2022 Winter Events: River of Lights, Nighttime Kayaking, and Free Camping!

The River Authority
Nov 25, 2022

Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

Come celebrate the holiday season at the 2022 River of Lights Celebration! You are invited to join the River Authority for an evening of fun that includes a Pixel Tree Light Show, pictures with Santa, food trucks, holiday vendors, and more!

Write a letter to Santa, visit a reindeer in training, decorate cookies with chefs and student chefs from the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at St. Philips College, and enjoy some holiday tunes at our Holiday Stage featuring some of the best musicians in town. 

People dressed in Christmas outfits enjoying River of Lights event


What             2022 River of Lights & Holly Jolly Kayaking

When           Saturday, December 3rd, 2022, from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Where          San Antonio River Lock & Dam


Event Schedule

  • Pictures with Santa              6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Letters to Santa                     6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Food Trucks                             6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Holiday Vendors                    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Reindeer Exhibit                    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Cookie Decorating                6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    • *While supplies last
  • Toy Drive                                  6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Crafts Corner for the family at the River of Lights event


Holiday Stage Performances

  • 6:10 PM – 6:30 PM                Lanier High School Jazz Band
  • 6:40 PM – 7:00 PM                Whittier Middle School Mariachi Band
  • 7:10 PM – 7:30 PM                Highlands High School Choir
  • 7:40 PM – 8:00 PM                Velocity (Air Force Band of the West)
  • 8:10 PM – 8:30 PM                Velocity (Air Force Band of the West)
  • 8:40 PM – 9:00 PM                Velocity (Air Force Band of the West)
Velocity Air Force Band Performs at River of Lights

Velocity (Air Force Band of the West)

  • Pixel Tree Light Show          Every hour and half-hour from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (7-minute light and music show)


Coming to River of Lights? Don’t forget to bring a gift!

As part of the 2022 River of Lights, the San Antonio River Foundation seeks donations of unwrapped toys to benefit St. PJ’S Children’s Home.

Fill a Christmas Canoe during our Toy Drive!


Holly Jolly Kayaking

In addition to the festivities at River of Lights, we are bringing back the annual tradition of nighttime kayaking on the Museum Reach! This uncommon opportunity allows participants to paddle between the Pearl and the San Antonio River Lock and Dam after dark while holiday lights illuminate the river.

River of Lights Event Kayak put in area


On December 3rd, if you paddle south from our designated put-in spot, you’ll have the best seat in the house river for the Pixel Tree Light Show. Once you have your fill of kayaking, continue your evening back at the River of Lights Celebration!

River of Lights Nighttime Kayaking


If you happen to miss a chance to register, a few walk-up spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We cannot guarantee a kayak will be available without a reservation. 

Have your own kayak, canoe, or SUP and want to get in on the fun? Snag a BYOBoat ticket option and join us for Holly Jolly Kayaking! 

Free Camping Weekend & Movie Night at Helton Nature Park

Large trees tower over a picnic bench at Helton Nature Park.


Pack your tent and head to Helton Nature Park during our Free Camping Weekend from December 9 – 11, 2022. Campsite reservation fees will be waived all weekend so that you can enjoy a relaxing night under the stars.

During your stay, enjoy roaming the 98-acre nature park’s over three miles of natural-surfaced hike and bike trails, paddling and fishing access along the SASPAMCO paddling trail, and fun amenities like a basketball court, playground, and grills. Helton Nature Park even has restrooms with showers if you don’t feel like roughing it.

A mother waves as her child holds two fishing rods as they walk towards a camping site.


Need more of an excuse to spend a night under the stars? Join us on Saturday, December 10th at Helton Nature Park campgrounds at 6:00 PM for a Campside Cinema showing of the movie Elf! While camping is not required, it is always encouraged. Save the drive home for the morning and reserve your campsite here. Pro-tip for our blog readers, even if all the campsites are reserved online, there’s a good chance we still have room for last-minute campers.

Campside Cinema at Helton Park

We hope you come to our events to be closer to the San Antonio River and utilize the park resources with your friends and family. Happy Trails!

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