There is a whole island in Kentucky dedicated to celebrating Christmas that you have to see for yourself.

We all know that Kentucky is full of a lot of great things. There are so many sights to see in the Bluegrass State, especially for those who love the outdoors. Kentucky has a few huge lakes for everyone to enjoy during the summertime to boat, fish, and swim. One thing that people might not associate with the state of Kentucky is an island. However, there is one island in Kentucky that you will want to visit during the winter. Why? Because it's an island completely dedicated to Christmas.

Kentucky's Christmas Island

Christmas Island at General Burnside State Park is a Kentucky attraction that you should add to your holiday bucket list. Located on Lake Cumberland, Christmas Island is 400-acres and is Kentucky's one and only island park. The island is all decked out with thousands of Christmas lights and other holiday displays that you can drive through in your vehicle.

Christmas Island began in the 90s, according to Only In Your State, and had been a holiday family tradition for years among Kentuckians. However, in the late 2010s, Kentucky State Parks sold the lights and Christmas Island was a thing of the past...until 2021. Christmas Island returns this year with over $400,000 in brand new Christmas Displays 2021 season.

What To Expect At Christmas Island

The big question that I had about Christmas Island was how do you get your vehicles onto the island? Is there a bridge or a ferry to take you there? Frank Crabtree,  Executive Director of Tourism for the City of Burnside Kentucky, gave me a brief insight on that very question which is pretty interesting:

Lake Cumberland was made in 1951 by the US Army Corps of Engineers by constructing Wolf Creek Dam and flooding much of the region with the purpose to produce Hydroelectric power. Once Lake Cumberland reached its target elevation there was a natural Island created out of General Burnside's Old Civil War overlook known as Bunker Hill. Between 1950-57 there wasn't too much car traffic going to the island. It was accessed by Ferry or by boat when people would go to the Island. In 1957 Kentucky State Parks acquired the island and built a causeway from Highway 27 to General Burnside Island State Park. That causeway is still the main access point today.

So, when you drive up to the island, you will see illuminated scenes that set the mood on each side of the road approaching the gate. From there, visitors of Christmas Island will be in the middle of a literal Winter Wonderland with their drive-thru lighting display and many other fun activities at General Burnside Island State Park. Speaking of other fun activities, aside from the drive-thru light show, Crabtree says that visitors will be able to enjoy:

  • Holiday characters on the island include The Grinch, Rudolph, and Santa Claus.
  • Concessions like hot chocolate, spiced cider, cookies, and pictures with Santa.

Since this is the first year for Christmas Island in some time, Crabtree says that they "really wanted to make a strong first step towards being one of the top light shows in the region." That being said, they have some great plans for Christmas Island in the future that includes more light displays and other amenities such as:

  • Horse-drawn carriage rides
  • Limo rides
  • Some of your favorite Christmas movies featured on big screens
  • Novelty shopping
  • Reindeer farms
  • Children's games
  • and more...

Christmas Island Dates & Prices

Christmas Island in Burnside, Kentucky is open for the season Wednesday, December 1 through Thursday, December 30, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm and Friday, December 3, 2021, through Sunday, January 2, 2022, 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm.

Weekdays (Mon-Thur)

$20: Standard car/van/SUV

$35: 9-15 passenger Van/Bus

Weekends (Fri-Sun)

$25: Standard car/van/SUV

$40: 9-15 passenger Van/Bus

So, add this to your holiday bucket list this year and make new memories with your family. Oh, and if you're looking for more holiday events to visit in Kentucky, check these out:

Check Out Louisville's Winter Woods Spectacular


Check Out These Christmas Lights from Patti's in Grand Rivers Kentucky


LOOK: See what Christmas was like the year you were born


CHECK THEM OUT: 100 years of Christmas toys, gifts and fads

More From WGBFAM