Colonial Night Watch is a two-day event held in St. Augustine the first weekend in December each year. There is plenty to do and see. In St. Augustine, you will find our town all prepared for the holiday season. Lights decorate the Plaza de la Constitucion, shops and restaurants are open evenings with many providing live entertainment.
Friday evening, the Historic Florida Militia joins the National Park Service presenting “Enemy at the Gates.” This special presentation with a very limited amount of tickets to be sold, takes visitors in small groups through various vignettes representing historical events during the siege of 1740 in St. Augustine. In the past stations have included: Oglethorpe and his commanders discussing the siege, soldiers in the ravelin (fortified entrance area) discussing rumors, reports from Indian allies of the Spanish on Fort Mose, discussions on dwindling supply situation at Castillo, report from Engineering officer, Medical station, troops preparing for surprise attack on Fort Mose’. Please contact the Castillo de Marcos Park Service Office for details on purchasing tickets (904) 829-5606.
Many visitors do not realize that the Castillo de Marcos, built by the Spanish in the late 1600’s still flies under the Spanish flag. Saturday morning, the flag is ceremonially replaced with the British flag in recognition of the Colonial period of St. Augustine’s history. Our Spanish flag is then raised again Sunday morning.
Our annual Christmas Parade begins Saturday at 9:00 am with floats, marching bands, antique cars, horses and carriages. The parade closes its procession with Santa. Our parade is the largest in Northeast Florida. You can follow the parade anywhere from the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at the Mission of Nombre de Dios on Ocean Ave. to behind the visitor’s center on West Castillo Drive.
Saturday, you will find Cannon Firing on the Castillo de Marcos Gundeck with the British Navy unit
10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM
British Regulars, Spanish troops and East Florida Rangers demonstrate musket firing on the Castillo South Lawn
11 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM
In Town, the Colonial Quarter museum is open to the public. There you will find a military encampment representing British, Spanish and East Florida Ranger troops. Many accoutrements of the period are on display along with musket firings in the Colonial Quarter throughout the day. Colonial Quarter Stage hosts performances of living historians in period clothing.
Our participants portray a “living history.” Please join us in peace on this commencement of the Holiday Season. A torchlight parade will start at the Castillo at 7 PM, and march to the City Gates where the Public will be invited to follow along St. George St. to the Government house where the Mayor of St. Augustine will welcome those assembled. After the troops have fired three Volleys of Joy from their muskets, the units will be dismissed and those left in attendance are invited to sing along in some old tyme Christmas Carols. St. Augustine’s famous Nights of Lights will be in full swing and the Torchlight Parade makes the ambiance something to remember.
Other Local History to Visit While You Are Here
- Colonial Quarter Museum- Journey back in time through the history of St. Augustine. From our distinctive 35-foot watch tower and colonial buildings to shops and dining.
- Fountain of Youth- We invite you to visit us for a fascinating, informative, entertaining tour of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, the original site of the Nation’s oldest city. Located in the area first explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513.
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, FL- A monument not only of stone and mortar but of human determination and endurance, the Castillo de San Marcos symbolizes the clash between cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation.
- Ft. Matanzas National Monument, St. Augustine Beach, FL- Fort Matanzas guarded St. Augustine’s southern river approach. The colonial wars are over, but the monument is still protecting—not just the historic fort, but also the wild barrier island and wildlife.
- Ft. Mose State Historical Park, St. Augustine, FL- Historic site of a free-slave settlement, preserving history and natural beauty.
- St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum- The Museum today serves 225,000 visitors each year. The Interpretive Division provides docent-led guided tours that are free with the cost of admission. This includes a tour of artifact conservation areas featuring artifacts from historic shipwrecks. Ship modeling, Heritage Boat Building and interactive exhibitions use visual, audio, tactile, and kinesthetic learning to share information with everyone
Things to Do
- Old Town Trolley- Trolley Routes & Stops with a lot of helpful information on St. Augustine's Points of Interest, Shopping & Entertainment, Restaurants & Bars and much more!
- Florida's Historic Coast- A Comprehensive Community Calendar
- The Spanish Bakery- A local baker's blog and home of many tasty treats. Right off St. George Street.
- ST. JOHNS CO. CULTURAL COUNCIL- HistoricCoastCulture.com is a one-stop source for information about all the performances, venues, exhibitions, and community events that are happening year-round in the St. Augustine area.
- visitstaugustine.com- Visitors will find an array of attractions in the nation's oldest city. From living history museums like the Castillo de San Marcos to Gilded-Age hotels, swashbuckling adventures and specialized tours in the air, on the sea, and in the heart of the historic district, Saint Augustine has it all!
- Lightner Museum- Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. Today it is home to one of the finest collections of fine and decorative 19th century art in the country.
The Museum is open to the public seven days a week and features self-guided tours, tours by reservation for adults and children, and demonstrations of antique mechanical musical instruments.
- St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum- The Museum offers an exciting and educational museum experience that transports you and your family back in time over 300 years to Port Royal, Jamaica, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy.
- Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine- The Classic Car Museum of St Augustine was created to help bring memories back to life as only Classic Cars can do. Visitors are provided with the opportunity to experience cars from the 1800s to modern day sports cars.