St. Augustine, Florida is not only the oldest city in Florida, but the oldest European-settled city in the United States. This is also one of the first places that sparked my travel interests as a child as it was the first historic family vacation we took (as Floridians, we typically visited Orlando and Disney World). Seeing all of the historic landmarks, the Spanish fort, and the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the U.S. (I’ve always been a nerd) I was excited to see what else the world had to offer! I have been to this beautiful city a few times and each visit I still enjoy the history, food, and walking around the old streets. In this post you will find some things to do and places to see in St. Augustine, some of which we have done with a few extras sprinkled in that we have yet to experience.
Things to Do:
- Things I have done:
- Visit the Spanish Fort, Castillo de San Marcos, where you can explore the fort, check out some cannons, and watch re-enactments of the soldiers. Admission fees are $15 per adult and is valid for 5-days.
- Take a ghost tour, there are so many to choose from so select one in your price range and interests.
- The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum is the second highest lighthouse in Florida (after the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse near Daytona Beach which you could stop by if you are driving from South Florida!) General admission is $13, however you can also go on a ghost tour of the lighthouse for $25 or a sunset tour for $30, if you so choose. They are open daily from 9:00am-6:00pm and until 7:00pm during holidays and summer months.
- Relax on the white sandy beaches of Anastasia State Park. Cost of admission is $8 per car to enter and is open daily from 8:00am to sundown.
- Things still on my list:
- Lightner Museum is open daily 9:00am-5:00pm
- The Fountain of Youth served as a landmark for the Spanish Settlers when they arrived to Florida over 500 years ago and provided spring water which was essential for those who were at sea for months. Interestingly, it is also the oldest attraction in Florida. Today you can visit and drink from the spring, and learn more about the history at the archaeological site. (I have seen the site, but I haven’t done the tour yet).
- Colonial Quarter is a historical museum with re-enactments, blacksmith demonstrations, and much more. General Admission for adults is $14, they have group tours and self-guided tour options.
Places to See:
- Walk in the historic Saint George Street and pop in to the shops.
- See the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the United States.
- Explore the grounds of Flagler College.
Fun Fact: After my first visit to St. Augustine, at about 11 years old, I decided I wanted to attend Flagler College because of the history, beautiful buildings and surroundings…as I aged I learned it was a private school and I wasn’t rich.
Places to Eat and Drink:
- Columbia Restaurant is “Florida’s Oldest Restaurant” and claim to have invented the chop-salad. We obviously ordered the famed salad, and white sangria, and it was delicious! The restaurant is in a beautiful building with Spanish tiles, intricate details, and fun ambiance.
- The Hyppo serves gourmet ice pops of all flavors, and have several locations.
- San Sebastian Winery was founded in 1996 and hosts daily complimentary winery tours and wine tastings. Tours are offered Monday – Saturday from 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm.
- St. Augustine Distillery offer complimentary tours every 30 minutes, Monday through Friday with tours starting at 10:30am, where you can learn about the distilling process of whiskey, vodka, and rum.
My suggestions for your weekend itinerary:
With all of the fun attractions and historical sites to choose from, I have selected some that will introduce you to the historic city. Below is an outline of a three-day visit in St. Augustine, of course the days can be switched up depending on your travel duration.
On your first day, after traveling into the city, I suggest visiting a museum (you can replace the Lighthouse with one of the several other museums of your choosing) and having an afternoon at the beach/state park, and end your first day with a distillery tour.
- Visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, climb to the top of the lighthouse for incredible views.
- Explore and relax at the Anastasia State Park.
- Take a tour, and enjoy a tasting, at the St. Augustine Distillery.
Spend your day exploring the city by foot, winding down and getting lost on the historic streets.
- Start your morning with a tour of the Castillo de San Marcos.
- Grab a Popsicle or two (I like the Elvis one) at The Hyppo.
- Walk in the historic Saint George Street and pop in to the shops for souvenirs.
- Take a selfie in front of the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the United States. *nerd alert*
- Walk to Flagler College and explore the grounds.
- End the evening with a Winery Tour (and Tasting!) at San Sebastian Winery.
There are several other museums and tours throughout the city that you can visit, here are few that you may want to check out before leaving the beautiful city of St. Augustine:
- Visit a museum or two (or three!):
- Have dinner at Columbia- make sure to get their famous salad and sangria!
- Take one of the many Ghost Tours of the Historic City to learn about the many fables in the area.
For such a small town there is so much to do and see! Each time I visit I feel transported to another time. When you visit the oldest city in Florida, what is your go-to activity? What is your fondest memory of this old town?