The city of lights is back at it again, but we’re not talking about Paris. Florida has its own little city of lights for the holidays, and it’s one of the country’s biggest and most spectacular displays.
St. Augustine, Florida, has launched its annual event that will run this year through the end of January. The entire town is lit up each evening, from the streets, businesses, and parks to the marina and lighthouse.
The 29th annual Night of Lights in the town’s historic district will feature more than 3 million twinkling lights, a display National Geographic has declared one of its 10 dazzling holiday light displays around the world.
There are countless ways to take in the festive display, including these options:
Old Town Trolley
This is the old standby for taking in the 30 blocks of lights. The Old Town Trolley tours leave nightly from the visitor information center, travel around the streets, and allow riders to take in all of the festive glory with a 45-minute ride. Reservations are a must, with tickets sold by row — which can seat up to four people — starting at $69.95.
Red Train Tour
Ripley’s Red Train Tour is a different way to see the town, with a narrated tour showing not only the lights but more than 100 points of historical interest. The 30-minute tour leaves from the Ripley’s museum and costs $65.99 for a row, which also seats four people.
Florida Water Tours
There are numerous options when it comes to viewing the town from the water, and one of the most popular comes from Florida Water Tours. The company has three boats — a 45-foot pontoon called the Osprey, a 30-foot pontoon called Island Breeze, and Salty Dreams, a private yacht. The pontoons range in price from $39 to $49, with some trips being adults-only and serving beverages, and some for the entire family. The yachts are a pricey $695 for 2 hours.
The Black Raven
Another water option is the Black Raven, a pirate ship that gives you a tour from its crew of “pirates,” who will put on a show for you at sea. Fares vary depending on what you include in your journey, and whether you choose a family option or adults-only trip.
First City Helicopters
Flights from First City Helicopters will take passengers over the town on a journey to see the lights from a completely different perspective. The flight will circle the downtown area twice for 30 minutes at a cost of $220 for three passengers, or for twice as long — including a pass over the lighthouse — for $370.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
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 $40, depending on what you want to include with your purchase and when you want to climb. Options include self tours, guided tours with tales of ghosts, or luxury tours with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
Night Of Lights Tasting Tours
Eat and drink while riding a carriage around town. These tasting tours have many options and price ranges starting at $25. There are private rides for two, group rides, or themed rides that include Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, and more.
St. Augustine Land And Sea Tours
Whether it’s the golf course or a senior community, golf carts are everywhere in Florida towns. Why not use one to see the lights? St. Augustine Land and Sea Tours allows visitors to ride around town in an eight-passenger golf cart, with prices starting at $25.
Walking St. Augustine
Those who want to experience the town on their own always have the option to just walk the streets at their own pace and get up close to displays that pique their interest. There is also a plethora of companies that will offer walking tours to fill you in on the town’s secrets as you take in the festivities.
For more travel news, check out these articles: