Winter Lights is a magical Christmas light display at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland. You will be able to see more than 450 illuminated displays along the 3.5-mile drive through the park. Driving through the enchanted forest setting, you will experience an array of exhibits that light up the night. Displays over the past years have included a frog prince display, nestled amongst traditional festival favorites that include a Fantasy Castle and magical unicorn fountain. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole, and much more.
Proceeds from the Winter Lights benefit local charities. Past beneficiaries have included Baby’s Bounty, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Kentlands Community Foundation, Girls on the Run of Montgomery County, and Women Who Care Ministries.
This one of the most popular holiday light displays in the Washington, D.C., area, so complement your trip to the Capital region with this cheerful event.
Seneca Creek State Park is located at 11950 Clopper Road in Gaithersburg. From I-270, take Exit 10, Clopper Road (Route 117). Turn right at the light, proceed for approximately two miles. The park is on the left.
Dates and Hours
In most years, the lights run every night from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, and the display is only closed to visitors on Christmas Day. On Sunday through Thursday, the lights are on from 6 to 9 p.m. They're on until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The park also hosts several various holiday-themed events in the lead-up to Christmas, some of which happen before the winter lights festivities officially begin.
- S’more Lights: Roast marshmallows over a campfire and make delicious s’mores in a beautiful woodland setting. After your sweet treat hop on a trolley or take a wagon ride through the park to see the illuminated trees, arches, animated scenes. Before you go, take take a few pictures with Santa and make a holiday craft in a heated tent while enjoying hot beverages. There is also an on-site food truck with kid-friendly options, so you won't need to leave the park to make a snack run. Dogs aren't allowed at this event
- Run Under the Lights: Run or walk through the Winter Lights display with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. All are welcome to come to the event. The event has a 950-person limit and registration opens in early October. It sells out quickly every year, so don't dawdle if you're interested.
- Wine Under the Lights: Bring a blanket for a cozy 3-mile open-air trolley ride either before or after you enjoy wine tasting from three local vineyards, food bites, live music, and a beautiful selfie station with fun props inside a heated tent. The tasting package includes 12 tasting tickets, a souvenir glass, light snacks, hot drinks, live music, and a trolley ride, while a non-tasting package is available without wine tasting tickets. Pre-registration is strongly recommended as admission is limited.
- Leashes 'n' Lights: Bond with your favorite canine as you experience more than 450 magical light displays. You can take a nice mile-long stroll or go the whole 3 miles. There will be vendors selling dog-related goodies and there are plenty of hot drinks. Cap it all off with a take a pet selfie with Santa.