St. Augustine, known locally as The Ancient City, is home to quaint cobblestone streets and quirky historic sites. You’ll see history come to life here as you visit the area’s incredible museums and take a local haunted house tour. Located between Jacksonville, Orlando, and Daytona, this North Florida hot spot boasts a year-round perfect climate (see more below) ideal for walking the delightful historic district. Experience the beauty of an early morning that slowly comes alive with locals and tourists setting out on foot to explore the Castillo de San Marcos, Lightner Museum, Flagler College, and Fort Matanzas.
Beyond the history, you’ll find excellent modern restaurants serving all types of delicious fare. Plus, live music, theater, art galleries, and 40 miles of pristine beachfront.
So read on and start planning your next trip — and if you need lodging, book a St. Augustine vacation rental to save money and gain so much more space & privacy over a traditional hotel.
Top 9 St. Augustine Activities
In their own words: Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler.”St. Augustine’s Lightner Museum of Hobbies” opened in 1948 with the collections of “Gilded Age” artwork, antiques, and curios of Otto C. Lightner. As once-proud Chicago estates were put up for auction or sold for taxes during the Depression, Lightner quickly purchased the collections of millionaires that had been acquired over a lifetime.
The current mission of the Museum is to preserve, maintain, research, and interpret the Museum’s collections for the educational benefit of the visiting public. The Museum is a non-profit cultural institution sustained by admissions and donations, and it is supported by a dedicated staff of volunteers.
In their own words: The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park began in the late nineteenth century as a small exhibition of Florida reptiles and soon became a quintessential Florida attraction. Today it functions as a modern zoo serving the public and the scientific community with educational shows and exhibits, important research, and worldwide conservation efforts. The Alligator Farm’s history as an attraction and an accredited zoo is nearly as exciting as zipping across the Alligator Lagoon on Crocodile Crossing, the park’s thrilling zip-line attraction.
In their own words: The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc. is a private, nonprofit museum and an historic landmark. We are dedicated to our mission “to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port as symbolized by our working St. Augustine Lighthouse.” Visitors help us save history, preserve 6 historic buildings, conserve 19,000 artifacts and maritime archaeological specimens. Your admissions and visits keep the light on each evening because the Museum keeps the light shining as a private aid to navigation. A visit to the Dark of the Moon ghost tour helps us fund our maritime archaeology program and to put students in the water with scientists to discover shipwrecks off the Nation’s Oldest Port. So, please Come discover new heights with us, enjoy the exhibits, explore the nature trail or talk with a conservator of archaeological artifacts. We are an AAM Accredited institution and a Smithsonian Affiliate.
In their own words: After a successful 5-year run in Key West, Pat Croce moved the Pirate & Treasure Museum to another pirate stronghold: St. Augustine, Florida. Pirates such as Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles who frequented the nation’s oldest city and the Spanish fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, played a major role in the history of pirates and Colonial America.
The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers an exciting and educational museum experience that transports you and your family back in time over 300 years to Port Royal, Jamaica, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy.
In their own words: We wanted to bring the national movement of distilling super premium, small batch spirits to our community. And we want to do it better than anyone in the world. We knew that if we could bring some of the world’s best distilling experts here — the oldest and coolest small city in America — with access to locally grown sugar cane, wheat, corn, and citrus, we could develop a ﬁner quality spirit than just about any other place in the world.
We wanted to bring something special to St. Augustine; something that could take root and grow. Craft distilling was happening all over the country, but not in Florida. We were fascinated with the idea of making craft spirits. Utilizing local ingredients to produce whiskey, rum, vodka and gin challenged the way we thought about a cocktail. Some of us have spent a signiﬁcant portion of our adult life in pursuit of the perfect adult drink – so we knew this could be fun. Armed with great advise and insights, we designed and built what we think is the most beautiful and well-designed craft distillery in America. In these stills we are making some of the best spirits in the country.
In their own words: See Florida’s best live pirate show onboard a real pirate ship. Black Raven was designed and built for its purpose, to be a floating performance stage for live Pirate Shows. In fact, the ship was designed to fit the dock where she is currently moored.
Our goal is to provide a wide variety of dynamic and interactive entertainment programs that will suite all ages. The crew’s ambition is to deliver the best Pirate Show in Florida regardless the audience age group. The performance is rehearsed, but not scripted, allowing the pirates to improvise with the crowd. And you will never know what will happen while sailing across the mystic Matanzas Bay.
In their own words: Catch 27 stands in the heart of historic St. Augustine, Florida. We believe in preparing and serving fresh, locally caught seafood from the nation’s 27th State. We cook everything from scratch with seasonal ingredients and local produce.
Our Fish, Shrimp, and Clams are caught in Florida waters, delivered fresh every day. The selection varies from Snapper to Sheepshead, Mahi Mahi to Triggerfish, and Flounder to Black Drum. Sea folk and Landlubbers will all find something they’ll enjoy.
In their own words: We call it ‘Innovative Southern Fare for Omnivores, Herbivores and Locavores.’ Regionally-inspired and fresh from the source, our cuisine is a synthesis of Down-home Southern Comfort Foods, and lighter, healthier, vibrant and creative dishes–with many vegetarian options.
We support local growers and producers because–to us–that just makes sound, sustainable sense.
Our menu will change continuously with the seasons, and will reflect our sincere appreciation of traditional Southern cooking with an updated dedication to keeping it fresh–literally and figuratively. Keep an eye out for our featured Farm, Fish, and Artisan partners as we do our best by their incredible product. After all, a restaurant’s menu can only be as good as the ingredients used to craft it.
In their own words: Inspired by the historical period of the early 20th century, our idea is to reintroduce our guests to a time where the experience of having a cocktail and a bite to eat was both healthful and enjoyable. Focused on the art and craft of mixing exceptional local ingredients in precise measurements to create perfect and unique flavor profiles.
Fresh, house-pressed juices and a wide assortment of bitters and specially developed syrups, result in stunning cocktails. Attention is paid to the smallest of details with three different kinds of ice, including a nod to the building’s original use as an Ice Plant, with a 300lb block of ice and custom cubes.
The farm to table restaurant and bar is open for lunch and dinner. Serving grass-fed beef and burgers, local seafood, with vegetarian options and daily specials.
The original “Ice Plant” building dates back to 1927, an experience like no other in Florida. It is complete with the original bridge crane on rails overhead the bar. The crane was used to pick up huge blocks of ice to then be broken down and sold to local customers and the shrimp boats. We wanted to restore the feeling of walking into an old factory.