six. There will be music, entertainment, crafts, food vendors and fireworks choreographed to holiday music. natchitocheschristmas.com.
CHRISTMAS TOUR OF THE HOUSES: Thursday-Saturday 9-11 Dec. and Thursday-Friday Dec.16-17, various locations, Natchitoches. Guides lead visitors through uniquely decorated homes, offering commentary on historic homes. On this self-guided walking tour, visitors can start at any of the properties. $ 25, adults; free for children under 12. natchitocheschristmas.com.
BECK CURVE FARM CHRISTMAS MARKET: Noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, December 3 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 4, 112 Beck Curve Farm Road. Browse the market and bring the kids to see Santa Claus, who will be there from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. visitwebster.net.
NOL IN SPIRIT: Saturday December 11 in downtown. Events include ornament making, story telling, “It was the night before Christmas!” Â»Parade at 5:00 p.m., Christmas tree lighting at 7:00 p.m., fireworks and Santa Claus. visitwebster.net.
RUELLE CANDY CANNE: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until January 1 170 La. 151 North, Calhoun. This kilometer-long, wooded alley is decorated with over a million lights and features a lighted tunnel. $ 20 per personal vehicle and $ 40 per commercial vehicle; cash only at the door. Buy your tickets in advance at candycanelane.net.
CHRISTMAS AT BIEDENHARN: December 1-31, Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, 2006 Riverside Drive, Monroe. Discover the Elsong House and Gardens decorated for the holidays by the Monroe Garden Study League. Visit during regular museum hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday) to take your family Christmas photos. bmuseum.org.
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL ON CADDO: Saturday December 4, Earl G. Williamson Park 11425 La. 1, Oil City. Enjoy festive music, a bounce house, clowns, fair food and food stalls, arts and crafts, photos with old St. Nick and a fireworks display at 6:30 p.m. on Caddo Lake. To free.
CHRISTMAS RUN IN THE CITY CENTER: 7 p.m. Thursday, December 16, from Rhino Coffee-Downtown, 624 Texas St., Shreveport. The 3.1 mile three loop course takes runners through tens of thousands of Christmas lights lining the course, numerous Christmas decorations and Christmas music. Registration is $ 22 and up. centre-villeshreveport.com.
For more information on these and other vacation events on the trail, visit Holidaytrailoflights.com.