Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest and longest continually inhabited city in America, full of history and heritage. But that’s not all there is for visitors to see and experience in this coastal Florida city. This is a unique destination that’s a favorite among tourists who come from near and far. There are clean and peaceful beaches here, tons of restaurants and shops, and don’t forget Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth!
It’s a relatively short drive from both Jacksonville and Orlando, with a mild year-around climate that allows for plenty time to enjoy the outdoors. It’s an easy to get around on foot, or you can hop on-board a trolley or horse-drawn carriage for a sightseeing tour and pick a local’s brain about the hidden spots to check out. But ultimately, these are some of the most fun places to visit in St. Augustine to help you plan your next trip.
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Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
St. Augustine has some odd “claims to fame,” and one of them is being home to the oldest wooden schoolhouse. It’s the oldest one in the U.S. and located on St. George Street, so you can’t miss it if you’re strolling through the touristy area over here.
Hiking at Moses Creek Park
To get a brief respite from the city life and tourist crowds, head to the peaceful sanctuary that is Moses Creek Park. There are miles of open space here that’s great for easy hiking.
History is obviously a big reason that people visit St. Augustine, so if that’s why you’re visiting, make sure to check out the Lightner Museum. There are lots of intriguing exhibits here, including mummies, crystal, and shrunken heads. This museum has been around since the late 1800s.
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
Let’s face it; most of wouldn’t mind drinking a magic elixir and restoring that youthful glow again. This is the top attraction in St. Augustine and definitely worth the $15 per adult admission fee it costs to get in. Once you walk inside the park, you’ll find lots of small huts that offer educational videos and interactive experiences to learn about the history of the city and the explorers who founded it.
Near the entrance, you’ll find the actual fountain with little paper cups so you can actually drink the water! The entire park is dog-friendly, even the huts, which is a big plus if you’re traveling with your four-legged friend.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
The other big attraction in St. Augustine is Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is a great place to learn about the early Spanish empire in the New World. The fort is made of limestone, broken seashells, and coral, ensuring a strong fortress with once-impenetrable walls. Many historically significant events took place in this fort, including the imprisonment of Seminole tribe leader Chief Osceola. You can take a tour of the fort or just walk around the outside; dogs are permitted on the grounds but not inside the fort. If you’re interested in learning more about historic forts in the area, check out Fort Matanzas as well.
St. Augustine Beaches
Nicely situated along Florida’s eastern coast, there are some great beaches here to relax and unwind. St. Augustine isn’t known as a quintessential beach town, like some many other places in Florida, but that gives these beaches a chill vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere. St. Augustine Beach is actually the name of a separate town, and there are about 43 miles of beaches in the area to spread out on. One beach to check out is Vilano Beach, which allows dogs and driving 4×4 vehicles!
Historic District Bed & Breakfasts
Quaint and authentic bed & breakfast culture is a big deal in St. Augustine, and there are lots of bed and breakfasts here to choose from. Many of them are located in the Historic District, so this is a good place to start your B&B search. This is an ideal location to shop for arts and crafts, as well as souvenirs and original art. Check out our Best Bed & Breakfasts in St. Augustine, Florida article for recommendations!
St. Augustine Campgrounds
Another great way to stay in St. Augustine is camping, and there are quite a few campgrounds on the outskirts of the city. Like many places in Florida, RV culture is big, and many campgrounds don’t even allow tents. One recommended campground is the Compass RV Park on State Road 207 in St. Augustine.
It’s set back in a wooded area but a close drive to everything you want to see and do. This campground regularly hosts live musical acts at the Campfire Stage on weekends, and there’s a large enclosed pet park with agility training features to let your dog play in too.
St. George Street
St. George Street in St. Augustine is considered to be “ground zero” for tourist activity. This is a pedestrians-only narrow street lined with lots of shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and pubs on both sides. It becomes very crowded on weekends, so you might feel a bit claustrophobic walking through to check everything out. But that’s part of the street’s enticing energy! You’ll find local musicians playing for tips in the alleys and lots of outdoor seating at the bars and restaurants.
Bike Trails in St. Augustine
St. Augustine is a refreshingly bike-friendly city that has lots of bike lanes throughout town and bike trails on the outskirts of town to explore the surrounding areas. The Stokes Landing Conservation Area has cycling trails and passes through preserved wetlands and wildlife habitats. This is a great place to view wading birds, otters, and red-tailed hawks.
The flat dirt trails at the Moses Creek Conservation Area are also well-suited for biking, and wildlife sightings of egrets, blue herons, and tortoises are not uncommon. If your tires are equipped for sand, you can bike along the beach for scenic views and the calming sounds of crashing waves at Anastasia State Park. The Mala Compra Planation Greenway Trail is great for mountain bikes and longer excursions.
First Friday Art Walk
There is some wonderful art happening in St. Augustine right now and a few galleries worth checking out during your stay. Join a First Friday Art Walk from 5-9pm if you’re visiting the town on the first Friday of any month. This is a great way to browse art exhibits and enjoy some live entertainment and refreshments. About 30 galleries participate in the event, and many set out food and wine for participants and also have featured artists onsite to answer questions about their work. The event takes place rain or shine throughout the historic downtown area from Aviles to King Streets and St. George Street.