Discover and explore the historic coast of Florida

The historic coast of Florida is rich in exhibitions, museum tours, and art galleries.  The St Johns County, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau compiled a list of activities to guide Historic City News readers as they explore our art and culture.  Something new and interesting can be found on every corner of Florida’s Historic Coast. For a complete list of special museum exhibits, art galleries, shows and other heritage cultural experiences, please visit www.HistoricCoastCulture.com

Nights of Lights!

Enjoy 26th Annual Nights of Lights when St. Augustine glows with holiday magic – from the ground to the rooftops. Every night through February 2, 2020, the City of St. Augustine is aglow with millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere for the holiday season, and it’s free of charge. For a complete list of tours offered nightly on Trains, Trolleys, carriages, boats and more through the Nights of Lights Season, visit www.nightsoflights.com

Wednesday, December 4

22nd Annual Luminary Night at St. Augustine Lighthouse

This family-friendly tradition features an evening celebration with holiday music, a visit from Santa, seasonal treats, and other activities from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free. 81 Lighthouse Ave. www.staugustinelighthouse.org

Friday, December 6

First Friday Art Walk

Join Art Galleries of St. Augustine the first Friday of every month from 5-9 p.m. for new exhibits, refreshments and live music at many participating galleries. Tour maps are available at participating galleries or online. 832-779-2781 www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.org

Castillo by Candlelight: Enemy at the Gates

Kick off Colonial Night Watch with this special candlelight tour at the Castillo de San Marcos and listen in as British and Spanish officers plan and prepare for the siege of 1740. Tours are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. General admission event tickets are $15. 1 S. Castillo Dr. www.nps.gov/casa 

Friday and Saturday, December 6 & 7

Nights of Lights Under the Sea

Celebrate the Holidays at the St. Augustine Aquarium on Friday & Saturday nights from 6-8 p.m. There will be ornament making, Smore’s making, elves, SNOW, a diving Santa, Mermaids, Hot Cocoa & more. St. Augustine Aquarium, 2045 SR-16 www.saaquarium.com

Saturday, December 7

20th Annual Reindeer Run – Benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs

This annual run starts in front of the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center at 8 a.m. Registration is $10 per person and benefits the Boys and Girls Club. 10 W. Castillo Dr. www.bgcnf.org/events/reindeerrun

Guided Exploration Hike of the GTM Research Reserve

From 9-11 am, visitors can learn about the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula as well as the natural biodiversity during a guided hike. Find out about the peninsula’s 5,000 years of human history, including how native peoples used estuarine resources, what European plantation life was like, and current efforts to learn about and save these resources. Meet at the GTM Research Reserve’s Trailhead Pavilion located west of the Guana Dam. Wear comfortable closed toe shoes. There is a $3 per vehicle parking fee. Reservations recommended. 505 Guana River Rd. Ponte Vedra Beach www.gtmnerr.org

St. Augustine Christmas Parade

Experience St. Augustine’s annual Christmas Parade with floats, marching bands, cars, horses and the arrival of Santa. The parade starts at 9 a.m. by the Mission Nombre de Dios off San Marco Avenue and continues through the downtown streets of historic St. Augustine.  www.floridashistoriccoast.com/events/christmas-parade

North Atlantic Right Whale Walk

Join Marineland Dolphin Adventure educators at Anastasia State Park for a beautiful beach walk focusing on the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale! Learn why the whales come here, how we can see them, and even how we can be involved in a local citizen science effort to find and identify each individual whale along our coast. This easy walk takes place from 11 a.m. – noon and is ideal for children and adults, experts and admirers. While there is no guarantee of a right whale sighting, a beautiful stroll on the beach is. Dress for the weather and meet at the Island Beach Shop & Grill pavilion located at the end of the main park drive. This event is weather permitting and subject to cancellation. 300 Anastasia Park Rd. St. Augustine www.floridastateparks.org/events/north-atlantic-right-whale-walk

9th Annual Fire Fighter Chili Cookoff at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Gates open at 2 p.m. Admission to this event is free with samples of chili being $1 per sample. 100% of the funds raised for the chili samples goes directly to Hoods for Heroes! For more information, call 904-209-0367. 1340 A1A South, St. Augustine www.staugamphitheatre.com/e15653-9th-annual-fire-fighter-chili-cookoff.aspx

Surf Illumination

This free holiday event from 4-7 p.m. at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park features a ceremonial lighting of the holiday tree, a visit from Santa, music, arts and crafts and children’s activities. 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach 904-347-8007 www.sabca.org

Colonial Night Watch

Throughout the day, the St. Augustine Garrison and The Colonial Quarter recreate the historic Night Watches in Spanish colonial garrison towns. 33 Saint George St.   www.hfm.club

Saturday and Sunday, December 7&8

St. Augustine Gingerbread House SR-16 Competition

From 1-4 p.m. area businesses along SR-16 at the I-95 area (entrance to St. Augustine) will display their Gingerbread House entry where the public is invited to stop in to visit and submit their vote for the best. 904-495-5608

Sunday, December 8

Fort Mose Guided Bird Walk

Birders of all levels are invited to take delight in the variety of herons, egrets, wood storks, hawks, woodpeckers and owls swishing through the trees at Fort Mose. The guided walk takes place from 8-10 a.m. and participation is free. The entry fee to the museum is $2 per person – museum entry not required to participate in program. Fort Mose Historic State Park, 15 Fort Mose Trail, St. Augustine. www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/fort-mose-historic-state-park

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