Florida’s Historic Coast is still a Winter Wonderland

Historic and charming, St. Augustine, Florida is ranked among the top small cities to visit in the United States.

FloridaWith its allure of warm, brick lined streets, stunning Spanish Colonial architecture, centuries old plazas, majestic moss-draped oaks, tantalizing cuisine and refined style, St. Augustine’s storied past and culturally diverse present make it the perfect place to experience some holiday cheer. Ranked by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Readers Choice Award as the #9 Best Small Destination in the country, St. Augustine is especially enchanting and festive in the winter with magical decorations, seasonal tours and unique gift shopping opportunities!

For more than 20 years, the annual Nights of Lights celebration begins November 19th and run through the last weekend of January. It is a sight to see! During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic – the city’s 144-square-block historic district is lit by more than 3 million white lights from the ground to the rooftops. Historic buildings, museums, local business, the Bridge of Lions, the city’s bay front walkway, hotels, bed & breakfast inns and private residences all take part in the sparkly tradition.

Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting reflects the city’s vast history and illuminates the beautiful setting for lasting holiday memories.

Selected by National Geographic in 2011 and 2012 as one of the ten best holiday lighting displays in the world, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights features millions of tiny, brilliant white lights that create an enchanted atmosphere in this 451-year old city. The festival starts with a countdown in the Plaza de la Constitucion when the lights are officially lit. Holiday music and the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree add to the splendor of one of the world’s greatest holiday light displays.

During Nights of Lights, business downtown and restaurants stay open later, letting visitors shop and dine in under the holiday glow. The Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour takes holiday revelers throughout the best areas of Nights of Lights. See the remarkable display from the water with tours aboard the Schooner Freedom and The Osprey. Grab friends and family and take an after dark wine and carriage ride with the Tasting Tours.

After enjoying an evening in this fairy-tale winter wonderland, nothing gets visitors in the Holiday spirit like finding the perfect gift for their loved ones. From antiques and eclectic treasures from local artisans to major designer brands, holiday shoppers will delight in choices to fit every taste and budget. Art galleries, antique stores and boutiques in St. Augustine’s historic downtown are great spots to find local treasures. The Saint Augustine Art Glass, Rembrandtz Gallery and Butterfield Garage Art provide many gift options for art lovers. If you have a person with a sweet tooth in your world, they will be thankful for your stop at Whetstone Chocolates, St. Augustine’s first chocolate family! Located on St. George’s Street they are famous for their chocolate shells, freshly made fudge, indulgent truffles and dark selection of dark chocolate bars.

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