Located conveniently on the Atlantic side of northern Florida, St. Augustine is a great spot to take in some ocean and learn a few things about US history. Here, I provide you with a fun-filled few days of St. Augustine that includes prices for your convenience. Let’s go!
Day 1 – St. Augustine Beach, Anastasia State Park
The best beach scene I saw was on Anastasia Island. It’s a short jot from the heart of downtown and if you stay there, you have so many things to walk to! There’s lots of housing in this part of town as well. From where I was staying, Courtyard by Marriott St. Augustine Beach, I could walk across the 2 lane road and be in the water in minutes, as you can get an idea from the photo above. Depending on the time of year, you might spend a great bit of your day there. Accessing the beach was free! If you’re not staying close enough to walk, you might need to pay to park. There’s also trolleys available that can take you all over St. Augustine but the price is $30+ each.
After you’ve had some fun in the sun, perhaps it’s time to dry off and head for some shade! Anastasia State Park costs $5 to park a standard car then you’re free to roam around until sunset. They have a store where you can get refreshments, beach extras, souvenirs, and even fishing equipment. There’s a pavilion for eating and bridges to take you out to the water. So, if you find there’s to many people on the island beaches, pay to park at the state park and maybe there will be less people? I’m not sure about that but it’s an idea! It’s not necessarily a big park but my favorite was the trails. It’s a small slice like being in a jungle. Wild animals afoot, beautiful trees, and sounds of water nearby. The trail is kind of an adventure on its own.
Day 2 – Fountain of Youth, St. Augustine Lighthouse
If you have any interest in history, TODAY is the day! This is admittedly not necessarily budget friendly, however, these entertaining splurges are worth it. First off, the Fountain of Youth at $17 per adult ticket. It’s such a walk back in time, in more ways than one. When you walk in, immediately on the left are peacocks. They roam around freely here and are quite the sight! Walking forward you get a map and are able to enter a small building housing the actual fountain. Inside are some life size scenes depicting famed explorer Ponce de Leon’s landing in this spot. Timucua, Native tribe, resided in the area and had for a plethora of years. The water has a slight taste of sulfur, reminding me of Reykjavik. It was not great but I did buy a bottle, fingers crossed! There are a few 10 minute presentations in little buildings, such as a 2 story globe. There’s also demonstrations from the settlement there and a pier to walk out on where I saw a multitude of deceased jelly fish. RIP. Overall, the park could use major updates but it was fun for the day and has a BBQ place at the entrance in case you get a nom attack.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse comes with an unusual interest. While it is a beautiful sight with again, lots of history, it might be most known from Ghost Hunters. 1565 was when the spot was originally used as a wooden watchtower. It evolved over time to what we know of it today. Anything with that much history is bound to attract spooky feelings, considering people have died here. So, I had to take the Dark Of The Moon tour ($25/adult but the regular light house tour is $12.95). It’s divided in 2 parts, going up the light house and exploring the home the light keeper lived in. Honestly, be PREPARED to ascend that tower. It’s no joke! If you’re not physically active, you might want to be at the end of the line going up so you can take your time. I was first and went up like a power walker. It was a tad claustrophobic on the way up. I get that way when I can’t see outside from where I’m at. Getting to the top and stepping outside into the night air was so very appreciated. That view alone was worth it. The keeper’s house was also interesting, lots of stories about who built it. There are definitely spots that give you the heebie jeebies!
Day 3 – Downtown
The best way to wind down the time outdoors is to check out the shops! Just north of Anastasia Island is a barrage of antique buildings with Spanish influence. Old Town is right on the water, across from a fort, and full of food, shopping, and cobblestone. I did a lot of circling to find a metered parking spot. It was $2 an hour and I walked around leisurely for a few to make the most of the meter. Arrive knowing you’ll spend some time looking for a spot if you get there in the afternoon. I’d advise you to come early, if possible, and bring comfortable shoes. The cobblestone is uneven walking and you do not want to get a heel stuck between bricks. I was there on a Saturday so the traffic and crowds were unreal – you’ve been warned.
All in all, the whole trip cost about $300 for 2 people, including hotel, food, and excursions. A great beach town with a short drive to all kinds of attractions and restaurants. It’s a beautiful view and the sand is stark white, so bring your sunglasses. Check back soon for St. Augustine Eats! As always, be sure to connect with me in other places such as Instagram and Facebook where I’ll be posting way more photos with extra detail!