A charming town with loads of history that’s also located right on the Atlantic coast of Florida seems like a great destination for a vacation, doesn’t it? Yes, your one day in St. Augustine can’t be anything else than fabulous as you enjoy the sun and the beaches this part of the Sunshine State has to offer. No matter if you’re traveling alone or with your whole family, this is a place you won’t soon forget. But wouldn’t it be great to have some sort of itinerary to help you make the most of your time here? Don’t worry, we’re way ahead of you!
What’s the best time to visit St. Augustine, Florida?
The best time to visit St. Augustine, Florida is easy to define – whenever you come here, you’ll have a great time! This is Florida, after all, so you can expect warm and mild winters and fairly hot summers. Do note, however, that the period from June to October has substantially more rain, which combined with high temperatures may be tough to endure for some people. So, the months of April and May or even October seem to be the best time to visit as they offer the best mixture of warm but bearable temperatures and don’t see too much rain.
As for the events held here, Nights of Lights sees St. Augustine adorned with millions of festive lights during the Christmas period. Celtic Music and Heritage Festival (usually in March) is also very popular, and there are also many events involving food, culture, and history of this town you can enjoy throughout the year.
A few facts about St. Augustine
St. Augustine has a remarkably long history when compared to other US towns and cities. It was founded by the Spaniards way back in 1565, which makes it the very oldest continuously inhabited town founded by the Europeans in the whole country!
The city was also the capital of Florida at the beginning of the 19th century but was succeeded by Tallahassee in 1824.
Today, St. Augustine proper numbers only approximately 15,000 people, with the wider city area totaling about 70,000 inhabitants.
Interestingly, St. Augustine is also home to the narrowest street in the United States – Treasury Street is only about two meters (under 7 feet) wide.
Tourism started to develop very early here, and there is evidence of guests coming to visit The Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park all the way back from the 1860s. So, this is definitely a place with a lot of tourist pedigree.
Henry Flagler single-handedly turned the city into the tourist center that it is today. In the 1880s, this tycoon decided to come here and build a number of luxurious hotels. St. Augustine became a popular resort, especially during winters, and this changed the city forever. Today, the city is also extremely popular among retirees who are more than willing to spend their retirement here.
One day in St. Augustine Itinerary
Start with coffee and breakfast on St. George Street
St. George Street is the place to be in this town. Loads of charming souvenirs and coffee shops in combination with the intriguing architecture create a very special vibe in the v. So, why not start your one day in St. Augustine with a cup of joe and a nice breakfast here?
The Cuban Cafe and Bakery is a great place for that, for example, as is The Florida Cracker Cafe, but do go and explore the area – you’re bound to find loads of interesting places. Oh, and don’t forget to check out some of the souvenirs!
Check out the pirate museum
Yes, the pirate museum! As you’re walking down St. George Street, the chances are you’ll see it, so it’s a perfect way to continue this itinerary. It is also a great place to visit if you have kids along.
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum has an amazing interior that both kids and adults will love. Go back in time to the years when pirates ruled the seas and see what it was like for Sir Francis Drake and other outlaws as they pillaged and plundered.
Visit Castillo de San Marcos
Now, this really is a must. Built at the end of the 17th century, Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest fort in the continental US and a National Monument. The place has had a rich and tumultuous history, but it was also vital in the founding of the first free Black town in the United States (Fort Mose).
Interestingly, the fort is often rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of various prisoners and officers that resided here in the centuries past, so you can come here at night for a ghost tour. If you dare, that is.
Sit down for a nice lunch
If you’ve been following this St. Augustine itinerary, all of the locations mentioned so far have been easy to reach. Still, it’s quite possible you’re getting hungry at this point, and if that’s the case, it’s time to find a nice restaurant.
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille is one of the best places around if you’re in the mood for Creole-style seafood, something St. Augustine is famous for, and The Floridian Restaurant serves excellent Southern dishes. Back 40 Urban Cafe and Pizzaley’s Chianti Room are also great choices.
Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse
After you’ve had your fill, it’s time to visit another major St. Augustine attraction – St. Augustine Lighthouse. This amazing place is almost 150 years old and houses a wonderful maritime museum that works on preserving the history of the oldest port in the US.
You can climb to the top of the lighthouse and get an incredible view of the ocean, but you can also come back here in the evening for a night tour. Why? Well, legends say that the lighthouse is haunted… So, come when the sun sets if you dare.
Hit the beach
No one day in St. Augustine would be complete without visiting the beach, so go ahead and spend the rest of the afternoon at one. There are two main choices that stand out from the rest around here – St. Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach.
The former offers plenty of activities you can enjoy, from all kinds of boarding to a splash park, whereas the latter boasts amazing sunsets and great boat tours. Either way, you can’t go wrong – both places guarantee plenty of fun.
Treat yourself to an evening drink
At the end of your day, treat yourself to a nice drink in one of St. Augustine’s bars. The Tini Martini Bar comes highly recommended as a place for great cocktails, whereas Stogies Jazz Club & Listening provides more of a pub experience. The Bar With No Name also needs to be mentioned here as it offers a spectacular background of Castillo de San Marcos.
There are also plenty of venues for live music (with many different genres represented), as well as a whole lot of great nightclubs. Naturally, you can also enjoy a dinner under the stars because, as we’ve already said, there are some really good restaurants here. So, whatever you’re looking for in the evening, you should have no problems finding it!
Where to stay in St. Augustine?
St. George Inn
4 Saint George Street # 101, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Staying in St. Augustine can be an amazing experience if you book a room in the right place. And St. George Inn is certainly one such accommodation. Not only does it look amazing both inside and outside, but it also has a great location in the Colonial Quarter, so you’ll be able to walk to many great places. The rooms look amazing, and some even come with a spa bath, and it should be mentioned that they accept pets here, too. A paragraph this short doesn’t do this great place justice, so check it out and prepare to be amazed.
Sebastian Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals
333 South Ponce de Leon Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Another great hotel in St. Augustine is Sebastian Hotel, a wonderful establishment with an outdoor pool and very well-equipped large rooms (you will find a fridge, a microwave, a TV, and a coffee maker there). You can also enjoy a great bar here and a fitness center, plus the location is reasonably close to St. Augustine Village (although you can get a shuttle here, too). Furthermore, pets are also allowed. In short, you can’t go wrong with booking a room here.
Marker 8 Hotel and Marina
1 Dolphin Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Marker 8 Hotel and Marina delights its guests every time, and it’s very easy to see why. The first thing you will note here is the amazing view of the marina, but the location is also excellent seeing how you’re very close to the town. The whole place exudes a very calming and relaxing atmosphere, and the breakfast they serve here is nothing short of amazing. A bar and a fitness center and an outdoor pool are also here, so it’s really hard to ask for anything more from a St. Augustine hotel.
Historic Waterfront Marion Motor Lodge
120 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 32084
A motel can make your trip to St. Augustine much more affordable, so if you’re looking for this kind of accommodation, Historic Waterfront Marion Motor Lodge is the place to choose. As you can see from the name, you will be located very close to the historic part of St. Augustine, and the rooms offer a lot of comfort for a great price. They serve complimentary coffee in the morning here, plus there’s a huge outdoor pool to enjoy, which makes all of this excellent value for your money.
Day trips from St. Augustine
When you come to St. Augustine, you can be sure you will want to stay more than just one day there. And if you decide to treat yourself to a few more days in this wonderful place, you will have plenty of great options for day trips from St. Augustine. Here are a few places that can serve as perfect destinations.
The most obvious choice for a day trip from St. Augustine is Jacksonville. Less than one hour away, this city is easy to reach and offers plenty of history, culture and great restaurants. Yes, you can really enjoy your one day in Jacksonville, and the ride to and from it won’t be too demanding. There are even shuttles running between the two places.
If you don’t mind going for a slightly longer drive, Orlando is an excellent choice, especially if you have the whole family with you. It takes less than two hours to reach it, which is still fairly reasonable, and we don’t have to tell you what kind of wonders you’ll see there. But apart from incredible theme parks, the city offers loads of museums and other places to visit. Yes, your one day in Orlando will be full of excitement.
Fancy a day at the beach? If you’ve checked out everything St. Augustine has to offer, why not take a day trip to Daytona Beach? This world-famous stretch of sand is just over an hour away and offers plenty of fun things to do. Concerts, performances, and good food guarantee a good time, and the place is also a dream come true for every car racing enthusiast.
For nature lovers, a trip to the Blue Grotto will be a fantastic day trip from St. Augustine. Not only is the nature there absolutely stunning and the park has a lovely picnic area, but you can also dive into the Grotto more than 100 feet. You will need a certificate that you’re a trained diver for this, though, but even if it’s just for enjoying the park, the two-hour drive to this place will be well worth it!
Extra tips for visiting St. Augustine
- Trolleys are a very popular and convenient mode of transport in St. Augustine. Hop on one of them to get to your desired attraction faster or book a tour package to save extra.
- You will also be doing a lot of walking, and many streets here are cobblestone streets, so comfortable shoes become very important.
- St. Augustine offers some excellent seafood! If you’re a fan of this type of dish, you’re in for a treat. But even if you’re not, you’ll find plenty of great places to eat.
- You may want to leave some room or bring an extra bag for all the souvenirs you can get here, especially if you’re on St. George Street. It’s very hard to resist picking up things like antiques, for example, in this kind of environment.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.