Navigating the Nights of Lights in St. Augustine 2024
As the festive season approaches, St. Augustine transforms into a magical wonderland during the renowned Nights of Lights celebration. The historic city comes alive with millions of twinkling lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that attracts visitors from near and far. To ensure you make the most of this enchanting experience, we at St. Augustine Experiences have compiled a list of tips and pointers for potential guests to make their visit truly unforgettable.
Book Accommodations Early: The charm of Nights of Lights draws crowds, and accommodations near the historic downtown area fill up quickly. Don’t wait too long to secure your stay – booking in advance ensures you’ll have a comfortable place to rest after a magical night of lights. A few of our favorite locally owned accommodations are…
St. George Inn: Nestled at the north end of St. George Street, the St. George Inn, owned by the Kass family for two decades, epitomizes historic elegance in the heart of St. Augustine. Boasting a prime location next to the Old City Gates and across from the Castillo de San Marcos, the inn offers an immersive experience in the city’s rich history. Guests can enjoy live music in the enchanting courtyard most days, creating a serene escape within the vibrant atmosphere. Bin 39, the in-house bar, caters to connoisseurs with a fantastic selection of wines, beers, and charcuterie. The Kass family’s steadfast stewardship ensures the St. George Inn remains a beloved cornerstone, inviting visitors to savor the perfect blend of sophistication and laid-back charm in this iconic destination.
The Local: Embark on a distinctive journey at The Local in St. Augustine on Anastasia Island, where modernity meets history in the nation’s oldest city. With nearly a decade of roots in the area, the proprietors, who tied the knot on Anastasia Island, bring a fresh perspective to hospitality. Drawing from their backgrounds in large corporate chains, they elevate their independent inn to new heights. As passionate travelers themselves, they aim to impart the local experience to guests, a sentiment close to their hearts. The focus on creating a memorable stay is evident in the clean, well-stocked rooms and a commitment to accommodating additional requests. The digital experience offered, including contactless check-in, digital keys, and a platform for discovering local events, empowers guests to tailor their stay. At The Local – St. Augustine, immerse yourself as a modern traveler in a city steeped in history, where unique touches throughout the property reflect the essence of a memorable exploration.
Plan Your Arrival and Parking: If you’re not staying within walking distance of downtown, plan to arrive early to secure parking. Arriving while it’s still light allows you to find a spot easily and gives you time to explore the city before the lights come on. Avoid the chaos by arriving before 3 PM to ensure a stress-free parking experience.
Consider Alternative Transportation: For those staying on Anastasia Island or the mainland, consider taking an Uber downtown. This eliminates the hassle of searching for parking and lets you focus on enjoying the festivities stress-free.
Explore the City with Walking Tours: Before the lights illuminate the historic streets, indulge in the rich history and culinary delights of St. Augustine through our walking tours. Our afternoon Wine, Cocktail & Food Experience, and Beer & History Crawl are timed perfectly, concluding around 5:30, just as the sun sets and the city begins to sparkle.
Dinner Reservations Are a Must: Make the most of your evening by securing dinner reservations. While smaller groups might find a few restaurants with short waits, larger groups will struggle without a reservation. Plan ahead to guarantee a delightful dining experience.
Experience the Lights by Boat: While walking through the illuminated streets is magical, the best view of the Nights of Lights is from the water. Secure your tickets with either Florida Water Tours or St. Augustine Sailing, depending on your preference for vessel type. These boat tours begin booking 4 to 5 months in advance, so don’t delay in reserving your spot.
Consider January for a Quieter Experience: For those seeking a more relaxed visit, consider planning your trip for January 2025. The lights continue to shine until the final weekend of the month, but the crowds tend to taper off after Christmas and New Year’s, providing a more intimate and peaceful experience.
As you embark on your 2024 Nights of Lights adventure in St. Augustine, following these tips will ensure a seamless and stress free (almost) experience. From securing accommodations to enjoying a delightful dinner and exploring the city through our walking tours, St. Augustine Experiences is here to make your holiday season truly unforgettable. Book your stay and activities in advance, and get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Nights of Lights.