Each winter, we can’t wait until our historic city takes on a new, bright glow with the annual Nights of Lights festival. Downtown St. Augustine transforms into a winter wonderland with more than three million lights sparkling on historic buildings, palm trees, and boats out on the water. The 2023/2024 season is planned to be extraordinary, as it’s the 30th anniversary of the Nights of Lights, so there’s a long list of fun events and celebrations planned to commemorate this milestone year!
During the holiday season, the Nights of Lights event in downtown St. Augustine is a nod to the ancient Spanish tradition of lighting a candle in the window as a welcoming sign to visitors. The entire city, including local businesses and residents, participates in illuminating the skyline. Touring companies in the area offer specialized St. Augustine Night of Lights routes for the most spectacular views.
As one of the oldest Inns, our St. Augustine Bed and Breakfast always participates in the light show, and it’s one of the best places to stay for your winter getaway. Our location in downtown St. Augustine puts you within walking distance of all the best light displays, holiday shopping, and tour options. With an array of lodging accommodations, our Inn is ideal for any style of getaway, with romantic rooms just for two or suites that can host small families or groups. We also provide a delicious breakfast each morning of your stay! One less thing to plan for as you celebrate the holidays in Florida! Book your room today.
Your Guide to the Nights of Lights in Downtown St. Augustine
Downtown St. Augustine is a lovely vacation destination all year round, but it’s incredibly picturesque during the holidays. The award-winning Nights of Lights festival and the exciting events that come along with it are just the icing on the cake! There are many ways to witness this sparkling display, either by trolley and train or by boat or by air; this is one of the most impressive holiday shows in the country.
Here are our favorite ways to view the Nights of Lights in downtown St. Augustine:
- Old Town Trolley: For residents and visitors, going on the local trolley tour to see the Nights of Lights has become a family tradition. It is one of the most sought-after ways to witness the glimmering lights, stunning architecture, and historic landmarks of downtown St. Augustine. The tour also offers complimentary sugar cookies and hot apple cider.
- Ripley’s Red Trains: Head to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum and hop on the Red Train Express. The Nights of Lights tours last about 30 minutes and offer riders interesting historical tidbits about the city and great views for taking in the holiday lights.
- The Tasting Tours: Whether by private horse-drawn carriage or larger group rides for up to ten passengers, this local touring company pairs the St. Augustine Night of Lights tour with wine tasting.
- St. Augustine Land and Sea Tours: This local touring company offers a host of tours by boat or golf cart to explore the city best. You’ll pass by the most lighted areas for the festival, including St. Augustine Waterfront, Plaza de la Constitucion, Flagler College, and the Lightner Building.
- Schooner Freedom: Climb aboard the largest US Coastal Service-certified vessel in St. Augustine and take in the beautiful Nights of Lights display from the water. The boat named Freedom is decked out in more than 2,000 lights from stem to stern, as well!
- St. Augustine Lighthouse: Take in the panoramic view from the top of the lighthouse of the Nights of Lights display—they also offer a great list of guided tours, and be sure to stop by the museum for an exciting glimpse of the maritime history of the Oldest City.
- First City Helicopters: For an unforgettable experience, book these high-flying tours soaring above downtown St. Augustine. It’s best to book your reservations in advance!
- Local Dining Establishments: Dining out in downtown St. Augustine is such a treat all year round, but you can’t beat the ambiance of the holiday season. Find an outdoor spot in the dazzling light show and enjoy some of the best people watching over cocktails and delicious meals.
Book Your Winter Getaways at our St. Augustine Bed and Breakfast
Our historic Inn is located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine, close to all the festivities and holiday shopping options. Thankfully, the 2023/2024 Nights of Lights kicks off in November and continues through the end of January, so there’s plenty of time to get your winter getaway on the calendar. The weather in Florida during the winter stays mild, so there’s never a bad time to visit!
Our 16 guest suites are all unique in size, configuration, and appointments—meaning there’s a perfect fit for everyone. For example, if you’re traveling with another couple or as a family, the Wilson Suite (pictured above) is located in the Wilson House. It is a charming two-room suite on the second floor with a king-sized bed, a full bath with a two-person whirlpool tub and shower, a sitting room with a queen sleeper sofa, and a private porch overlooking our award-winning gardens and St George Street.
One thing that sets our St. Augustine Bed and Breakfast apart from other lodging options in the area is our long list of complimentary amenities. At the same time, other properties might charge extra for these perks, but not at St. Francis Inn! Just a few of these fantastic included extras are a delicious breakfast (brunch on weekends), an afternoon social hour with wine and snacks, passes to some of the best activities in downtown St. Augustine, and so much more! We can’t wait to host you this winter; make your reservations today!