St Augustine, Florida, is considered the oldest city in the United States and has a beautiful history. It was founded by Spanish colonists in the 16th century, on August 28, 1565 and incorporated by the United States only in 1822. It is important to reserve at least two days to visit this city, which is considered one of the best cities near Orlando to visit and certainly a nice tour for families besides the parks while visiting Orlando.
St Augustine is located in northeastern Florida and belongs to St. Jones County. The city is close to Daytona Beach (86 km). The distance from Orlando to Saint Augustine is 170 Km from Orlando (2 hours trip).
As it could not be otherwise, St Augustine brings a lot of history in its architecture in its beautiful buildings, some more than 300 years old. Walk through the narrow streets of some neighborhoods, maintained since the time of Spanish colonization. In addition to a lot of history and culture, the city offers a variety of interesting tours and attractions.
For tourists who do not give up cultural attractions, arts, good food and beautiful beaches, this city is without a doubt the right destination.
Here are some interesting tips on things to do in St Augustine, Florida:
St Augustine Florida Fort
St Augustine Florida fort, called Fort Castillo de San Marcos is one of the most interesting Saint Augustine attractions. This beautiful and historic fortress was built by the Spanish colonists and is considered the oldest masonry fort in the country, so it is considered an important American National Monument. Its construction began in 1672 and took more than 20 years to complete.
An interesting detail about Fort Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine is that its walls were erected with a material called coquina. Coquina is a kind of limestone formation from the mixture of shells and sand, resulting in a natural concrete, extremely resistant to enemy bullets.
The ticket for the visit to Fort Castillo de San Marco costs just 15 dollars and is valid for 7 consecutive days. If the visitor has the “America The Beautiful” – United States National Parks annual pass – admission is free
In the place it is possible to take a complete tour in the external and internal areas, getting to know the interesting history of Saint Augustine up close.
Flagler College Tour
In your list of things to do in St Augustine, don’t forget to include the Flager College Tour.
The former and luxurious Hotel Ponce de Leon, now known as Flagler College. It was designed and built by the famous tycoon Henry Flagler in 1888, with the purpose of hosting the elite that came from the northern United States, during the harsh winter months.
This great and daring work was completed in just 1 year and a half and already had electricity, which at the time was barely accessible. To give you an idea, the White House only received electricity after 3 years than this hotel, which represents the power, fortune and influence of Henry Flagler.
For those interested in visiting and learning more about the history of this important historical site, it is recommended to hire guided tours that take place every day from 10 am to 3 pm, between the months of May and August. In the other months of the year, visits are made at 10 am and 2 pm. Ticket sales take place in the lobby gift shop of the former hotel. Adults pay US $ 12 and seniors US $ 10. Good news for those traveling with children: there is no charge for admission until the age of 10. So enjoy!
Fountain of Youth at Archaeological Park
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park or the Fountain of Youth is an unmissable and super interesting archaeological attraction to be known in Saint Augustine. Located on the beautiful Magnolia Avenue, it is possible to learn more about the history of the famous fountain of youth that attracted the Spanish colonizer, Ponce de León, considered the first European to visit the state of Florida, attracted by the magical promises of this fountain in the 16th century.
Tourists can also visit the village of the indigenous tribe that was in this huge archaeological park, before the Spanish colonization in 1565.
Ticket prices are also affordable for the whole family: $ 15 for adults and children under 5 are free.
See more information about this archaeological tour on the official website www.fountainofyouthflorida.com
Right after visiting the Archaeological Park, take the opportunity to stroll along the famous Magnolia Avenue. National Geographic has elected it as one of the ten most beautiful avenues in the United States.
Magnolia Avenue has beautiful oaks that frame the entire avenue and filter sunlight through the leaves, offering a pleasant umbrella for those who want to go for a walk or bike ride. Enjoy the tour in this cinematic scenario and take wonderful photos.
Another intersting thing to do in St Augustine Florida is the boat ride.
For fans of water tours, Saint Augustine offers several interesting options. It is possible to see the city and the main tourist spots, such as the Castillo de San Marcos and the Bridge of Lions from other angles.
On the Red Boat Tour website, you can see all the tour options offered. It is worth mentioning that some are for adults only and need to be booked in advance, check the website.
A good suggestion is the “Sunset BYOB Cruise” tour, ideal to enjoy the sunset and enjoy the late afternoon, or the unforgettable night tour, called “Nights of Lights Tour”, passing through the decorated and illuminated city that offers an experience fantastic.
Bridge of Lions = Bridge of Lions
Considered the main bridge in the city, it is retractable and has two beautiful lions sculpted in marbles. The bridge has existed since 1926, that is, almost 100 years ago!
The tour can be done on foot, ensuring an indescribable view of the city’s beautiful waterfront, especially on sunny days.
This bridge was recognized as the fourth among the 10 best in the United States in 2010, by Roads & Bridges magazine. It is worth checking up close.
Old Town Saint Augustine
For those who like culture and history, exploring the old center of Saint Augustine is a good option. The tour through the old and charming streets of the city, built in the 18th century is undoubtedly a delightful journey through time.
The tour begins at the ancient city gates – built in 1739 – with the objective of protecting against enemies. The tour extends along Saint George Street which has more than 20 must-see attractions. Therefore, the tip is to schedule a day to enjoy this tour without haste.
Some of the main sights found in Saint George that are worth getting to know are:
- Oldest Wooden School House: Considered the oldest wooden school in the United States, located near the city gate. In 1937, its structure received a large reinforced chain against hurricanes.
- Authentic Old Drugstore – The old drugstore opened in 1739 and transports the visitor to the time of Spanish colonization in the city. Tobacco and medicines were sold on site.
- St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum – A themed museum that shows the Golden Age of Piracy at the time of English colonization in the city. The museum has a large collection of pirated artifacts and makes fun and interactive presentations.
- Potter’s Wax Museum – The first United States Wax Museum. In the place the visitor finds more than 160 wax figures, from the celebrities of Hollywood to relevant personages of the history of the country.
Old Town Trolley
A good option to follow the tour more comfortably through the historic center of St Augustine is to take the Old Town Trolley. This tram passes through the main tourist spots in the city, allowing tourists to get on and off as they wish (system known as “hop on hop off”). The ticket for one day costs on average US $ 25.00, for two days US $ 35.00 and the visitor can take the Trolley, as many times as he wants, in the period purchased.
This tour is very fun and practical, mainly because the walk through the historic center of Saint Augustine is long and with so many interesting places to visit, the visitor takes better advantage of the tour by taking the cable car.
Another advantage is that it goes through some popular attractions in the city, such as the Alligator Farm, the Lighthouse and the beach, which are far from the center.
For those who enjoy scary theme tours, the Old Town Trolley offers the “Ghost Tour” that takes visitors to the famous haunted places in the city, including cemeteries. Now, for those who enjoy a more peaceful adventure or are with children, the “Night of Lights” festival takes place between the high season months, from November to the beginning of February. It is fantastic to see the whole city decorated and lit up.
Below is a video from the official channel of the Old Trolley St Augustine:
Lightner Museum – Things to do in St Augustine Florida
This museum is the former Alcazar Hotel, also designed and built by magnate Henry Flagler, in 1888. The hotel ended its activities at the time of the great American recession in 1929 and became a beautiful museum, some 20 years later.
The decoration of the place brings together the most beautiful collections of works of art of the 19th century in the United States. In addition to unconventional collections that have stuffed animals from Otto Lightner’s collection, and curious objects from the time, such as typewriters, musical instruments, among other ancient objects.
Those who visit the museum get to know the old accommodation of the hotel workers up close, when it still worked, in addition to various documents and records of the time, bringing a lot of history and culture to visitors.
This old hotel has a lush and well-kept garden, which is undoubtedly a beautiful place to visit. The museum also offers spaces for events, such as exhibitions and weddings.
The place is open to the public every day of the week and offers guided tours, interesting exhibitions and demonstrations of musical instruments of the time. Visit the official Lightner Museum website and see more information: https://lightnermuseum.org/
St Augustine Beach
Anyone visiting Saint Augustine cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches, spread out over its 67km of length.
The beaches are clean, quiet, empty and with white sand that attract tourists looking to recharge their batteries and relax. One of the main ones is the charming Saint Augustine Beach, which has a clean and clear sea. The coast is surrounded by lots of light and beautiful nature.
Other beaches worth mentioning are: Vilano Beach, Butler Beach and Crescent Beach, to the south. These beaches are incredible to enjoy with the whole family.
We cannot forget the famous pier of Saint Augustine. The location is wonderful and perfect for enjoying an indescribable sunset, and of course, ensuring beautiful photos.
St Augustine Premium Outlets
Those who visit the city cannot fail to stop by the Premium Outlets. The prices of the products are unbeatable. If you linke shopping and you are already aware of Outlets Premium Orlando, you will like the ones in St Augustine as well.
The best and famous brands are present on the site, such as Asics, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Carter’s, Gap and many others that you can check on the official website.
Take the opportunity to include the Outlet Premium tour in your travel itinerary!
St Augustine Florida Lighthouse
Located in the city center, St Augustine Florida Lighthouse was built in 1874, is 50m high and to reach the top you have to climb 219 steps. The effort is worthwhile to contemplate the beautiful view of the city from above, including the beautiful sunset. On site, in addition to this famous lighthouse, the visitor gets to know maritime museums, a restoration laboratory and shipwreck pieces. This tour is undoubtedly an experience that cannot be left out of your schedule.
The site is also famous for being recognized as one of the most haunted places in the southern United States, with scary stories since the time of its construction. If you want to unlock the secrets of this lighthouse, take the paranormal “Dark of the Moon” tour for just $ 25 and discover the legends of the St Augustine Lighthouse.
Click here to access the official website of Farol and check out the entire program.
Our Lady of La Leche Church in St Augustine
In the Mission of Nombre de Dios park there are many beautiful lakes and trees so the place is perfect for relaxing, hiking and soaking up the sun. Inside, the first church in the United States – Our Lady of La Leche Church – was built with devotion to Nossa Senhora do Leite and Bom Parto, which attracts mainly pregnant women from all over the country.
The place keeps a lot of history and culture of the city, still from the Spanish colonization period, bringing a very interesting legacy to be known. See the official website and include the visit of this beautiful church in your itinerary: https://missionandshrine.org/
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday: From 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday – 12h to 16h – Free admission.
Visit St Augustine Alligator Farm
A good tour option to take the family, especially for children, is to visit the Alligator Farm, a zoo complete with a variety of alligators and birds.
It has existed for 125 years and currently brings together the 24 known species of crocodilians. In addition, the site offers many attractions such as zip lining and other activities for all ages.
Adults pay U $ 25.99 and children between 3 and 11 years old U $ 14.99. For updated information, visit the official Alligator Farm website: https://www.alligatorfarm.com/plan-your-visit/