List of the Ten Best Things to Do in St. Augustine for Families
I’ve been visiting St. Augustine since I was a little kid, and it’s the one place that has always drawn me back through all the stages of my life. It’s one of those places in the world where the past and present collide (like in Rhodes, Greece), where the sound of the cannon firing from the fort is a regular occurrence and the sight of a pirate ship in the harbor is common place. And there is so much to do for everyone- like architecture? Take a tour of the impressive Flagler College. Wanna shop? The eclectic galleries and shops in and around St. George Street have you covered. Have kids? No problem! Check out this list the best of St. Augustine.
Top 10 Things to Do in St. Augustine
- Explore a Fort. Built in 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest fort in the continental United States. Check out the creepy and cool ammunitions room (northeast quarter), and the sweeping vista views of Matanzas Bay and Old St. Augustine from the roof.
- Become a Time Traveler. You don’t need the Doctor’s TARDIS to travel through time in St. Augustine. Check out the newly renovated Colonial Quarter, where ship-building, trapping, and iron working are a part of daily life.
- Let your child’s imagination soar (and yours too) at Fort Menedez (Formerly the Old Florida Museum). Hands-on learning and fun in a Timucuan Indian Village, a Florida Cracker Farm, Spanish Colonial Ship and more. Don’t just learn about the history- become a part of it!
- Take a hike. A walking tour, that is, of the Old City. From the pedestrian-only St. George Street to the narrower cobblestone roads, all the way to Flagler College and the Lightner Museum. Look for the hidden gardens and cool fountains. City maps are available at most shops. You can walk yourself or choose a guided tour.
- If walking is not your thing, how about taking a trolley? the Red Train Trolley Tour or Old Town Trolley Tour? I used to turn my nose up at guided tours, but have learned better. Get on and off the tram at any stop throughout the day, or take the whole ride to listen to the local history of St. Augustine- great place for a child to take a nap too! Ask about tour freebies and discounts to other attractions. We got into the Oldest House once and the Old Florida Museum another time.
- Hunt for the Fountain of Youth, like Juan Ponce de Leon. This time you can drink the actual water- rejuvenating or not, at The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. Located down a long oak lined road, the Fountain of Youth is a spring, park and archeological site, the original St. Augustine settlement. I drank the water when I was a teenager. It had a sulfur taste. Do I look younger? Well, I FEEL younger than my age- does that count? Try it yourself.
- Unleash your inner pirate. If you are as obsessed with pirates as I am, the Pirate & Treasure Museum is the place to go. Stuffed to the gunnels with everything you need to know about pirates- history, weaponry, ships, flags, and TREASURE! Loved their interactive areas on the ship’s deck and the pirate raid (though pirate raid can be scary for young kids). Kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the museum. A good place to escape the Florida heat and afternoon showers too!
- Climb 219 steps. Who needs that stair master when you can have the real deal! Head on over the Bridge of Lions to Anastasia Island and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. You can climb to the top for the best views- (not for young children) Check out the historic Maritime Museum and take a stroll on their nature paths.
- Catch the surf. While you are on Anastasia Island, check out Anastasia State Park. Original coquina quarry sites where they mined the stone used to build the Castillo in the 1600’s. Beautiful, unspoiled stretch of white sandy beach, sand dunes, and inner water coastal way. Spend an hour or an entire day! Or even camp the night!
- Walk with spirits– or at least go hunting for some. If you are spending the night in St. Augustine, be sure to check out one of the local ghost tours. I liked the walking tour personally but had friends that took the trolley ghost tour which they enjoyed just as well. Be sure to bring your camera!
St. Augustine is one of Florida’s family-friendly cities, filled with old world history and charm. Whether you choose to fill your stay with activities or prefer the leisure strolls and a picnic in the park, there is something for everyone.
More stories from this area:
- Exploring the Castillo de San Marcos
- Adventures at Anastasia State Park
- Hunting for Ghosts in St. Augustine
- St. George Street: Up Close & Personal
- Historic St. Augustine (video)
- Sunset Sail in St. Augustine (video)