Looking to light up your holiday spirit while you are visiting the Grand Strand? Look no further than Brookgreen Gardens for the annual Nights of a Thousand Candles celebration. It's a Christmas tradition for locals and visitors alike, and the perfect opportunity for guests at the Caribbean Resort & Villas to celebrate the season in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.
Located in the nearby town of Murrells Inlet, approximately 20 miles south of the Caribbean Resort, Brookgreen Gardens undergoes an extreme holiday makeover to transform the always-lovely sculptures and gardens into an illuminated tribute to Christmas. For 10 nights during the month of December, all-natural lights are used to illuminate the gardens and give patrons a rare glimpse of the 9,100-acre property in the evening.
Built on a former rice plantation in the scenic South Carolina Lowcountry, Brookgreen Gardens features a variety of native plant life, including colorful wildflowers, ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and a unique collection of statues that stand guard over the gardens. Patrons can walk for hours without seeing the same display twice, or grab a seat on a park bench and soak up the ambiance.
More than 5,500 flameless candles line the sidewalks and lead the way to one incredible exhibit after another. The centerpiece is a large Christmas tree adorned with more than 70,000 lights and hand-made ornaments, an ideal backdrop for a family photo. It can also serve as a convenient meeting spot for groups that opt to split up to see different displays or take part in a wide range of activities.
Scattered throughout the pristine grounds are outdoor fountains featuring floating candles that reflect off the dancing waters, rows of palmetto trees glowing in the dark, and the sounds of musical performances by hand bell choirs and Christmas carolers. The one-of-a-kind Christmas display at the Gullah Culture Center is something everyone should stop to admire. There are indoor galleries and greenhouses galore featuring a colorful collection of poinsettias, orchids and other flowers. If that’s not entertaining enough for you, discover live music and storytelling happening throughout the evening.
Guests can also enjoy hot cocoa and apple cider at the concession tents, and delicious Seafood Chowder and She Crab Soup at The Old Kitchen. A traditional holiday feast is served at the on-site restaurant, although reservations are not available and seating will be on a first come, first served basis. However, many Caribbean guests take advantage of the trip to Murrells Inlet to dine at some of the popular restaurants in the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina”. The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk provides more than a dozen excellent restaurants to choose from, all conveniently situated along one wooden waterfront walkway. Nearby Pawleys Island also features an abundance of dining and shopping opportunities.
Scheduled for Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-18, Nights of a Thousand Candles opens at 3 p.m. each night and closes at 10 p.m. Ticket sales are limited in order to avoid big crowds so visitors are encouraged to make reservations in advance. Purchase your tickets before Dec. 1 for a significant discount. Tickets for Brookgreen Gardens members are $12 and $16 for the general public. While the event is going on ticket prices increase to $14 for members and $18 for the general public. For children ages 4-12, tickets are $8 for members and $10 for the general public. Call 843-235-6021 for group prices of 15 or more guests. For more information, visit www.brookgreengardens.org.
After an enjoyable night at Brookgreen Gardens, head back to your holiday home away from home at the Caribbean for a relaxing rest of your vacation. It’s just one more reason the Caribbean Resort & Villas should be your headquarters for the holidays.