A Family Vacation to St. Augustine, Florida
Arts & Culture
St. Augustine is a city full of rich history and Spanish influence. Settled more than 450 years ago, St. Augustine has historic sites, top-notch cuisine options and is just a short drive from miles of magnificent Atlantic coastline.
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Where to stay in St. Augustine, Florida
Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Close to the Gaslamp Quarter and Petco Park, this mega hotel has 1190 rooms and is a go-to for conferences and group events.
Casa Monica Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Step into a world of timeless elegance and unrivaled luxury at Casa Monica Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, where historic grandeur and modern sophistication seamlessly blend to create an unforgettable oasis.
Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel
Step back in time at Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel, where history meets modern luxury in the heart of the city.
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Things to do in St. Augustine, Florida
Castillo de San Marcos
The Fort is an obvious choice for anyone who visits St. Augustine, as Castillo de San Marco stands out as the most eye-catching attraction. This National Park will give you an in-depth look at the Spanish who watched for pirates and other attackers (like the French and British) as well as what life was like for them behind these fortified walls.
St. George Street
St. George Street is perhaps one of the most popular streets in the city, but the entire historic downtown of St. Augustine is a sight to be seen. The Spanish construction will give you a glimpse into what life in the city was like during its earliest days as balconies hang over into the streets.
What is now Flagler College is constructed at the Ponce de León Hotel in 1888. Named after industrialist, oil magnate and railroad pioneer Henry Morrison Flagler, the building is now a private college. Its library is arguably one of the most beautiful you'll find.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Forts were a much bigger deal back in the 1500 and 1600s, but thankfully some of them have lasted long enough for us to see just how cool they were. About 30 minutes south of St. Augustine is the Fort Matanzas National Monument. This fort, which requires reservations to hop on a ferry with the National Park Service, is located on the Matanzas Inlet and helped the Spanish spot Pirates on their way through the "back door" of St. Augustine. This little hidden gem is simple, yet majestic in its isolation.
Beaches are bountiful within a 30-minute drive of St. Augustine, including the Fort Matanzas National Monument. What makes beaches in St. Johns County unique, though, are the beach ramps that allow for you to drive your car out on the sand (as long as it's 4-wheel drive). Some of the quietest of the surrounding beaches include Crescent Beach, Butler Beach and Fort Matanzas.
The current St. Augustine Lighthouse was constructed from 1871-1874 and stands tall above the water. It's a must-see for those interested in maritime history and the paranormal, as it's said that there are plenty of spirits who wander about the grounds.
If you love zoos (me) and you love alligators (my family), this is the place to go. You can really get your adrenaline pumping by zip lining over alligators.
St. Augustine played an important part of this country's role even before the Civil Rights Movement. Fort Mose Historic State Park is the first free black settlement in the United States, having been legally sanctioned in 1738 by the governor of Spanish Florida, Manuel de Montiano.
Fountain of Youth
Who ever would have thought to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World if you only needed to make it to St. Augustine? Ponce De Leon discovered The Fountain of Youth and its healing waters that help you stay young forever is located here. You can not only check out the exhibits but also take a drink from the magical springs yourself. Adding to the magical touch is its location on Magnolia Street, one of the prettiest streets in the city.
Old trees are cool, right? Unlike some things, trees seem to get cooler the older they are. Old Senator in St. Augustine is no exception. The tree is believed to be one of the oldest living oaks in the United States at over 600 years old. You can find it growing in the courtyard of Village 1565 on San Marco, a short drive from historic downtown St. Augustine.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Crescent Beach & Butler Beach
Places to eat & drink in St. Augustine, Florida
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Michelle Zelena’s guide, See & Be Seen in Miami, Florida.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florida.