Things to do in St. Augustine in Florida are so unique, that you will soon realise why the city is so charming and worth stopping, when you are doing a road trip around Florida. Due to the Spanish rule it is mostly known for Spanish architecture and it really feels like being somewhere outside of USA.
St. Augustine is mostly visited by American tourists and I am still wondering how come it has been such a well-kept secret for other foreign tourists.
There are so many amazing things to do in St. Augustine, that you can easily spend 2-3 days there.
Top things to do in St. Augustine
Castillo de San Marcos
The undefeatable fort / Castillo de San Marcos was built in 17th century by the Spanish. Its main role was to protect the trading routes from Central and South America, including Caribbean, to Europe. The Spanish used the route to bring to Europe sugar, tobacco, pearls, silver and gold.
The Castillo de San Marco is unique also for its building material. No matter how intense the battles and shooting on the fort was (Pirates or British), they could never really damage it. It is built from coquina – sedimentary rock, which made the walls like a foam and not as a solid rock.
Ponce de Leon Hotel
The man who influenced the most on the St. Augustine was Henry M. Flagler. He was the one, who brought railway to the Eastern part of Florida. He also built the two amazing hotels in the city, known for its architecture, chick and wealth – Ponce De Leon Hotel and Alcazar Hotel.
The Ponce De Leon Hotel was built in 1888 and named after one of the most famous Spanish explorer. The hotel is now a college and I must admit, I am a bit jealous of the students, as the architecture is out of this world! Visiting it is for sure one of the must things in St. Augustine.
The hotel was known for years as the most prestigious hotel, but it was never build perfectly. Flagler wanted to build it with several small mistakes, just to show that no one is perfect, except God.
An interesting fact about the hotel is also, that it had electricity from its very beginning. The reason was a good friendship between Flagler and Thomas Edison.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1874 and it is known as the oldest brick building in the city. You can reach the top and enjoy the views with overcoming 219 steps. The view from 165 feet is truly amazing.
The Lighthouse is also a hunting place, so make sure to have your eyes, ears and senses wide open, when being around.
The old town
A walk through the old town is like traveling back in time. The historical houses look like being in a Western movie. The old town is full of eateries, cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops, what makes it perfect to just wander around.
The most amazing thing about the St. Augustine old town is, that it was actually build on the dead soldiers. So walking around the streets, you are actually walking over a big burial ground.
The Lightner museum is set in a beautiful Hotel Alcazar. Some say it is the nicest museum in the city.
The museum collection is mostly from Victorian period. One room is also dedicated to Native Americans and its artifacts.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
At the beginning the Alligator Farm Zoological park was nothing special, but visiting it now, it might blow your mind – especially if you enjoy some adrenaline rush too.
The park contains all 23 different crocodile species, which can still be find on our planet. The most unique thing about them is, you will be admiring the animals from the above – while zip-lining throughout the complete park.
The park also includes some lemurs, birds and other animals.
St. Augustine beach
White sand and 2 miles long beach is perfect to relax and enjoy some authentic Florida vibes. The beach is very popular among families, because of its splash pad.
You will also find a long St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier at the northern side, perfect for fishing enthusiasts.
Pirate and Treasure museum
St Augustine is a true pirate city, so visiting the Pirate and Treasure museum is one of the must things to do in St. Augustine. The museum brag with the largest pirate collection in the world.
If visiting St. Augustine with kids, make sure to ask for the treasure hunt, while stopping at the museum.
St. Augustine offers so much more than the above mentioned things, which are definitely one of the best things you can to while there, admire and experience, but you will find so much more here. From local distillery, nearby beaches to unforgettable guided tours – one of the most popular is the ghost tour.
Unfortunately I only spent two hours in the city, but that was enough to realise, I will need to come for more. A quick stop during a business trip was just a quick sneak peek, that visiting it with my family, will definitely be a must thing, when traveling back to Florida.