Tours for Nights of Lights 2020–21
November 14, 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 14, 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 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).
Tours depart nightly from Saturday, November 14, through December 31, 2020, and then on Friday and Saturday evenings only from January 1 to 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. The tour will be by reservation only in 2020-21, due to safety guidelines regarding COVID-19. Guests may reserve an entire row of seats (up to 4 people) on the trolley, which has plexiglass dividers between each row. The price is $59.95 per row. Details on making online reservations for this year's tour will be posted here soon. Call (904) 829-3800 for more information and for scheduling.
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 Saturday, November 14, 2020, through Sunday, January 31, 2020 (excluding Christmas day). Hours in November and December are from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 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 14 through December 27, 2020, and then on Saturdays only from January 2 through January 29, 2021. Departure times from the Municipal Marina are at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Reservations are encouraged due to limited capacity. 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 14, 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 14, 2020, through Sunday, January 31, 2021, St. Augustine Sailing will offer Nights of Lights charters every night, with three packages available. The Glitter Package (three-hour tour plus four-course dinner) departs at 5:00 p.m. on Friday through Tuesday evenings only. The Sparkle Package (two-hour tour) departs nightly at 4:15 p.m., while the Twinkle Package (one-hour trip) goes out at 5:15, 6:45, and 8:15 p.m every night. All charters include cozy blankets to snuggle into during the tour, festive beverages served in a commemorative mug, and a souvenir photo. There are also private charters available. Call (904) 829-0648 or visit here for more information and to make reservations.
Glide along under pedal power in the Old Town Cycle Cruise Holly Jolly Yachty tour during Nights of Lights. From Saturday, November 14, 2020 through Sunday, January 31, 2021, Old Town Cycle Cruise will take guests along the waterfront every evening at 6:30, 8:30, and 10:30 p.m. Guests may BYOB and may opt to provide the power by peddling during the cruise. The captain will steer and make sure everyone has a great time and many opportunities to enjoy the Nights of Lights from the water. Call (904) 599-9492 for more details or visit here for more information.
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 45 minutes long and can accommodate up to six people. They depart at 6:00, 6:30, 7:30, and 8:00 p.m. every night except Saturdays from Sunday, November 15, to December 30, 2020, and then nightly including Saturdays from January 1 to January 31, 2021. Call (904) 325-0547 for more information.
Bluewater Adventure offers Cycle Boat Tours every evening during Nights of Lights. Boats generally leave from English Landing Marina at 509 Ponce de Leon Blvd., where there is plenty of free parking. Guests may choose to have the boat meet their party at other docks along the rivers. Bluewater Adventure only books friend and family groups so that social distancing is maintained, and boats are sanitized between trips. Guests are encouraged to wear warm clothing, and to bring beverages and snacks. Bluewater Adventure will provide ice, music, a captain, and hot chocolate. Visit their website here, or call (904) 460-4004 for more information or to book a trip.
Explore Tours and Pickups offers up-close and personal holiday tours during Nights of Lights. The tours are 45 minutes to one hour in duration and are available nightly from Saturday, November 14, 2020, to Sunday, 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.
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. Call (904) 824-5506 or visit here for more information.
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 Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from November 14, 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 16, 2020, through January 31, 2021. Visit here to book a tour.
Pineapple Rides and Tours offers Nights of Lights Tours with Jack Frost as the driver of their electric 10-person vehicle. The ice-blue, energetic "Jack" takes guests on a one-hour tour at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 p.m. Tickets are purchased by rows of three and plexiglass is installed between the rows. Visit here to book a tour.
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.