Best Things to Do in St. Augustine, FL: Top 12 Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things to Do in St. Augustine, FL
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you thinking about visiting St. Augustine in Florida this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in St. Augustine. These historic sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

St. Augustine: where cobblestone streets meet endless ocean views, and the air is thick with the scent of salt and centuries-old stories. Imagine stepping into a time machine, one that takes you back to the days of Spanish conquistadors, yet also lands you smack in the middle of vibrant Augustine festivals, art scenes, and mouth-watering culinary adventures. Welcome to America’s oldest city, a place where things to do in St. Augustine aren’t just about history but also about vibrant festivals, art scenes, and culinary delights.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel the pull of the past and the thrill of the present intertwined in a dance as rhythmic as the ocean waves. Whether you’re a history aficionado or a beachcomber, St. Augustine has something for every soul. And let’s not forget the food—oh, the food! From seafood caught just hours before it hits your plate to international cuisine that rivals any big city, your taste buds are in for a treat.

So, grab your camera and your sense of adventure. We’re about to uncover why St. Augustine, FL, is a true Florida gem. Trust me, by the end of this journey, you’ll be wondering why it took you so long to discover this gem of the Sunshine State. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in St. Augustine.

The top places to visit in St. Augustine, FL right now
This article on the Best Things To Do in St. Augustine, FL contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in St. Augustine

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in St. Augustine, Florida? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this picturesque vacation spot. So fly to Florida and keep reading to discover all these unique St. Augustine places to visit.

Are you looking to immerse yourself in centuries-old architecture and museums? Or would you prefer to unwind on beautiful beaches or take boat tours along the scenic bay? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in St. Augustine can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in St. Augustine that you should know about

1. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

If you’re searching for unique places in St. Augustine, look no further than the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. This iconic structure isn’t just a pretty photo op; it’s a living testament to the city’s maritime history. Climb the 219 steps to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. The ocean stretches out like a vast canvas, painted in hues of blue and green, while the city’s historic skyline offers a contrasting backdrop.

Inside the museum, you’ll find fascinating exhibits that delve into shipwrecks, pirate lore, and the lives of the lighthouse keepers who once called this place home. It’s a hands-on experience, perfect for families and history enthusiasts alike. And for those who love a good ghost story, the lighthouse offers dark-of-the-night tours that explore the paranormal activities reported here. Yes, it’s as spine-chilling as it sounds!

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates stunning views, a visit to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is among the best things to do in St. Augustine. It’s not just a lighthouse; it’s a journey through time and tales, one that leaves you with a newfound appreciation for this ancient city.

Exploring St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is one of the best things to do in St. Augustine, FL.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is a living testament to maritime history, offering panoramic views.

2. The Historic District

Ah, the Historic District—truly one of the cool destinations in St. Augustine to soak in the city’s rich past. Picture cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and the kind of charm that only comes from a place steeped in history. As you stroll through, you’ll encounter living history museums, art galleries, and quaint shops that seem to whisper secrets of yesteryears.

But it’s not all about the past. The Historic District is also teeming with modern-day delights. From trendy boutiques to gourmet eateries, there’s a perfect blend of old and new. For the foodies, the district offers a range of culinary experiences that span from traditional Spanish fare to contemporary fusion dishes. And let’s not forget the vibrant nightlife; think live music, craft cocktails, and a crowd that knows how to have a good time.

Thinking about what to do in St. Augustine if you’re a history aficionado or a lifestyle connoisseur? The Historic District offers the best of both worlds. It’s a place where every corner tells a story, and every moment is an opportunity to make your own history.

Historic District showcases cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and living history museums that evoke the city's rich past.
Historic District in St. Augustine, FL, showcases cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and living history museums that evoke the city’s rich past.

3. Castillo de San Marcos

If you’re wondering where to visit in St. Augustine for a dose of history that also offers breathtaking views, look no further than the Castillo de San Marcos. This 17th-century fortress stands as the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, and it’s a sight to behold.

Constructed from coquina, a unique type of shell stone, the fort has withstood numerous attacks and sieges. Its walls could tell tales of battles, betrayals, and the quest for control over Florida. As you roam its chambers and ramparts, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different era.

Interactive exhibits and live reenactments bring the past to life. Don’t miss the cannon firing demonstrations; they’re a blast—literally! And the views? From the top, you’ll get panoramic vistas of the city and the sea, making for perfect photo ops.

The Castillo de San Marcos is one of the coolest things to do in St. Augustine. It’s not just a visit; it’s a journey back in time.

Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, offers both history and breathtaking views.
Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, offers both history and breathtaking views.

4. Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

When it comes to the best places in St. Augustine, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a standout. Legend has it that Spanish explorer Ponce de León came to Florida in search of this mythical fountain. While he never found the elixir of eternal youth, what he did discover was a land rich in history and natural beauty.

More than just a tourist attraction, the park is a living museum. You’ll find a planetarium that explains the navigational techniques of yesteryears, a Native American village replica, and even a cannon firing exhibit. The park beautifully blends history, science, and a bit of whimsy.

One of the St. Augustine things to do that’s unconventional is to actually drink from the so-called Fountain of Youth. Will it make you forever young? Probably not, but it’s a fun experience that makes for a great story.

The lush gardens and peacocks roaming freely add to the park’s enchanting atmosphere. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or someone in between, this park is a must-see in St. Augustine.

The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is an area in St. Augustine, FL that captivates with its rich history and natural beauty.
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is an area in St. Augustine, FL that captivates with its rich history and natural beauty.

5. Schooner Freedom Charters

Ready for another incredible thing to do in St. Augustine, FL? If you’re curious about what to do in St. Augustine that combines romance, history, and a dash of adrenaline, look no further than Schooner Freedom Charters. This isn’t your average boat ride; it’s a journey back in time aboard a 19th-century style schooner.

Feel the wind in your hair and the salt on your skin as you sail along Matanzas Bay. The crew is not only skilled but also incredibly knowledgeable about the area’s history. They’ll regale you with tales of pirates and explorers that once sailed these very waters.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples. It’s a St. Augustine attraction that’s as magical as it is educational. Don’t forget to bring your camera; the photo ops are endless! This experience is tailored to all. The crew even lets you take the wheel if you’re up for the challenge.

Sail along Matanzas Bay, where the skilled and knowledgeable crew shares tales of pirates and explorers from the area's rich history.
Sail along Matanzas Bay, where the skilled and knowledgeable crew shares tales of pirates and explorers from the area’s rich history.

6. A Ghostly Encounter

If you’re a fan of the eerie and the mysterious, this is one of the unique things to do in St. Augustine you can’t afford to miss. A Ghostly Encounter offers a spine-tingling tour that takes you through the city’s most haunted spots. And let’s be honest, in a city as old as St. Augustine, there are plenty of those!

Your guide, dressed in period attire, will lead you through dark alleys and past ancient cemeteries. They’ll share chilling tales of the spirits that are said to still roam these areas. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the stories will captivate you.

What sets this apart from the others is the use of K2 meters—devices that detect electromagnetic fields. Feel the thrill as the meters light up, indicating the presence of something—or someone—otherworldly.

The tour concludes at the Old Jail, one of the places in St. Augustine, FL, for paranormal activity. Here, you’ll have the chance to communicate with spirits using dowsing rods. It’s an experience that will leave you questioning the boundaries between this world and the next.

Experiencing A Ghostly Encounter is one of the best things to do in St. Augustine, FL.
Experience the eerie and mysterious with A Ghostly Encounter, offering a spine-tingling tour of most haunted spots.

7. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

Ever fantasized about a swashbuckling life on the high seas? Then the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is your treasure trove of adventure. This museum is a must-see in St. Augustine for anyone with a penchant for history and a dash of daring.

Step into a world where pirates ruled, treasures were aplenty, and the Jolly Roger flew high. The museum boasts one of the world’s largest collections of authentic pirate artifacts, including the only surviving treasure chest of the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

The interactive exhibits are a hit with kids and adults alike. Try your hand at hoisting a Jolly Roger, firing a cannon, or even treasure hunting. The museum offers a unique blend of education and entertainment, and an ideal destination if you’re traveling with family.

And don’t miss the Pirate Soul Sound Experience, where you’ll hear the sounds of pirate life, from the creaking of a ship to the clash of swords. It’s an immersive experience that transports you back to the Golden Age of Piracy.

Live your swashbuckling fantasies at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, a must-see for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Live your swashbuckling fantasies at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, a must-see in St. Augustine for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

8. Lightner Museum

Are you planning about the best things to do in St. Augustine that combines history, art, and a dash of the eclectic? Explore the Lightner Museum. Housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, this museum is a treasure trove of curiosities from the Gilded Age.

The Lightner Museum is a feast for the eyes, offering everything from Tiffany glass and Victorian-era furniture to shrunken heads and mummies. Yes, you read that right—mummies! It’s a place where the conventional meets the bizarre, making it one of the destinations in St. Augustine you won’t want to miss.

Don’t skip the Music Room, where you can marvel at antique mechanical musical instruments. The museum even hosts daily demonstrations, so you can hear these fascinating devices in action. It’s a melodious journey back in time that you won’t soon forget.

And if you’re a fan of architecture, the building itself is a marvel. With its grand courtyard, ornate details, and stunning stained glass, the Lightner Museum is as much a work of art as the collections it houses.

Explore the Lightner Museum for a blend of history, art, and eclectic curiosities from the Gilded Age.
Explore the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, FL, for a blend of history, art, and eclectic curiosities from the Gilded Age.

9. St. Augustine Food Tour

Foodies, listen up! One of the coolest activities in St. Augustine is undoubtedly the St. Augustine Food Tour. Imagine strolling through charming cobblestone streets, the air tinged with the scent of the Atlantic Ocean, as you make your way to some of the city’s most delectable eateries.

The tour is a smorgasbord of flavors, offering a taste of the city’s rich culinary history. From Spanish tapas to fresh seafood, your taste buds are in for a treat. And it’s not just about the food; each stop comes with a side of history, making it one of the St. Augustine attractions you can’t miss.

What sets this experience apart is the local guides. They’re not just food enthusiasts; they’re storytellers who weave the city’s history into each bite, making your gastronomic journey a multi-sensory experience.

And let’s not forget the drinks! Whether it’s locally brewed craft beer or St. Augustine’s famous sangria, your thirst will be more than quenched. So, if you’re curious about where to go in St. Augustine for an unforgettable culinary experience, this food tour is your answer.

Indulge in the St. Augustine Food Tour, one of the coolest activities in the city, and discover the city's most delectable eateries.
Indulge in the St. Augustine Food Tour, one of the coolest activities in St. Augustine, FL, and discover the city’s most delectable eateries.

10. St. Augustine Wild Reserve

Are you an animal lover? One of the unique things to do in St. Augustine is to visit the St. Augustine Wild Reserve. This isn’t your typical zoo; it’s a sanctuary for rescued exotic animals, offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and personal with creatures you’d usually only see on a National Geographic special.

The reserve is home to an array of animals, from white tigers to Arctic wolves. What makes this place truly special is its commitment to animal welfare. Each animal has a story, often a heartbreaking one of neglect or abuse, but here they find a loving home.

Guided tours are led by knowledgeable caretakers who share not just fascinating facts about the animals but also their individual stories. It’s an eye-opening experience that will leave you with a newfound respect for the natural world.

So, if you’re scratching your head, wondering what to do in St. Augustine that’s both entertaining and enlightening, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve should be high on your list. It’s a day of adventure that’s as educational as it is exhilarating.

Visit the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, a unique sanctuary for rescued exotic animals.
Visit the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, a unique sanctuary for rescued exotic animals.

11. St. Augustine Art Association

Art enthusiasts, this one’s for you! One of the best places to go in St. Augustine is the St. Augustine Art Association. Nestled in the heart of the city, this art haven showcases the creative spirit of local and regional artists. From contemporary pieces to classic works, there’s something here to tickle everyone’s artistic fancy.

The association frequently hosts exhibitions, workshops, and even art walks, making it a dynamic space for both artists and art lovers. You’ll find a range of mediums, from sculptures and paintings to digital art and photography. It’s not just a gallery; it’s a community where art thrives.

What sets this place apart is its focus on educational programs. They offer art classes for all ages, so if you’ve ever wanted to dabble in painting or sculpture, this is your chance. It’s not just about observing art; it’s about creating it.

Don’t miss the St. Augustine Art Association in your list of St. Augustine places to visit. It’s a feast for the eyes and the soul, offering a unique blend of artistic expression and community engagement.

Visit the St. Augustine Art Association, showcasing local and regional artists' creative works, from contemporary to classic.
Visit the St. Augustine Art Association, showcasing local and regional artists’ creative works, from contemporary to classic.

12. Anastasia State Park

If you’re yearning for a slice of natural beauty amidst the historical landmarks, Anastasia State Park is your sanctuary. A visit to this park is one of those coolest things to do in St. Augustine where you can escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with Mother Nature. With over 1,600 acres of diverse ecosystems, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you’re into bird-watching, hiking, or kayaking, this park has it all. The four miles of pristine beach are perfect for a day of sunbathing or beachcombing. And let’s not forget the fishing opportunities; the salt marsh teems with life, offering anglers a chance to catch redfish, flounder, and even the occasional sea trout.

What makes this place truly special? The park is involved in various environmental initiatives, aiming to preserve its natural beauty for generations to come. Educational programs and guided tours are also available for those interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna. Is this one of the best things to do in St. Augustine? Absolutely!

Exploring Anastasia State Park, is one of the best things to do in St. Augustine, FL.
Escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with Mother Nature at Anastasia State Park, offering over 1,600 acres of diverse ecosystems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in St. Augustine

Looking for more content on the top things to do in St. Augustine? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to St. Augustine:

How many days do you need in St. Augustine?

To fully explore St. Augustine’s historical sites, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, it’s ideal to spend at least 3 to 4 days. This allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage, enjoy leisurely beach days, and savor its culinary delights without feeling rushed.

What is the best time of year to go to St. Augustine Florida?

The best time of year to visit St. Augustine, Florida, depends on your preferences for weather, events, and crowd levels. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Winter (December to February): This is a popular time to visit St. Augustine due to its mild and pleasant winter temperatures, which range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s (°F). The Nights of Lights festival, where the historic district is adorned with millions of white lights, runs from late November to the end of January and is a major attraction.
  2. Spring (March to May): Spring is another ideal time to visit. The weather is warm but not too hot, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s (°F). The spring months also see fewer rain showers compared to the summer. The city is vibrant with blooming flowers, making it a picturesque time for sightseeing.
  3. Summer (June to August): Summer is hot and humid, with temperatures often in the 90s (°F) and frequent afternoon thunderstorms. This is also the peak tourist season, especially for families since schools are on break. If you enjoy beach activities, this is a good time, but be prepared for larger crowds and higher accommodation prices.
  4. Fall (September to November): Fall sees a drop in humidity and temperatures, making it a comfortable time to explore. However, it’s worth noting that September is the peak of hurricane season, so there’s a higher chance of rain. By late fall, the weather is cooler, and the crowds have thinned out, making it a peaceful time to visit.

What is the nicest part of St. Augustine?

St. Augustine’s nicest part is its historic district, known as the Old City. It’s a charming area with cobblestone streets, centuries-old architecture, and a rich cultural ambiance. This is where you’ll find the famous Castillo de San Marcos, museums, art galleries, and numerous dining and shopping options, creating a delightful atmosphere for exploration.

Exquisite church architecture in St. Augustine, Florida, showcasing historic and ornate designs.
Exquisite church architecture in St. Augustine, FL, showcasing historic and ornate designs.

What is St. Augustine known for?

St. Augustine is renowned for its historical significance as the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the continental United States. It’s known for its well-preserved historic district, Spanish colonial architecture, iconic Castillo de San Marcos, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant cultural scene, including festivals and art galleries.

Is St. Augustine worth seeing?

Absolutely! Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just someone looking for a unique getaway, St. Augustine offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a must-visit destination.

How do you spend a day in St. Augustine Florida?

In just one day in St. Augustine, start by exploring the Historic District, soaking in the Spanish architecture and vibrant culture. Don’t miss the Castillo de San Marcos for a history lesson. Spend the afternoon at Anastasia State Park for some beach time. Cap off your day with a sunset sail or a ghost tour for a unique experience.

How can I spend 2 days in St. Augustine?

On Day 1, explore the Historic District and visit the Castillo de San Marcos. Enjoy a local meal in the heart of the city. On Day 2, head to Anastasia State Park for some beach fun and nature trails. In the evening, opt for a ghost tour or a sunset cruise to wrap up your trip.

Final Thoughts on Visiting St. Augustine

And there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the coolest activities in St. Augustine. From the haunting allure of its ancient streets to the serene beauty of its natural parks, this city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, St. Augustine has something to offer for every kind of traveler. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore one of America’s most enchanting cities. Trust us, it’s a trip you won’t soon forget.

The top things to do in St. Augustine, FL for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in St. Augustine, FL? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment