Gather around our area’s most spectacular Christmas trees

How lovely are your branches

Local residents don’t have to travel far to find a spectacularly decorated Christmas tree. Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Beaufort are homes to stunning natural and artificial trees guaranteed to lift your holiday spirits. So fill up your thermos with hot chocolate, load up the car, crank up your favorite holiday playlist, and make tracks to these five must-visit Christmas trees.

Harbour Town tree 

Location: Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort

When: November 25-January 1

Make a night of it: Take a stroll along Harbour Town Yacht Basin to see illuminated seasonal figures and lights. The centerpiece of this impressive annual holiday display is the towering Christmas tree located near the Liberty Oak. Gregg Russell’s Christmas concert is scheduled for 7:30-9 p.m. Dec. 23 under the Liberty Oak. The concert will end with a special visit from Santa Claus. With live entertainment, a holiday train for children, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and other fun stations, Harbour Town is the perfect place to be this holiday season.

Bright idea: Enjoy Harbour Town Lights while sipping a Lowcountry Love cocktail at Quarterdeck’s rooftop oyster bar.

Town of Bluffton tree

Location: Martin Family Park, Bluffton

When: December 2-January 1

Make a night of it: For an Old Town Bluffton holiday experience, head to the beautifully decorated tree at Martin Family Park. Walk along Calhoun Street up to the Promenade to see all of the beautifully decorated art galleries, shops and restaurants. A tree lighting ceremony is planned for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2, followed by Santa’s workshop at the DuBois Park pavilion. The movie “The Grinch” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on an outdoor screen at Martin Family Park. Don’t miss the 51st annual Bluffton Christmas parade at 10 a.m. Dec. 3.

Bright idea: Plan the perfect holiday picnic after dark at Martin Family Park with ready-to-eat foods and treats from the Farmers Market of Bluffton (Noon-5 p.m., Thursdays). Fresh breads from Sprout Momma, ice cream from Palmetto Pops and made-from-scratch muffins from Cappys Farm Fresh Food are just a few of the picnic-friendly options available.

Shelter Cove Park tree

Location`: Shelter Cove Community Park, Shelter Cove Towne Centre

When: November 22-December 31

Make a night of it: One of the region’s most impressive light displays each year is at Shelter Cove Towne Centre. The centerpiece of the festive display is the 28-foot tall Christmas tree located behind the fountain at Shelter Cove Community Park. With so many nearby restaurants and shops, it’s easy to plan a festive evening at the upscale shopping center. The park will host the Winter Wonderland Festival from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 3. There will be carnival games, a children’s parade, bounce houses and more. Many visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus are planned in December, including pet visits. Find details on the Towne Centre Facebook page.

Bright idea: Experience the magic of the holiday lights at Shelter Cove Towne Centre from the outdoor patio at The Rooftop Bar. We recommend the Bavarian pretzel with amber ale beer cheese and Lusty Monk mustard.

Town of Hilton Head tree

Location: The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

When: November 19-December 31

Make a night of it: Visit the Town of Hilton Head’s official Christmas tree in the parking lot of The Arts Center, then check out all of the beautiful trees, light displays and decorated boats across the street at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.

Bright idea: Check out the decorated tree at The Arts Center, followed by a performance of A Christmas Story, The Musical (Dec. 7-31). After the show, make your way to ELA’S On The Water for spectacular views of the decorated boats and marina. The lightly battered calamari is one of the best appetizers on the island.

City of Beaufort tree 

Location: Downtown Beaufort

When: December 2-January 1

Make a night of it: Downtown Beaufort is a magical place to spend an evening in December. See the beautifully decorated tree, then stroll along Bay Street and through Waterfront Park to see more holiday light displays. The annual Night on the Town holiday weekend features the tree lighting (6-9 p.m. Dec. 2), a lighted boat parade (5:30 p.m. Dec. 3) and the Beaufort Christmas Parade (3 p.m. Dec. 4).

Bright idea: Book the Eastlake Suite at the Cuthbert House Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast located walking distance of all of Beaufort’s holiday fun. The spacious three-room abode overlooks the bay and is garnered in shades of green and red with a large fireplace ($282 a night).

Other trees worth visiting 

  • Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park
  • Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
  • The Village at Wexford 
  • South Beach Marina
  • Coligny Plaza

Savannah trees worth the drive 

  • JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside 
  • Corner of Broughton and Bull streets
  • Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens
  • Oglethorpe Mall 
  • Savannah Mall 

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