Most cities and towns across the country have some type of holiday light display that they tout as a reason to visit, but few can compete with the annual spectacle that takes place in Florida in the town of St. Augustine.
The 28th annual Nights of Lights lights up almost every corner of the town’s historic district, with more than 3 million lights bringing a festive atmosphere to the region for 2 months.
This year’s festival begins November 20 and runs until the end of January. During the display, businesses will stay open later, allowing the display to be in full force every evening.
What makes Nights of Lights different than many other cities are the numerous ways visitors can take in the displays. Here are just a few of the ways to get in the spirit in St. Augustine.
One of the most popular methods to take in the sights for both visitors and locals is the Old Town Trolley tours. Leaving nightly starting at 6 p.m. from the Visitor Information Center, the trolleys travel around the streets of downtown showing you all of the light displays. Tickets are $69.95 for a row, which can seat up to four people.
Santa’s Red Express Train leaves from Ripley’s Believe or Not museum starting at 6 p.m. Carols, magic glasses, and other entertainment are part of the ride, with tickets running $52.99 for a row seating up to four passengers.
One of the most peaceful ways to see the city from a new perspective is on the water, and there are plenty of options. One of the most popular is Schooner Freedom charters, which take guests around the harbor to take in the view. The cost is $65 per passenger.
Take in the lights from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Visitors can climb 219 steps to the top and look down on the holiday display. Tickets range from $15 to $30, depending upon what you want to include with your purchase.
Eat and drink while riding a carriage around town. Tasting Tours has many options and price ranges, from private romantic carriage rides for two to group rides to special rides with Santa, the Grinch, or Scrooge.
You’ll get plenty of exercise, but there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with the displays which you can do on 90-minute walking tours with Ancient City tours. You can add ghostly adventures, paranormal sights, or historical landmarks as part of your package.
Hey, it’s Florida, so there’s bound to be golf carts around. St. Augustine Land and Sea Tours gives you a unique experience, tooling around town in an eight-passenger golf cart. Prices begin at $25.