Nights of Lights Tour
Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights Tour is an excellent way to see St. Augustine's Nights of Lights. This holiday spectacle of traditional white lights (some three million of them) has its roots, like everything in St. Augustine, in history. For the nearly 250 years that St. Augustine served as the capital of Spanish Florida, residents would place a lighted candle in their windows to mark the holiday season. Now the lights are electric, but they remain white, and they are dazzling to see as they decorate the wonderful old buildings, historic homes and bayfront vistas in the nation's oldest city. National Geographic magazine included St. Augustine's Nights of Lights in its recent list of the ten best places in the world to see holiday lighting displays. The trolley tours depart from 6 to 9 p.m. continuously every night of the holiday season through January 31, 2018. No reservations are required.
Castillo by Candlelight
Visitors to the Castillo de San Marcos can experience history come to life at the Castillo's annual 1740 Siege Night event, “Enemy at the Gates.” The special tour features living history demonstrations depicting the fort as it would have been under the 1740 British siege. Tours depart every 15 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m., taking visitors through the different stations at the fort as the re-enactors prepare for the oncoming attack from British General James Oglethorpe.
Colonial Night Watch
The St. Augustine Garrison and the National Park Service present the Colonial Night Watch. This popular annual event recreates historic Night Watches in garrison towns, where any citizens still on the streets after the gates were locked were required to carry a light so that they could be seen and identified by the Night Watch. The Colonial Night Watch heritage event celebrates St. Augustine’s colonial history with a nighttime torch-lit parade at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, 2017, as well as living history demonstrations at the Castillo de San Marcos throughout the day on Saturday.
Get in the Holiday spirit at the St. Augustine 64th Annual Christmas Parade! This is one of the largest parades in North Florida and includes floats, marching bands, cars, horses and, of course, the arrival of Santa! The parade starts near the Mission of Nombre de Dios at 9:00am (101 San Marco Avenue) and continues through the streets of historic, downtown St. Augustine ending behind the Visitors Center on Castillo Drive at approximately 11:30am. After the parade, everyone is welcome to stop by the Plaza de la Constitucion to have pictures taken with Santa!
Christmas Tour of Homes
The 49th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes, presented by the Garden Club of St. Augustine, takes visitors inside seven private homes in the nation's oldest city. This year's theme is "Christmas in the Flagler Era." This walking tour gives participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these beautiful homes dating from the 1800s decorated with fresh wreaths, garlands and floral arrangements. Rich with the charm and grandeur of the holiday season that is an integral part of historical St. Augustine, this tour is a very popular annual tradition. In addition to the tour, visitors can enjoy Afternoon Tea and a visit to the Garden Club's "Unique Boutique," which offers delicious treats and many hand-made items created by the Club's members. The Afternoon Tea and Boutique will be at the River House (179 Marine St.) and will be open from 12 noon until 4 p.m. Admission: $30 per person. Reservations are required and the tour usually sells out early, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. The $30 non-refundable tickets go on sale October 1, 2017.
Luminary Night at the Lighthouse
Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse is a family-friendly tradition during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. On the evening of Wednesday, December 6, 2017, the Lighthouse grounds will open for a celebration that will delight both young and old. This popular event is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to get a taste of the holidays, St. Augustine-style. The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum goes all out for Luminary Night, offering children’s activities and holiday crafts, yuletide refreshments, and live music, including a string quartet inside the Lighthouse tower.
First Coast Arts and Crafts Holiday Show
The First Coast Arts and Crafts Show presents their annual Christmas event at Mark Lance National Guard Armory, just north of downtown St. Augustine. The show offers visitors a chance to browse a variety of handcrafted items, from jewelry and home décor to clothing, candles, artwork, and more. This event is a perfect opportunity to pick up unique holiday gifts. Local food vendors will also participate in the event. Admission is free.
Regatta of Lights
The annual Regatta of Lights takes St. Augustine’s world-famous Nights of Lights onto the water, with an amazing variety of vessels showing off their brilliant lighting displays as they parade along Matanzas Bay. The regatta takes place on the second Saturday of December each year. Hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club, it’s a dazzling sight for spectators along the bayfront between the Bridge of Lions and the Castillo de San Marcos. Viewing is free. From sailboats to trawlers, from yachts to shrimp boats, the Regatta of Lights participants compete for awards for the best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall. The Regatta is an annual must-see event for visitors and locals alike during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights holiday festivities.
Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour
St. Augustine Historic Inns presents its popular annual holiday tour of downtown bed and breakfasts. This is the 24th Annual tour and participating inns will be decorated according to the theme, “Coastal Christmas.” This year, there are some new options in how participants can visit the inns, included extended days for touring. Guests are given a tour guide package with a map to help them navigate the tour. Along with showing off their best Christmas presentations, the bed and breakfasts partner with some of the finest restaurants in the area to provide delicious food and drinks throughout the tour. Each inn partners with one restaurant or culinary specialist, so the samplings are representative of the best each individual local restaurant has to offer.
Castillo de San Marcos Holiday Open House
The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument will hold its annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 9, 2017, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is a free community event hosted by the National Park Service. Guests can experience the Castillo after dark and meet a variety of historic military personnel portrayed by park rangers and volunteers. These re-enactors bring to life the soldiers, sailors, marines and civilians who have served within the Castillo walls throughout its long history, from the 16th through the 20th centuries. Cannon firings will take place at 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free Open House and learn more about the history of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fortification in the United States.
Beach Blast off
St. Augustine's most popular New Year's celebration, the Beach Blast Off takes place at St. Augustine Beach Pier Park on Sunday, December 31, 2017, with live music, food and drinks, a kids' zone, and a spectacular fireworks show. Admission: FREE entrance. Tickets available for Kids' Zone activities and food and drink purchases. Fireworks at 8:30 p.m.