Skip to content

How to Visit St. Augustine, According to a Floridian

Some Florida destinations are beloved for their white-sand beaches, while others are known for their history, food scene, or attractions galore. St. Augustine covers all these bases and more. Dubbed “the nation’s oldest city,” St. Augustine is near where Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in his 1513 quest in search of the fabled Fountain of Life. In 1565 it became the first city founded by European settlers in North America.


It may be old, but today St. Augustine is still one of Florida’s most beautiful cities, with so much to see, do and explore. Still as vibrant as it has been for hundreds of years, it’s one of the best places to visit in Florida.



Best Things to Do in St. Augustine

SeanPavone Photography/Getty Images



A stroll through St. Augustine’s historic streets is enough, but there are many ways to delve deep underground into this enchanting city.


A good place to start is to take a trolley tour to get a feel for the land. Old Town Trolley Tours are available in just seven historic cities in the United States. St. Augustine is one of them. This tour takes you through the city’s past and present as you visit more than 22 stops around the city, including the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in Ponce de Leon, the Old Jail, and the Old Est House Museum, as well as his 100 points of interest. you can listen to the stories. Complex, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!


Plus, you can return at night for a repeat of the Ghosts and Tombstones tour, filled with spooky, eerie and paranormal tales. In this 500-year-old city of his, the ‘Experience Horror’ tour is a must.


Shopping St. George Street is another thing you can’t do without leaving St. Augustine. The Historic District is St. Augustine’s main attraction for good reason. The central pedestrian thoroughfare is lined with shops, restaurants, attractions, funky boutiques and antiques. You can easily spend a day getting lost in these charming streets.


While exploring St. Augustine, don’t miss the massive Castle of San Marcos, a Spanish stone fortress dating back to the 1600s. Stop for tours, interesting history, and views of St. Augustine Inlet.


A more historical eye-catcher is the stunning Flagler College (79 stained-glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany illuminate the hand-painted murals on the walls and ceiling of the college’s dining room) and the gilded Visit the Leitner Museum, housed in the former Hotel Alcázar of the era. A resort commissioned by railroad tycoon Henry Flagler.


Not interested in history? Outdoor enthusiasts will love the beautiful Atlantic beaches of St. Augustine, not far from historic downtown. St. Augustine Beach and quiet Crescent Beach are two favorites, with grassy dunes and windswept sands, but Anastasia State Park’s protected wildlife sanctuary is the region’s most peaceful destination. is one of



Saint Augustine Hotels

In St. Augustine, bed and breakfast is the name of the game. There are chain hotels in the area, which may suit larger groups or those on a tight budget, but for everyone else, staying in one of the city’s quaint inns is the way to go. is part of the fun – and has everything in the historic district within walking distance.


The romantic and elegant St. Francis Inn on St. George Street is steeped in historic charm and a consistent favorite with visitors. In addition to its 19 tastefully furnished rooms and suites, the inn has a walled courtyard, swimming pool, bicycles, a cozy living and dining room, and of course a full HIS gourmet breakfast each morning. .


Another favorite is the exclusive and charming The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, located on Cordoba Street on the edge of Old St. Augustine. The property is within walking distance to all major attractions yet offers a quiet getaway from the crowds. Together with the understated luxury rooms, it feels like a true retreat.


Another surprise you’re sure to see on your visit to St. Augustine is the Casa Monica Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection. A tribute to vintage Moroccan grandeur, Casa Monica was originally built in 1888. Today, St. He Augustine’s landmark in the heart of the historic district, with a spa, event space and an on-site restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.


Other top rated bed and breakfasts in St. Augustine include Historic Sevilla House, Old Powder House Inn, Casa de Solana Bed and Breakfast, 44 Spanish Street Inn and Bayfront Marine House Historic Inn & Cottages across the road. there is. From Matanzas Bay (and arguably the best waterfront hotel in St. Augustine), but also off-site beach cottages and Caribbean-inspired beach houses.



Best time to visit St. Augustine

Paulbr/Getty Images



There’s never a bad time to visit St. Augustine. Because the city is located on the northeastern tip of Florida, it has more seasonal changes than the rest of Florida, but there are compelling reasons to visit all year round.


The historic district is less crowded in the summer, but expect the beaches to be packed. Please note that this is also hurricane season in the Atlantic, so weather may interfere with your plans. Spring is warm, breezy, and full of festivals.


In the fall, families will travel to a minimum as schools resume. Therefore, you may be able to enjoy autumn leaves at a reasonable price. With mild weather, less rain and humidity, and less crowds, this is the perfect time to explore the city’s many shops and boutiques, as well as attend cultural festivals.


However, one of the best times to visit is winter. Not only because the weather can get very chilly (a welcome change of pace in hot and sunny Florida), but it’s also the time when the whole city dresses up for Night of Lights. One of the top Christmas attractions in Florida.


From mid-November to the end of January, this award-winning annual display lights up the city with more than 3 million lights, attracting tourists and locals alike and spreading the cheer of the season. Nights of Lights is one of the most popular events of the year, so it draws a lot of people, but if you avoid holidays and weekends, you’ll get the most out of it.



places to eat and drink

St. Augustine is a great place to sample quintessential Florida cuisine, including fresh seafood with a Latin twist. The dining scene is very lively thanks to the large number of tourists and young people who enjoy the city’s blend of history and modernity.


Serving farm-to-table produce and craft cocktails in a renovated 1927 building, the Ice Plant Bar is set a short distance from the historic district but is a favorite with visitors. Another memorable sip is a root beer from A1A Ale Works. It’s a somewhat touristy spot, admittedly, but that’s because of its mass-appealing dining and his upstairs porch with panoramic views of Matanzas Bay.


Other popular restaurants in St. Augustine’s historic district include The Floridian, which serves regionally inspired Southern cuisine. Columbia Restaurant, a long-established local chain dating back to 1905 serving traditional Spanish cuisine. New Orleans-inspired Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grille with tables in a beautiful courtyard. Ban kitchen gastropub. Catch 27 serving local seafood and seasonal dishes.


Just steps away from historic downtown, Gypsy Cab Company is a laid-back restaurant that offers a flavorful and varied menu inspired by many different types of cuisine from around the world and the peanut butter pies you’ll forever dream of. It’s a locals spot.


No matter where you eat, you can’t go wrong with grabbing a table in St. Augustine. It’s one of Florida’s top foodie destinations thanks to a number of highly rated restaurants that boast mouth-watering menus plus incredible atmosphere. Most of the restaurants you choose are top-notch, so make a reservation and have a meal to remember.



access

SeanPavone Photography/Getty Images



St. Augustine is easily accessible by car, but when you arrive, plan to leave your car and explore the historic district on foot. If you need more ground coverage, trolleys connect the city, but most of the best spots are easily seen on foot.


The area is within two hours of several major cities, including Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Orlando. Savannah, Georgia is less than three hours from the coast. Therefore, Interstate 95, US Highway 1, and scenic Florida Highway A1A provide easy access from both the north and south.


Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), about 50 minutes north of St. Augustine, is the closest major airport, but Northeast Florida Regional Airport (UST) is just 10 minutes from the historic district. A commercial airline that flies.


Other major airports include Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), about 50 minutes south, and Orlando International Airport (MCO), about 90 minutes southwest.