Founded 451 years ago, St. Augustine is home to important historic landmarks, diverse museums, romantic inns and unique attractions such as the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
Plan a weekend getaway and explore the beautiful city on their own, or take a tour with one of the knowledgeable local guides. Go on a chocolate factory tour, take a ride in a pirate ship and relax on the sandy beaches of Anastasia State Park. Here are the best things to do in St. Augustine, FL.
Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay and is one of the most popular St. Augustine attractions. The Spanish, who saw the need to fortify what was then a tiny garrison town, built the Castillo between 1672 and 1695. Today, Castillo de San Marcos is a National Monument situated on 20.5 acres of beautiful green spaces that make the park truly astounding. The Park incorporates a reconstructed part of the wall surrounding St. Augustine, FL along with the original gate into the city.
Bring the kids to explore the fort’s casements, see the exhibition of weapons, or watch actors in period costumes who offer demonstrations of historical weapons and reenact the life of the colonists who once lived in the area. Talk to the Park Rangers about the Castillo, its history, and the people who used to live there. Details & photos
1 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida
The Lightner Museum
The Lightner Museum is housed in the historic Hotel Alcazar on King Street in downtown Saint Augustine. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the hotel was built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style. The building features an open courtyard, palm trees, and a fishpond with a stone arch bridge.
The museum’s collection emphasizes historic items from the Victorian period in particular. Visitors can see a Victorian village on the first floor, the Victorian Science and Industry Room, and a music room full of instruments. The second floor, on the other hand, is devoted to glass, including Tiffany stained glass, while the third floor contains furniture, paintings, and sculptures. Read more
75 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida, 904-824-2874 visit website
The St. Augustine Lighthouse
The Lighthouse is St. Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure, and today the site is restored to colors and materials used the year 1888. In 1876, a brick light keeper’s house was added to the property, a triplex that held two families and a young, single, 2nd assistant keeper, most often of Menorcan descent. Brick summer kitchens were added in 1886. In 1910 10,000 tourists visited the property. During World War II armed Coastguardsmen stood guard atop the tower, fixed jeeps in the 1836 garage and lived in a small barracks building. Light keepers’ and their assistants lived and worked at the Light Station until the tower was automated in 1955. After that time Lamplighters lived off site, but also took over maintaining the buoys in the harbor.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps that are climbed by visitors. At the top, the original, first order Fresnel lens still serves the beacon, but today is lit by a 1000 watt bulb, and maintained by the museum and volunteers. The St. Augustine lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter.
100 Red Cox Road, St. Augustine, Florida, 904 829-0745 visit website
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park was established in 1893 as a small Florida reptile exhibition, and it soon became a popular Florida attraction. Today, it is a modern accredited zoo on Anastasia Island that has all the species of the crocodilians still alive in the world today. St. Augustine Alligator Farm is the only crocodile farm in the world that has specimens from all 23 species of crocodilians recognized by biologists. If you are interested in animals, this is one of the top things to do in St. Augustine.
The best way to see them all is by Crocodile Crossing, the Alligator Farm’s zip-line. You will literally zip over the whole park and see live crocodilians, tropical birds, and lemurs in their habitats from the air without disturbing them.
999 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL, 904-824-3337 visit website
Saint George Street In Old City
For most visitors, St. George Street is St. Augustine’s main attraction. There is so much to do and see here that many visitors never get a chance to explore the surrounding cobblestone streets and other nearby areas. Get a taste of what else St. Augustine has to offer by starting your exploration at the narrow, brick-paved Charlotte Street. Take a tour of the Oldest House, which has been standing there since the1600s.
On Hypolita Street, you can visit the Spice and Tea Exchange of St. Augustine. A few more minutes of walking will take you to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park on Magnolia Avenue and Tolomato Cemetery as well as Grace United Methodist Church, a stunning piece of architecture on Cordova Street. You cannot possibly see everything in one visit, so you will just have to come back.
Anastasia State Park
About five miles south of historic, charming St. Augustine lies Anastasia State Park, which takes you to another world of pristine beaches, ancient dunes, tidal marshes, and dense mangroves. The park consists of 1,600 acres of incredibly rich ecosystems full of wildlife. If you are wondering what to do in St Augustine with active kids, this is a great idea.
You can spend a day swimming, beachcombing, hiking, bird watching, or just taking in the scenery and contemplating the richness of nature. You can stay the night in one of the 139 campsites and rent a bike, kayak, paddleboard, or sailboat. There is even a grill area for a delicious beach lunch or dinner.
300 Anastasia Park Road, Saint Augustine, Florida, 904-461-2033
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
A visit to the Pirate and Treasure Museum in St. Augustine is a must for all adventure seekers. This beautiful old building across the Castillo St. Angelo offers a glimpse into the thrilling and bloody era when piracy thrived and treasures were plundered from ships across the seven seas. The museum holds the world’s largest collection of real pirate treasures and artifacts. It has several fascinating and interactive multimedia exhibits such as Blackbeard’s last battle.
Visitors can see the real pirate treasure chest and some original shipwreck treasures borrowed from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Museum is fabulous venue for treasure hunting parties, kids’ birthday parties, and many other events.
12 S Castillo Dr, Saint Augustine, Florida, 877-467-5863 visit website
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Located just off A1A and adjacent to the Anastasia State Park, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre was built in 1965 to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary. Sitting on 16 acres, the amphitheater is an outdoor venue for concerts and other events and seats more than 4,000 people.
The amphitheater underwent renovations starting in 2002 and re-opened in 2007 with additions such as a plaza, a conference room, a concession and merchandise area, walking trails, and much more. The Old City Farmers Market is held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Saturday mornings, when visitors can buy baked goods, fresh organic produce, and fresh seafood in season, and they can also enjoy live entertainment.
1340C A1A S, Saint Augustine, Florida, 904-209-3742 visit website
Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
Located at 11 Magnolia Avenue, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15-acre park along Hospital Creek, which is a part of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. There is an artesian well on the grounds of the park, and legend has it that this is the Fountain of Youth supposedly discovered by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon in the early 16th century.
There are many other attractions in the park, including the Timucuan village of Seloy, which has been partially reconstructed. Here, guides explain to guests what life was like at the time for this group of Native Americans. There is also a planetarium, a Spanish lookout tower, a gift shop, and a cafe.
11 Magnolia Avenue, Saint Augustine, Florida 904-829-3168 visit website
The Pirate Ship Black Raven
Located on Avenida Menendez, the Pirate Ship Black Raven offers daily voyages, one in the mid-afternoon and one in the early evening. There are also evening voyages on Friday and Saturday called “Rum Runners” for adults over 21 years of age. The ship can be chartered for company events and private parties, and groups are limited to 95 people.
Blackbeard’s Treasure Hunt is one of several special voyages offered by the Black Raven Pirate Ship, and it allows guests to watch as the sailors engage in a sea battle with Queen Anne’s Revenge, another ship. There are sword fights and cannon fire, things that the whole family will enjoy.
111 Avenida Menendez, Saint Augustine, Florida 904-826-0000 visit website
St. Augustine Wild Reserve
Not even half an hour north from the heart of the St. Augustine’s historic district lies a wild world. St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a habitat for fascinating exotic pets who needed new homes. Deborah Warrick, zoologist and the founder of the Reserve, has rescued hundreds of wild animals that started their lives as pets in people’s homes, and she now provides care for them at this reserve.
Once some realize that a wild animal is not exactly behaving as they expected and does not fit their lifestyle, they have a choice of giving them to Deborah and the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. If you visit the Reserve, you will have a chance to see tigers, bears, wolfs, lions, egrets, coatis, and much more. The goal of the Reserve is to provide a home for these animals and to educate people about what it means to have an exotic animal at home.
P.O. Box 3546, Saint Augustine, Florida, 904-940-0664 visit website
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