We recently went to St. Augustine, FL for a fun family trip! We had never been to this area of Florida before so it was a new experience for all of us. Did you know St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US? So there’s a lot to do and explore.
I’d recommend this trip to families with kids or to couples as a romantic getaway. This city of St. Augustine itself is very historical but that does mean it’s not super car friendly. Keep that in mind if you want to come here but need vehicle accessibility.
There are ample places to stay in St. Augustine. We opted for an Airbnb so we had a full kitchen to cook with Summit. Eating out for every meal with a 2.5 year old just isn’t fun right now! We stayed in St. Augustine Beach and were right on the beach- how heavenly! If you want to know the cottage we stayed at- email me. Other options include hotels (the Hilton Hotel in downtown St. Augustine is a great choice if you like chain hotels), lots of Bed and Breakfast options and of course house rentals in either downtown St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach or Anastasia Island. If you do not want to rent a car- find something downtown and you won’t really need a car except for airport travel.
We started our trip by booking a Trolley Tour with Old Town Trolley Tours so we could get a feeling of the city and decide what other places we wanted to check out throughout our vacation. There are two competing trolley companies so definitely check out prices/stops- we preferred Old Town, but you might like Ripley’s Red Trains. Let me give you a word of warning- the discounts these trolley places advertise on their website are not as good as the discounts you will receive in a flyer before your trip. You will actually save $1-2 more if you want to book, unless you want to book a huge museum package.
Anyway- we had a blast on the trolley tour! It was super packed on a Saturday but there was literally no parking available downtown so we would not have been able to see the sights on the weekend without the trolley. We got aboard at the Old Jail, while we didn’t tour it- there was plenty to see outside including beautiful plants, an old cage (it was Summit’s favorite), the trolley depot, a gift shop and nice bathrooms.
We traveled all throughout the city and marked the stops we wanted to come back to on another day! One thing that kind of bummed me out was that we missed visiting their historical fort: Castillo de San Marcos because of the government shutdown! I would definitely recommend checking it out, if it’s open while you’re there.
Other highlights of our trip were going to the Fountain of Youth to taste the waters (and hopefully make us young forever!) and feed peacocks. It was a total blast and I’d highly recommend it, especially since it’s on the cheaper end of places to visit. Matt and I had a fun day date and checked out the very first Ripley’s Believe it or not. I have to tell you- it was cool but so overwhelming! The historical building had a spooky vibe, that I felt way before I found out two women died there in a fire! We also took a tour of Whetstone Chocolate- an artisan chocolate factory. I would highly recommend taking a tour, we learned a lot about what goes into making chocolate and got many yummy samples!
We also enjoyed the Alligator Farm- it was fun for our whole family. We had the opportunity to see the alligator bellow. They make this super deep, loud noise while “talking” to each other. I’ve never been so curious and creeped out at the same time in life! But it was awesome to see all the alligators, crocodiles, birds and other wildlife in one place.
George Street is a walking, outdoor shopping mall. It’s the weirdest combination of very classy stores and cheap souvenir stories- I’ve never seen such a wide variety of shopping all in one place. We throughly enjoyed checking out Kernel Popper’s - a popcorn store with over 250 flavors of popcorn, The Spanish Bakery - for super delicious and homemade baked goods and Myer’s Jewelry - a small but super unique jewelry store with unique jewelry mementos to take home from your trip!
There is a lot of really good food in St. Augustine!! I think we only tried the tip of the iceberg but here were our favorites:
- The Donut Experience - for custom, made-right-in-front-of-you donuts. Good thing there isn’t one of these around us!!
- Mellow Mushroom - this is a small chain, but there pizza is amazing :)
- Obi’s - a restaurant in an old gas station. We had breakfast- the food was great and the service was fast!
- Mango Mango - I had the most delicious mango, salmon salad there. We actually went twice and I got the salad twice- that is saying something!!
- Maple Street Biscuit Company - a fun breakfast place near George Street with a definite college vibe.
- Harry’s Restaurant - a cajun restaurant near George Street. Very delicious but spicey food. If you aren’t great with spices like me, ask for them on the side. They have a great outdoor eating space.
All in all we really enjoyed St. Augustine… it might not be my favorite place to visit in Florida, but it is definitely worth the trip. If you are a history buff- this is the place for you!!