30 places to visit in St. Augustine

A month ago I went on a beautiful trip to St. Augustine. Other than being sick on my trip, everything else about it was lovely! I’m dying to go back! And even though I spent 3 days there, I only made a dent on the list of things you could do in St. Augustine. There’s so much to do there!

For those planning a trip to St. Augustine, I wanted to help you out by making a list of all the places you can visit. I will let you know which ones have free entrances!

The best thing I think I did for myself when going on this trip is that I planned all of my days. I went through this list of things to do, I looked at all of them to pick which ones I wanted to go to, and I organized based on location. Because I did this, there was never a moment of arguing on what to do next. I also allowed flexibility. In the moment, if we wanted to switch something up, we were open to that too. I recommend you do this as well. This is also a good way to manage a budget if you have one for your trip.

I hope this list helps you plan your St. Augustine Trip! ❤️ For more info on some of these locations, I recommend reading my post on my trip to St. Augustine. I talked about my favorite places and everything I recommend taking with you to each location, or what you should/shouldn’t do. I promise you’ll enjoy it 😌

 Places to see:

  1. Castillo de San Marcos
  2. Colonial Quarter
  3. St. George Street (free)
  4. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
  5. Fountain of Youth
  6. Old City Gates (free)
  7. Flagler College (free)
  8. St. Augustine Beach (free)
  9. Anastasia State Park
  10. Lightner Museum
  11. Fort Matanza
  12. St. Augustine Distillery (free)
  13. Bridge of Lions (free)
  14. Old Jail
  15. St. Augustine Winery (free)
  16. Alligator Farm
  17. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
  18. St. Augustine Light House
  19. Mission of Nombre de Dios (free)
  20. First Colony (free)

Where to Eat:

  1. Ice Plant
  2. Salt Life Food Shack
  3. Big Island Bowls
  4. Taberna del Caballo
  5. Bull & Crown Publick House
  6. Cellar 6
  7. The Hyppo
  8. The Spanish Bakery & Cafe
  9. Cafe Alcazar
  10. Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar

 

St. Augustine

BEWARE: THIS IS A REALLY LONG POST! But I promise it has good content.

My husband and I have been very busy the past 4 months! I transitioned out of one of my jobs, and went to help my husband with the business him and his family own. The physical therapist I work for, his office has been really busy too. I’m there at 7A, and I usually don’t leave until 7P. We’ve had some lucky days where we do leave early. But then there’s just life in general. Birthdays have passed, babies have been born, Easter has come and gone, Mother’s/Father’s day happened, and in a blink of an eye we’re through with June! We are now past the half way point of the year 2017! Un-be-lievable…

The fact that we’ve been so busy, we decided that we needed to take a trip. Sal gave me a budget and said: “You plan it”, and so I did! I’ve been wanting to go to St. Augustine for some time now. I love history, and this place is full of it being that it was the first, and oldest city in America. I started by booking our hotel room, and then I went scouring through pinterest and google looking at all the things to do while in St. Augustine. Unfortunately we only had 3 days to do everything, so I planned accordingly.

I want to talk about all the things that we did, but mostly about the things that we enjoyed doing most! I’ve also made a list of all the places you can visit. Link will be at the end of this post. I’m hoping I’ll be going back there very soon because there were still so many things we wish we could have done. The fact that I got sick on our vacation weekend didn’t help, but we still managed to get through a lot of what St. Augustine has to offer. I hope you enjoy our photos! ❤️


When we drove into St. Augustine, I went straight for the Visitor Information Center. I had read that they had a map of the city with all the things to do. This “map” can actually be found at any of the main venues (Castillo de San Marcos, down St. George St., and some other place). It was a little helpful considering that Sprint and St. Augustine don’t like each other. In other words: Google Maps was verryyyyy sloowwww…. 😑 My husband and I had horrible reception the entire weekend. Apparently, it’s a serious thing with Sprint and the city… We weren’t very happy about it, but nothing really we could do other than trying to get on wifi whenever we could. If you have good reception there, I wouldn’t worry too much about this map.

At the Visitor Center, they sold “passports”. It’s a little book with 2 tickets to 2 different venues for a discounted price. Instead of spending about $50 by paying individually to the Fort (Castillo de San Marcos), and to the Colonial Quarters, we spent a little under $40. Also, instead of parking at the Fort, which is $10, we parked at the garage behind the Visitor Center. It’s a public garage, and it’s $12 for all day. Since everything is in walking distance, it was better to park here and walk to all the venues, than to park at the fort, have to leave, and go find parking again.

After we parked, and bought our “passport”, it was about 9:30A and the Fort only opens at 10:30A, so we walked over to St. George St. (across the street from the Fort). On our walk over, we reached The Old Gates, which is the original entrance to St. George St. Since it’s so pretty, we had to stop and take pictures. (:

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WARNING about St. George St… There’s no shade. It’s location is in Florida, so it gets very very hot! My biggest mistake was not taking any sunscreen with me everywhere I went. You’ll most definitely need it if you go any time near the summer. Other than that, I loved the environment. Lots of restaurants. The Colonial Quarter is located on this street. The Oldest School is on this street. At the opposite end from the Gates, there are cathedrals, and tons of other beautiful buildings you’ll want to see. This street isn’t very long, but there is a lot to look at and enjoy!

My recommendations are to take a hat, sunscreen, and some water! Stay hydrated if you plan on going during the summer. Otherwise, I recommend going any other time other than end of May to the end of August. If you can’t handle the heat, well… don’t come to Florida 😅

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There are so many great places to go for food! St. George St. is full of places to eat, and there’s tons of variety. And if you have a sweet tooth, you can pretty much find an ice cream or popsicle store on Any corner! At least that’s what if felt like!

If you go into the Colonial Quarter, and if you decide to eat at either the Taverna del Caballo or Bull & Crown Publick House, take your ticket from the Colonial Quarter with you. You get 10% off your bill. You’re welcome 😌

The photo of the flat bread pizza was from Taverna del Caballo. It was pretty decent food. Since I was feeling under the weather, my throat had been bothering me so I asked for their Ginger Beer. Ginger is awesome for sore throats or coughs, but anyway, they make their ginger beer, and both my husband and I really enjoyed it!

The middle photo is of popsicles from The Hyppo. They have a large selection of all kinds of popsicles. From sweet ones to more refreshing popsicles. They’re all made with fruits, veggies, and even herbs like basil. I had the Pineapple/Mango and it was great. I would have loved to go back and try a different one!

The last photo of the milkshake is from Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar. Wow was it good! It was a lot of milkshake too! I couldn’t finish it. Mostly because we had just finished dinner at Cellar 6 (very pricey and more formal restaurant. great food). The name of the milkshake I got was “Deep Search”. It’s supposed to be made with chocolate ice cream, but I don’t like chocolate ice cream, so I exchanged it for vanilla. It’s a very small place. I didn’t try their waffles, but if it’s anything like their milkshakes, than it’s awesome!

My recommendation is to look into all the locations first and decide on a few that you’d like to visit. That’s what we did, and at no point were we arguing about where we wanted to eat because it was already decided!

Castillo de San Marcos (The Fort)
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Castillo de San Marcos was incredible! Getting to see history so close and personal is an incredible experience.  A fort like this one, built so many years ago to protect the people who were rebuilding their lives in this city, and getting to stand there and see all the rooms, the cannons, and hearing of the wars that should have brought the fort down but didn’t because of it’s structure, is so gratifying. It’s beautiful really. Then on top of it all, they fired the cannons for our entertainment, and that was freakin awesome! I can’t imagine going through what those people went through. And they did it living in FLORIDA! 😱 Unimaginable in my opinion….

This place is worth every single penny spent to walk onto the grounds. Loved every minute of being in there, other than being in the blazing sun. But I was sick, so that just amplified my anger towards our humid, hot, nasty summers.

My recommendation is that you plan your day doing all the things near the fort. Realistically, you will not spend too much time there. If you really stop to look at every single detail and read everything, you’ll spend about 2 hours there. Other than that, you’ll probably be there for maybe an hour to an hour and a half. The fort is literally across the street from St. George Street, so I planned my entire day doing all the things closest to the fort and the street, and it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.

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Saturday morning, we got up and we rented scooters to ride for 4 hours, which in the end became 5 hours because we loved it. We rented from St. Augustine Bike Rentals. The guys that work there were great! The price for renting was also very reasonable, and we had tons of fun riding down A1A! We got to drive over the Bridge of Lions, and we went straight to the Lighthouse.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse was one of my favorite things to do there! On the opposite side of the lighthouse was the house of the lighthouse keeper. Inside, they turned it into a museum where some of the keeper’s old things are displayed. Everything is so organized and beautifully displayed. There’s a lot to see.

Inside the lighthouse, you get to climb to the top! 216 steps (something like that) and 14 flights of stairs? 😱 It’s a lot, but if you take your time, if you stop and read all the info they provide on your way up, and if you climb slowly, you’ll make it up there just fine. There’s a lot of fun facts and cool things to see. I had never been inside a lighthouse before and I was so fascinated. It was a lot of fun!

The lighthouse also offers different tours. They have a ghost tour at night!!!! I would have loved to do that one, but I was seriously not feeling good on Saturday. Saturday was actually my worst day ):

My Recommendation is to take water… A lot of it! It gets pretty warm inside the lighthouse, and you don’t want to be feeling lightheaded climbing up all those stairs! You also will not be spending too much time here. Kind of like the fort, I suggest planning your day around events nearby. FIY: The beach was really pretty! I suggesting taking your bathing suits *wink wink*

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Saturday afternoon, we had lunch at Salt Life Food Shack. We both loved it! They had a ginger beer there too, so we tried theirs. It was just as good as the one from the place we went on Friday. We were so excited about eating, I forgot to take photos of my food! I regret it so much cuz it looked so good! 😫 But it also tasted amazing!

Since it’s been a little while since we got back, I’ve forgotten what we ordered! I do remember that 2 of the dishes we selected were specials of the day, and we got a salmon roll which was pretty good. I’m not someone who orders tempura, unless it’s the only sushi available, but this one I liked. Basically what we did was order 3 small dishes and we shared it. It ended up being more food than necessary, but it was all worth it! 😏

Before we returned the scooters back, we stopped by The Big Bowl for some açaí bowls. If you’ve never had an acai bowl, I suggest getting one anywhere! This place was a little different with their acai bowls than what I’m used to getting. They blend their acai with apple or banana, then they add fruits and toppings. Other places I’ve been to, they have the plain acai at the bottom of the bowl with fruits and toppings. The toppings are usually honey, granola, some places put coconut shredding. I’ve had it with condensed milk (the best idea ever!!!). I prefer it when the açaí isn’t blended with other fruits because then the açaí’s taste becomes diluted. Açaí is such as beautiful purple color with a sour taste, but we add a little honey just to give it a little sweetness. Then you add strawberries, banana, and granola, and you’re golden! 🙌🏼

I recommend going here just for fun. They have other stuff on their menu. But it wasn’t my absolute favorite. I’ve had much better Açaí bowls that weren’t as expensive as theirs.

Lightner Museum
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The Lightner Museum was so beautiful! It’s formerly known as the Alcazar Hotel built in 1888. If you’re someone who really enjoys museums, there is a lot to see and learn here! I like museums, but I don’t have a lot of patience looking at everything and reading everything. I like to do a lot of skimming, but we still ended up spending at least 2 hours in there!

The thing we loved the most here was that at certain times in the day they have a “musical show” in a room where they have old musical machines, like a jukebox or a Nickelodeon, and they show you how each machine worked. It was so fascinating to see what people in the 1920’s and on were listening to. I mean, I had heard the music before, but when it comes out of the actual machine that they were using, rather than a CD or record player, it becomes more real. I even took a little musical souvenir home ❤️

I most definitely recommend going to the Lightner Museum. Its beautiful inside and out. If you don’t like museums, they do have a restaurant where the pool used to be located when it was a hotel. It’s called Cafe Alcazar.

St. Augustine Winery
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The St. Augustine Winery is for free… YES! You get to taste wine FOR FREE! And it’s really good wine too. At the end of the “tour”, if you want to taste extra wine (on top of the 8 wines you just tasted) you do have to pay for it. I don’t remember how much it was, but they give you a glass of wine rather than in the little plastic cup.

Their “tour” doesn’t have a guide. You walk into the building, someone is there to great you with your tasting cup, a list of the wines, and a pencil to mark off which ones you liked. You then follow the line of people waiting to get served. At each station they serve 2 wines. You don’t have to taste all of them if you don’t want to. Each station is located in a different spot inside their building. Again, at the end of the tour, if you want to taste more wine, there’s a fee. There’s also a room playing a video on how St. Augustine Winery came about.

There is NO vineyard. They’re wine is grown on the west coast of Florida at Lakeridge Winery. I’ve been there, and I recommend going to see their vineyard! But don’t go to this winery expecting to see some grapes hanging around. You won’t.

You will spend about 45 minutes to and hour here only because we waited in line to buy wine. You go through everything really fast. This is another place I recommend planning to do other things close by. Here’s a clue: The distillery is right around the corner!

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This was one of my favorite places in all of St. Augustine! Not because I get to drink FREE Liquor, but the place itself was fun, and architecturally it was beautiful. I love the industrial look!

The St. Augustine Distillery provides a lot for you to look at and learn. While you wait for your tour to start (this one does have a guide) you’re inside a room full of signs, articles, and old tools from when the building used to be an Ice Plant. This building was where ice was made and then sold to people. Now-a-days you push a button on your fridge and you automatically get ice.

When the tour begins, everyone gets inside another room where your guide tells you more about the building, what you’re going to see, and the rules you need to follow on the tour. The tour guides are fun and excited, they’re knowledgeable, and you’ll have a blast going here!

Once you’ve walked through the tour, you’ll end up in another room where your guide will make drinks with the liquor they make there. They make Bourbon, Vodka, Rum, and Gin. I assume they make different drinks on different days. When we were there, they showed us how to make a “Florida Mule” (rather than a Moscow Mule) with all of their products. Then they made a Gin & Tonic with all of their products as well. They made the Florida Mule first, then they serve it to everyone in shot glasses. Once everyone’s got a chance to taste it, they made they second drink it served that as well.

After the tour is over, they’ll open the doors to their shop where they made 2 more drinks for you to try. I don’t remember what they were, but again they’ll use their products.

On the opposite side of the building is their restaurant Ice Plant Bar. I don’t know what it was about this place, but it’s now my favorite restaurant ever! When we got there, I was ready for lunch, but they were still serving brunch. It was still really really great food! Some people would just go hang around the bar and get drinks. Other people (that’s me 🙋🏻) sat down and ate.

We started off with the Smoked Local Fish Dip. It was delicious! We both really enjoyed it! And it was so much food! I forced myself to finish it, and still had to eat my food that was coming… Once again it was unnecessary food, but totally worth it! Sal ordered the Open Face Avocado Sandwich, which was outstanding! I ordered the Short Rib Hash and Farm Eggs, which was also outstanding! Both came with more than enough food, and we left stuffed! I want to go back to St. Augustine just to have dinner there!

You HAVE to go to both these places! On my list of recommendations, the both of these are at the top of the list! Do yourself a favor and go have fun at the distillery, then go eat at the Ice Plant Bar. You can check online for tour hours. I suggest taking a look and then fitting it into your day.


I’m sorry this post was so long, but there was so much that we did and loved about the city that I wanted to make sure you knew what your options were. I promise that whenever you decide to go, you will not regret it!

Let me know if you also did any of the things on our list. Here’s the link I promised of all things do-able in St. Augustine: 30 Things to do in St. Augustine. And let me know your thoughts on this post in general.

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Rainbow River

Last year in August, I wrote a post on Devil’s Den. When we took the trip to Devil’s Den, we had actually gone to Rainbow River first. May 29th, one cool early morning, we got in our car and drove up to Dunnellon, FL. (where the river is located) to see what the hype was all about.

When we arrived, Sal and I were really excited because this place looked nothing like South Florida. It had big beautiful trees that THANK GOD looked Nothing like palm trees! I felt isolated from the “real world”. It was gorgeous!

When we first arrived, we had made plans to go tubbing down the river. As we drove into the city of Dunnellon, we saw signs everywhere with prices on tubbing, kayaking, or canoeing. We picked one, parked, took what we were ok with getting wet, paid, grabbed a tube, got on the trolly, and they drove us to the beginning of the river. We walked out to the water, got in our tube, and let the current take us downstream. It’s like a natural lazy river.

It was very calming, very relaxing. Some people brought their own floats. We saw 2 girls that 1 had a pizza, and the other had a doughnut. Some people took a float strong enough to carry a cooler. They took their own drinks and snacks. Other people had waterproof speakers with them. They got to play their own music as they floated downstream. It was cool to see other people’s creativity. All we had taken was our GoPro and our snorkel gear in case we wanted to get underwater.

Another thing about the river is that it was VERY COLD! The water is 72 degrees all year round! Although it was a warm day, the water still feels like you volunteered to play the role of Jack in the Titanic! And because of trees, we weren’t exposed to the sun the entire time. Now, I could be exaggerating a little bit. To me it felt like I was freezing because I wasn’t moving around, or trying to get wet. I sat still in my tube the whole time. Some people we’re moving around, jumping into the water from swings and out of trees. I’m sure for them the water felt great.

When we paid to go enjoy this attraction, they told us it was about a 2 hour ride downstream. Because we weren’t in the slightest hurry, we didn’t paddle with our hands to move any faster. The only time we did was to get back to the middle of the river instead of being out near the trees. We didn’t try swimming. We just sort of laid back and relaxed. Because of that, it must of taken us over 3 hours or something before we got out of the river. If I were you, and you’re making plans to go up to Rainbow River, I’d be like one of the smart guys who took their cooler into the water!

After we got out, we were hungry so we stopped to eat at a Sonic. We then decided to go find our hotel so we can drop everything off and possibly shower. We were sitting in the Sonic parking lot as I pulled up the address in my phone, copy and pasted it into Google maps, to realize that the hotel was literally right behind us! Everything is so close to each other; it was perfect.

We stayed at a Comfort Suites. The hotel was great! I assume they had renovated it not that long ago (from when we were there – 2016), but everything looked great on the inside/outside. Our room was clean and spacious. They had a gym there, which we did use, and it was awesome. They’re equipment seemed brand new. We loved it. And we loved that we were right outside all the activities we could do at Rainbow River. They also provided breakfast in the morning, which was pretty decent. Everything was clean, and they always made sure there was enough food for everyone.

By the end of that day, Sal and I were tired so we decided to stay in and relax.

The following day was exciting. We had breakfast, grabbed what we needed, and we went out to go find some place where we could rent Kayaks. Once we paid, they took us to where they let you get into the water, and we kayaked upstream. This was the first time I was kayaking, so it was pretty hard. Thankfully we had decided to go in a tandem kayak. As we went upstream, we got ourselves into some beautiful areas behind some trees. I encourage you to go behind the groves and really be adventurous. It’s worth it!

The start of the river is at the Rainbow River Park. Because it was Memorial Day weekend, it was packed with people have picnics and BBQ’s. We “parked” our kayak, and took a walk around. They had some trails where you could walk around and see the nature. I wish I had taken my sneakers and proper trail attire, because then I would have spent more time on the trails. I was in shorts and flip-flops since we were riding the kayak.

When we decided to leave, we went downstream. We kept our eyes open for any opening areas where we could find some more beautiful spots. We did find a turtle hanging out of a branch that was sitting outside the water. We also almost bumped into a hive of black wasps… But it was all exciting and fun. It took FOREVER before we finally made it to the end of the river. Even though we were going with the current, I hadn’t realized the river was that long.

When we finished kayaking, we were not only drained, but very hungry! And to our advantage, where we got off was right in front of a restaurant! It’s called Swampy’s Bar and Grille, and it was Fantastic! We got alligator bites for appetizers, which were delicious. For our entrees, we both got fish, and it tasted fresh and perfect. Sal loves sweet tea, and they had fresh sweet tea, which Sal loved! I’m pretty sure he had about 3 cups of it.

From the restaurant, we returned our kayak, and went back to the hotel to clean up and rest. We we’re absolutely drained from kayaking and the sun! The following day was when we went up to Devil’s Den. If you have any questions about trip, please be free to ask! If you have plans on going, or have gone, let me know what you thought or what you did to enjoy this incredible river.

 

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Devil’s Den

 

Devil’s Den has been the talk of Summer 2016 here in Florida. I’ve seen it on Pinterest. I’ve seen videos of it all over Facebook. Most people when asked, “What are your plans for this summer?” Most replied with, “I’ve been dying to go to Devil’s Den! Have you heard about it?” Have I?! Everyone’s been freaking out about it! And with good reason…

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Devil’s Den is an underground cavern with natural spring water inside, and with a chimney sitting right above the water. Before walking down into the cavern, there’s a walkway that takes you close to the chimney so that you could look inside (NO you cannot jump in! That’s one of my husband’s questions…). Under water, the cave will go about 100 feet deep. Only accessible by those scuba diving. It’s all very fascinating and very beautiful!

To be on the premises where Devil’s Den is located, it’s free. Going inside the cave comes with a small price. It’s very reasonable! It’ll include the fins and snorkel gear, if you don’t have your own, or you can scuba dive. Scuba Divers must be certified. You also have to sign a waiver. Once you’ve paid and got all your gear together, you can head down to the water and be there for as long as you like! That was one thing I was most curious about. Did you have a limited time in the water? You do not! I understood why once I got in.

The water is 72 degrees all year round… That is very cold water! If I were sitting outside in Florida’s awesome (I can be a very sarcastic person) 95-100 degree weather inside the 72 degree water, then that’s different. You’re sitting inside 72 degree water inside a cave that gets almost no sunlight. Sunlight gets through from the chimney, but not enough to warm you up.

If you’re wearing a wet suit, I would assume it’s a little warmer. If your snorkeling, you’re going to be very cold. The first entry into the water is the worst one. It took me over 5 minutes to get my whole body inside the water. Hadn’t it been for my husband to pull me in, I would have stood on the stairs for much longer than that. Once I was fully submerged, my body instantly got used to the water.

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Swimming in there was the best part! The water is crystal clear and it’s so beautiful! There were tiny fish swimming around, you can see the rocks at the bottom. I would do it all over again. Since you are inside a cave though, in certain areas of the Den, it was pretty dark. Usually closer to the walls of the cave. Where the scuba divers go, it’s pitch black. I started to swim near it, and it frightened me a bit. One thing I would do differently is take a waterproof flashlight with me. We probably would have spent a little more time in there if we had it.

As I was saying before about there being a time limit in the water. Once you’re inside and you’ve made a few laps around the cave, there’s not much else you can do in there. I think my husband and I spent close to an hour in the cave. We had our GoPro, so we had fun with it. On your own, you’ll want to get out. It’s not like a park with numerous things to do. When we finished swimming around, we got out, took a walk to see if there was anything else to see (there were some pretty scenery), then we headed home.

When you go to Devi’s Den, if you don’t live close by, you’ll want to plan to do other things near by because you won’t be spending too much time there. Since we lived 4 hours away, we made a weekend trip out of it, and went to other springs in the area. Devil’s Den is definitely a wonderful and beautiful place to experience! My husband and I loved it! We would love to do it again, but with some family/friends next time.

If you visit their website, they provide you with other places to visit near them. They also have sister locations right outside the Devil’s Den.

If you’ve been there before, let me know what you thought of it. Was your experience different from mine? I’d love to hear from you!