7 Ways to See Nights of Lights
It's finally that time of year again. The week before Thanksgiving where stores are already blasting holiday music, Christmas tree lots are opening, and lights are going up in the city of St. Augustine. Nights of Lights has been proclaimed one of the best light displays in the world by National Geographic—but it's not just the lights that bring people to St. Augustine. Sure, they're bright and shiny and really nice to look at, but what's next?!
Don't worry! There are tons of things to do to get a unique vantage of local lights displays. Check out some of these tours to make your Nights of Lights holiday season unforgettable.
1. Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley
Say that five times fast. View Nights of Lights from the comfort and character of the Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley. The trolley will take you through downtown, and your ride comes complete with hot cider (because yes, it does get cold in the Sunshine State), homemade cookies, and seasonal tunes to sing along to. See the lights through a pair of special shades that add a little more twinkle to every bulb. If you're bringing your family, the trolley is a fun, entertaining option for all ages.
2. Red Train Nights of Lights Tours
Ripley's Red Train takes vacationers through Nights of Lights in style. You and your friends can jam out to Christmas music as you ride through the city, and view the lights through the lens of some spiffy glasses that brighten the display with illuminated shapes. Also, who could say no to roasted marshmallows and Christmas movies? These trolleys and trains sure know how to literally sweeten the deal.
3. Florida Water Tours Nights of Lights Tour
For a unique vantage point, visitors may enjoy a boat tour of downtown St. Augustine and take in the glow of the lights from the water. Florida Water Tours is located just outside of downtown St. Augustine, and with tours leaving from Camachee Cove, it's easy for visitors to find parking and avoid missing the boat. For more information, or to book one of Florida Water Tours Nights of Lights Tours, please click here.
4. Gold Tours Private Nights of Lights Tours
Another way you can experience Nights of Lights away from the crowd is on Gold Tours Private Nights of Lights Tours. These private tours begin on the opening of Nights of Lights. It's an eco-friendly option and the private bus is small enough to fit into the close roads that other tours can't breach. The tour is narrated by Peter Gold, a retired English Barrister and Judge (obviously with a perfectly classy voice for narration), and lasts 45 minutes long. Peter Gold is an experienced and licensed tour guide in St. Augustine with some pretty impressive insight, so he makes the tour worth your while.
5. Eco Tours Nights of Lights Boat Tour
St. Augustine Eco Tours offers a special boat excursion to view St. Augustine's Nights of Lights from the water. These tours go out from the Municipal Marina at 6 p.m. every night while the lights are lit. Up to 12 guests on each one-hour tour can experience the illuminated city in comfort and without the hassle of the crowds. To learn more about St. Augustine Eco Tours Nights of Lights Tours, please click here.
6. Nights of Lights Helicopter Tour
Planes, trains, automobiles, and ... helicopters?! If you're anxious to get off the ground and you're curious about how fabulous these lights look from above, then take a tour with Helicopter Tours of St. Augustine. You and two other people can get a bird's eye view of the over 2 million lights. For an additional fee, you can even swing over and see those light displays at St. Augustine Beach! For more info on the Surf Illumination, click here.
7. Walk the Lights
See the city the way its early residents would have—by carrying yourself about on your own two feet. St. Augustine is a walkable city, with crossings and pedestrian-only areas offering safe routes for visitors on foot. The Plaza de la Constitución in the center of St. Augustine's historic district is the perfect starting point for exploring the lit-up wonderland of the nation's oldest city during Nights of Lights. Not only is it a great central point in the city, offering access to pedestrian-only areas like St. George Street, but the lights there are some of the prettiest, climbing around the branches of live oak trees and illuminating the city's Christmas tree display in the heart of the plaza. For more tips on exploring the city on foot, check out our Ultimate Survival Guide to St. Augustine Nights of Lights.
This article was originally written by Alex Pooler on November 15, 2013. It has been completely updated with current information for the 2016-17 Nights of Lights season.