Nights of Lights Tours 2017–18
November 18, 2017 – January 31, 2018
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 November 18, 2017, to January 31, 2018.
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. Here's a rundown of available Nights of Lights tours.
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 6 to 9 p.m. from Sunday, November 19, 2017, through January 31, 2018. No reservations are required. Visit here for information about parking locations and shuttles. For more information, call (904) 829-3800.
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.
The tour runs nightly from November 19, 2017, through January 6, 2018 (excluding Christmas day). Hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Visit here for more information.
Tour St. Augustine offers a personal way to see the lights while learning about St. Augustine’s history and the cultural traditions that are the basis for this spectacular lights display. The 90-minute guided walking tour departs from 4 Granada St. on Fridays and Saturdays from November 24, 2017, to January 27, 2018, and costs $20 per person. The tour begins with complimentary hot chocolate (or ice cream, if the night is warm) provided by Claude’s Chocolates. Advance registration is required - call (904) 825-0087 or visit here.
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.
On Saturdays only from November 18, 2017, through January 27, 2018, guests can see the spectacle of lights from the water aboard the Victory III. Call (904) 824-1806 or visit here for more information.
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 for private group charters. Runs nightly from November 21, 2017, to January 31, 2018. 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.
Beginning Saturday, November 18, 2017, St. Augustine Sailing will offer Nights of Lights charters with prices starting at $300. These special charters will 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. These charters will be available nightly from 5 to 7 p.m. throughout the annual Nights of Lights celebration, which concludes January 31, 2018. 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. Call (904) 325-0547 to make a reservation. Tours depart every night except Saturdays from November 19, 2017 to January 12, 2018.
Explore Tours and Pickups is offering special holiday tours during Nights of Lights. These up-close and personal tours are $15 per person, last 20 to 30 minutes, and are available nightly after 6 p.m. Parking is available for tour guests, and pets 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 from November 18, 2017, to January 6, 2018. (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.) 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 http://www.thetastingtours.com/holiday-tours.html for more information. Both private and groups tours are offered.
Okay, so this isn't exactly a tour. But it's a special way to enjoy Nights of Lights. Starting November 18, 2017 until January 31, 2018, four of St. Augustine's local breweries are offering a special deal for craft beer lovers. For $25, get a commemorative Nights of Pints t-shirt and passport from participating breweries and enjoy a seasonal pint from each taproom on the house.
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 2016, with some three million white lights twinkling on the wonderful old buildings and landmarks along the bayfront and throughout the city's brick streets.