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You’re probably wondering, since you’re here, Is St. Augustine worth visiting? And I’m here to tell you yes! It is!
It is, after all, one of the best places to visit in Florida. I think the biggest reason to even wonder if St. Augustine is worth seeing is because it’s SO busy.
It sees millions of visitors per year meaning it’s busy almost all the time but particularly holidays and the Christmas season.
Crowds aside, there are plenty of great reasons to visit St. Augustine the next time you’re in Florida.
I’ve been there four or five times I think both in 80 degrees and probably 20 or less with the windchill.
It’s great any time of year but I would probably say fall or winter would be the best time to go, weather wise. Though winter can get pretty cold.
But you’re not here for the weather, you’re here for reasons to visit St. Augustine!
Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.
So, why should you visit St. Augustine? (The short list)
It’s the oldest city in the US
That’s right, st. Augustine is the oldest city in the US, founded back in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain.
It’s the longest continually inhabited European-founded city. Of course it isn’t the longest inhabited place in the US, just European-founded.
There are plenty of places to witness the history of St. Augustine like The Lightner Museum, St. George Street, The Fountain of Youth, and so much more.
St. Augustine is easily one of the best places to visit for history buffs, no matter where you are, you’re surrounded by it.
My personal favorite reason to visit St. Augustine is ghosts! Being the old city, it’s also home to plenty of spirits.
Be sure to take a ghost tour or even visit some of the haunted establishments for dinner or an overnight stay.
If tours aren’t your thing here are some of the haunted spots in St. Augustine to see:
- Hugenot Cemetery
- The Old Jail
- Spanish Military Hospital
- Casablanca Inn
- Scarlett O’Hara’s
- Tolomato Cemetery
- And so much more
Anastasia State Park is right there
Just a short drive from Historic St. Augustine is Anastasia Island, home to Anastasia State Park.
This is a great place for camping and it also has a hiking trail in addition to the beautiful beach.
There are concessions and some rentals available at the park. This is another one of my favorite reasons to visit St. Augustine. We go here every time we visit.
But don’t forget the other beaches!
In addition to Anastasia State Park you’ll find plenty of other beaches to choose from for your sun bathing.
St. Augustine area beaches:
- St. Augustine Beach
- Vilano Beach
- Crescent Beach
- Butler Beach
- South Ponte Verde Beach
- Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
It’s cute as heck
St. George Street is the main touristy area but the architecture here and in the immediate surround area is so cute!
Whatever streets you walk down in the historic area will be lined with old buildings. The houses in the area are also really cute.
The Old Town Trolley is a fun way to get around town and see different areas if you want a break from walking.
And has delicious food
I have a long way to go to trying all the best food in St. Augustine, but so far everything has been delicious!
Some favorites include The Floridian, Schmagel’s Bagels, and Osprey tacos. Mojo Old City BBQ will also likely be delicious because the one in Gainesville is.
Green Papaya, Llama, Prohibition Kitchen, and Catch 27 are places I would like to try in the future.
AND great coffee shops
One of my favorite things to look for in new places I visit is coffee shops and St. Augustine has some really good ones.
Relampago Coffee Lab has a really cute back courtyard area and great coffee, City Perks Coffee Co. is right by Castillo de San Marcos and delicious, and Crucial Coffee Cafe might be the tiniest cutest coffee shop of them all.
The lighthouse is cool
Out on Anastasia Island is the St. Augustine lighthouse and museum. This is definitely one of the best things to see when you’re here.
You can see it from around town and Anastasia State Park, and you can drive to the parking area to see it up close.
But I would definitely recommend getting tickets to go in, explore the grounds and museum buildings, and climb to the top of the lighthouse.
And if the lighthouse itself isn’t cool enough, there is not just one, but two ghost tours you can do here!
And there are THREE forts you can visit
That’s right, THREE historic military forts waiting for you to visit. There is Castillo de San Marcos right in town, the most famous one.
Then there is Fort Matanzas a bit to the south and Fort Mose to the north a bit. You do need to take a short boat from the visitor center to Fort Matanzas. There is no fee for the entrance or the ferry.
I can’t say I have a favorite yet because I’ve only been in Castillo de San Marcos and to the visitor center area (and trail) at Fort Matanzas.
I’ll report back after the next time I visit.
Plus it’s home to the beautiful Flagler College
Finally, it’s home to the beautiful Flagler College. Just walking around and driving into town will give you a taste of the campus but you can always take a walk through it too.
I’m not sure if you can walk through the buildings at all, i haven’t tried, I haven’t even walked through the campus, just by on the outside.
And even though I haven’t been in, I love admiring it every time we go past it.
In 1888 the luxury Ponce de Leon Hotel was built by John Carrere and John Hastings for Henry Morrison Flagler.
However, Lawrence Lewis Jr. was the driving force behind it becoming the small liberal arts college it is today. It’s now officially a National Historic Landmark.
How many days do you need in St. Augustine?
You could probably see most things in one day but I think a weekend in St. Augustine is best. Basically two days, maybe three if you don’t like a fast paced vacation.
If you just want to see the main sights (beach, lighthouse, St. George Street, Castillo de San Marcos, ghost tour) one day should be fine.
If you want to see that plus more (lighthouse ghost tour, Fort Matanzas, another beach, Fountain of Youth, Alligator Farm, Fort Mose, winery) then two or three days, depending on how much of that you want to do.
Where to stay in St. Augustine
Cedar House Inn – This is a cute little (adults only) bed and breakfast right by the historic district.
Casa de Suenos – This is one of the haunted places you can stay in St. Augustine also right in the historic district.
Casablanca Inn on the Bay – This is another historic and haunted hotel in St. Augustine right on the water.
Rodeway Inn – If you want to be out of the direct historic district but still close, we stayed here last year and liked it.
Hampton Inn Historic District – This is another great option a short drive from the historic district. I stayed here with my parents once.
So, is St. Augustine worth visiting? Absolutely! It may be a little touristy but it’s got so much to offer. Definitely make time too visit next time you’re in the area.
Have you been to St. Augustine? What did you think of it’? Do you think St. Augustine is worth visiting?