Its nickname is “The Ancient City,” so it’s no surprise that St. Augustine is chalk full of things to see and explore. From Spanish forts to unique art, lighthouses and more, here are the 5 best things to do in St. Augustine:
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
You can’t visit St. Augustine without checking out the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The fort was built between 1672 and 1695 by the Spanish to protect and defend Spain's claims in the New World. It's a national monument and the oldest structure in St. Augustine. Inside you’ll find numerous old rooms that once housed soldiers and prisoners, a large interior courtyard and gun deck which offers a great view of the city. It really is a can’t miss, especially if you have kids in your party.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
St. Augustine is surrounded by water so it is no surprise that the city is home to a lighthouse and Maritime Museum. The Museum features shipwreck artifacts, a wooden boat building exhibit and a 165-foot-tall lighthouse. Built between 1871 and 1874, the lighthouse is the oldest surviving brick structure in St. Augustine. Learn about the Lighthouse Keeper and climb the stairs to the top of the tower for a magnificent sight. The lighthouse and museum are open daily (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended holiday and summer hours until 7 p.m.
St. George Street
The city’s central pedestrian thoroughfare, St. George Street is full of quaint shops and restaurants including “the best ice cream.” You’ll even find some historic sites like the Old City Gates and the Oldest Wooden School House. You may even run into several ghost tours passing through. Plus, The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum are within walking distance.
Art lovers will enjoy a visit to The Lightner Museum. Located across from Flagler College near St. Augustine's historic city center, the museum features a collection of 19th-century art. Guests can peruse traditional art pieces and collections as well as more unconventional art like shrunken heads, salt and pepper shakers, human hair and cigar labels.
If you want to learn even more about the history and people who settled in St. Augustine, take a stroll down Colonial Quarter. Located on St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine's historic district, the Colonial Quarter will take you back to the lives of residents in the 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century. If you want more in-depth information about the Quarter you can take a guided tour. The Colonial Quarter is open daily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.