St. Augustine, a city steeped in history, offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and modern charm that beckons travelers and locals alike. This picturesque city, nestled on the northeast coast of Florida, is not just another tourist destination; it’s a vibrant, living tapestry of history and culture. From its cobblestone streets to its stunning architecture, St. Augustine encapsulates centuries of stories waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of the arts, or simply seeking a relaxing day out, this guide will unveil the best of what to do in St Augustine today.

As you wander through the narrow lanes of the oldest city in the United States, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. The city’s rich past is evident in its well-preserved landmarks and monuments, each with its tale to tell. But St. Augustine is not just about its past; it’s a city that seamlessly marries history with contemporary life. Art galleries, trendy cafes, and boutique shops dot the landscape, offering a modern twist to the historic setting.

In this guide, we’ll explore the hidden gems and popular attractions that make St. Augustine a must-visit destination. From its stunning beaches and scenic waterways to its historic forts and museums, there’s something here for everyone. We’ll provide insider tips on how to experience the city like a local, ensuring that your visit to St. Augustine is truly unforgettable. So let’s embark on this journey together and discover what to do in St Augustine today, where every corner turned is a new adventure waiting to unfold.

 

Historical Landmarks Worth Visiting

St. Augustine is not just any historical town; it’s a living museum, a treasure trove of the past that continues to captivate those who walk its streets. Among its many jewels, the Castillo de San Marcos stands as a monumental testament to the city’s rich history. As the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, this 17th-century fortress offers a window into an era long gone yet vividly alive in its walls. Visitors can explore the bastions, witness the firing of cannons, and soak in the breathtaking views of the Matanzas River, all while feeling the echoes of history around them.

closeup shot of a male walking on a road near the sea on a sunny day

But the journey through St. Augustine’s historical landmarks doesn’t end there. Meander through the charming streets of the historic district, where each cobblestone and corner tells a story. The district is home to a myriad of architectural marvels, from Spanish colonial houses to Victorian-era buildings. A stroll down St. George Street, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare, reveals a colorful array of shops, restaurants, and galleries housed in beautifully preserved buildings. Here, history intertwines with modern-day vibrancy, offering a unique experience that cannot be found elsewhere.

Another significant landmark that beckons history enthusiasts is the Flagler College, formerly the Ponce de Leon Hotel. This architectural masterpiece, with its stunning Spanish Renaissance style, is a symbol of the Gilded Age and offers guided tours that showcase its opulent interiors and rich history.

For those fascinated by the spiritual and mystical, the Oldest Wooden School House is a must-visit. Nestled in the heart of the historic district, this quaint structure dates back to the early 18th century and offers a glimpse into the educational practices of the time.

And, of course, no visit to St. Augustine would be complete without a walk along the city’s ancient walls and gates. The Old City Gates, which once served as the main entrance to St. Augustine, stand as a reminder of the city’s strategic importance and resilience through centuries of history.

In St. Augustine, history is not just remembered; it is lived and breathed. Each of these landmarks offers not just a tour but an immersive experience that transports visitors back in time. Whether you are a lifelong history enthusiast or a curious traveler, St. Augustine’s historical landmarks are a testament to the city’s enduring legacy. They are essential to understanding what makes this city truly special.

 

Unique Dining Experiences in St Augustine

Beyond the typical tourist spots, St Augustine emerges as a true haven for foodies, offering a culinary journey as rich and diverse as its history. For those wondering what to do in St Augustine today, embarking on a gastronomic adventure should be at the top of the list. Over the centuries, the city’s unique blend of cultures has cultivated a dining scene that is both eclectic and authentic, making it a paradise for those seeking to indulge in culinary delights.

One of the highlights of St Augustine’s food scene is its local seafood, freshly caught and served in a variety of styles. Dining at the docks not only provides a feast for the taste buds but also offers an immersive experience, with picturesque views of the waterfront and the rhythmic sounds of the waves. Here, you can savor the catch of the day, from succulent shrimp to flavorful grouper, each dish reflecting the freshness and quality of local produce.

woman beach shocked by taste burger she s holding

Another must-try experience is enjoying a meal at one of St Augustine’s historic inns. These inns, which have stood the test of time, offer more than just food; they provide a journey into the past. As you dine in these historic settings, you are surrounded by walls that have witnessed centuries of history, adding an extra layer of charm to your meal. The cuisine in these inns often includes traditional recipes passed down through generations, giving diners a taste of the city’s rich heritage.

For those with a penchant for international flavors, St Augustine does not disappoint. The city’s Spanish roots are evident in its array of Spanish restaurants, where traditional tapas and paella take center stage. Italian, French, and even Caribbean cuisines also find their place in the city’s culinary landscape, each adding its flair and flavors.

Moreover, the city’s vibrant café culture cannot be overlooked. Quaint coffee shops and bakeries, often family-owned and operated, dot the streets of St Augustine. These cozy spots offer not only respite for the weary traveler but also a chance to enjoy locally roasted coffee, homemade pastries, and delightful small plates in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

In St Augustine, dining is not just about eating; it’s about experiencing the city’s culture and history through its food. Each restaurant, café, and eatery tells its own story, contributing to the rich tapestry that makes St Augustine a unique destination. So, as you ponder what to do in St Augustine today, consider taking a culinary tour of the city, where each meal becomes a memorable part of your journey.

 

Outdoor Adventures in St Augustine Today

When considering what to do in St Augustine today, the array of outdoor adventures available is nothing short of impressive. This historic city is not only rich in culture and history but also abounds with natural beauty, offering a plethora of activities for those who love the great outdoors. From the serene beaches that line its coast to the lush, green nature trails that weave through the landscape, St Augustine is a paradise for anyone seeking to connect with nature.

The beaches of St Augustine are a major highlight, with miles of pristine coastline waiting to be explored. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the soft sands of St. Augustine Beach or searching for shark teeth and seashells at Vilano Beach, the city’s beaches offer the perfect setting for relaxation and recreation. For the more adventurous, water sports such as surfing, paddle boarding, and kite surfing provide an exhilarating way to enjoy the Atlantic waters.

stylish woman with hat taking a selfie outdoors

Kayaking through the Matanzas River presents an entirely different perspective of St Augustine’s natural beauty. As you paddle through the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by a diverse ecosystem, including mangrove tunnels and salt marshes. This tranquil journey offers opportunities to spot wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and a variety of bird species, making it a must-do for wildlife enthusiasts.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Anastasia State Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders. This protected wildlife area boasts over 1,600 acres of unspoiled beaches, tidal marshes, and maritime hammocks. Taking a stroll or a bike ride through the park’s nature trails is not only a way to enjoy the scenic beauty but also an opportunity to learn about the area’s diverse flora and fauna.

Another outdoor activity that should not be missed is a visit to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the city and the sea, providing a unique vantage point and a chance for some incredible photography.

For golf enthusiasts, St Augustine offers world-class golf courses, each with its unique challenges and breathtaking views. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, spending a day on the greens is a relaxing way to enjoy the city’s natural beauty.

 

Cultural and Artistic Attractions

St. Augustine’s cultural and artistic attractions are a testament to the city’s diverse and rich heritage, offering visitors a chance to delve deep into an array of creative expressions. The city’s vibrant art scene is a kaleidoscope of past and present, where local galleries, historic museums, and lively theaters come together to celebrate the arts in all its forms.

Local galleries in St. Augustine are treasure troves of creativity, showcasing the works of both renowned and emerging artists. These galleries, scattered throughout the city, feature a variety of art forms, from traditional paintings and sculptures to contemporary installations and multimedia art. Each gallery visit offers an intimate glimpse into the creative minds that the city’s beauty and history have inspired.

The Lightner Museum is a centerpiece of St. Augustine’s cultural landscape. Housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, built by Henry M. Flagler in 1888, this museum is not only an architectural marvel but also home to a remarkable collection of fine and decorative 19th-century art. The museum’s exhibits include stunning glasswork, intricate lace, and a fascinating array of Victorian curiosities. The Lightner Museum is more than just a display of artifacts; it’s an immersive experience that transports visitors back to the Gilded Age.

young tourists in front of monument

Another cultural jewel is the St. Augustine Amphitheater, known for hosting a wide range of performances, from concerts and ballets to theater productions and community events. This open-air venue, nestled amongst lush greenery, provides an enchanting setting for enjoying performances under the stars. The amphitheater is not just a place for entertainment; it’s a gathering spot for the community, where the arts are celebrated and memories are made.

Additionally, St. Augustine’s cultural scene is enriched by its many historic theaters. The Limelight Theatre, for instance, offers a variety of plays, musicals, and other performances, showcasing local talent and bringing diverse stories to life. These historic venues blend the charm of yesteryears with contemporary theatrical productions, providing a unique entertainment experience.

For those interested in more interactive experiences, St. Augustine also hosts various art festivals and workshops throughout the year. These events provide opportunities for visitors to engage with artists, learn new skills, and even create their art pieces.

 

Evening Activities and Nightlife

As the sun sets, St Augustine undergoes a magical transformation, revealing a vibrant nightlife scene that offers a variety of experiences for every kind of evening adventurer. From cozy wine bars where you can savor the local flavors to lively music venues that showcase both local and renowned talents, the city comes alive at night, offering endless possibilities for entertainment.

One of the highlights of St Augustine’s nightlife is its array of wine bars and lounges. These intimate settings are perfect for those looking to unwind after a day of exploration. Many of these bars feature an extensive selection of wines from around the world, along with local craft beers and artisanal cocktails. Some even host live music or have outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy the balmy Florida night air.

For music enthusiasts, St Augustine’s music scene is a delightful discovery. The city boasts a variety of venues, from historic theaters to open-air pavilions, where you can enjoy everything from jazz and blues to rock and indie performances. These music spots not only provide great entertainment but also a chance to mingle with locals and fellow travelers, making for a memorable night out.

Ghost tours are another unique aspect of St Augustine’s evening offerings. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, it’s no surprise that St Augustine has its share of ghostly legends and eerie tales. These guided tours take you through ancient streets, historic cemeteries, and even some of the city’s most haunted buildings. Combining history with a hint of the supernatural, these tours are perfect for those seeking a little thrill and mystery in their evening.

For those looking for a more laid-back evening, a stroll along St. Augustine’s historic streets can be enchanting. The city’s historic buildings and landmarks are beautifully lit at night, creating a romantic and picturesque atmosphere. Walking tours, either self-guided or with a local guide, offer a chance to see the city from a different perspective and discover its nocturnal charms.

Let’s not forget the array of restaurants that offer delicious meals and an ambiance that enhances your dining experience. From waterfront dining with views of the Matanzas River to charming restaurants tucked away on cobblestone streets, there’s a setting for every mood and occasion.

 

Making the Most of Your Day

Your day in St Augustine offers a spectrum of experiences that can be tailored to your personal preferences, whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back retreat or an action-packed adventure. This city, rich in history and brimming with culture, invites you to immerse yourself in its unique charm, ensuring that whatever you choose to do in St Augustine today, it will be an experience to remember.

As you explore the city, remember to soak in the local atmosphere. Stroll through its historic streets, engage with the friendly locals, and let the city’s spirit guide your day. Whether it’s uncovering the secrets of the past through its numerous historical landmarks, savoring the local culinary delights, embarking on outdoor escapades, delving into the vibrant art scene, or enjoying the lively nightlife, St Augustine has something to offer everyone.

Take a moment to appreciate the small details – the intricate architecture, the soft sea breeze, the sounds of the city – these are the elements that create the tapestry of your experience in St Augustine. As you navigate through the city, allow yourself the flexibility to discover its hidden gems. Sometimes, the best memories are made when you least expect them, in spontaneous moments of discovery.

In St Augustine, every corner turned is an opportunity for a new adventure, a new story to tell. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to rediscover its wonders, the city always has something new and exciting to offer.

So, as you ponder what to do in St Augustine today, let your curiosity lead the way. Embrace the opportunities that come your way, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this enchanting city. Your day in St Augustine at Bliss by the Sea can be as unique and special as the city itself – a blend of history, culture, adventure, and relaxation, all waiting to be experienced.