So here’s the thing – we’ve fallen in love with St. Augustine, Florida and are already planning our next trip there.
How could you not fall in love with St. Augustine?!
The charm, the history, the beaches, the atmosphere. The combination produces something you won’t find anywhere in the U.S. And it’s something you must experience yourself in order to understand.
We instantly agreed that we had planned too short of time in St. Augustine. It’s a city that you just want to stroll around to see what you discover. What hidden gem will delight you? Next time, we are going to do it right!
About St. Augustine
Known as the oldest city in the U.S., St. Augustine feels old. But not in a stuffy, museum sort of way. Rather, it feels magical. There’s something in the air here and it captivates you.
Established by the Spanish in the 1600s, St. Augustine retains a lot of these original structures. But even the architecture from other periods throughout the city is astonishing.
Weather in St. Augustine
Being Florida, it never gets properly cold in St. Augustine. However, the coldest months are December through February with average temperatures around 70°F (not really cold at all, right?). Even better, these months have the lowest humidity levels and least amount of rainfall.
During summer, from May to September, you can count on hot weather and lots of humidity. But it is Florida, so you can cool off at the beach.
WHERE TO STAY IN ST. AUGUSTINE
St. George Inn: Exceptional, wonderful, fabulous. Just a few words that automatically come to mind when I think of the St. George Inn. You are in for a treat when you stay here. You are well taken care of by the staff and treated more than family.
And location wise you can’t get any better than this. You’re right in the middle of the action and are steps away from the heart of the old town. So, you don’t need a car for your stay.
With only 25 guests rooms, you can expect personalized service. And many of the rooms offer views overlooking the City Gate and Castillo de San Marcos. Each is comfortable and spacious. Plus, they serve an incredible complimentary breakfast. And, if you’re looking for one of the most romantic things to do in St. Augustine, you have to stay at the St. George Inn.
Collector Inn: Also very lovely, is the Collector Inn and it sits on the edge of St. Augustine’s old town. And you won’t find a more unique place to stay with its mixture of art and history. But do note, that this upscale hotel is for adults only.
The inn is made up of nine different historical homes, each from a different time period. History lovers will adore this. And every room in the entire complex is different. So, you can stay many times and have a different style of room each time. How wonderful is that?
And the staff takes care of you in every way from cocktails to your room to even the complimentary breakfast brought to you. With all of that, it’s another top romantic thing to do in St. Augustine. And why it’s rated as one of the top hotels in St. Augustine.
Casa Monica: This is the fancier of the accommodation options, and we recommend it if inns are your cup of tea. This special boutique hotel enfolds you in history and transports you to another world. And this is just as soon as you step into the lobby!
Right in the heart of the historic district of St. Augustine, all of the top things to do in St. Augustine are just a walking distance away. With a friendly staff and amazing amenities, you can guarantee a memorable visit when you stay at Casa Monica.
WHERE TO EAT IN ST. AUGUSTINE
Sprout Kitchen: Super cute grab and go vibe that serves mostly vegan, plant based, and organic options. Located in the old town down a quiet side street, their cold press juices hit the spot on a summer day. Then again, their super fresh smoothies are a treat all on their own.
The Floridian: Another great option for those looking for a great laid back west coast vibe and delicious vegan options. Specializing in southern food with a modern flare, you are in for a world of flavor when dining at The Floridian. Reservations are recommended for dinner.
Odd Birds: Not your typical place nor experience. But you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here. However, Odd Birds is known more for their bar which serves a rotating cocktail and beer choices from around the world. And, the decor lets you know that you are for something a little bit different…but still yummy.
Catch 27: This is a great place to grab fresh local seafood. With everything made from scratch, it’s no wonder the place fills up quickly (and reservations are not accepted). No matter what you end up ordering, you cannot leave until you try their deviled eggs. Your taste buds will thank you.
Micheal’s: Wondering dinner options for dinner with a more upscale vibe while still in the old town area. We recommend doing the chef’s menu if available (reservations recommended) and ask to sit on the patio if the weather is nice. The atmosphere is lovely.
Blue Hen: Located outside the old town area (Lincolnville), but worth the trek out for the tantalizing farm to table offerings. You will be hard pressed to find another restaurant that serves a southern breakfast quite like the Blue Hen. Be sure to come hungry!
Maple Street Biscuit Company: If you love a good homemade breakfast, you must try the biscuits here. Although, you’ll want to visit early as once you have their biscuits, you’ll be craving them every day. It’s great for brunch too!
The Ice Plant: If you’re looking for a casual place with a laid back vibe with historical touches, You can expect a tasty meal and outstanding service. And they even have vegan and gluten free options, too.
THINGS TO DO IN ST AUGUSTINE:
Being the oldest city in the U.S., you can expect a lot of wonderful historic places to explore. But, there’s also some amazing outdoor activities to enjoy. With such varying options, you can be sure that there are lots of things to do in St. Augustine.
Tasting tours (with spirits) food tour: The spirits scene is in St. Augustine is certainly one to write home about (including gin, vodka, and bourbon). We highly recommend checking out the distillery tours:
- Saint Augustine Distillery
- Chocolate Tasting Tour
- Saint Sebastian Winery
Take the trolley around the city: Such a wonderful way to explore St. Augustine, and saves you time and money from having to take a cab around. There’s 23 stops for you to hop on and off at and a fascinating narrative of the city to keep you interested when on board.
Tour a Spanish Fort: It’s impossible to escape history contained in the impenetrable Castillo de San Marcos. It’s massive fortifications are unmissable and a signature of St. Augustine through the centuries. Being the only remaining military fort from the 1700s in the US, it’s definitely one of the top things to do in St. Augustine.
Turn back time at the Fountain of Youth: We’ve all heard about the Fountain of Youth. And here in St. Augustine, it may just be real! Ponce de Leon discovered a natural spring on the site and it may be the Fountain of Youth. But here’s the thing- we’re not quite sure if this works or not, but it’s worth testing, and seeing some peacocks along the way.
Even if you end up not slowing down time, the Fountain of Youth is an interactive experience where you can learn about the first Spanish settlers and what their life was like. There’s also a wonderful river walk and stunning views from the Observation Tower.
Go back to school: We highly recommend taking a tour at the Flagler College. The architecture at this former hotel turned Liberal Arts College is stunning. It’s unbelievable that such rich architecture has survived the centuries. The tour also gives you a glimpse of how the hospitality industry functioned for the upper class during the golden age of tourism. The 60-minute tour will not disappoint.
Enjoy an Eclectic Art Collection: If nothing in St. Augustine seems ordinary, then wait until you visit the Lightner Museum. This fantastic collection borders on traditional museum and oddball collections. On one hand you have vintage Americana and 19th century art, and on the other, a collection of shrunken heads and cigar labels. With four floors to explore, who knows what you will discover!
Be a Lighthouse Keeper: It’s a tiring climb of 219 steps up the St. Augustine Lighthouse, but once you see the view from the top, it’s completely worth it. And, you may run into some of the ghosts said to haunt the place!
Sarbez: It came highly recommended by the locals as a nightlife destination with more of a pub/bar vibe. Weirdly, the main food item is a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! And the kitchen is open until 2 a.m. so you have lots of time to try it. But, it’s also the locals favorite spot to catch performances by local artists making it the IT of things to do in St. Augustine at night. And, there’s even an arcade.
Live in Colonial Times: Ever wondered what life was like back in the day in the oldest city in the US? Well, now you don’t have to. Visiting Colonial Street transports you to the Spanish colonial town of St. Augustine from the 1600s to the 1800s. It’s an interesting and lively interactive experience.
Relax on the beach: If all the history and many museums become too much for you (slim chance, though), you can take a break at the St. Augustine Beach. With it’s two miles of white sand shoreline and mild waves, it’s a peaceful break in the sun. And one of the most memorable free things to do in St. Augustine.
Have Jolly Roger Fun: Who didn’t dream of being a pirate at least once as a child (or even as an adult)? That’s why everyone loves going to the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Besides being a lot of fun with a replica pirate ship for you to board on the premises, you can see an actual pirate treasure chest and an original Jolly Roger flag. This museum is certainly one of the most unique things to do in St. Augustine.
Tour a Chocolate Factory: Need I say more? Whetstone Chocolate Factory has been a favorite of the locals since it opened its doors over 40 years ago. And talk about a scrumptious tour where not only do you learn about how chocolate is made, but you get to sample it, too.
Hang out with a ball of wax: Ok, so maybe not a ball, but how about 160 wax figures? At the Potters Wax Museum, another one of the more unique things to do in St. Augustine, you can see people from history as well as sports, entertainment, and a twinge of horror to keep things really interesting. Being the first wax museum in the US, you can’t pass it by.
Delve into old trinkets: Antiquing in the city is so much fun! Each antique shop is different and has some wonderfully weird pieces. Though it’s one of the more fun free things to do in St. Augustine, you will most likely not walk away empty handed. Talk about finding the perfect and special memento for your time in the city.
Trust me when I say you want to spend several days here, so please don’t rush your Florida road trip itinerary. Trust me when I say that there are so many things to do in St. Augustine. Not to mention, you will fall in love with the city. We didn’t want to leave, and I know you are going to feel exactly the same way.