St Augustine Nights of Lights and Candlelight Events 2018

white Chhristmas lights decorating trees at nightIn December, St. Augustine lights up with its famous Nights of Lights plus other holiday candlelight events. National Geographic named it as one of the top ten cities in the world for holiday lighting displays. In addition to Nights of Lights, visitors can take a Candlelight Tour of Villa Zorayda, see the Colonial Night Watch Torchlight Parade, watch from the historic bayfront as ships sail along the shore during the Regatta of Lights , or go to Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum when they can climb to the top of the Lighthouse and overlook the millions of lights twinkling below them in the city.  
Casa de Solana Bed and Breakfast, a short stroll from the Plaza de la Constitución in the heart of the historic district, is the perfect hotel location for enjoying these events, as well as the Nights of Lights. Both the Castillo de San Marcos and the Colonial Quarter are only a 10 minute walk away from from our bed and breakfast on Aviles Street. Villa Zorayda and the Bayfront are even closer – just several blocks away.
December kicks off with the Colonial Night Watch Weekend and St. Augustine Christmas Parade November 30 – December 1, 2018
  • It begins with Castillo by Candlelight: Enemy at the Gates on November 30, 2018. That evening, visitors can step back in time to listen to a reenactment of Spanish and British soldiers as they planned for the siege of 1740, by the light of candles. Reserve tickets in advance by calling 904-829-6506 ext. 239.
    Castillo admission: Adults (ages 16+) $15.00 (valid for 7 days), children free when accompanied by adult.
    Additional fee for this event: $10 for Adults $10, children (ages 5-15) $5, free for children under 5. 
  • Visitors look forward to the annual Christmas Parade, one of the largest in North Florida, includes floats, marching bands, and more, plus the arrival of Santa, of course. The parade starts at 9 am on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Mission Nombre de Dios.
  • Colonial Night Watch events fill this Saturday from morning ‘til night. At Castillo de San Marcos, re-enactors will perform military drills plus fire cannons on the Gundeck and muskets on the Castillo South Lawn. At the Colonial Quarter, visitors can see living history demonstrations depicting Spanish, British, French, Colonial militia and Native American lifestyles and military drills during the mid-1700s.
  • In the evening, the Colonial Night Watch Torchlight Parade begins at 7 pm from the Castillo de San Marcos. When it reaches the City Gate, everyone is invited to follow the torches of the soldiers, militia, Native Americans and townspeople as they parade to the Governor’s House Cultural Center & Museum on the Plaza de la Constitución.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Nights of Lights features Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. From 6 to 9 pm, visitors are invited to enjoy live music, refreshments, and crafts as well as see the Lighthouse’s holiday lighting displays, luminaries, and 14 decorated trees throughout the grounds. To cap the evening, they can climb the Lighthouse tower to take in St. Augustine’s spectacular Night of Lights from the top of the tower.
Admission: Free with a suggested donation of a non-perishable food item for a local food pantry. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018, plan to watch the Holiday Regatta of Lights and see Castillo de San Marcos by lantern light during its Holiday Open House.

  • Hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club, the Holiday Regatta of Lights extends the Nights of Lights when all kinds of boats brightly decorated with lights parade along the Matanzas Bay.  Watch for the Regatta beginning at 6 pm along the shoreline between the Bridge of Lions and Castillo de San Marcos. Best viewing locations are along the seawall or from one of many restaurants with views of the bay.
  • The Holiday Open House at Castillo de San Marcos invites people explore the fortress by lantern light while they visit with staff and volunteers in costumes representing over three centuries of history. The Open House will be held from 6 to 8 pm on December 8, 2018, with cannon firings hourly.
    Admission: Free.

This year marks the 25th Annual Nights of Lights, when St. Augustine lights up the holiday season with three million sparkling white lights, plus special candlelight events throughout the Christmas season. The holiday lights and celebrations in St. Augustine are spectacular, so don’t wait to give us a call at (904) 824-3555, or go online and book your stay!

Photo by Geert  Pieters on unSplash