Because it already offers so much history, culture, and excitement, most Florida residents don't need a special reason to visit St. Augustine.
But that doesn't stop the oldest city in the country from giving them exactly that with its Nights of Lights celebration every year during the holidays.
St. Augustine creates a winter wonderland that ranks as one of the best light displays in the entire world according to National Geographic.
See the Lights by Land
If you are looking for the complete Nights of Lights experience in St. Augustine, one of the best ways to take in everything is to sign up for one of the trolley or carriage tours operating around the city.
Local tour companies like Ripley's Red Train, Old Town Trolley, St. Augustine Gold Tours, and The Tasting Tours all offer slightly different holiday experiences that come complete with different options like snacks, beverages, and special glasses to enhance the experience.
The Old Town Trolley ride is a perfect option for family fun, and The Tasting Tours offer a more grown-up experience that comes complete with a souvenir wine glass.
See the Lights by Boat
Trolley and carriage tours are a perfect starting point for enjoying the Nights of Lights, but for an even more exciting experience, you might want to look into some of the options to see the lights from out on the water.
You can hop aboard the White Pelican from Red Boat Water Tours or the Osprey from Florida Water Tours for a larger boat experience. Or you can check out one of the six or twelve passenger boats from St. Augustine Eco Tours.
On top of those fun options, you can also enjoy an hour-long “Moonlight Sail” aboard the Schooner Freedom every Friday and Saturday night during the holiday season.
Nights of Lights Special Events
In addition to the beautiful light displays, St. Augustine also hosts special events just about every single night during the Nights of Lights holiday season.
One of the biggest events of the season is the Christmas Parade which will be happening on Saturday, December 2. The parade starts at 9 am and includes two full hours of floats, marching bands, cars, horses, and…of course…SANTA!
December 9 is another excellent time to visit because that's when the annual Regatta of Lights takes place. Organized by the St. Augustine Yacht Club, sail, power, and paddle vessels of all sizes are decorated with colorful lights to create a dazzling sight for spectators along the bayfront.
Nights of Lights Parking & Lodging
Whether you are just planning a quick trip to see the lights or a whole weekend in St. Augustine, there are plenty of special parking and lodging options to be aware of during the holiday season.
Because Saturdays in December are such a popular time to visit the Nights of Lights, the city has set up a free Park & Ride shuttle that makes its way past a number of large parking lots just outside of town.
You can get more information about these free parking options, and we highly suggest using them to avoid a potential traffic nightmare.
If you are looking to stay in St. Augustine for any amount of time during the Nights of Lights festivities, you will want to take advantage of some of the great lodging specials that you will find at various resorts and hotels around town.
There are several different hotel deals currently available on the Nights of Lights website, so all you have to do is choose the one that makes the most sense for your visit.
Between the tours, the special events, and the hotel deals, the Nights of Lights makes the holiday season one of the best times of year to visit St. Augustine.
Start planning your trip today and enjoy the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of this historic city in a whole new light!
Want to Stay Forever?
St. Augustine is a great place not only to visit but to live year-round.
Reverie at Trailmark is a 55+ community in St. Augustine. The Retreat at Reverie features a rustic lakeside clubhouse, sparkling pool and spa, tournament-class pickleball courts, brought to life by engaging social events, clubs and activities.
There are 11 new single-family home designs, ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 sq. ft. The community features lakeside and preserve homesites. Prices start in the $300k’s.
You can request more information about the community right here: