Nights of Lights Tours 2020–21
November 21, 2020 - January 31, 2021
During the Christmas holidays, the city of St. Augustine lights up and becomes a festival of twinkling white lights as it hosts the annual Nights of Lights holiday display. Visitors and long-time residents alike are treated to a wonderland of lights adorning the ancient city, beginning at the Plaza de la Constitución, with its stunning holiday tree in the center and oaks strung with lights, and stretching out to illuminate all of St. Augustine's historic district. From roof shingle to doorway entrance, the downtown buildings take on a glow of holiday cheer, with millions of twinkling white lights covering the historic sites, bed and breakfasts, museums, restaurants and shops of the nation's oldest city.
There are many ways to experience the Nights of Lights, including just wandering the historic downtown streets and taking in the festival of lights that Rachael Ray Magazine named one of the nation's "twinkliest" and National Geographic Magazine listed as one of the top ten cities in the world for holiday lighting displays. The lights are on from Saturday, November 21, 2020 to Sunday, January 31, 2021.
For those who want a different perspective on the lights, or just want to be sure they see it all with a minimum of foot weariness, there are numerous tours offered throughout the season, some every night and some just on special nights.
Guests can see the lights, sing some Christmas carols, and experience all the spirit of the season on Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights tour. The tour includes complimentary magical viewing glasses (which turn the lights into glittering snowflake or star shapes) and complimentary hot apple cider and homemade cookies.
Tours depart nightly from Sunday, November 22, 2020, through January 31, 2021, from the Visitors Information Center (10 W. Castillo Drive)across from the Parking Garage. Operating hours are from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. through December 31, 2020, changing to a shorter schedule (from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.) in 2021. No reservations are required for general admission. A Fast Track pass is available for those who would like to make reservations and are willing to pay a little bit more for the privilege.
Relaxing aboard one of Ripley’s festive red trains for a "lightseeing" tour of the Nights of Lights, guests can delight in the special effects of their magical viewing glasses on the dazzling light displays, join in the holiday caroling, or just enjoy the company and the holiday spirit.
Also know as The Big Red Christmas Train, Ripley's Nights of Lights tours run nightly from Sunday, November 21, 2020, through Sunday, January 31, 2021 (excluding Christmas day). Hours are 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in December. In January, tours run nightly from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Visit here for more information.
Guests can take in the sights of St. Augustine's spectacular holiday lights from the water on one of Eco Tours one-hour Nights of Lights tour. Call (904) 377-7245 or visit here for reservations.
Scenic Cruise offers Nights of Lights Tours aboard the Victory III on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from November 23 through December 31, 2021, and then on Saturdays only from January 1 through January 31, 2021. Two special tours are offered, one on the Nights of Lights Opening Night (November 21) and the other during the Regatta of Lights (December 14). All the tours depart from the Municipal Marina at 6:15 p.m., with the exception of the Regatta of Lights tour on December 12, which departs at 5:30 p.m. Call (904) 824-1806, ext. 210, for reservations.
Choose this one-hour boat tour for a relaxing view of St. Augustine's Nights of Lights, as well as many of the city's historic landmarks. This tour may be booked individually or for private group charters. Runs nightly from November 21, 2020, to January 31, 2021. Call (904) 687-8297 or visit here for reservations.
This tour offers breathtaking water views of St. Augustine's festival of lights, with three tours going out nightly: the first at 6:00 p.m., which is ideal for kids three and older, and two later tours for adults at 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Call (904) 827-7728 or visit here for reservations.
From Saturday, November 21, 2020, through Sunday, January 31, 2021, St. Augustine Sailing will offer Nights of Lights charters every night at 4:45, 6:15, 7:45, and 9:15 p.m. These 75-minute charters offer guests the opportunity to see the millions of lights in St. Augustine's holiday light displays from the water, floating comfortably away from the crowds downtown. There are also private charters available for up to six guests. Call (904) 829-0648 or visit here for reservations.
Gold Tours offers another option for viewing St. Augustine's Nights of Lights —up close and personal, with no waiting. These electric cart tours are one-hour long and can accommodate up to seven people. They depart at 6:30, 8:00, and 9:30 p.m. every night except Saturdays from Sunday, November 22, to December 30, 2020, and then nightly including Saturdays from January 1 to January 31, 2021. Call (904) 325-0547 for more information.
Explore Tours and Pickups is offering special holiday tours during Nights of Lights. These up-close and personal tours are 45 minutes to an hour in duration and are available nightly from Sunday, November 22, 2020, to January 31, 2021. Vehicles seat 9 to 10 guests and are not restricted to a set route. Visit here to book a spot. Dogs are welcome on Explore Tours Nights of Lights Tours. Call (904) 853-1500 to make a reservation.
See St. Augustine's spectacular Nights of Lights from the water aboard the tall ship Schooner Freedom. Nights of Lights Sunset Sails depart nightly (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from November 21, 2020, to Sunday, January 3, 2021, at 4:15 p.m. Call (904) 810-1010 for more information and to make reservations.
Another option to tour St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights is on a horse-drawn carriage or on an old-fashioned roadster with The Tasting Tours. Call (904) 325-3911 or visit here for more information. Both private and group tours are offered.
St. Augustine City Tours offers a comfortable and up-close view of the city's annual Nights of Lights display in their luxury 8-seater golf cart. The tours are offered nightly (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve) from November 21, 2020, through January 31, 2021. Visit here to book a tour.
For a bird's-eye view of the ancient city decorated with millions of white lights, Old City Helicopters offers two Nights of Lights tours every night during the season. Visit here for more information.
About Nights of Lights
St. Augustine's Nights of Lights festival traces its origin to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays. The tradition continues in 2020, with some three million white lights twinkling on the wonderful old buildings and landmarks along the bayfront and throughout the city's brick streets.