Nights of Lights, by Land or by Sea, Safe and Spectacular

Nights of Lights begins even earlier this year, so there are more days and more ways to enjoy the spectacular displays safely.

October 5, 2020

Time to start making plans! Nights of Lights is one of the most popular events of the holiday season. Visitors have come from all over to see millions of tiny white lights decorate historic buildings, inns and shops from the rooftops to the landscaping. And this year is no exception. With new tours and new measures in place to minimize contact outside of your party, you’ll be able to once again enjoy the magical lights, in the safest possible way.

While there will be no official Light Up Night ceremony, there will be even more opportunities to see the lights. This year, the lights will be on display two weeks before Thanksgiving, from Saturday, November 14, 2020 through Sunday, January 31, 2021. Of course, there are many ways to take in the lights with a leisurely stroll along the bayfront and the historic district. But you won’t want to miss the holiday cheer and fun, not to mention stunning views of the lights, with a variety of special holiday tours this year. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to experience Nights of Lights.

Old Town Trolley Tours is one of the classic ways to see the lights in St. Augustine. Plexiglass dividers separate each of the rows in the trolley and are disinfected after each tour. And, this year, seats will be sold by the entire row (up to 4 people) and by advance reservation, eliminating waiting in lines or walk-up sales. The price for a full row is $59.95. More information, times and reservations will be available soon, or call 904-829-3800 for more details.

Santa's Red Express Tours Take an enchanting trip through St. Augustine’s spectacular Nights of Lights aboard one of Ripley’s festive red trains, free magic-viewing glasses included. Santa’s Red Express Train tours depart from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium each evening at 6 p.m. With your health and safety in mind, reservations for Santa’s Red Express are by row – not person. Reserve your row for $49.99 each, rows can accommodate up to four (4) people. Reservations and ticket-purchasing options are available online. 19 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine 904-824-1606

St. Augustine Scenic Cruise If you’ve never seen the lights from the water, here’s your chance to be dazzled. Hop aboard the Victory III at the St. Augustine Marina and take in the magical lights as you view the downtown displays while you cruise along the Matanzas Bay. Nights of Lights tours begin November 14, every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The cost is $20 per person, $10 for children 4-12, and reservations are highly recommended.

Old Town Cycle Cruise View the lights aboard the Holly Jolly Yachty Tour with Old Town Cycle Cruise – the ultimate St. Augustine Experience on the water. This tour runs nightly from November 14 through January 31 at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Tours are $40 per person and leave from Beaches on Vilano, 250 Vilano Road. Witness the glow of the historic district as you navigate your way through Bird Island, the Mission of Nombre de Dios, the Castillo de San Marcos into the bay area where entire bayfront is aglow! All tours include a master captain, first mate, BYOB, coolers with ice, party LED's, music, party props, restroom, and a motor for when you get to groovin', they’ll keep the boat movin'.

Schooner Freedom Charters Want to view the city lights from the best seat in the house? Step aboard the Schooner Freedom, St. Augustine's only Tallship. This popular sail is a perfect way to spend time with family, friends and colleagues, enjoying the spectacular view while getting into the holiday spirit. The Nights of Lights Tour, sailing 7 days a week from November 14th through January 3rd, will be taking a limited number of people in order to maintain social distancing. Complimentary refreshments are included. The cost is $65 per person, plus tax. Nightly sails at 4:15 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended.

Florida Water Tours A guided Nights of Lights cruise along the historic bayfront is just what you’ve been wishing for, especially when it includes complimentary 3D glasses and hot chocolate. The 6 p.m. cruise is suitable for all ages. The 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. cruises are more accommodating for adults only, with a bar on board for the purchase of adult beverages. Tours will be operating at limited capacity for safe social distancing on board, and temperatures of each guest will be checked before boarding. Nights of Lights Tours are offered every evening from November 14th through January 31st at 6 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.. Tours are 75 minutes. The cost is $39 for adults and $16 for children under 13 (honoring Local, Senior and Military discounts at 25% off).

The Tasting Tours If you’re a foodie, there’s no better way to indulge in the holiday spirit during Nights of Lights. Wine & Carriage Rides are available for Groups or Private reservations. All rides include reservations & VIP boarding (no waiting in line), a complimentary bottle of wine (per two guests) and souvenir wine glasses (one per guest). Rolling Cart Rides are also available, such as the Un-Merry Grinchmas ride and rides with Holiday Beetlejuice. All character rides are approximately 45 minutes and are family friendly. There is no wine served on the rolling rides, but there is still plenty of holiday CHEER! Carriage rides are available 7 days a week starting at 6 p.m. from November 14th through January 31st. Rolling Cart Rides run from November 14th through December 31st.

St. Augustine Boat Tours The view of the Historic District and all its dazzling displays from the water should not be missed. Enjoy your trip with reduced capacity for your safety. Tours are available November 14th through January 31st. The cost is $29 for adults and $15 children for under 8. Private tours are also available at a reduced rate.

Black Raven Adventures Join the Crew of the Black Raven pirate ship on the beautiful Matanzas River as the lights come on and the City turns Magical! Offering the best seats in town with three decks to choose from, they not only offer one of the best ways to see the lights, their pirate crew will also entertain you with a mixture of Christmas Carols and Sea Shanties! In addition to the magical view and entertainment, Black Raven also offers a fully licensed bar. This two-hour tour departs nightly at 4:15 p.m. The cost is $34.95 for adults, $24.95 for children ages 3-12, children 2 and under are free. For more information, call 904-826-0000.

St. Augustine Land & Sea Tours These are exclusively private tours on a limo golf cart offering a guided tour of the ancient city landmarks and historic architecture in English, Spanish or French, with each tour lasting approximately 30 minutes. The Nights of Lights Tours can accommodate a minimum of four participants at the rate of $20 per person and are available daily on the hour from 6-9 p.m., November 14th through January 31st.

Explore Tours and Pickups Tour the holiday light display in a luxury golf cart! Explore Tours allows light peepers to venture down smaller streets off the beaten path to witness beautiful holiday decorations at some of the bed & breakfast inns. Holiday glasses are available for a unique viewing experience! Tours are 60 minutes and run nightly from November 14 through January 31. Cost is $75 per row (seats 3 people). Pet friendly! For more information call 904-853-1500.

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