There are already many reasons to visit historic St Augustine, however during the holidays the already beautiful historic downtown turns into a twinkling wonderland! You will feel like you are walking straight into a dream as you stroll along the streets of St Augustine’s historic district. For more than 20 years, the annual Nights of Lights celebration begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through the last weekend of January and every year the over 3 million holiday lights seem to glow brighter and be more magical.
The oldest city in the United States really knows how to get you into a holiday spirit. St Augustine has been declared one of the best holiday light displays in the world by National Geographic; this is a magical holiday event you won’t want to miss. There are many ways to enjoy the lights and here are some of our favorites.
1. Stay the night: The best way to experience Nights of Lights is to plan an overnight stay in one of St Augustine’s historic bed and breakfasts inns or downtown hotels. You will be right in the middle of all the holiday magic so you can soak up the sparkly, festive atmosphere and enjoy all the dining, tours, and entertainment this award-winning holiday celebration has to offer.
It’s also a great idea for a romantic trip with your significant other. I visited with my husband and it was truly a magical vacation that got us into the holiday spirit. He made it extra romantic by having flowers delivered to our room so that when we got back to our hotel they where waiting for us. He used a global flower delivery service and it was so easy to order the flowers online. This really made our trip extra special and romantic!
2. Take a walk: Park in the Historic Parking Facility located off Castillo Drive and enjoy the sights on foot as you walk leisurely along the narrow brick lined streets and beautiful avenues. You can also book a walking tour with Tour St. Augustine and learn more about St Augustine’s intriguing and exciting history along the way.
3. Hop on the Old Town Holly Jolly Trolley: A trolley tour is a great way to see the lights with family and without getting tired. While you ride the trolley you will learn about the rich history of the oldest city in North America.
4. Take a carriage tour: What could be more romantic than snuggling with your loved one while you sit in a horse drawn carriage and take in the beautiful holiday lights. You can also grab your friends and take an after dark wine and carriage ride with the Tasting Tours.
Many local attractions offer special Nights of Lights tours that attract hundreds of merrymakers: some of our favorites are The Holiday Tour of Homes and the Tour of Bed and Breakfast Inns. Some of the most popular landmarks aglow with white lights include the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and the Villa Zorayda.
The Regatta of Lights, one of only a few holiday boat parades in Florida, is not to be missed! Sailboats, shrimp trawlers, schooners and private vessels large and small decorated with lights and other holiday décor float past a sea of onlookers that line the bay front and bridge after dark.
For a complete list of holiday events and for more information, visit www.NightsofLights.com.