Top 21 St. Augustine Attractions & Things To Do You'll Love

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Nikki Jain

St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and is the oldest occupied settlement in the United States. St. Augustine's attractions include its Spanish architectural culture, which remains the focus point to this day. While St. Augustine began life as a Spanish military outlet, it turned into a vacation town following the Civil War and a winter getaway for the Northern well-to-do.

Deluxe hotels and museums continue to be erected to attract visitors. Henry Flagler and J.D. Rockefeller personally became responsible for many St. Augustine attractions. St. Augustine has grown so prestigious and elite that it has realized Flagler's and Rockefeller's goal of becoming the Newport of the South with two million visitors each year.

Known as the most seasoned city in the state of Florida, St. Augustine brags a mass of natural and artificial wonders. From the historical centers to old inns, you will discover a significant assortment of things to see and do. So here is a list of the most appealing attractions in St. Augustine.

Things To Do in St. Augustine, FL

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1: Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos | Dreamstime/Wirestock

Castillo de San Marcos, created in the 17th century, is the oldest seacoast fort still standing, mostly because it was one of the first forts constructed using stones instead of wood.

The Spanish created this structure, along with a moat, to defend their territory against the British. When the British barraged the fort in 1701 with cannonball fire, it did little damage.

Castillo de San Marcos stood victorious. And still does! The British didn't lay claim to it until the American Revolution.

Visiting youngsters can request a brochure. Upon reading the same and completing the questions, they qualify as Jr. Rangers for the day.

This sturdy Castillo is a definite St. Augustine tourist attraction. It is accessible daily except for major holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The park itself opens at 5:30 a.m.

The Castillo offers lectures, and rangers are available to answer any questions. A stroll on the grounds of the fortress will make you encounter the past in the present.

Address: 1 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine, FL 32084

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2: St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
Sunrise view of St. Augustine Lighthouse | Dreamstime/Ptphotos

One of the beautiful places to visit in St. Augustine is the Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. There are 219 steps to the top for a grand view of the city and the beaches.

This is where you learn about St. Augustine's history, Coast Guards, shipwrecks, and the many functions served by the lighthouse.

The museum's gift shop is filled with maritime-related items and souvenirs.
The lighthouse offers popular tours, such as Sunset Moonrise, Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour, and private lighthouse tours.

The Maritime Hammock Scavenger Hunt allows visitors to visit and find regional animals and the local plants used for medicinal purposes.

Admission to the lighthouse is $14.95 for adults and $12.95 for children under the age of 12. It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Address: 81 Lighthouse Ave, St Augustine, FL 32080

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Also Read: Most Beautiful Lighthouses in the USA

3: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

There are few places in St. Augustine that are as interactive with the local environment as the Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

You'll learn surprising facts about some dangerous predators and can watch alligators being fed and trained every day from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The reptile/snake show allows daily hands-on activities from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The rainforest show includes many colorful and gorgeous birds from the tropics. The show takes place daily at 2:00 p.m.

You can stroll through the Wading Bird Rookery and observe coastal birds such as storks, egrets, and herons as they lay their eggs and care for their offspring.

Interestingly, the birds come here because they know the alligators will protect them by scaring off the snakes. Are they smart or what? The zoo additionally offers guests a zip line wonder over a bask of crocodiles.

Entrance to the farm is $34.99 for adults and $19.99 for children under the age of 11.

Address: 999 Anastasia Blvd, St Augustine, FL 32080

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Also Read: Best Zoos in the USA

4: Lightner Museum

Lightner Museum
Lightner Museum | Dreamstime/Viavaltours

The extraordinary Lightner Museum is a former elite hotel with the world's largest swimming pool.

The hotel closed during the Depression. It was converted into a museum known for its Spanish Renaissance architecture and impressive collection of art and historical artifacts such as Tiffany lamps and other stained-glass items, international paintings, and Victorian-era musical instruments.

It is home to the country's best 19th-century fine and decorative art collections and among the must-see St. Augustine attractions for art enthusiasts.

Combining a superior art collection with a modern lifestyle, the museum offers Saturday morning yoga sessions in its gardens. It also offers Turkish baths with a back rub – as it did in the old hotel.

Trained guides provide tours through the Lightner Museum, and visitors can stop at the Café Alcazar from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The admission fee is $15.30 for adults and $9.00 for children under 12.00.

Address: 75 King Street, St Augustine, FL 32084

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5: Flagler College

Flagler College
Flagler College | Dreamstime/Vlad Ghiea

While visiting the Lightner Museum (see above), one of the attractions that should be included is Flagler College, which is across the street and was once an elite hotel.

Both were designed by the same millionaire builder. Flagler was one of the first structures to use electric lights.

This terrified the guests of what was then the Ponce de Leon Hotel, that two staff members were designated to run around the hotel all day, switching the lights on and off upon demand.

Flagler College is now a private liberal arts collection offering bachelor's degrees in 29 different majors to over 2,000 students, and it is considered one of the finest U.S. regional colleges in the South.

Tours are available daily. Much of the hotel's original grandeur remains. The tour includes the beautiful gardens, the fantastic lobby, the rotunda with its 86-foot ceiling, the carved designs of robed women, and much of the original furniture and artwork.

Tours are given during the academic year. The price is $10.00 for adults and $1.00 for children under 12.

Address: 74 King St, St Augustine, FL 32084

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Also Read: Most Beautiful College Campuses in the USA

6: Fort Matanzas National Monument

Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument | Dreamstime/Arkorn Soikaew

Fort Matanzas is not the largest fort near St. Augustine, but it does include a fun and free ferry ride.

It was built in 1742 when Florida was still brand new. Since the monument was built for defense purposes against the British, it borders the ocean, and dolphins and shore birds are a frequent sight.

There is also a lovely half-mile trail leading through the forest filled with greenery and more birds.

This is one of the top spots in St. Augustine that requires a ferry trip across the Matanzas River to access, followed by a climb to the top of the fort's tower. Both the ferry ride and exploring this historic structure are free.

The ferries run every hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are ranger tours that explain more about the fort's strategies.

The ferry is active from Wednesday through Sunday.

Address: 8635 A1A S, St Augustine, FL 32080

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7: St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum

St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum

One of the fun things to do in St. Augustine when in the mood to be a pirate is to visit the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum and its collection of 800 pieces of pirate-related treasures.

It has some of Blackbeard's gold pieces taken from his ship, a genuine, original Jolly Roger pirate flag (one of three remaining anywhere), and much more.

While at the museum, you can stroll the streets of Port Royal, Jamaica, where pirates ruled the day, and discuss the pirate trade at the Rogue's Tavern as if you're in a Jack Sparrow movie.

You get to climb aboard a pirate ship and explore the life of a sea pirate, then relive Blackbeard's last battle by watching a Disney documentary.

The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is closed on Christmas Day; even pirates need a day off. Admission is $18.99 for adults and $9.99 for children under the age of 12.

Address: 12 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine, FL 32084

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8: St. Augustine Beach

St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Beach Fishing Pier | Dreamstime/Paul Brennan

Among the most happening places in St. Augustine are St. Augustine's beach and beachfront park. The best access to the beach is from the St. John's County Pier.

The fee to access the pier is $2.00 for sightseeing and $4.00 for fishing for residents; visitors pay $6.00. The pier itself is a busy place with a farmers' market and a concert series every Wednesday.

The beach, located five miles from St. Augustine, consists of four miles of white sand and is famous for families with a splash pad. The splash pad has a covered pavilion, restrooms, outdoor showers, and a volleyball court.

The ocean is usually gentle enough for children, but the surf sometimes draws a large surfer crowd.

Cars are permitted on St. Augustine Beach, although that rule does not apply to all the beaches in St. Augustine. After leaving the beach, Beachfront Avenue has many restaurants and bars.

Address: St Augustine Beach, Florida 32080

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Also Read: Best Florida Beaches You Must Visit

9: Ximenez-Fatio House Museum

Ximenez-Fatio House Museum
Ximenez-Fatio House Museum | Flickr/Dan Lundberg

This is a spot that gives you access to the Spanish culture. It is appraised as one of the best attractions in St. Augustine.

History comes alive here, and it is surprising that it mainly involves women – at a time when women didn't matter much.

After the death of Ximenez, the original owner, Mrs. Louisa Fatio, turned the building into a boarding house.

Three other women consecutively managed the boarding house. Such female entrepreneurship was rare during a time when women rarely left their own kitchen.

The National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Florida purchased the building and restored it to its original state. It is a historical landmark and is still operated by women.

The house is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It closes at 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Self-guided tours are available.

Tours include the garden, discoveries of artifacts, and candlelight strolls that share a spookier aspect of the museum.

Address: 20 Aviles St, St Augustine, FL 32084

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Also Read: Most Famous Historic Homes in America

10: Colonial Spanish Quarter

Colonial Spanish Quarter
Visitor stroll through the Colonial Quarter in St. Augustine | Dreamstime/Scott Jones

The Colonial Quarter is a living history museum and a must-see in St. Augustine for anyone even remotely interested in Florida history.

The museum takes visitors through three centuries of exhibits involving the lives of the early Spanish settlers through the Government House Museum, where life in colonial Florida was administered.

Costumed demonstrators recreate the daily life of tradesmen and soldiers.

Highlights of this remarkable experience are interactive activities, mounting the 35-foot watchtower, taking part in a musket drill, and dining in a colonial pub. It is an exciting visit to experience our ancestors' lives.

The Colonial Quarter is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and guided tours are available every hour and a half between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The admission fee is $12.99 for adults and $6.99 for children under the age of 12. The tours are included in the ticket price.

Address: 33 St George St, St Augustine, FL 32084

Also Read: Best Living History Museums in the USA

11: St. George Street

St. George Street

One of the best things to do in St. Augustine is a stroll along St. George Street, the downtown pedestrian street filled with galleries, stores, and restaurants.

Many of the city's historic landmarks, such as the Oldest Wooden School House, which is more than two centuries old, can be found here.

The Cathedral Basilica along the way is the oldest church in the state. Then there is the surviving Pena-Peck house, built to order by the King of Spain.

Visitors can take the Old Town Trolley along St. George Street and stop at Columbia Restaurant for its legendary 1905 salad, tossed at the table, or go to the Mill Top Tavern for a beer and nightly entertainment.

Another attraction, the Pirate Treasure Museum, is also just steps from St. George Street.

Address: St George St, St. Augustine, FL 32084

12: Black Raven Pirate Ship

Black Raven Pirate Ship
Black Raven Adventures

Fun and fabulous St. Augustine attractions include the iconic Black Raven Pirate Ship, which is a floating theatre for all ages.

They offer several unique pirate-themed tours. The Haunted History Boat Tour, suitable for those 13 years old and older, investigates St. Augustine’s haunted side and secrets.

The Sunset Cruise is a beautiful adult excursion through a tropical paradise with margaritas and mai-tais being consumed to the sounds of Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet, and others.

Visitors can close their eyes, feel the breeze on their faces, and be transported to the Caribbean.

The Rum Runners tour is for adults only. There is a full bar and adult-themed entertainment. This is fun and not for the easily offended.

An exciting version of the Rum Runners tour is the Mutiny Trial, which is all about the “guest of honor” being accused of crimes by his or her family. Families can have lots of fun – and may wish to avoid each other come Thanksgiving.

Address: 111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine

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13: Spanish Military Hospital Museum

Spanish Military Hospital Museum
Spanish Military Hospital Museum | Dreamstime/Sandra Foyt

Most of us can't remember a time when doctors did house calls and were easily accessible.

One of the great spots in St. Augustine that exhibits how patients and doctors used to work as a team during the Spanish Colonial era is the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.

The museum has daily 40-minute tours. One of the tours is through the apothecary and focuses on the herbs used for medicinal purposes. One person on tour can volunteer for an 18th-century medical technique.

A critical part of the hospital was the discovery of the effect of cleanliness on medical procedures, a discovery that started saving many lives.

Visitors can also see the medical tools of the period, although they may look a bit scary. It is fascinating to see the development of Colonial-times medicine to today's procedures.

The Spanish Military Hospital Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission for adults is $14.95 and $5.95 for children under the age of 12.

Address: 3 Aviles St, St. Augustine, FL 32084

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14: Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse | Dreamstime/Oksana Byelikova

A visit to the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse shows how times have changed since the 18the century.

The schoolhouse was built for the simple reason that people, especially immigrants, recognized the need for an education.

There was no running water, bathrooms, or electricity. It was the first school to educate both girls and boys together.

When touring this one-room schoolhouse, you'll be greeted by animated figures in 18the-century dress, including the schoolmarm ringing her bell. The schoolmaster explains about a typical day and the textbooks that were used.

The garden is a part of the tour, including the 250-year-old pecan tree. The grounds are filled with wonderful bird-of-paradise and hibiscus plants.

To ensure that this historical haven for education is not destroyed by any Florida hurricanes, it is secured with a giant chain and fastened with an anchor. This was added in 1937 as a protective measure.

Address: 20-30 St George St, Augustine, FL 32084

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15: St. Augustine Wild Reserve

St. Augustine Wild Reserve
St. Augustine Wild Reserve | Dreamstime/Sudhirktr

St. Augustine Wild Reserve aims to rescue unwanted and exotic animals and provides educational tours for visitors.

The Reserve has won Best Animal Encounter in the Jackson area for 2020 as well as 2022, and it was a 2020 Travelers’ Choice winner.

Admission to the Wild Reserve is by tour arrangement only. These are provided three times each week by appointment. You will not get closer than five to ten feet to any securely housed animal.

Among the stunning animals on view will be white and orange tigers, cougars, leopards, and many other big cats, as well as black and white wolves.

Private tours for five guests can be arranged for $650.00. These will include some actual photography and selfies with the animals. Feeding and petting one of the wolves is also allowed.

Regular tours are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for children 10 years and younger. The reserve is unable to accommodate walk-ins.

Address: 5190 Farm Creek Rd, St. Augustine

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16: Anastasia State Park

Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park | Dreamstime/Rafał Gadomski

The Anastasia State Park is among the best state parks in the US and is famed for its many fun activities.

It is one of the delightful St. Augustine attractions that offers hiking, camping, water sports, and sailing.

It is an excellent place to take advantage of the stunning oceanfront views. The beach invites visitors for a refreshing swim or a stroll along the sand.

Shelling is a favorite beach activity among collectors as the park has some splendid specimens, especially at low tide.

The park’s Ancient Dune’s Nature Trail is a haven for bird lovers and birders who come to admire the eagles, osprey, warblers, and more wildlife along the camp’s 138 campsites with water, electricity, picnic facilities, grills, and a fire ring.

Two stores within the park sell and/or rent sailboats, kayaks, camping equipment, and needed snacks.

Address: 300 Anastasia Park Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32080

17: St. Augustine Distillery

St. Augustine Distillery

St. Augustine Distillery is recognized as one of the best craft distilleries in the country.

The Fill Your Own Bottle Experience tour lets you fill a personal bottle from some of the distillery’s most spectacular barrels. You can reserve a specific time but not a specific barrel.

The food pairing tour explores the effect of spirits on food and discusses which spirits go best with which meals.

Going an extra step, the distillery’s Certified Bourbon Steward Course, in collaboration with the Stave and Thief Society’s certification program, prepares bourbon enthusiasts for Certified Bourbon Steward membership. This can be personally satisfying, or it can be a step in a sommelier’s career path.

The distillery’s gift shop sells top-rated spirits along with bartending accessories that make great gifts for friends.

St. Augustine Distillery can be visited Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address: 112 Riberia St, St. Augustine

18: Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center

Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center
Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center

The role of Blacks in St. Augustine's history & culture is not very widely known.

One of the things to do in St. Augustine is to learn about the Black experience on a miniature basis that serves to illuminate the experience on a national level by visiting the Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center.

Free black men and women joined in 1866 to create Lincolnville, a new St. Augustine community with new goals.

The cultural center displays 450 years of the Black journey, beginning in Africa to the free city of Lincolnville and ending up with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.

As stated in the center, St. Augustine has “the oldest black heritage of any continuous settlement in the United States."

The center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The admission for adults is $10.00 and $5.00 for children under the age of 17.

Address: 102 M L King Ave, St. Augustine

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19: Schooner Freedom Charters

Schooner Freedom Charters
Schooner Freedom Charters

We all want more freedom. One of the St. Augustine attractions called Freedom, however, is a US Coast Guard sailing vessel that can carry 41 passengers on a sail around St. Augustine for an hour and 15 minutes. Refreshments are provided. The cost of a regular sailing outing is $55.00 per person.

Freedom is St. Augustine’s tallest ship and a reproduction of a 19the-century blockade runner. Custom-built, she is 76 feet of solid steel and can sail offshore with a captain and only two crew members.

She is the sole schooner charter between Charleston and the Florida Keys and has been in St. Augustine since 2001. USA Today has listed her as one of the city’s top attractions.

The Freedom offers two-hour excursions every day as well as specialty sails. She is also available for private events such as weddings and corporate functions.

The schooner’s specialty sails are particularly popular, such as the breathtaking two-hour Matanzas River Sunset Sail, which sails into the setting sun while guests enjoy light refreshments. Can life get more romantic?

Address: 111 Avenida Menendez Ste D, Saint Augustine, FL

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20: Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum

Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum
Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum | Dreamstime/Benkrut

Visiting Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum is one of the fun things to do in St. Augustine. The museum bursts with hands-on activities and unusual objects displayed in 14 different galleries.

They are all real, but it is hard to believe they must be seen, such as a shrunken head or a mermaid.

The space gallery is very popular with its space shuttle, created from thousands of matchsticks. The Jungle Room and the Odd Art Room are equally impressive.

Better believe that Ripley’s daily Red Train Tours, which take visitors to St. Augustine’s major destinations, are a fantastic way to experience the city.

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission tickets are $23.99 for adults and $12.99 for children 11 years and younger. These fees do not include the Red Train Tours.

Address: 19 San Marco Ave, St. Augustine

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21: Old Jail Museum

Old Jail Museum
Old Jail Museum | Dreamstime/Cheri Alguire

Even if you haven’t committed any crime, you must visit the Old Jail Museum. Here, inmates in costumes lead visitors through the experience of being incarcerated, even within maximum security.

Thirty-minute tours are available every 20 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Visitors can be booked into jail if so desired!

The jail is the brainchild of Henry Flagler (of Flagler College fame). Flagler was eager to build a jail that didn't look like a jail and preserve the beauty of the neighborhood.

He designed a Romanesque Revival Victorian mansion to disguise the fact that the building would be housing St. Augustine’s most dangerous criminals.

This mansion/jail closed in 1954 and became a museum to exhibit the Florida penal system. It is now a part of the Old Town Trolley tour. Not exploring the jail would be a definite crime.

Address: 167 San Marco Ave, St. Augustine

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1. What is St. Augustine famous for?

Established in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest settlement in the US, decades older than the British settlement of Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. While it is a modern city, its Spanish heritage has survived, including much of the original town plan, and it is still a major architectural force.

2. What is the best time to visit St. Augustine?

St. Augustine is at its best in the spring between March and May, before the summer heat and humidity make exploring this wonderful city too uncomfortable.

3. What is the number one attraction in St. Augustine?

St. George Street, St. Augustine's main thoroughfare, encompasses everything the city has to offer, from colonial landmarks to fantastic modern shopping.

4. What is the most unique thing to do in St. Augustine?

The Old Jail, which was built to resemble a classic mansion so as not to embarrass the upend neighborhood, is an example of St. Augustine's elitist resort style.

Plan your trip to St. Augustine soon!

St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., is a unique 18th-century Spanish town turned into a chic resort destination, with its Spanish flavor being carefully preserved. The Colonial Quarter is a living museum dedicated to how the city began and how its citizens lived at the time.

Things to do in St. Augustine are fun for all – from visiting 18th-century mansions to taking fun ghost tours. If desired, visitors can even jail themselves. St. Augustine attractions are timeless, educational, and fun. They were created as a treat for the Northern elite seeking a warm winter getaway.

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