Discovering the Charm of St. Augustine, Florida | Top 10 Places to Visit

St. Augustine, Florida is a city that exudes history, charm, and beauty. With its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and breathtaking ocean views, this city is a must-visit in the USA for any traveler looking for a unique and unforgettable experience.

Founded by Spanish explorers Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. The city boasts a rich history, which is evident in its well-preserved buildings and landmarks. In addition to exploring many historic structures, St. Augustine also offers a variety of outdoor activities, lots of attractions, delicious cuisine, and drinks.

aerial view of St Augustine in Florida
Aerial view of St Augustin

10 Best Places to Visit in St. Augustine

Here are some of the top attractions in St. Augustine.

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos National monument in St Augustine

This historic fort is a National Monument and a symbol of St. Augustine’s rich cultural heritage. Built-in the 17th century, the fort is an impressive example of Spanish colonial architecture. It is built from coquina stone to prevent attacks on Spanish colonies in Florida. It is a must-visit fort to explore the best architecture, location, and history and you will love to walk in these fort areas.

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Climb the 219 steps of this iconic lighthouse for stunning views of the city and the ocean. The museum is home to a collection of maritime artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of St. Augustine’s seafaring past. It’s a cool and preserved architecture, must visit once located near St. Augustine beach.

St. George Street

Starting from Old City Gate to Plaza de la Constitucion this popular and lively pedestrian-only street is the heart of the historic district, lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Take a leisurely stroll and soak in the charm of the city. You can spend the whole day here and enjoy historic buildings, shop for antiques, and taste foods and drinks.

Flagler College

view of Flagler college at St Augustine Florida

This historic college spread over 19 acres was once the Ponce de Leon Hotel, a grand resort built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. Now it is registered with the National Historic Landmark. The campus features stunning Spanish Renaissance architecture and a beautiful courtyard.

Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

According to legend, Ponce de Leon discovered the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. This private park is spread over 15 acres and features a replica of the fountain and other amazing exhibits related to Florida’s early history. People drink water here in the belief that they will stay young.

Colonial Quarter

In this renovated Colonial Quarter, you can experience life at the living history museum, where you can see demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills, live musket demonstrations, and how old blacksmiths worked. Here you can climb on 35 feet tall watchtower for amazing views of Castillo de San Marcos and the beach views.

Fort Matanzas National Monument

This historic fort was built by the Spanish in the 18th century to protect the southern approach to St. Augustine. You can take a ferry to the fort and explore its rooms and grounds, and can enjoy the picnic area in the main visitor center covered with an old oak canopy. Children can become Junior Rangers by completing the program. Here you can also enjoy hiking on the unpaved Marsh Trail and Nature Trail, do saltwater fishing, engage with park rangers, and relax and refresh at the beach enjoying the Atlantic Ocean.

Anastasia State Park

Just a short drive from downtown St. Augustine, this state park spread in 1600 acres offers miles of pristine beaches, tidal marshes, maritime hammocks, beautiful sand dunes, hiking trails, and opportunities for fishing, kayaking, watching wildlife, and more.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

This unique attraction is home to hundreds of alligators and crocodiles, as well as other animals like lemurs, monkeys, and birds of prey. You can enjoy Ziplining here also which crosses crocodiles. Animal performances, educational programs, exhibitions, etc are organized here from time to time.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

This quirky museum features oddities and curiosities from around the world, including shrunken heads, a two-headed calf, and a replica of the world’s tallest man. It’s a must-see for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary in St. Augustine with 14 themed galleries. You will definitely love this place where you have interactive games, unusual artifacts, true stories of unbelievable people, and many more to know.

Unseen destinations in the USA

5 luxurious stays in St. Augustine

St. Augustine has lots of options for staying from basic to luxurious amenities to meet your requirements. Here are some of the best accommodations in St. Augustine.

Casa Monica Resort & Spa – Autograph Collection

This historic hotel, built in 1888, features luxurious rooms and suites with elegant furnishings, as well as a full-service Poseidon spa and an award-winning restaurant and you have quick access to the majority of attractions of St. Augustine from this resort. You can also host weddings or other private events here.

The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens

This boutique hotel is housed in nine restored historic homes and offers elegant rooms and suites with unique decor, the charm of the ancient world, and luxurious amenities. The property also features beautiful quiet gardens, a pool, and a hot tub.

Bayfront Marin House

Located on 142 Avenida Menendez this charming bed and breakfast is on the waterfront and features 17 luxurious rooms and suites, 2 downtown vacation rentals, and 8 beach cottages with private balconies in some rooms and stunning views. The property also offers complimentary breakfast and evening happy hour.

St. Francis Inn Bed & Breakfast

This award-winning bed and breakfast is housed in a historic building and offers luxurious rooms and suites with unique decor and luxurious amenities. The property also features a heated pool, a hot tub, complimentary breakfast, a beautiful garden, and pet-friendly 9 rooms.

The Kenwood Inn

This elegant bed and breakfast is located in a historic mansion and features 14 luxurious rooms and suites with elegant decor and modern amenities. The property also offers a saltwater swimming pool, a hot tub, complimentary breakfast in the outdoor garden, afternoon wine and cheese, and a kids and pet-friendly atmosphere.

5 Best Restaurants in St. Augustine

St. Augustine has to offer a wide range of delicious cuisine and drinks to satisfy your hunger after exploring the city. Here are some of the best restaurants in St. Augustine worth trying.

Collage Restaurant

Located downtown at 60 Hypolita Street, this upscale restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, using fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Collage Restaurant has an elegant atmosphere and offers a diverse menu with options for all dietary restrictions and varieties of wine.

The Floridian

Located on 72 Spanish Street in St. Augustine this casual eatery serves Southern-style cuisine with a Florida twist, using locally-sourced and organic ingredients. The Floridian offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options in the midst of a beautifully decorated space and has an outdoor patio for dining.

Raintree Restaurant

Located on 102 San Marco Ave, Raintree Restaurant in St. Augustine is housed in a historic Victorian-style building, Raintree Restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. The restaurant has an elegant ambiance and features an indoor as well as a beautiful outdoor garden for dining with varieties of wines and cocktails and free facilities for parking.

Catch 27

Located on 40 Charlotte Street this farm-to-table restaurant serves fresh local seafood and locally-sourced ingredients, with a focus on sustainable and environmentally-conscious practices. Catch 27 offers a casual atmosphere and has a bar with craft cocktails and local beers.

The Ice Plant Bar

Located on 110 Riberia Street, this speakeasy-style restaurant serves modern American cuisine and craft cocktails made with locally-distilled spirits. The Ice Plant Bar has an industrial-chic ambiance set in a 1927 industrial building and offers a unique dining experience with a focus on quality and craftsmanship.

Activities to do in St. Augustine

You can enjoy lots of activities in this historic city of St. Augustine.

Visit historic landmarks

St. Augustine is the city to dip in its rich history, and there are several historic landmarks worth visiting, such as the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, etc.

Explore the beaches

beautiful sunset at St Augustine beach
Beautiful sunset at St Augustine beach

St. Augustine is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, such as Anastasia State Park and St. Augustine Beach. Spend a day relaxing in the sun, swimming, exploring the area’s wildlife, or can enjoy many water activities.

Take a food tour

St. Augustine has a rich food culture, with plenty of unique and delicious dishes to try. Take a food tour to sample some of the city’s best cuisine and learn about its history. Enjoy the variety of foods that are farm-to-table and locally sourced and varieties of wines and cocktails to taste.

Visit museums and galleries

St. Augustine has a vibrant arts scene, with many galleries and museums showcasing local artists, art history, and the history of the city. You can visit the Lightner Museum, the St. Augustine Art Association, or the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum for the same purpose.

Take a scenic boat tour

See St. Augustine from a new perspective by taking a boat tour on the Matanzas River or the Intracoastal Waterway. You’ll get stunning views of the city and its surroundings while learning about its history and ecology.

Watching wildlife

Alligator Farm is a unique attraction and home to about 24 species of crocodiles, as well as other animals like lemurs, monkeys, and birds of prey. You can even zipline over the alligators! There are also many places where you can enjoy wildlife.

Explore the outdoors

St. Augustine has plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking in the nearby state parks, kayaking in the local waterways, or fishing in the ocean. Many tour operators provide you with kayaks, bikes, etc on rent to enjoy outdoor activities.

Attending festivals or events

St. Augustine hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum’s Pirate Gathering, and the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s summer concert series. These events are really good to enjoy.

Go shopping

St. Augustine has a charming downtown area with plenty of unique shops and boutiques especially St. George Street is much popular. Spend an afternoon browsing for souvenirs, antiques, or one-of-a-kind finds.

How to get to St. Augustine

Well, now you are eager to visit the Nation’s Old City but worried about how to reach St. Augustine. Don’t worry, this historic city is easily accessible by car, plane, or train.

By car

St. Augustine is located off Interstate 95, which runs along the East Coast of the United States. If you are driving from the north or south, take exit 318 or 320 off of I-95, respectively, and follow the signs to St. Augustine.

By Air

The closest airport to St. Augustine is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), which is approximately 51 miles north of the city. From the airport, you can rent a car, take a taxi or ride-sharing service, or book a shuttle to St. Augustine.

By train

Amtrak offers daily train service to St. Augustine from several cities along the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The St. Augustine station is located in downtown, and several hotels and attractions are within walking distance.

Now you are in St. Augustine and can wander around by car, bike, trolley, or on foot. The city is fairly compact, and many attractions are within walking distance of each other.

FAQs about St. Augustine

  1. What is St. Augustine known for?

    St. Augustine is known for being the oldest city in the United States, founded by the Spanish in 1565. It is also known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, vibrant arts scene, and many old landmarks to visit.

  2. What are some popular attractions in St. Augustine?

    Some popular attractions in St. Augustine include the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, the Alligator Farm Zoological Park, and the historic downtown area with St. George Street.

  3. What is the best time of year to visit St. Augustine?

    The best time to visit St. Augustine is from March to May or from September to November when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. However, St. Augustine is a popular tourist destination year-round, and there are always plenty of things to see and do in this historic town.

  4. Is St. Augustine a good place to take kids?

    Yes, St. Augustine is a great place to take kids. There are many family-friendly attractions, such as the Alligator Farm, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park which your kids will enjoy a lot.

  5. Are there beaches in St. Augustine?

    Yes, St. Augustine is home to several beautiful beaches, including Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine Beach, and Vilano Beach where you can relax or enjoy many water sports activities.

  6. Is St. Augustine walkable?

    Yes, St. Augustine is a very walkable city, especially in the downtown area. Many of the attractions, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of each other.

  7. What are some of the best restaurants in St. Augustine?

    Some of the best restaurants in St. Augustine include Collage Restaurant, The Floridian, Raintree Restaurant, Catch 27, and The Ice Plant Bar.

  8. What is the closest airport to St. Augustine?

    The closest airport to St. Augustine is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), which is approximately 51 miles north of the city.

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