For tourists that are a fan of history, St. Augustine attractions are just what you’re looking for. Known as the oldest continuously occupied European established settlement in the United States, the city has charming cobblestone streets, pristine beaches, natural landscapes, and historical landmarks.
Founded on September 8, 1565, the city has so many options for tourists to explore while visiting. Check some of the best things to do in St. Augustine, Florida.
Thought to be the landing site of the famous Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park opened in the 1860s. What started as a series of small attractions, grew into a park spanning 15 acres with a peacock garden that hosts beautiful events. In 2016, this historic site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.
If you want to explore the 100 years of living history during the Colonial Spanish and British era at St. Augustine, you’ll find the Colonial Quarter exciting to visit. This historical site captures the rich heritage of the city taking its visitors back to 300 years ago. There are numerous points of interest in the area that guests can take part in.
The Castillo De San Marcos was constructed around 1672 during the Spanish era. This was used to defend and guard the coastline and primary trade route against invasion. This massive landmark is the oldest masonry structure in the continental United States.
While exploring the area, you can walk the casements of the fort, take in the spectacular view, and explore the numerous rooms that were once home to war soldiers.
Completed in 1742, the Fort Matanzas National Monument is a fortified coquina watchtower. This tower was created to serve as a defense set-up to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine. It is situated along with the coastal environment of Florida and protects 300 acres of marsh, maritime, and other species living in the area. It’s a fabulous stop for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers.
The Fort Matanzas National Monument has an interesting history. It was built after the fight between the Spanish troops and the French troops. Take a ferry to explore the fort and its nature trails.
As the name implies, the World Golf Hall of Fame is a place where golf enthusiasts can come and learn about the history of the sport, as well as learn about the top male and female golfers in the sport.
Guests can explore interactive exhibits, view multimedia presentations, and even take a stroll down the “Hall of Fame Walk”.
The World Golf Hall of Fame is perfect for those who appreciate everything about golf. They have an 18-hole course if you would like to tee it up, or you can watch a movie at their IMAX venue.
Historical buffs will not only love exploring the best St. Augustine museums on this list. They have plenty of collections of artifacts, arts, and other things that tell interesting stories.
Formerly The Hotel Alcazar, the Lightner Museum is rich in history. Its structure is a perfect example of Spanish Renaissance architecture with its elegant rooms and walkways. The museum exhibits costumes, furniture, musical instruments, and other collections from the 19th century.
Aside from the sophisticated architecture and exhibits, tourists are also attracted to the museum’s beautiful works of Victorian art glass. One of the notable collections is the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Spanish Military Hospital Museum exhibits antique surgical instruments. It also showcases interactive exhibits where tourists are shown the replica of the 1791 Spanish Colonial hospital. The museum is a former military hospital in the late 1700s. It was then reconstructed and converted into a museum that features amazing stories of Spanish Colonial Medicine.
The Villa Zorayda Museum was built as a winter home in 1883 by Franklin W. Smith. The gilded-age structure is inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, and is an exquisite example of Moorish Revival Architecture.
When touring the place, you can explore the impressive and unique art collection of the Smith Family. One of its priceless antique collections on display is the “sacred cat rug,” which is over 2,400 years old.
The Castle Otttis was built between 1984 and 1988. This majestic structure was inspired by an Irish castle over 1,000 years ago. It was designed to be a landscape sculpture and was never intended to be a residence.
Built by Ottis Sadler and Rusty Ickes, the ultimate goal when constructing the castle is as a work of art. It is an expression not only of the arts but of spiritual devotion. Both Sadler and Ickes wanted to invoke the spirit of an old Irish abbey. Note: This attraction is not handicap accessible.
Tourists that wish to learn more about the historical journey of the people living in St. Augustine will find this museum interesting and fun to visit. The St. Augustine History Museum has several galleries that tell different stories from the earliest prehistoric settlers until the turn of the 20th century.
The highlights of the St. Augustine History Museum are the arrival of the Cracker pioneers and their Conestoga wagons.
The Potter’s Wax Museum is the place to visit if you want to learn about the history of St. Augustine through its people.
It has life-sized wax figures of some of the most notable people who have ever lived in this city. Some of these personalities include Henry Flagler, Ponce de Leon, and Andrew Jackson.
But of course, there are plenty of pop culture icons and celebrities from Harry Potter to Michael Jordan to Austin Powers to Star Wars characters. It’s a blast and one of the best things to do in St. Augustine.
Established in 1980, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is the perfect place to learn about the city’s nautical history.
The museum has exhibits of shipwrecks, navigation, and maritime archaeology. It also has a library with over 10,000 volumes on maritime history and literature.
One of the best things about the St. Augustine Maritime Museum is that it offers tours of the local waters. These tours are conducted on a replica of an 18th-century schooner. And if you’re up to it, climb the stairs of the lighthouse to see the coastal view.
Parks and Aquariums
Visiting parks is a popular recreational activity among locals and tourists. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and other natural wonders. If you’re traveling with children, these fun St. Augustine attractions will keep everyone entertained.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park started as a small exhibition for reptiles in 1893. Over the years, the park has grown into a big park that hosts crocodiles, alligators, and other reptiles. There are also other animals in the park such as tropical birds, lemurs, among others.
The park also features a zipline that lets you glide over the crocks and get a proper view of the entire park.
Florida is known for its beautiful white-sand beaches. If you’re looking for beautiful sunsets, you’ll find the area an amazing place to visit with its romantic atmosphere. Stretching two miles of the beach area, experience the breathtaking view of St. Augustine Beach.
St. Augustine Beach is a popular place not only for adults but for people of all ages. If you’re traveling with children, they’ll love playing on the beach as it is perfectly safe. Adults can also enjoy water sports activities, such as surfing.
One of the popular must places to visit is the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. It is the go-to place for animal lovers. The reserve was established in 1995 to provide care and love to animals that were rescued, unwanted, or mistreated.
While visiting St. Augustine Wild Reserve, you can see mountain lions, bears, tigers, and other exotic animals. Get up close and personal with these various animals. It is a fun way to learn more about these adorable animals.
What fun way to spend a day at the beach other than swimming? Dolphin watching! If you love to watch dolphins in the wild, the Dolphin and Wildlife Adventure of St. Augustine can provide you with such an exciting activity. Step right up and avail of their intercostal Waterway cruises!
If you’re a marine life enthusiast, you’ll find these educational tours exciting. Get to see dolphins, sea turtles, and other sea creatures roaming the waters. It’s one of the best things to do in St. Augustine.
Are you looking for a place where you can walk around and enjoy the scenery around you? The Anastasia State Park offers numerous outdoor recreational activities. Stretching 1,600 acres of land, you can go bird watching and hiking. If you want to cruise through the part, you can rent a bike to cover more ground.
Other activities at Anastasia State Park are swimming, kayaking, paddleboard, and sailing.
Get a taste of the past and visit the Oldest Store Museum. It is one of the oldest general stores in America. The store has been around since 1820 and was originally owned by William Watson.
The Oldest Store Museum is not your typical store as it serves as a museum that sells various merchandise from the past. Some of the things that are being sold at the store are old-fashioned candy, toys, and postcards. It’s a great stop for fun souvenirs.
One of the best ways to get around St. Augustine and learn about its history is by joining the Town Trolley Tours. The tours will take you around the city while giving you a bit of information about the places that you will be passing by.
The tour takes approximately an hour and a half. It is an ideal way to see the city for those that do not have a lot of time to spare.
If you love learning about history, then this is the perfect tour for you!
If you are looking for a place to have some cocktails and tour a distillery at the same time, then The St. Augustine Distillery is your perfect spot. The tour is free and pet-friendly.
They offer tastings of their liquor that they distill on-site. You will learn about the history of rum-making in the United States while enjoying cocktails made with their liquors. It is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
The St. Augustine Distillery is open 7 days a week with retail shops open from 10am-6pm and tours from 10:30am-5:30pm. They are family friendly and have a knowledgeable staff that can answer all of your questions about their distillery and liquors.
San Sebastian Winery is a must-visit spot for wine lovers. They offer wine tastings daily as well as a tour of the winery. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about their wines. They have a great selection of red, white, blush, and dessert wines.
Just a few blocks from historic downtown, the rooftop wine bar hosts live music on the weekends with light appetizers and a view of the beautiful St. Augustine skyline.
Top Nightlife Spots in St. Augustine
Touring during the day is fun, but at night, St. Augustine transforms into a different scenario altogether. There is just something about the city that oozes a romantic aura with the sun setting on the beach creating shadows of the historical landmarks.
If you are traveling with a partner, the Tini Martini Bar is the right fit. With its intimate cocktail bar, you’ll experience quality time while enjoying live music. The atmosphere is so amazing with its veranda offering bay views. The cocktail bar is a great place to enjoy drinks.
If you are traveling with groups and would love to enjoy a good beer with nice food, Arnold’s Lounge is the ideal place to go. They have a fun atmosphere that helps you unwind and relax. They have friendly staff and patrons that provide awesome customer service.
The Arnold’s Lounge also knows how to serve strong drinks, cocktails, and some wine options. They serve great food, boast the biggest dance floor in town and feature live music to go along with it.
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to unwind at night that has a festive atmosphere, No Name Bar is a good choice. It is a bar that is popular among the locals to hang out. With its rustic vibe and live music, guests are treated to a nice place to chill and meet people.
The No Name Bar serves daily specialty drinks at affordable prices. Their food is tasty as well. You can mix it with a nice choice of cold beer, wine, or cocktail drinks.
The Trade Winds Lounge is a quirky, tropical-themed space. If you are looking for a place to chill at night with good food and reasonably priced drinks, this bar is the place to visit. They are often the go-to place among locals and guests that want to experience the best music scene with its live band.
Where to Dine in St. Augustine
It’s not enough to just explore the city’s historical sites, museums, and parks. You’ve got to try the cuisine. Each place has its unique taste, and St. Augustine restaurants won’t disappoint.
To find out the best places to dine in St. Augustine, here are some of your options.
Established in 1987, Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grilled serves one of the best southern Cajun mixed with creole flavors in classic and modern dishes. Their restaurant is always full so be sure to get reservations or get to the place early for a quick sitting.
Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille has a wide variety of menu options and drinks.
For a more uptown casual dining option, consider Raintree Restaurant. They are considered one of the top destination restaurants in Florida. Their intercontinental menu is a mix of Mediterranean, American, and Asian cuisine.
Raintree Restaurant provides its guests with an intimate atmosphere in a historic setting. Enjoy uptown dining and indulge yourself in their scrumptious meals.
Sunset Grille is a top destination restaurant in St. Augustine. They have served the locals for over 30 years. Their popular dishes are chowders, datil chicken wings, and baby back ribs. The restaurant has outdoor dining through their upstairs deck, indoor dining, and a full-service bar. They serve local hand-crafted cocktails using their local wine and spirits.
Where to Shop in St. Augustine
If you are looking for a place to buy souvenir items, clothing, accessories, and the like, St. Augustine has good shopping mall outlets. The list below is some of the popular stores in the area.
St. Augustine Premium Outlet is a popular shopping mall in the city. It features 85 brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Nike Factory, and many more. You will find a variety of shops that range from clothing, furniture, and sporting goods.
St. Augustine Premium Outlet is also near the historic St. Augustine district. So, you can easily explore the area while shopping.
Heritage Walk Shopping Village
For tourists that are looking for shops that sell local souvenir items or handcrafted products, Heritage Walk Shopping Village is a popular option. Their items are reasonably priced, and they have numerous interesting things on sale. This shopping village has 24 unique stores that you can browse, especially specialty shops.
Where to Stay in St. Augustine
When traveling to St. Augustine, tourists need not worry about where they can rest during their stay. The city has numerous hotel options with prices that range from low-budget rates to high-end rates.
An upscale hotel, the Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel is a four-star hotel. It is within walking distance of some of the popular tourist sites such as Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Lightner Museum. The hotel features refined quarters with an outdoor pool, a gym, and a restaurant.
Eco-certified, environmentally conscious tourists, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District is a good choice. This three-star hotel has informal lodging featuring colorful and unfussy rooms. This hotel is within walking distance of Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District features a casual bar, convenience store, and restaurant.
If you prefer to stay at a low-key place where you have more privacy, Outdoor Oasis Lower is a good choice. It is the perfect get-away place for couples that are looking for a romantic weekend celebration. The cottage is fully furnished and is situated at the heart of the historic town of St. Augustine.
Now that you know what are the top things to do in St. Augustine, book yourself a quick get-away or a well-deserved rest and relaxation. Visit the city and enjoy what they have to offer. Rest assured that you will never be bored. Your vacation to the city is definitely worth it.