On day one of our trip to Florida, we had an amazing afternoon at the Jacksonville Zoo. We left at about 3pm, and planned to ride along the coast. We would stop at a beach for sunset and dinner. We would drive as far as Daytona Beach, and then get back on I-95. It seemed like a fool proof plan, because if all else failed I knew we’d enjoy Daytona Beach.
At the last minute I said “Let’s just check out St. Augustine Beach”. I was curious about St.Augustine because I love visiting historic cities. I read that it’s known as “the oldest city in the US”, and that intrigued me. I’ll admit that I set my expectations low, because how could it top Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA. Or even one of my new favorites Alexandria, Va.
We arrived in downtown St.Augustine and it was nothing like I expected. It was after 5pm and the city was lit up with Christmas lights. So many people were walking around and it was very lively for a Sunday evening. I felt this huge urge to take part in the fun. We discussed coming back on another night, but ultimately we decided stay and find parking.
We parked at the town Visitors Information Center lot, and changed into warmer clothes in the car. The weather had dropped to the mid 50s, and we were now underdressed. I regretted not bringing one of my favorite sweaters and booties in the trip. My outfit was just warm enough, but more loungewear than night out. I actually was lucky to be in sneakers, because a ton of walking would follow.
When we exited the parking deck, we saw a line forming to the left. There was a sign that said “Night of Lights” and we had no idea what the line was for. Still we were very intrigued. If it turned out to be something cool, we wanted to be in on it! I stood in line with our baby and my husband went to find out more. He came back with tickets for a Christmas light trolley tour. More specifically Old Town Trolley’s Night of Lights Tour.
The first tour would start in about 20 minutes, and we were able to get on one of the first trolleys. There was a spot on the side to hold on to strollers. I put our baby in my WildBird ring-sling, and we set off for the tour. Special glasses for viewing the lights came with the tickets. They made lights look like snowflakes. Hit Christmas songs played in the background. It was magical and the town was stunning. The ride lasted for around 40mins.
The town was such a pleasant surprise. As happy as I was to escape to Florida, a part of me wanted to stay home and enjoy the holiday season. I loved feeling the Christmas spirit in St. Augustine!
After the ride we got free cups of hot apple cider and cookies. The line seemed to be 10 times as long as before. It wrapped around the block! We decided to look for a place to grab dinner. We ate Burrito Works Taco Shop, and the food was delicious and inexpensive! I had Baja style shrimp tacos, and my mouth is watering just thinking about them. Afterwards we shared a cinnamon pretzel from Ben’s soft pretzel!
It was getting late and we still had to drive to our hotel in Orlando. We decided to head back to our car and get on the road. I told my husband “ We have to stay here next December”. I even said I would love to make it an annual tradition and also go to Disney World. We’re planning to go to Disney with friends in October. But I really hope we still make it back down to St. Augustine in December.
This was one of the best days of my life! Everything was so spontaneous, but it worked out perfectly. It was also the first vacation with our little one, and that made it even more special. It’s more challenging to travel with an infant, but the joy it brings us is beyond worth it!
Thanks for stopping by!