Christmas on Florida's Historic Coast
Make your Christmas merry and bright with special events to celebrate the season.
The Christmas season in St. Augustine is known for its sensational Nights of Lights holiday display. During Nights of Lights, white lights glow from the sidewalks to the rooftops, over the Bridge of Lions and trail through approximately 20 city blocks in St. Augustine’s Historic District. Taking in the soft, magical glow of more than 3 million white lights is an unforgettable experience – which is why it’s considered one of the top light displays in the world.
When planning a holiday trip to Florida's Historic Coast to view Nights of Lights displays, keep these popular holiday events in mind:
Holiday Regatta of Lights
Typically held on the second Saturday in December, this annual holiday tradition features boats decorated with brilliant lighted displays. The regatta will light up St. Augustine’s Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and Castillo de San Marcos.
Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is a family-friendly tradition with activities for all ages. Visit with Santa, enjoy yuletide refreshments, and see the lighthouse’s spectacular holiday decorations and lighting displays.
Living History Saunter
Living history interpreters present a timeline of St. Augustine’s colonial events in the town’s historic district. Get in on the action from the City Gate, down St. George Street, all the way to Aviles Street.
St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival
The Annual St. Augustine Art & Craft Festival held Thanksgiving weekend at Francis Field, features more than 100 painters, potters, jewelers, photographers, glass and fiber artists, sculptors, and woodworkers displaying one-of-a-kind handmade goods.
Una Noche de Navidad and Las Posadas
Experience the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodgings in Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve. The event takes place at the Mission of Nombre de Dios includes a live nativity, 16th-century Spanish living history interpreters, and the traditional Las Posadas procession.
Holidays in Ponte Vedra Beach
The Palm Valley Boat Parade takes place along seven miles of Intracoastal waterway in Ponte Vedra Beach and is an annual tradition of lighted boats to celebrate the holiday season.
Holidays in Hastings
The Hastings Hometown Christmas parade, beginning at 10 a.m., will take place down Main Street in Hastings starting at the W.E. Harris Community Center. Continue the holiday celebration after the parade at the Hastings Library, for tree decorating, make-your-own ornament, pictures with Santa, live music and more.
Holidays in Elkton
Hosted by SEA (Spuds/Elkton/Armstrong) Community Help Resource Center, the Rails to Trails festival at Armstrong Park is a celebration of our Gullah Geechee heritage and features cultural arts and crafts, food vendors, historical films, heritage corridor discussions, live music and a bike ride.
Finding the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season is easy. From antiques and eclectic treasures from local artisans to major designer brands, shoppers will delight in choices to fit every taste and budget. Art galleries, antiques stores and boutiques in St. Augustine’s historic downtown and Uptown shopping district are great spots to find local treasures. If you’re on the hunt for something truly special, give the resort boutiques and upscale shops in Ponte Vedra Beach a try.
Outlet Shopping in St. Augustine
Just 15 minutes outside the historic district are two high-end outlet malls: St. Augustine Outlets and St. Augustine Premium Outlets. Savvy and stylish shoppers can find gifts from Gucci, Michael Kors, Coach, Converse and Tommy Hilfiger. Both shopping centers, located on the east and west sides of I-95 at Exit 318, offer everyday savings of up to 65 percent off retail prices on premium brands.