Saint Augustine Travel Guide

  • Castillo de San Marcos
    by basstbn
  • Castillo de San Marcos
    by basstbn
  • st. augustine beach
    st. augustine beach
    by doug48

Saint Augustine Highlights

  • Pro
    Katmosphere profile photo

    Katmosphere says…

     quaint, nice people, beautiful beaches, great food 

  • Con
    Shihar profile photo

    Shihar says…

     Too many tourists... Parking is a nightmare! 

  • In a nutshell
    NC_Ziggy profile photo

    NC_Ziggy says…

     The oldest city in the U.S. and still going strong! 

Saint Augustine Things to Do

  • Castillo de San Marcos

    I've visited a lot of fortifications in my years of travel, and approached Castillo de San Marcos with low expectations. I left very pleased that we had taken time to visit this historic site, one of the oldest structures in the USA, and one of the more unique and "photogenic" of the forts I've visited. Early Spanish settlers lived in fear of...

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  • Historic District

    Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is credited with the discovery of Florida in 1513 and giving the state its name. Digs in the vicinity of the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park seem to indicate that the landing and earliest Spanish settlement were here, at the site of present day St. Augustine. Ponce made an equally important discovery, in the...

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  • Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

    the gonzalez-alverez house is the oldest spanish colonial dwelling in florida. the site has been occupied since the 1600's and the present structure was built in the early 1700's. the gonzalez-alverez house is on the national register of historic places. admission to the oldest house also includes entrance to the manucy museum, the tovar house, and...

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Saint Augustine Hotels

Saint Augustine Restaurants

  • Santa Maria Restaurant

    As you cross the Bridge of Lions into Historic St. Augustine, you see a resturant sititng on a pier all by itself to your left. Many times I visited St. Augustine with friends and passed by it. Finally, I decided to stop by and try it. The wait can be long, but there's no lack of entertainment by watching children feeding catfish off the side of...

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  • Saltwater Cowboys

    This place goes to all kinds of extremes: It is extremely hard to find: down at the end of an otherwise residential street. The atmosphere is extremely 'white cracker' fishing camp (there are pictures of huge 'gators caught by locals and tanned rattler skins on the walls). The food is extremely refined,tastes excellent, and is reasonably priced...

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  • Conch House

    No lunch menu as site says , over priced for portion size. VERY limited menu, also no steaks as site says. Was not at all impressed , have eaten better at a Chinese buffet. Plus their menu says 18% tip added for party of 5 or more, they added 15% for 2 on top of the tip we left on ticket. Conch fritters had little if any conch, greasy as hell....

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Saint Augustine Nightlife

  • Milltop Tavern

    This place isn't such a bad place to hang out, especially on a balmy night when they have live music. It has a lot of outside seating, and even the bar area, which has a roof, is open air. It's right on St. George Street, and the view is of the river.

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  • Scarlett Ohara's

    Scarlett O'Hara's is located in a nice old house, giving it a quaint and cozy atmosphere. It has three bars: one upstairs, one downstairs and one outside. There are tables outside on the porch for smokers. The upstairs part of Scarlett's was my favorite because it has lots of nice couches and comfy seats where you can gather with a group of friends...

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  • Sunset Grille

    Just a fun place with a TON of good food on their menu..You wouldn't think it but this place has some really good gourmet food..Not just your average bar food either...They had a dish on the appetizer menu that was called Sea Spuds and they were out of this world! Scooped out baked potatoes filled with a mixture of shrimp, lobster and crab and then...

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Saint Augustine Transportation

  • Trolley

    I bought a trolley ticket (good for 3 days) the first day I was in St. Augustine and rode it around to familarize myself with the city before doing any sightseeing. The trolley is very useful especially if you are staying in downtown St. Augustine as parking is almost impossible to find unless you pay $6+.

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  • Driving

    Parking is lousy in St. Augustine. There are many narrow streets, lots of the roads are one-way, few houses have their own parking spaces, even the city lots are mostly reserved for inns and hotels. Metered parking available starting at $1.50 an hour in lots owned and leased by the city. The city also has a few parking lots, which cost $1.50 an...

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  • Boat Trips

    I'm not sure whether to put this under Restaurants, Hotels, or Transporation. I've got so many other tips under Restaurants, though that I've put this one under Transportation. This boat, which was the reason we had to vacate the dock at Oyster Creek, has 6 suites on board, a working caliope, and does cruises with a maximum of 12 people for...

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Saint Augustine Shopping

  • St. George Street Shops

    You must visit CARIBONGO in both Heritage Walk locations. The owners are so friendly, nice, and the store is CLEAN! THE PRICES ARE UNBEATABLE - $9.99 or less - first quality! Also, the store is set up so cute, tropic of course, but really nice and bright, easy displays. The t-shirts are SUN ACTIVATED and the kids (and adults) just love them....

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  • Activated Sun Wear too much fun!

    You must visit CARIBONGO in both Heritage Walk locations. The owners are so friendly, nice, and the store is CLEAN! THE PRICES ARE UNBEATABLE - $9.99 or less - first quality! Also, the store is set up so cute, tropic of course, but really nice and bright, easy displays. The t-shirts are SUN ACTIVATED and the kids (and adults) just love them....

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  • Spice and Tea Exchange

    As you walk toward the Historic District from the Public Parking Garage, you may pass by the Spice and Tea Exchange. They have a wide variety of spices, rubs, and teas for sale. They have a variety of worldwide spices and rubs. Worth a stop. Try the Backwoods Hickory or the Jamaican Jerk rubs. Under $4 an ounce.

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Saint Augustine Local Customs

  • The Biblemobile

    What a hoot. Apparently, this guy feels so strongly about his bible and his interpretations of that book that he feels the need to drive from New Jersey to Florida to spread the word.You can't read it on the van, but one of the main messages this guy conveys is that one cannot be saved by works, but by "grace alone".Everyone has their own opinion,...

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  • big wet kisses

    When visitors come in from out of town, it is tradition for the locals to get them drunk and make out with them.

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  • wear a straw hat

    Girls, to fit in with the locals, it's a good idea to wear a straw hat. This is a tradition started by Saint Jethro. Back in 1768, St Jethro founded the first Greek Orthodox church in St Augustine. Ok, I may have a few of my facts mixed up, but don't these girls look good in those hats?

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Saint Augustine Warnings and Dangers

  • Boating Hazards

    St. Augustine does not have a class A inlet. If one wants to avoid Matanzas with frequent shoaling, it is adviseable to go out the St. John's River and not try to go out St. Augustine. This picture shows the inlet entrance from the ICW when there was an onshore wind. There is surf all across the inlet, which is not a nice situation to be in with a...

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  • Driving Hazards

    UPDATE 02-Jan-2007 The 2 story parking garage has greatly improved parking! It is located directly behind the Visitor Center. Parking is an absolute nightmare in the city. It is best to get there real early or late in the afternoon to find a spot by the Visitor Center. When I was just there in December 2005, they are building a two story parking...

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  • Traffic Comes From lDirections

    With the vehicles coming all directions, and the trams, and a lot of people looking out the window trying to see the sites, it is best to be aware of danger.

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Saint Augustine Tourist Traps

  • Museums

    Well, why not have a wax musuem in the middle of a historical city.. Makes perfect sense! If you build it, they will come.. Anyway, if this is your thing the museum is located On the Historic plaza: 17 King Street 904.829.9056 It's got 7 themed galleries and 160 famous figures. See if there are coupons available at the Visitor Center... I...

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  • Ghost Tours

    Well we just had to do it. It was interesting finding out little bits of odd knowledge about the town but kind of dissapointing IMO. Just walked around pointing out things I mostly found out about on the History channel already. Get some comfortable shoes and prepare to do a bit of walking. I suggest going on the earlier tours because the locals...

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  • Aaarrrr, dude...

    We visited a tourist trap that I really didn't mind so much. It was the Taberna Del Gallo bar. It's right on St. George street and is only open at night. It's cool in that it is lit solely by candles (except for the bathrooms). It's tacky because it is staffed by pirates. Yes, pirates. At 8 Pm they start singing sea shanties. Oh, just have a few...

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Saint Augustine What to Pack

  • camera

    bring a camera. This isn't really a tip, but I love this photo. Oh, wait..bring a camera, that can be my tip.

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  • Must bring camera..

    I bring a backpack because I always wind up buying something. Sneakers...lots of walking Sunscreen Digital Camera

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  • Mosquito Repellent

    Bring sunscreen and Mosquito Repellent. Mosquitos were thick when we were there in early September. Comfortable shoes are a must, along with a hat. none Bring your camera and lots of film There are some parts on the beach where you can drive

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Saint Augustine Off The Beaten Path

  • Anastasia Island State Park.

    The park area has a lightly wooded section, an ocean-front, beach section and a grassy marsh section, so you can see a variety of wading and shore birds. The park is on a migratory path for many species so what birds you see will depend on the time of year for your visit. (see the "birding" section in the website below for more details). This park...

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  • Fort Matanzas National Monument

    Fort Matanzas is a small but beautifully located Spanish fort that was built in the 18th century, and the area has colonial history dating back to the 16th century. A free guided ferry tour can be undertaken from the visitor's center. There is also a short boardwalk nature trail here. We opted to approach the fort via Kayak, putting in at a...

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  • River to Sea Preserve

    This is a wonderful hiking trail that seems to be not very well known. Everytime I've been there, no one else has been around. At the beginning of the trail is a pond with a cute alligator living in it. Frankcanfly and I fed him hotdogs and he seemed to enjoy them a lot. It's right off A1A, across from Marineland and a little south. Just look for...

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Saint Augustine Sports & Outdoors

  • Marinas and Anchorages

    This marina is convenient to town. They have showers, laundry facilities and a small store. There are also pay phones. We couldn't find a good spot in the anchorage so we gave up and went to St. Augustine Municipal Marina. (It was Sunday, and Oyster Creek is only open on weekdays and the same for Oasis. They could only give us a big slip and it...

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  • MM 778.6 Municipal Marina

    This marina is convenient to town. They have showers, laundry facilities and a small store. There are also pay phones.We couldn't find a good spot in the anchorage so we gave up and went to St. Augustine Municipal Marina. (It was Sunday, and Oyster Creek is only open on weekdays and the same for Oasis. They could only give us a big slip and it only...

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  • Great fishing trip

    Hoped to go deep sea, but as the seas were to rough we stayed inshore.Still had a great time with a guide that knew the area very well, and always had great stories about the areas he took us. Even with a good portion of the area under a red tide, he knew areas to go that we had a great trip. Had about 10 decent fish to bring home, and caught about...

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Saint Augustine Favorites

  • Old City

    It really is impossible to see all St. Aug has to offer in a day or two. If that is all the time you are able to visit then plan a return visit... the city will definately call you back! The months of November thru January are especially beautiful because the city is decorated with lights. My best memory of St. Aug is living here and knowing all...

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  • Flagler College

    FLAGLER COLLEGE Was once the old Ponce de Leon Hotel built in 1885-1888, established by Henry M. Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil (Sunoco). Flagler is responsible for turning St. Augustine into a fashionable resort in the late 1800's and built roads and resort hotels. The college was founded in 1968.

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  • Castillo de San Marcos

    The fort was my favorite thing, probably because it was the only thing that we saw! Definately need to get back to Florida to see more of it. I don't know if this is a fondest memory, but the drive across the Florida panhandle was very, how should I put this, BORING! I thought driving across Kansas was bad, but Florida is right up there if you...

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Top 10 Holiday Lights Displays: St. Augustine

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Commonly known as the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine's original claim to fame is being the first European city in North America. Now, the city is also very well known for its outstanding holiday light display, called the Nights of Lights. The celebration, which runs two months long, includes lighting three million white lights the Saturday before Thanksgiving, as well as a variety of tours and events that run through January 31. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular display reflects the city's 446-year history and highlights the city's colonial architecture. A particularly unique opportunity is a candlelight tour of Villa Zorayda, a museum whose building is credited with beginning the revival of Moorish Spanish architecture seen throughout St. Augustine today. These tours run on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December. Strolling St. George Street, the pedestrian street in the heart of the historic preservation district, offers abundant opportunities to pick up gifts for those left on your list, with art galleries, jewelry artisans, and sweet shops.

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