Your first time traveling to a new destination is always a trip to remember. There’s something about exploring a new city and experiencing its culture with fresh eyes that’s truly special.
An unforgettable first-time trip to St. Augustine starts with Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine. With various stops, our seasoned conductors take you to and from the famous must-sees of St. Augustine tourism. Hop on and hop off at renowned attractions such as the rustic Old Jail, the iconic Lightner Museum, the historic Castillo de San Marcos and more.
From its architecture unique to the Spanish Renaissance and authentic historic landmarks, the city turns heads. As you tour with Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine, you’ll hear the stories of each stop and other unique facts along the way. Take it from us, for your first experience as a St. Augustine visitor, it helps to have a friend who knows all the best spots in town.
Must Explore During Your First Visit in St Augustine
Any trip to the “Ancient City” is extraordinary, but when you visit St. Augustine for the very first time, you’ll have an experience like no other. Enamored by the city’s antique charm, first-time visitors often head home with plans to return. This St. Augustine visitor’s guide, crafted by the well-toured team at Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine, covers the top attractions that every first-time St. Augustine visitor can’t miss.
First in the spotlight is the city’s weeks-long spectacular holiday display: St. Augustine Nights of Lights. The event is held every night from mid-November to late January. St. Augustine tourism spots tend to get even more beautiful in the warmth of the holidays. See the city glow as you delight in the spectacle of the Annual Nights of Lights.
Over three million lights decorate the city’s historic district for the award-winning show of holiday spirit. Downtown businesses are open later, the Christmas tree sits in the center and the photo ops capture the magic of the holiday season. Whether you’re a first-time St. Augustine visitor or a frequent flyer, you’re sure to love this festive experience.
History runs deep within the walls of Flagler College. The former luxury hotel is now a pillar of education and symbolizes some of the best architecture of St. Augustine tourism.
You’ll start in the Rotunda on King Street and explore the courtyard, grand lobby and stained glass dining room. Take a self-guided stroll with your travel buddies or take the journey with a tour guide. You may even be lucky enough to find out that your tour guide is a former student.
St. Augustine’s gorgeous seaside is a breathtaking sight for a first-time St. Augustine visitor. And when you journey to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the views get even better. See the city from new heights and learn all about the lighthouse’s nautical nuances at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.
When you book a ticket to experience the oldest working lighthouse in St. Augustine, you unlock authentic experiences, hands-on activities, access to exhibits, nature trails and more. Considered a picturesque spot within St. Augustine tourism, it’s a scenic must-see in our St. Augustine visitor’s guide for first-timers.
Castillo de San Marcos is an old-fashioned adventure that invites every St. Augustine visitor to step back in time. As the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, there’s a storied past to the Spanish stone fortress. It’s one of the most popular stops on the route for Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine.
St. Augustine tourism is unique because of its antiquities. That’s why historic sites such as the Lightner Museum are so important to our St. Augustine visitor’s guide. For a glimpse of the masterful pieces of the Gilded Age, head to Downtown St. Augustine to see one of the best museums in the Nation’s Oldest City.
It wouldn’t be a trip down South without wildlife. Another one of the oldest stars of St. Augustine tourism, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is one of Florida’s longest continuously running attractions. It’s earned its place on our St. Augustine visitor’s guide because of its animal performances, educational demonstrations and variety of reptiles.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is the perfect place to connect with your spiritual side, pray or simply reflect. Wander down a path for a deep conversation with a friend, daydream in the peaceful garden or pray in the chapel. If it’s your first time as a St. Augustine visitor, you’ll want to experience the sacred grounds.
Generations ago, the Oldest Wooden School House was a place of learning for students. Now, it stands as an original American treasure in our St. Augustine visitor’s guide and gives a peek into its days as a school house. It’s recognized as the oldest wooden school building in the country.
With over 40 miles of beach stretching across its coast, St. Augustine tourism thrives on its sandy shores. When you first visit St. Augustine, be sure to plan a beach day into your stay. Take your adventure off-road and park right on the sand at St. Augustine Beach, stroll the boardwalk at Crescent Beach or catch the sunset at the beautiful Vilano Beach.
Whether you’re a newbie, a seasoned St. Augustine visitor or a local, adventure awaits at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Between hundreds of authentic artifacts to explore, and a treasure hunt fit for a true sea dog, you’ll find fun for the whole family when you come aboard this experience.
Where to Stay in St. Augustine for First-Time Visitors
Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine takes you to and from the best spots St. Augustine tourism has to offer. But after your day touring with our team, you’ll of course need a place to call your own for the duration of your vacation. Every first-time St. Augustine visitor looks for the perfect place to stay, complete with amenities and the area’s local charm. We’re happy to make your decision a little easier with some of our favorite accommodations to close out our St. Augustine visitor’s guide.
For a room steps from the beach, look no further than Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Any St. Augustine visitor would be glad to call the luxury beach escape home. You’ll have endless amenities within reach, from recreational activities such as golf and tennis to relaxing in the spa.
When you choose the Magic Beach Motel, you’re less than 10 minutes away from a few of the spots mentioned in our St. Augustine visitor’s guide. Take the two-minute walk to Vilano Beach, the six-minute drive to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum or spend the day with Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine — there’s a stop just five minutes down the road.
Guy Harvey Resort St. Augustine Beach offers beds by the beach that you’re sure to love as a first-time St. Augustine visitor. Wake up to the waves and set out for a day on the water with a kayaking tour, eco-tour or fishing excursion. There’s plenty to enjoy on land as well. Head to the tiki bar, partake in fresh local seafood or stay close to your friends on the shore at the outdoor pool with beach access.
Now that you know where to stay and where to go during your trip, you’re probably left with one last (but very important) question: What should I bring? We couldn’t wrap up our St. Augustine visitor’s guide without covering what to bring from home to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Sunscreen – With miles of gorgeous beaches and Florida’s famous sunshine, you’ll want a bottle of sunscreen within reach.
Portable Phone Charger – Between taking pictures, checking the map and looking for things to do, our phones tend to work overtime when we’re on vacation. Keep a portable charger close so you always have access to a little extra juice.
Umbrella or Poncho – For first-time visitors, Florida’s sudden showers can come as a surprise. Be sure to pack an umbrella or poncho so you can stay dry even if your vacation falls on a rainy day.
Cash and Quarters – If you’re planning a road trip for your St. Augustine stay, bring cash and quarters along for the ride. They’ll come in handy when you come across metered parking throughout the city.