Plan the perfect day trip to St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida, is a great day trip destination. As the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the U.S. it’s full of diverse cultural history.
This post will provide a St. Augustine day trip itinerary, tips on how to get around, what to do, where to eat and stay plus many more things that you can enjoy on your visit here.
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Why should you visit St. Augustine?
St. Augustine lays claim to the title of “oldest city in America,” and it’s home to many historically significant landmarks and attractions.
St. Augustine’s historic district and downtown area are where most of the action is located. It hosts a number of museums, shops, art galleries, and restaurants that attract thousands of visitors every year.
This great city has been around since 1565 when it was first established as a Spanish colony by Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
From the Spanish fortress Castillo de San Marcos to the multitude of historic houses, museums, available guided tours and other attractions there is plenty for you to see and do for a longer visit.
But even with only one day in St. Augustine, you can still get a large taste of everything it has to offer.
Need help planning your one-day trip to St. Augustine? Make sure to check out our complete list of travel resources.
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St. Augustine Day Trip Itinerary
This itinerary is designed to give you a good overview of St. Augustine, but we also will provide plenty of alternative tours and activities for you so you can customize your day to include whatever interests you most.
Visit Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Address: 1 South Castillo Drive, Saint Augustine, FL 32084
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is one of the most popular things to see in St. Augustine and for good reason.
Managed by the National Park Service, the Castillo is a large 17th century Spanish fortress that was built to protect Florida (and their Atlantic trade route) any outside invaders. It’s the oldest masonry fortress in the United States.
The fort was constructed out of coquina, a limestone of broken shells and sand, which made it nearly impenetrable. The stone was brought to St. Augustine from nearby Anastasia Island.
Unlike other forms of stone that would shatter when struck by cannon shot, coquina is so porous that it simply compressed, deflecting the shot or leaving the cannon balls lodged within the fortress walls.
We recommend you do the fort first thing in the morning. Later in the morning there can be a long line to enter. And of course, in the summer months the interior of the Castillo can get quite hot.
While there is a fee to enter the fort, guests are welcome to stroll the grounds outside for free.
Paid parking is available nearby at the adjacent parking lot or the city parking garage just a few blocks away.
Explore historic St. George Street
Just a short stroll away from Castillo de San Marcos is historic St. George Street.
St. George Street is the main street that runs through the heart of old St. Augustine.
St. George Street is closed to vehicles and home to many points of interest in the city such as museums, restaurants and shops.
Have fun looking through everything this street has to offer. And don’t miss poking around the little side streets too.
Featured tours in St. Augustine
For additional things to do on your day trip, check out these featured tours. All offer free 24-hour cancellation.
If you’re looking for a great overview of St. Augustine, check out this popular hop-on-hop-off trolley tour.
Or give your legs a stretch, while you enjoy this walking tour of historic St. Augustine.
If you enjoy ghost tours, you should check out this one.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at The Floridian
Location: 72 Spanish Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084
We highly recommend you plan for lunch at The Floridian on your St. Augustine day trip.
The food and service are outstanding. It’s also quite a popular restaurant, so I definitely recommend you make reservations.
You can sit outside and enjoy your meal on the patio or inside at tables. The atmosphere is very relaxed.
This restaurant is a great option for vegetarians and those who eat a gluten-free diet. And did I mention that the food is delicious?
Check out their menus here.
Colonial Quarter tour
Purchase tickets at 14 S. Castillo Drive
After lunch head over to the Colonial Quarter living history museum for one of their afternoon tours.
Your excellent guide will walk you through hundreds of years of St. Augustine history, the oldest permanent European settlement in North America.
The tour includes live demonstrations of blacksmithing and firearms, plus you can walk through an historic house and climb the watchtower for a great view of Castillo de San Marcos and the Matanzas River.
Pirate & Treasure Museum
Location: 12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
If you have time during your day in St. Augustine, I recommend you make a stop at the Pirate & Treasure Museum.
Located next door to the Colonial Quarter, it’s not a large museum, but the exhibits are fun and engaging.
There is an impressive collection of historical pirate artifacts in the museum including an old Jolly Roger flag.
The Pirate & Treasure Museum is a little dark and might not be appropriate for young children.
Established by pirate history enthusiast and entrepreneur Pat Croce, the museum was originally located in Key West, Florida, and moved to St. Augustine.
You can purchase tickets in the museum or buy them ahead of time online.
Treat yourself to an afternoon snack
By the time you finish your day of exploring St. Augustine, you might be ready for an afternoon treat.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great places to grab a snack in St. Augustine. Here are my top recommendations:
- The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops: amazing popsicles in a ton of fun flavors.
- Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar: awesome dessert Belgian waffles and handspun milkshakes.
- Mayday Ice Cream: delicious ice cream! Includes dairy-free options.
More things to do in St. Augustine
Of course, there’s much more to do in St. Augustine than we could fit into a one-day itinerary. Here are a few more options. All include free 24-hour cancellation.
You might enjoy a visit to the oldest wax museum in America.
Or try the popular Old Jail Museum tour.
Another great option is to see several St. Augustine attractions for one price with this combo ticket that includes a trolley ticket and access to several sites/museums (plus free cancellation).
Where to stay in St. Augustine
Although it’s historic center is quite compact there is no shortage of accommodations. You’ll find a wide variety of places stay from vacation rentals to small B&Bs and boutique hotels.
Affordable major chain hotels are also nearby and make a good budget option.
A vacation rental just steps from the historic district like this one on Airbnb has plenty of room for a small family with young children or it’s perfect for a couple. And since it includes a full kitchen, it’s easy to save money on food.
If you’re interested in hotel accommodations here some top rated and recommended options:
Tips for visiting St. Augustine
When to go
You’ll enjoy smaller crowds and somewhat less heat if you visit St. Augustine between October and April.
The rainiest months on average are from June through September, where it can rain up to 10 or 11 days out of the month.
How to get around
The best way to get around historic St. Augustine for your day trip is to use your feet. The historic district is quite compact with most top sites very close to each other.
If you’re staying outside the historic area of St. Augustine, you can park your car in the Historic Downtown Parking Facility (1 Cordova Street) and then easily walk to everything you want to see.
There may some limited street parking around the area, but we would recommend you use the garage. There’s also a convenient Visitor Center there, as well as restrooms and a gift shop.
Tours mentioned in this article
Final thoughts on your day trip to St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a fun city with many things to see and do, so pack your day bags and get ready for a great day trip.
From museums to great food, you certainly won’t lack for great things to do in St. Augustine. The trick will be trying to narrow it down to what you can reasonably do in one day.
But the with the one-day itinerary outlined in this post, you’ll see the very best that this historic city has to offer.
Have you done a day trip to St. Augustine? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
More articles to help you plan your St. Augustine day trip
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