100 things to do in St. Augustine (and surrounding areas)

Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in America? That’s right … St. Augustine was founded 42 years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia making it the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement on the North American continent. There is so much history to explore in this old city. More recently, St. Augustine has been named Best Place to Live in Florida (Money Magazine), one of the Best Small Towns in the South (Southern Living Magazine), and one of the Nation’s best beaches (Trip Advisor). Wow!

I love living in St. Augustine. It has a quaint, small-town feel to it while at the same time there is always something going on and so many things to do and see! Whether you live here or you are just visiting, here is a list you can utilize when you’re looking for things to do in and around St. Augustine. There is something for everyone on this list! Check out the long list below along with various links for more information! Now get out there and EXPLORE!

 

  1. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos (aka The Fort). While there, take a walk along the bayfront and check out the Lions Bridge, what a view!
  2. Take a tour at Flagler College … which was once the Hotel Ponce de Leon (free for county residents). Be sure to look up when you enter the lobby.
  3. While downtown, be sure to check out the Colonial Quarter, the Oldest Wooden School House, the Pena-Peck House, Aviles Street, the oldest street in St. Augustine, as well the Old City Gate (great photo op)!
  4. Shop locally owned shops and boutiques along St George Street. There are also many great restaurants and bars, and establishments that have live music. To see some of North Florida’s best musical talent, check out Colonial Oak Music Park.
  5. Visit the Lightner Museum which is housed in the former the Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler. Then eat lunch at Cafe Alcazar (on site).
  6. Visit the Oldest House Museum aka the Gonzales-Alverez House (free for residents).
  7. See history come alive in the Ximenez-Fatii House Museum and see what life was like in St. Augustine during the 1800s.
  8. Visit The Potter’s Wax Museum and see some of the world’s most famous people up close and personal.
  9. Take a ride on the Old Town Trolley, the best way to get around and learn about the city all in one! Along the way, you’ll see Old Senator … no, it’s not a person, but rather a 600-year-old live oak tree!
  10. Take a tour at the Old Jail and learn its unique history or visit at night on the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour.
  11. Go to the weirdest spot in town … Ripley’s Believe It or Not! They also have a Red Train Tour and mini golf along the bayfront.
  12. Take a Segway Tour and learn all about the Historic Sites in town.
  13. Climb the 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
  14. Go to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at the Mission de Nombre de Dios … the founding site of the City of St. Augustine established in 1565.
  15. Take a drink of water at the Fountain of Youth.
  16. Take a ferry across the Matanzas River to visit Fort Matanzas (free).
  17. Learn about runaway slaves seeking freedom at Fort Mose Historic State Park.
  18. Like chocolate? If you answered yes, go to Whetstone Chocolates and take a tour!
  19. If you are seeking a ghostly experience, take a walk on the paranormal side with Ghost Tours of St. Augustine.
  20. Want to see the city from a more intimate setting than a trolley, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town with Southern Carriages or Country Carriages.
  21. Take a free tour at the St. Augustine Distillery (must be over 21). After your tour, visit the Ice Plant Bar for some lunch or dinner, in the same building.
  22. Make your very own mosaic to take home at Rembrandtz’ Mosaic Studio. Check out my blog post about my visits to the studio!
  23. Participate in a complimentary tour and wine tasting at the San Sebastian Winery.
  24. Kids need a break or need to let out some energy? Take them to the Project SWING playground located near the historic downtown parking garage.
  25. Just down the road on San Marco at the corner near San Carlos, you’ll find at town favorite, the J & S Carousel at Davenport Park.
  26. Also located downtown and a great place to take the mateys, I mean the kids, is the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, fun and educational!
  27. Ahoy Mateys! Children will love going on a treasure hunt aboard the Black Raven Pirate Ship after their trip to the Pirate Museum.
  28. While downtown, enjoy a sweet treat! St. Augustine has some fabulous donut shops, ice cream shops, and dessert shops. Here are just a few to try: Swillerbees, The Donut Experiment, The Hyppo, Choco-lattes, and Mayday Ice Cream.
  29. If your kids like marine life, just down the road from downtown St. Augustine, you can take the kids to the St. Augustine Aquarium to feed stingrays and sharks!
  30. While at the aquarium, if you want a treetop view, you can try out the ziplines at Castaway Canopy Zipline Adventure.
  31. In this same area of town, you will find not one but two Outlet Shopping Centers to visit for great deals! St. Augustine Outlets and Premium Outlets.
  32. Need more family fun? Head over to Adventure Landing for mini golf, go karts, and of course, the arcade! Their Jacksonville location also has a waterpark!
  33. There are two other mini golf locations in St. Augustine you can visit as well, both are on Anastasia Island: Fiesta Falls Mini Golf and Anastasia Mini Golf.
  34. When you think of Florida, do you think of alligators? … one of the MUST SEE places (IMO) is the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (your kids will love it!) You can check out my blog post about the Alligator Farm to see photos and more info!
  35. While at the Alligator Farm, if you want a different view/perspective, try out ziplining over the alligators/crocodiles at Crocodile Crossing!
  36. Crocodilia lovers can also go visit Smooth Waters Wildlife Park in Deleon Springs. It’s only about an hour drive. Your kids (and you) will love holding an alligator and feeding a tortoise. And you can go to visit DeLeon Springs afterward!
  37. Some people who visit Florida love dolphins! If that’s you, then you’ll want to visit Marineland, where you can experience a real live dolphin encounter!
  38. Another way to see dolphins in St. Augustine is to go on a Dolphin Boat Tour, perhaps with St. Augustine Eco Tours or Red Boat Water Tours. (There are other companies as well, check them out on Trip Advisor!)
  39. As I mentioned above, there are many different boat tours available. Don’t miss going on a Sunset Tour! Two companies I will recommend highly are Schooner Freedom Charters and Florida Water Tours.
  40. If you like to get out on the water and explore, there are many companies that offer guided kayaking trips. One that we enjoyed was kayaking in Salt Run with Kayaking St. Augustine. Eco Tours mentioned above also does kayak tours.
  41. If you’d like to do a kayak tour with a different view, try Ripple Effect EcoTours and kayak in the Guana River or on the Matanzas River Estuary.
  42. Perhaps you would like to try fishing from a kayak. Visit St. Augustine Paddle Sports and they can connect you with a great guide (Will Neimann) who will take you out for a guided kayak fishing experience!
  43. If you like to fish, another fun experience is Surf Fishing (fishing on the beach). The Surf Angler, Noel Kuhn, is an awesome guide who can hook you up!
  44. If you would prefer to experience some in-shore fishing, then Tommy Derringer with Inshore Adventures is your guy.
  45. How about learning how to surf? Check out the St. Augustine Surf School.
  46. Looking for something a little more adventurous, how about parasailing? Check out St. Augustine Parasail and you’ll see a whole different view of St. Augustine!
  47. How about a fun and exhilarating tour on the St. Johns River and its tributaries? Take an Airboat Tour with Captain Mike with Sea Serpent Tours. The location of these tours is at Trout Creek (also a great fishing spot and has public boat ramps).
  48. Sea Serpent Tours also offer rentals such as hydro bikes, kayaks, pontoon boats, paddle boards, and bass boats if you want to get out explore the river on your own.
  49. Visit the beach! St. Augustine has many beaches to explore. Here is a photo blog post I wrote about the beaches of St. Augustine and all the things you might see … it’s a photographer’s dream canvas.
  50. St. Augustine Beach (most central and known) has two noteworthy locations, the first is the St. Johns County Pier location. At the pier location, you will find the pier which is great for fishing or just the view, restrooms and a splash pad for the kids! This location is also the site for many special events. Great place to spend the day at the beach!
  51. The second noteworthy location to visit close to pier location is Anastasia State Park. This is a beautiful state park definitely worth exploring and has a great camping site as well!
  52. Vilano Beach and Surfside park are both north of St. Augustine Beach. Vilano is known for Porpoise Point which has a great view of downtown St. Augustine. These beaches are also loved by fisherman and those looking for shells and shark’s teeth.
  53. Butler Beach and Crescent Beach are just south of St. Augustine Beach and loved by locals and visitors (many condos located along Crescent Beach). You might see people horseback riding here (a permit is required and is only allowed when it’s not sea turtle nesting season). You might also spot a Gopher Tortoise in the dunes.
  54. The hard packed sand at the beaches mentioned above makes them great beaches for a bike ride! Here are a couple of places you can rent bikes: Island Life or Drifters Beach and Bike Rentals.
  55. Looking for a quiet beachcombing experience away from it all, between St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra, visit beachside at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Reserve
  56. Just north of Guana, you can visit Mickler’s Beachfront Park in Ponte Vedra, restrooms and free parking available. This is a popular spot for shark’s teeth!
  57. One of my favorite beach spots is to the south of St. Augustine Beach. Fort Matanzas National Monument Beach and the Matanzas Inlet area (there are parking lots on both sides of A1A). What makes this beach special is being able to enjoy both the river and the ocean! Great place for shell collectors as well.
  58. Just a little further south, there are 2 beach spots definitely worth visiting. The area around Marineland, you can park at the River-to-Sea Preserve.  And just outside of St. Augustine, in Palm Coast, Washington Oaks Garden State Park. This beach has fabulous huge coquina rock formations on the beach you don’t want to miss!
  59. Participate in a Beach Clean-up! Here are a few organizations you can check out for events: NFCC/Matanzas Riverkeeper, The Litter Gitter, and Keepers of the Coast.
  60. Visit the Sea Turtle Hospital at the UF Whitney Lab. Go to a sea turtle release!
  61. Go seashell shopping at Tom’s Seashells and Souvenirs.
  62. See the sunrise at the beach! Viewing the sunrise from any of the beaches I mentioned above would be fabulous! Vilano is probably my favorite spot.
  63. View an amazing sunset! Here are a few places for viewing: on a boat as mentioned above, restaurants on the Intracoastal Waterway such as Aunt Kate’s, Caps, Beaches or Salt Water Cowboys, at the Vilano Pier or on the Vilano Bridge, or somewhere along the St Johns River such as Shands Pier.
  64. Visit a natural spring in Florida, must-do activity! Some of the springs are great for swimming and some for tubing. Springs I recommend for a fun day trip include DeLeon Springs State Park, Blue Springs State Park, and Itchetucknee Springs State Park. I highly recommend them all! Check out the links for more info!
  65. Visit a park! Here is a link to a list of St Johns County Parks.
  66. In the Southeast part of the county, visit Treaty Park. There are softball fields, tennis courts, a dog park, a skate park, trails to walk, picnic tables, a catch and release fishing lake, and more! Great place for a family gathering!
  67. In the Northeast part of the county, visit Bird Island Park and then visit the library. This park is a great stop if you have kids, if you like to birdwatch (or turtle watch) or if you are just looking for a tranquil place.
  68. Alpine Groves Park in the northwest part of the county. See the St Johns River, butterfly gardens, a historical homestead. Walk the dog, bring the kids to play on the playground, or enjoy the fishing pier. You might even see alligators or manatee!
  69. Go for a hike! There are many parks, reserves, and conservation areas in and around St. Augustine that offer trails for hiking. The Florida Hikes page offers many suggestions and check out my blog post on my  Top 5 Northeast Florida Hikes.
  70. Visit a garden! If you love roses, flowers, and trees of all kinds, and gardens, you must visit this beautiful park just down the road in Palm Coast. Washington Oaks Garden State Park has a Garden side and a Beachside (as mentioned above) and I highly recommend visiting both.
  71. Visit the Florida Agricultural Museum, just down the road in Palm Coast.
  72. Go on a horseback trail ride through fields, by a lake, in the woods, or at a Ranch at the Florida Agricultural Museum and Diamond D Ranch.
  73. Take a tour at the St. Augustine Wild Reserve (reservations required). Its a must see, especially if you like lions and tigers! (in the World Golf Village Area).
  74. Worth the drive! Take a tour (I recommend the exotic animal interactive tour) at Single Vision in Melrose. The owner, Carl, is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species as well as educating the public.
  75. If you love animals, also visit the Jacksonville Zoo, its worth the drive!
  76. Another cool animal place to tour in Jacksonville is Catty Shack … it’s a non-profit that provides a home for endangered big cats and to educate the public.
  77. Go to a football game. In Jacksonville, you can go see the Jaguars (NFL) play at TIAA Bank Field or see The Sharks (arena football) play at Veteran’s Memorial Arena.
  78. Go to a baseball game at Bragen Field. Jacksonville hosts the Jumbo Shrimp, a Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
  79. Go to Top Golf! Located in South Jacksonville, just a short drive away.
  80. Golfer fans, you must visit the World Golf Hall of Fame. Afterward, you can visit Murray Bros. Caddyshack for lunch or dinner.
  81. Go bowling at Anastasia Lanes.
  82. Go to a movie at the IMAX Theater in the World Golf Village.
  83. Play a round of golf. There are many courses in St. Augustine to enjoy! A notable course close by you may have heard of, say from the PGA Tour, is  TPC Sawgrass.
  84. Run a race! St. Augustine and Jacksonville host many marathons, 5Ks, and other races. One of the most notable is the St. Augustine Half Marathon in November.
  85. Do you like to go up high and take in a bird’s eye view? Take a helicopter tour over St. Augustine with Old City Helicopters.
  86. Take flight in A Hot Air Balloon Ride!
  87. Find hidden objects, figure out the clues, and solve puzzles to earn your freedom and ESCAPE. Here are two you can visit: Xscape Our Rooms or Escape U.
  88. Go to the Limelight Theater and see a show!
  89. See a concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheater!
  90. Take in dinner & a movie at the Corazon Cinema and Cafe.
  91. Support the Art Galleries of St. Augustine, go to the First Friday Artwalk downtown.
  92. Show your creative side at  Painting with a Twist, or St. Johns Board and Brush, or Doing Dishes Pottery Studio.
  93. How about a culinary experience like no other … eat, drink, experience and taste the difference as you tour St. Augustine with The Tasting Tours.
  94. In the summer, you can enjoy food, fun, and Music by the Sea!
  95. Go to a Farmer’s Market! Here are just a few to visit: at the Amphitheater, Wednesday Market at the Pier, or the Nocatee Farmer’s Market.
  96. Visit a farm! Here are just a few: Maggie’s Herb Farm, Sykes Family Farms, HNH Blueberry Farm, or in Flagler, Cowart Ranch and Farms.
  97. Stay at a Resort and get pampered! There are so many in St. Augustine and the surrounding areas, here are a few: the Guy Harvey Resort, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, and the Hammock Resort.
  98. Go to a local Festival. St. Augustine hosts many festivals throughout the year in the downtown area at St. Francis Field.
  99. In the summer, don’t miss the Fireworks over the Matanzas! And for New Year’s Eve, attend the Beach Blast Off!
  100. Go see the Nights of Lights. It is definitely St. Augustine’s premier event! It begins the end of November before Thanksgiving and runs through the end of January. You can view the lights walking, on a trolley, or even by boat! Don’t miss it!
  101. I know, I said 100, but there are so many things to do. I just wanted to mention up in Jax, there are a ton of other fun entertainment venues I could list (maybe next blog ha) but I wanted to mention there is Indoor Skydiving, Axe Throwing, Autobahn racing, Urban Air Park, Dave and Busters, Paintball, Ice Skating, and so much more!

Wow, that was a lot of work! I will say, I love this list! There are many of them I have experienced and look forward to doing again and again, and there are many on this list I haven’t yet experienced, that I am now looking forward to trying out! I hope you will save this list and utilize it when you’re looking for something to do, whether you live in the area or you are just visiting. I know this list is not completely conclusive, so feel free to add a comment with suggestions. I could not include every business in St. Augustine (had to pick and choose), so be sure to do your research on any of these activities because there are so many reputable businesses in St. Augustine to enjoy! (*Note: I am not in any way being compensated by the companies listed in this blog post. I am simply a resident that wanted to share some of the fun in our town!) Be sure to check out some of my other blog posts and join my Facebook page to keep up to date! Until next time, get out there and enjoy life and experience all that St. Augustine or your town has to offer! ~Kristina~

 

 

16 thoughts on “100 things to do in St. Augustine (and surrounding areas)

  1. Kristina, I enjoyed this blog so much that I will share with my friends stateside and overseas……you have listed so many places I have yet to visit….well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t live too far from St. Augustine and whenever I’m there, I only visit the Tanger Outlets. I appreciate this post. I am definitely going to have to check some of these places out on my next trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One day head out hwy 16 past the outlet malls when u get to hwy 13 take a left go past where outback crab shack used to be right down on the left side of the road place called Buddy Boys an log cabin store has every thing and any thing .great place to visit .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, St Augustine sure sounds like an amazing happening place. I’m not sure I could live there or I will never get anything accomplished because I would want to do everything on your list hahaha, You did such a great job compiling this I can’t imagine how much research has gone into it. I hope one day we will travel to St. Augustine thanks for all the inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful job, Kristina! This is a perfect list to print out and leave in my guest room with a chocolate on their pillows. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

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