In its 28th season, the St. Augustine Nights of Lights is considered a ‘must see’ event for the holiday season. In fact, National Geographic named it one of the top ten holiday light displays in the world. With millions of white lights decorating the Nation’s Oldest City, the festivities take place every night between November 20, 2021 to January 31, 2022.
The Nights of Lights season begins on November 20th at the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitución with the lighting of the Christmas tree and a countdown to officially light up the city with twinkling, white lights throughout the city.
From a guided trolley ride to a scenic boat tour or a look from above, there are many ways to experience the lights and seasonal activities during the Nights of Lights in St. Augustine.
Here’s a look at some of the fun ways to experience this magical display of holiday cheer –
Unique Ways to See the Nights of Lights
There are many unique ways to admire the Nights of Lights, making each visit a new experience for holiday goers. One of the most popular ways to explore the city of lights is on the Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour. Tours depart each evening from the Visitor Information Center and include a pair of magical viewing glasses along with fresh, hot cookies and apple cider at the end of the tour.
For a truly unique vantage point of the lights, make plans to be on the waterways of St. Augustine, including Matanzas Bay and surrounding waterways. Enjoy a sunset sailing on the Schooner Freedom, complete with blankets and refreshments. The ship itself is decked out with 2,000 twinkling white lights. For an intimate night on the water, enjoy a harbor tour with St. Augustine Eco Tours aboard one of their 6 or 12-passenger boats.
For a more romantic Nights of Lights evening, reserve an old-fashioned, horse-drawn carriage ride through the city. With many booking options available, some carriage rides even include complimentary rides.
If history is more your thing, book a guided, walking tour with Ancient City Tours for a 90-minute stroll through the lights to learn the history and stories of the nation’s oldest city, including colonial folklore and holiday traditions. Some of the many stops on the tour include the Lightner Museum courtyard and the Plaza de la Constitución.
Special Events During the Nights of Lights
Weekends are a popular time for viewing the holiday’s lights and there are plenty of special events to celebrate the holiday season. From dining to history buffs and family-friendly Christmas festivities, there’s plenty of excitement and beauty to be found on Florida’s historic coast.
At the St. Augustine Lighthouse, guests can enjoy tours of the Keeper’s house and grounds with 21 uniquely decorated Christmas trees located throughout the property. The Lighthouse’s luminary night takes place December 1st with holiday crafts for the children, a visit from Santa, and plenty of holiday refreshments.
Living history interpreters present a timeline of St. Augustine’s colonial history on select nights as they stroll through the lights offering visitors a glimpse of the city’s people and stories. At the Villa Zorayda Museum, guests can explore the grounds’ Christmas trees on display with more than 100 candles lit throughout the museum. Beer fans can enjoy Nights of Pints with a dedicated Nights of Lights brewery passport supporting local breweries.
On December 11, a true Florida celebration takes place with the Holiday Regatta of Lights, hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club. Sailing through Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and Castillo de San Marcos, be on the lookout for shrimp boats, sailboats, and more – each illuminated with brilliant light displays.
Other festivities during Nights of Lights include holiday performances, fireworks displays and even a morning parade with Santa Claus take place on select weekends creating an atmosphere of togetherness and celebration.
Make Plans to See the Nights of Lights
From unique ways to see the lights to the special events and activities held throughout the city, it is easy to see what makes the Nights of Light a longstanding celebration of St. Augustine and the holiday season.
For more information on planning a visit to St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, go to www.floridashistoriccoast.com.