72 Really Fun Things to Do in St. Augustine, FL – The Nation’s Oldest City

Clouds over Flagler College, Hotel Ponce de León rain St Augustine Florida

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On the surface, St. Augustine is an ancient city with European-influenced architecture and the oldest street in the US.

However, once you visit you will realize that this coastal city in Florida’s Northeast has so many layers, spanning hundreds of years, and with it, so much to offer.

From coquina to craft beer, beaches to bar hopping, our guide to the best things to do in St. Augustine, Florida, shares it all.

Visiting in winter to see the Night of Lights? Here’s our guide to St. Augustine for Christmas.

Top Things to Do St. Augustine, FL All Year Round

To help get your bearings, we have structured our St. Augustine things to do guide starting with Downtown, aka the Historic District, then we’ll make our way to the Lincolnville Neighborhood.

Next is Anastasia Island, before finishing up at the beach in St. Augustine.

As always, we’ve grouped the following St. Augustine activities by proximity so you can hop between them while maximizing your time in the city.

Things to Do in Downtown St. Augustine

As the name suggests, St. Augustine’s Historic District is the oldest part of the city, some of which dates back to the 1700s.

Hop Aboard the St. Augustine Trolley

The benefits of using the hop-on-hop-off trolley tour are that it saves your feet and provides historical information about the St. Augustine attractions you pass.

The route covers more than 100 of these points of interest, and you can hop off at any one if you want to go in.

If you’ve got a short amount of time in the city, this will help you see as much as possible.

You can reserve your seat via Viator or GetYourGuide.

During winter, the trolley becomes a jolly Night of Lights tour!

Old Town Trolley sign St Augustine Florida

Villa Zorayda

Villa Zorayda (83 King St) is an extravagant building located on the same street as the Lightner Museum and Flagler College.

It was built in 1883 by a Boston millionaire (Franklin W. Smith) who wanted a winter home that resembled the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.

Smith actually designed the home using concrete reinforced with crushed coquina stone, a method he pioneered!

Villa Zorayda has also been a nightclub and casino, closing in 1925 when the state outlawed gambling.

Today, it is a St. Augustine tourist attraction.

Exterior of Villa Zorayda with path in St Augustine Florida

The Lightner Museum For Art

Speaking of flamboyant architecture, meet the Lightner Museum (75 King St), which was once the Hotel Alcazar.

It was built by American industrialist Henry Flagler, in 1888, with the help of designers John M. Carrere and Thomas Hastings.

The hotel also took influence from Spain’s Moorish palaces, and its claim to fame is that it was one of the first multi-storied structures in the country made from poured concrete.

The hotel closed for 15 years starting in 1932 when publisher O.C. Lightner bought it to fill it with his Victorian memorabilia.

He granted it to the city to put on show to the public.

In 1973, St. Augustine City Hall took over, then it was opened to the public once again in 1974.

The Lightner Museum pond at Hotel Alcazar St Augustine Florida

See the Fish at Hotel Alcazar Courtyard and Bridge

While the exterior of the Lightner Museum/Hotel Alcazar is impressive, it is well worth taking ten minutes to explore the grounds, even if you don’t want to visit the museum.

Visitors can roam for free through the lush green courtyard and over the bridge, which covers a pond with fish – the most perfect photo spot in St. Augustine!

The Lightner Museum Hotel Alcazar bridge St Augustine Florida

 Wander the Hotel Alcazar Gardens

Take time to walk through the arches that play with the light and discover the secret garden with a water fountain located behind the museum.

The Lightner Museum Hotel Alcazar garden with pink flowers in St Augustine Florida

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Statue

At the front of the Lightner Museum, there is a statue of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Statue, the ‘founder’ of St. Augustine.

The historic marker on it says, ‘Illustrious son of Aviles, Spain, Governor and Captain General, Conquistador, Adelantado in Perpetuity of Florida.’

The statue was gifted to the people of St. Augustine by the city of Aviles, Spain, in 1972.

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés statue at The Lightner Museum at Hotel Alcazar entrance St Augustine Florida

Drink, Dine, or Stay at Casa Monica

Stay in one of the oldest hotels in the United States at Casa Monica (95 Cordova St).

It was originally built as the Cordova Hotel by amateur architect Franklin W. Smith in 1888.

As with the above St. Augustine landmarks, the structure took inspiration from the Moorish and Spanish Baroque Revival.

Smith eventually sold the property to Flagler, who changed the name to Casa Monica.

In the early 1900s, a bridge was built to connect Hotel Alcatraz (Lightner Museum) and Casa Monica, and the complex was rebranded as the Alcazar and Alcazar Annex.

The bridge was removed in 1945.

It has had its fair share of openings and closures over the decades until 1999, when it opened as today’s Casa Monica Hotel.

The building is enlisted with the Historic Hotels of America.

Check availability through Expedia, Hotels, and Booking.

Casa Monica carved into wall of hotel in St Augustine Florida

Do a Tour of the Breathtaking Flagler College

One of the best things to do in St. Augustine, according to footfall, is to visit Flagler College (74 King St).

Originally built by Flagler as the Ponce de Leon Hotel between 1885 and 1887, the incredible structure was designed by the newly graduated John Carrère and Thomas Hastings of New York.

The hotel was named after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who did the first known European expedition to La Florida.

Its aesthetic leaned towards the Spanish Renaissance, using poured concrete and coquina shells like the other grand buildings on King Street.

Inside the building is a large dome called the Rotunda, which acts as the lavish entrance lobby for guests!

The dining room held 300 people, and the star of the show was the forty Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows, giving Harry Potter Hogwarts vibes!

The hotel had state-of-the-art amenities, including running water, the towers held gallons of water, and the courtyard fountain provided warm water.

Guests had to pay for the full season at $4000, regardless of whether they planned to stay or not.

In 1968, this hotel became the accredited liberal arts institution Flagler College, and visitors can join organized tours daily.

Flagler Beach, just south of St. Augustine, is also named after Henry Flagler.

Clouds over Flagler College, Hotel Ponce de León rain St Augustine Florida

Government House

Close to Flagler College is the Governor’s House (48 King St), which sits in the west end overlooking the city’s Plaza.

It was built in 1598 by Governor Gonzalo Méndez de Canzo.

The building has acted as the governor’s official residence throughout the changing landscape of St. Augustine; during the First Spanish Period (1565–1763), the British Period (1763–1784), and until 1812 in the Second Spanish Period (1784–1821).

Government House framed by branch in St Augustine Florida

Plaza de la Constitution For History and Christmas Decor

Across the road from the Governor’s House is the oldest public space in the US, St. Augustine’s Plaza.

It was organized in 1573 by the Spanish Royal Ordinances, who laid it out using compass points and proportional ratios.

The US’s first system of weighing and measuring was created at a market here in 1598.

Plaza de la Constitución sign in park in St Augustine Florida

Today, the Plaza is a busy thoroughfare with St. George Street to the left, Aviles Street to the right, and the Castillo de San Marcos straight ahead.

In winter, this is where you’ll find some of the three million lights strung through the city as part of the award-winning Christmas Nights of Lights.

Find out more in our festive guide to St. Augustine at Christmas.

Night of Lights Revolution Plaza Christmas tree St Augustine Florida

Historic Aviles Street

While at first glance, Aviles Street may just look like a pretty brick road, it is actually the first street built in the US, dating back to the early 1600s.

To enter the street, you walk under an arch, where you’ll find stores, museums, and historic buildings on either side.

The street was named after Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who is said to have founded St. Augustine in 1565 when he arrived with settlers and free and enslaved Catholic Africans.

Aviles Street sign with arch in St Augustine Florida

An Unusual Spanish Military Hospital Museum Tour

Explore the dark side of medicine through the Quackery Tour at the Spanish Military Hospital Museum (3 Aviles St).

The evening tour introduces horrid truths in historical health care, including outrageous treatments.

This unique thing to do in St. Augustine is not for the faint-hearted.

Sign for Quackery tour in Aviles Street St Augustine Florida

Visit the Spanish Military Hospital Museum

Alternatively, visit during the day for a tour of 18th-century medicine!

The 45-minute guided tour explains how colonial Spanish surgeons worked and how Apothecary used herbs that influence medicine today.

Sign for Spanish Military Hospital Museum against pink building in Aviles Street St Augustine Florida

Peace Pies For Dessert

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll want to sink them into Peace Pie (8 Aviles St)!

Pies include two shortbread circles that sandwich your preferred ice cream flavor and sauce.

Peace pie sign with icea cream examples on Aviles Street St Augustine Florida

The Segui-Kirby Smith House

You’d expect the oldest street in the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States to have the oldest buildings, right?

The Segui-Kirby Smith House dates back to the late 1700s and is one of the 36 Spanish Colonial houses that remain in St. Augustine today.

Notable residents include the garrison baker and Spanish militia official, Bernardo Segui, a merchant of Minorcan descent who lived here in 1786.

The first Judge of the Superior Court for East Florida, Lee Smith, rented the house around 1823.

Edmund Kirby Smith, the youngest lieutenant general in the Confederate Army and the last Confederate general to surrender his command, was born here in May 1824.

However, The Segui-Kirby Smith House is not the oldest.

Keep reading to find out which house is…

Green marker for The Segu-Kirby Smith House St Augustine Florida

Step Through the Front Door of the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum

Ximenez-Fatio House is another historic home that has changed hands over the past centuries, but this is one you can clean your feet on the front door mat.

The two-story home, made from coquina, was built for Spanish merchant Don Andrés Ximenez in 1798.

It then became a boarding house and inn for Florida’s earliest tourists, and one of the owners was Mrs Fatio.

In 1939, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Florida bought the dwelling and restored it, creating a historic house museum that is recognized as one of the best-preserved and most authentic Second Spanish Period residential buildings in the city.

Today, the home is still owned and operated by (mostly) women.

And they do a paranormal tour – one of the most interesting things to do in St. Augustine at night for ghost hunters!

As we leave Aviles Street, it is worth noting that you can make your way to Plaza de la Constitution and over to the lively St. George Street for bar hopping and shopping for souvenirs, up to Lincolnville District for craft beer and Black history, or down to the Matanzas River to cross the Bridge of Lions for Anastasia Island attractions.

Ximenez-Fatio House Museum black cat in St Augustine Florida

St. Augustine Art Association Gallery

Explore the changing exhibits at the St. Augustine Art Association Gallery (22 Marine St), which has been showcasing and supporting local art for decades.

St. Augustine has had an interesting relationship with artists, which started during The Great Depression through a marketing campaign calling for creatives to move to the US’s Oldest City!

St Augustine Art Association sign against pink wall in Florida

Wander By Marin House

Marine Street is the ideal wander for those who like to have a nosey at historic houses and seasonal decor.

Expect to see tasteful door displays during fall and winter, as well as the Marin House, a Second Spanish Colonial Period house built between 1791 and 1799.

Francisco Marin, a Minorcan (Spain) colonist from New Smyrna, took over the building in 1791 and it stayed in the Marin family for 85 years.

Pink colored Marin House with wreaths above windows in St Augustine Florida

St. Francis Barracks

The Franciscan Chapel once stood where St. Francis Barracks’s (82 Marine St) building is located today.

Its thatched roof wooden building went up in flames twice, the latter during the 1702 fire caused by English forces.

The barrack was used by the Brits from 1763 to 1783, by Spaniards from 1783 to 1821, and then by the US.

St Francis Barracks sign t Augustine Florida

See The Oldest House

Close to Marine Street, you will find St. Augustine’s Oldest House Museum (14 St. Francis St).

González-Alvarez House is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial property in the city, and it has been lived in since 1727 when an artillery person stationed at the Castillo de San Marcos by the name Tomás González y Hernández moved in.

However, there is evidence of activity at this location from 1650, where thatched wooden structures were erected, only to be burnt down by the English in 1702.

The dwelling was added to the National Historic Landmark list in 1970.

Today, visitors can take a tour of the house, which also includes access to museums and a gallery.

Oldest House in St Augustine with white painted bottom and grey upper in Florida

Tovar House Exhibitions

Like most of the historic houses in St. Augustine, Tovar House (22 St Francis St) has changed owners multiple times.

It was built in 1763 by infantryman José Tovar, then a Scot called John Johnson occupied the property before Spaniard José  Coruña moved in.

Geronimo Alvarez, who owned the house next door, bought the property in 1871.

Today, Tovar House is part of the Old House Museum complex.

It is where the St. Augustine Surf Culture Museum and Marineland’s Marine Studios exhibits are located.

Tovar House sign in St Augustine Florida

Fernandez-Llambias House

Initially, Fernandez-Llambias House (31 St Francis St) was a one-story, two-room, shingle-roofed coquina stone building owned by Pedro Fernandez.

The second story was added by Minorcan brothers Joseph and Peter Antonio Manucy, who owned the house in 1838.

Sixteen years later, Dona Catalina Llambias bought the building, owning it for 65 years; then, it was purchased and preserved by The Carnegie Institution of Washington, with support from the St. Augustine Historical Society.

Strolling through the Historic District streets and reading the historic markers is one of the best free things to do in St. Augustine for those visiting on a budget.

From here, you can keep walking to Lincolnville Historic District, which we discuss below, or head back to the attractions near the Matanzas River.

Golden yellow painted house with balcony known as The Llambias House Fernandez-Llambias House 31 Saint Francis Street in St. Augustine, Florida.

OC Whites for Food

You’ll be hungry after all the historic house hunting, so consider dining at OC Whites (118 Avenida Menendez), located at Worth House, which was built in 1790, opposite the Matanzas River.

The menu consists of American grill, seafood dishes, and frozen drinks.

Sign for OC Whites restaurant St Augustine Florida

Afternoon Tea at The Chatsworth

After all this talk of the British invasion, you’d expect there to be a pub surely!

The Chatsworth (10 Marine St) is an English pub that serves over 70 types of beers, wines, and cocktails in a cozy setting.

For a special occasion, consider the afternoon or high tea package, which is served in the Tea Room.

Sign for Chatsworth Pub St Augustine Florida

A1A Ale Works Taproom

A1A Ale Works (1 King St) is a taproom Downtown.

It is named after the scenic route that connects coastal towns along the North Atlantic.

The casual taproom serves drinks and fresh food made from scratch.

Sign for A1A Ale Works Tap Room in St Augustine in Florida

Casa Reina

If you fancy something more than pub grub or quick bites, consider the Latin, Mexican, and Floridian coastal cuisine menu at Casa Reina (1 Anderson Cir).

Choose from hearty mains such as quesadilla, chimichanga, and fajita bowls or lighter dishes like ceviche and soup.

The drinks menu consists of tequila, mezcal, and craft cocktails.

Casa Reina restaurant written on white walls in St Augustine Florida

Live Music at Ancient City Brewing

Listen to live music on Saturdays while sipping on a seasonal craft beer at Ancient City Brewing (18 Cathedral Pl).

Located just across from the Plaza, this intimate taproom has chairs lining the bar and tables by the wall and windows.

It offers weekly specials too.

Indoor sign at bar for Ancient City Brewery St Augustine Florida

More Live Music at Trade Winds Lounge

Trade Winds Lounge (124 Charlotte St) is a St. Augustine bar loved by locals and visitors for its live entertainment.

This family-owned institution puts on live music seven days per week, it is popular so arrive early to get a seat.

St. Augustine is featured in our guide to the best Memorial Day Weekend destinations for its music!

Inside Tropical Trade Lounge pub with drum kit in St Augustine Florida

Sweet Treats at boVine

Cool off with a frozen custard or ice cream at boVine (90 Charlotte St).

This sugar heaven also sells pastries and chocolate truffles.

Hand holding ice cream outside of BoVine St Augustine Florida

St. George Street

If you’ve partied on Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Duval Street in Key West, then you’ll be able to picture what St. George Street in St. Augustines is like too; just throw in more families, a few strollers, some dogs, and you are there.

This street is bustling!

Between souvenir shopping, snack dining, gelato licking, museum-going, and bar hopping, you could easily accidentally let a day slip into the wee hours.

We may be biased, but we think that St. George Street is one of the top five best party streets in the US!

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

St George Street flags St. Augustine, Florida

Colonial Experience

Step back in time to Spanish St. Augustine at the Colonial Experience (14 S Castillo Dr) interactive museum.

Visit 16th, 17th, and 18th-century city life through exhibitions, living history demonstrations, and stories.

This is one of the most popular things to do in St. Augustine with kids on St. George Street.

Colonial Experience sign on building in St Augustine Florida

Best Richardson African Diaspora Museum

Widen your knowledge of the local area and beyond at Best Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum (30 A St George St).

This bookstore specializes in rare, antiquarian, and out-of-print books and offers scheduled tours.

Best Richardson African Diaspora Museum is a non-profit family, disabled veteran, and woman-owned business.

Sign for Best Richardson African Diaspora Museum in St Augustine Florida

Perre’s Pub

For a very lively open-air music venue on St. George Street, don’t walk past Perre’s Pub (69 St George St) without popping in for a pint.

This pub has an outdoor bar, sports TV, a small stage, and a garden area with seating.

Check out the seasonal frozen cocktails like the pumpkin mudslide for Florida’s fall season!

Stage at Pierre’s Pub in St Augustine Florida

Pizza Time

Join the long lines and soak up the booze consumed on St. George Street (124 St George St) at the tasty Pizza Time parlor.

Glass windows advertise the huge slices of pizza, which are warmed up in ovens.

You can take your slices to go or grab a seat on either side of the busy restaurant.

Pizza Time pizzas in window St Augustine Florida

Prohibition Kitchen

While there is no shortage of live music bars in St. Augustine, Prohibition Kitchen (119 St George St) is probably one of the biggest, with its stage at the front, standing area to the back, and tables upstairs.

Avoid the crowds by taking your drink up the stairs and watching the madness unfold below.

Lively bar with crowds at Prohibition Kitchen St Augustine Florida

Colonial Oak

Colonial Oak (21 St George St) has to be one of the prettiest bars on the East Coast, with its whimsical aesthetic, benches, fairy lights, and wooden shed bars, all under the oak trees, of course.

This open-air venue hosts musicians most days.

Fairy lights line oak tree at the The Colonial Oak pub St Augustine, Florida

Auggie’s Draft Room

Don’t go into Auggie’s Draft Room (3 St George St) unless you are prepared to lose a couple of hours!

This unique bar is self-service, which means you use the tap house card to pay for self-pouring beer and cider, then settle the card before you leave.

This is a casual St. George Street pub with benches, sports on TV, and pub grub.

It does get busy, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Sign for Auggie's Draft Room in St Augustine Florida

Pirate Treasure Museum

Argh me, mateys!

Discover history at The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum (12 S Castillo Dr), which holds the world’s largest amount of pirate artifacts.

Learn more about pirates like Francis Drake and Robert Searles who visited St. Augustine’s Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos.

Sign for Pirate Treasure Museum outside red and yellow building in St Augustine Florida

Ghost Tour

This 1-hour haunted trolley tour saves your feet while giving you a little spook.

The jovial ride is great for kids as the knowledgeable guide shares lighthearted stories about the darker side of the city while pointing out haunted locations.

The open-air trolley tour also includes a stop at the jail and wax museum.

Walk Through the City Gates of St. Augustine

The City Gates are hardy structures made from… You guessed it, Coquina, and they were erected by the people of St. Augustine for defense in 1808.

Today, visitors can walk through the gates that lead to St. George Street.

Stone City Gates St. Augustine Florida

Search for the Time Machine at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

Take advantage of the 15-acre park, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (11 Magnolia Ave), which was formerly native land called Timucua village of Seloy.

The park shares the story of Ponce de Leon, who was supposedly searching for eternal youth while colonizing along the way.

Visitors can pay respects at a Timucua Burial Ground, visit Navigator’s Planetarium, and see the Spanish Watchtower, as well as observe historic firearms presentations and blacksmith exhibitions.

Old Jail Museum

See where prisoners were kept from 1891 to 1953 at the Old Jail Museum (167 San Marco Ave).

Tours run throughout the day and, if you seek an added thrill to your visit, night!

Visitors have access to the women’s cells, men’s cells, and the maximum-security cells, reserved for the most dangerous offenders.

In 1987 the jail was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Castillo de San Marcos

Step back in time to a fort commissioned by the Spanish in 1672!

See the bastion-style Castillo de San Marcos (11 S Castillo Dr), built to withstand firing cannonballs, and its 2.5 acres of land.

Castillo de San Marcos entry St Augustine Florida

It is the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States, and it was surrendered to England by the Spanish in 1763.

Today, visitors are free to walk the grounds or pay the entrance fee, granting access behind the wall.

History enthusiasts might want to check out one of the weekend musket or cannon demonstrations.

Castillo de San Marcos ruins of St Augustine Florida

St Augustine Boat Tour

See the city from the water during this 1 hour 15 minute cruise.

Departing from the marina, the boat sails by popular St. Augustine tourist attractions such as Bridge of Lions, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.

Guests enjoy the captain’s storytelling and dolphin spotting during the season!

Bridge of Lions Matanzas River boats St Augustine Florida

Bridge of Lions

One of the most striking structures in the city has to be the Bridge of Lions, built in 1927 by Henry Rodenbaugh and Henry Flagler.

As the name suggests, lions perch at the start and end of the double-leaf bascule bridge, which spans the Matanzas River.

The bridge connects St. Augustine with Anastasia Island, where you’ll find attractions like the lighthouse and beach.

Bridge of Lions statue lamp St Augustine Florida

Things to Do in the Lincolnville Historic District

Going back on ourselves through Downtown, the Lincolnville Neighborhood is well worth a visit to learn more about the diverse population and culture in St. Augustine.

The quarter was created by the Black soldiers returning to the city after the Civil War in 1886; initially referred to as Little Africa, then Lincolnville, named after President Abraham Lincoln.

The neighborhood played an important role during the civil rights movement, and it features on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, you can visit the museums dedicated to Black history, follow the Freedom Trail markers, dine, drink, and appreciate the architecture.

Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center

“The road to black history runs through Lincolnville,” as stated by the Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center (102 M L King Ave), and you can learn more about the 450 years of Black experience here.

Located in the first public black high school, Excelsior School Building, which was built in 1925, Floyd and Regina Gayle Phillips manage this hub of African-American artifacts, stories, and photography.

Part of the exhibit showcases Ray Charles, who learned how to read braille and music in St. Augustine!

Other areas explored include life after the war, told through local perspectives.

Dog Rose Brewing

For a beer in a bigger bar, consider Dog Rose Brewing (77 Bridge St), which has a games area.

As well as ales, lagers, and IPAs, the brewery serves bar snacks like chips and pretzels.

Pink Dog Rose Brewing building in St Augustine Florida

ACCORD Civil Rights Museum

The nonprofit ACCORD Museum (79 Bridge St) highlights St. Augustine’s role in the civil rights movement through its displays, articles, stories, artifacts, and events.

ACCORD stands for Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, and its aim is to celebrate the heroes of the movement.

It opened on 2 July 2014, which was the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in The Rudcarlee Building (79 Bridge St marker).

It was the first of its kind in the whole of Florida.

The Rudcarlee Building was once the civil rights leader Dr. Robert B. Hayling’s dental office; he held many meetings in the building.

Many of the people involved in the ACCORD Museum and its events were part of the civil rights movement themselves; they made history and changed the city and beyond.

Entrance to Accord Civil Rights Museum with orange steps in St Augustine Florida

Accord Freedom Trail

Outside of the ACCORD Museum and other important buildings in Lincolnville, you’ll see information boards with marker numbers detailing the role that structure and the people in it took during the civil rights demonstrations.

There are over 30 sites on the trail, including the home (57 Chapin St) of “Galloping Gal”, Willie Galimore (1935-1964), the city’s most famous athlete and the first Black person allowed to register as a guest at the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge on U.S. 1 North.

Freedom Trail sign at Accord Civil Rights Museum St Augustine Florida

MLK Plaque

Dr. Martin Luther King spent time in St. Augustine, speaking at various events and working with the NAACP’s local branch members.

He stayed with a number of locals as well as in other accommodations, one of which he was fired at in May 1964.

Martin Luther King sign on the Freedom Trail St Augustine Florida

Dr. King was also arrested in St. Augustine on 12 June 1964 when he asked to be served at the whites-only hotel restaurant at the Monson Motor Lodge.

King wrote to Rabbi Israel Dresner of New Jersey, requesting that he support the movement, resulting in 16 rabbis being arrested for praying at the hotel entrance on 18 June 1964.

This was the “largest mass arrest of rabbis in US history.”

On the same day, J.T. Johnson, Al Lingo, and other black and white activists jumped into the whites-only segregated swimming pool.

The white owner, James Brock, poured acid into the pool.

The media reported on it, and the police arrested the demonstrators, which got the attention of the nation.

This protest is said to have influenced the Civil Rights Act.

Listen to the story here.

St. Augustine Distillery for Hard Liquor

St. Augustine Distillery (112 Riberia St) is a community-founded, family-owned modern distillery located in a historic 1907 power and ice plant.

This huge complex offers tours where award-winning bourbon, gin, rum, and vodka are brewed.

St Augustine Distillery sign in Florida

Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory

Next to St. Augustine Distillery is a private residence with a historic plaque stating that the building was once the Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory.

It marks the last sign of the 1830s cigar industry in the city, and it was built in 1909.

Just like in Tampa, where Cuban Vicente Martinez Ybor created a cigar economy, St. Augustine had its own cigar makers, such as P.F. Carcaba, who sold Caballeros with marketing that featured Henry Flagler’s hotels.

The building features Italianate and Mediterranean Revival designed by Fred A. Henderich and commissioned by Carcaba’s son, W.H. Carcaba, and his brother-in-law, Agustin Solla.

By 1917, the company had failed.

The building standing today was renovated in 1985.

Sola Carcaba Cigar Factory sign St Augustine Florida

Sip Wine in San Sebastian Winery, A Bit of History

One of the more lively things to do in St. Augustine for couples to do is listen to live music on the rooftop of San Sebastian Winery (157 King St).

From the top floor, views tumble out over the city and English Landing Marina.

The casual winery, which opened in 1996, has a restaurant with indoor dining and offers complimentary tastings and tours.

Interestingly, it is located in one of Henry Flagler’s old East Coast Railway buildings!

San Sebastián wine St Augustine Florida

English Landing Marina

A little outside of Lincolnville, you’ll find English Landing Marina (509 S Ponce De Leon Blvd) on the San Sebastian River, west of downtown St. Augustine. 

Here, you can dock your boat and wander Downtown in less than 20 minutes.

English Landing boats in water in St Augustine Florida

Marina Munch

If traveling without your boat, you can still enjoy the English Landing Marina at Marina Munch.

As the name hints, here you’ll find a variety of food trucks parked up.

There are also tables and seats for your comfort and free views over the marina!

Marina Munch tables at English Landing in St Augustine Florida

Things to Do in Anastasia Island

It’s time to breathe in the ocean air at Anastasia Island, a 14-mile Northeast Atlantic barrier island.

To get to Anastasia, you walk or drive over the Bridge of Lions.

Bar Hopping

Anastasia Boulevard is a long stretch of road, much wider than any of the historic paths you’ll find Downtown.

Along both sides of the boulevard are bars, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

From British pubs to sports bars, cocktails to neighborhood locals – there’s something for each type of visitor.

Plus, Anastasia Boulevard has even more cafes and restaurants, so you can soak up the liquor as you hop along.

Pub British St Augustine Florida

Line Dancing

What about something a little more Southern, or should we say Western?

Learn to line dance at Stampedes (311 Anastasia Blvd) by watching the locals and joining in.

This bar serves a limited drinks menu but makes up for its lack of options with fun!

Stampedes sign with picture of cowboy boots in St Augustine Florida

Stay in a Motel

The Local St. Augustine (512 Anastasia Blvd) is a modern motel with cute decor and an outdoor pool.

Guests love that the accommodation is fully digitalized; no need for a room key here.

The 20-room, side-of-the-road boutique motel leans on vintage vibes of the pink and turquoise Florida color palette.

The Local Motel St Augustine Florida

Beers at Old Coast Ales

If a laidback tap room is more of your style, head to Old Coast Ales (300 Anastasia Blvd) for pints and flights.

The menu also consists of IPA, lager, and cider.

There’s a weekly live music session schedule that can be viewed on the website.

Seating can be found indoors and on the patio, and dogs are welcome.

Old Coast Ales beer St Augustine Florida

St. Augustine Light Station for 360 Views

Along with Castillo de San Marcos, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Oldest City in the US is the St. Augustine Light Station (100 Red Cox Dr), built between 1871 and 1874.

Visitors can climb the 219 steps for 360 views over Anastasia Island, Matanzas Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Entry tickets include access to exhibits in the Keeper’s House, the grounds, and demonstrations.

There are also educational points explaining the Lighthouse’s history, featuring WWII and shipwrecks.

There is parking across from the Lighthouse, but it is worth noting that the mosquitos are dense around the Lighthouse area.

This is a family-friendly attraction in St. Augustine.

The light tower also offers evening tours where you can see the light dazzle in the dark sky.

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum up close St Augustine Florida

St. Augustine Amphitheatre

Music fans will definitely want to check the schedule of the 4,000-person St. Augustine Amphitheatre (1340C A1A S).

This outdoor music venue pulls in huge acts like The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Counting Crows, The Killers, and John Legend.

The Amp amenities include a full bar and food trucks for dining options.

Farmers Market

If music isn’t your thing, visit on a Saturday to browse the local vendors selling farm-to-table produce and handmade arts and crafts.

The market is accompanied by live entertainment, too.

This is a great way to support local businesses.

The best way to get there is by bike or drop off; if driving, arrive early to get a parking space in the small lot.

Anastasia State Park

If you’ve had your fill of the urban attractions and are seeking a slice of paradise, leave time to visit the 1,600 acres of beaches, tidal marshes, and sand dunes that make up Anastasia State Park (300 Anastasia Park Rd).

Nature fans will want to look out for gulls, least terns, black skimmers, great blue heron, roseate spoonbills, and osprey; there are over 200 bird species documented here, and it is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

There is a fee for vehicles.

If you want to stay over, the park features a campsite with beach access, picnic tables and grills, electricity and water, and a dump station.

Ancient Dunes Nature Trail

One of the most popular things to do in Anastasia State Park is the easy Ancient Dunes Nature Trail.

The non-technical 1.1 km circular is shaded, which, after a day at the beach, is an attraction in itself.

Pack the bug spray for mosquitoes.

The Salt Run Water Sports

Located between Anastasia Island and Conch Island, Salt Run is a popular 3-mile lagoon best explored by canoe or kayak with an experienced paddler or tour.

Fishing is another option on Salt Run; visitors have access to a fish-cleaning station.

Morning light at Salt Run, in St. Augustine, Florida.

Things to Do in St. Augustine Beach

Our final stop in St. Augustine is the beach.

A1A – an All-American Road Ride

Road trippers will all agree you just can’t beat packing up the car and hitting the open road, and the Atlantic 1 Alternate (A1A) is very open, with views on either side for miles.

The North to South Florida State Road runs 545 miles, along the Atlantic Ocean, from Fernandina Beach, just south of Georgia on Amelia Island to Key West at the southern tip of Florida.

From St. Augustine Beach, the views take in sandy beaches and swamp-like areas; at times, you feel like you are level with them!

One of the benefits of driving the A1A Beach Boulevard is that you can stop off at many of the fun oceanfront towns in Florida that we’ll discuss below.

Check out our Florida road trip guide and East Coast road trip itinerary for more location ideas.

Scenic Road A1A through car window at Crescent Beach St Augustine Florida

St. Johns County Ocean Pier

Visitors like St. Johns County Ocean Pier (350 A1A Beach Blvd) for its beach access, showers, bathroom, and parking.

Families appreciate the splash park and covered pavilion, ideal for the hot Florida sun.

Fishing is organized through passes for residents and non-residents; there is tide information and a bait and tackle shop too.


One of the more obvious things to do at St. Augustine Beach is to take advantage of the white sand and lapping ocean waves for the day.

Pack the car with beach gear, or hire chairs at the beach, and spend the day in nature for an electronic-free adventure.

There are several parking lots along the beach.

Augustine Beach dunes St Augustine Florida


Join locals hitting the waves, or if you’re new to it, you can check out a small group lesson.

See St. Augustine Surf School, The Surf Stop, and Pit Surf Shop for more.

Augustine Beach surfers St Augustine Florida

Dine on Seafood

Would it even be a trip to the coast without some scallops, shrimp, or oysters?

Salivate over the menus at The Tide’s Oyster Co. & Grill, Sunset Grille, Little Maggies, and Salt Life Food Shack for seafood plates.

Stay at the Beach

While you should do at least a day trip to St. Augustine Beach, you could easily make a vacation out of it and visit the city as a day trip instead.

There are great accommodation options such as:

Augustine Beach St Augustine Florida

Things to Do Near St. Augustine

Crescent Beach for Beach Parking

Crescent Beach differs from St. Augustine as it permits beach driving, where cars can park at the back of the beach on the hard-packed sand.

There is a large parking lot with restrooms and covered picnic tables as well as a book box and beach toy box, signs that the area is loved by many in the community.

As you walk to the beach, you can read about animals and sea life that live in the area.

Crescent Beach dunes St Augustine Florida

Flagler Beach for Golden Sand

Flagler Beach is the perfect day trip from St. Augustine for those looking for a small-town feel with free access to golden sandy shores.

You can’t miss it as you drive along the A1A as its name is sprawled in white on the pier entrance roof, popping against the dark background.

Parking spaces can be found along the oceanfront by the pier entrance and tucked among the stores.

Highlights include the Flagler Beach Historical Museum (207 South Central Ave), where you can learn more about the area, see prehistoric relics, and the State Shell – The Horse Conch.

For seafood, consider the Turtle Shack Cafe, the Funky Pelican, Flagler Fish Company, and The Anchor.

Find out more here.

Flagler Beach golden sand Florida

See Daytona Beach, the “World’s Most Famous Beach”

You may have heard about Daytona Beach as it is famous for its racing history, which started in 1902, the Daytona International Speedway, and the Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

This is a bigger, built-up beach town compared to Flagler or St. Augustine, with 23 miles of hard-packed sand, a spacious boardwalk, a bandshell, and a games arcade.

There’s a real retro feel to Daytona!

Kids also love the Daytona Lagoon Water Park, which is located behind the city-like parking lot.

For more, read our guide to things to do at Daytona Beach next.

Daytona Beach Florida beach Atlantic

St. Augustine Travel Information

The nearest airport is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), 56 miles north of St. Augustine.

In the city, traffic can be tricky, but there is a pretty coastal route called the A1A that runs all the way down to Key West at the Southern tip of the state.

There are so many great things to do around St. Augustine that draw in day trippers and long weekenders, so please consider that crowds during popular holidays and events are likely.

White front of Ximenez-Fatio House Museum in St Augustine

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