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Local’s Guide to Visiting St. Augustine

st augustine city gates

St. Augustine is a one-of-a-kind historic city perched on the northeast coast of Florida. Set out for your adventures with this St. Augustine travel guide close by for the highlights of the Nation’s Oldest City. Whether or not you’ve called the St. Augustine area home or not, you’ll know every corner of the city in no time.

Riding with Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine is like knowing a local who has long experienced St. Augustine tourism. Many of our knowledgeable conductors are from the area, while others have called St. Augustine home for years. They enjoy sharing some of their personal favorites with visitors and, of course, know all about the stops you see along the way during your tour. To plan your St. Augustine stay like a true local with all the best activities, including some of our stops, check out this St. Augustine travel guide.

  • Admissions Admissions
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Dining Dining
  • Entertainment Entertainment

beach sunrise Watch the Sunrise at the Beach

St. Augustine’s beaches are one of the high points of St. Augustine tourism. White sands, blue skies and turquoise waters are a warm welcome for St. Augustine vacationers.

With its landscape sitting along the northeast coast of Florida, beachgoers have a variety of options for the perfect place to wake up with the sun during their St. Augustine getaway. Choose from scenic spots to watch the sunrise, such as Vilano Beach, Butler Beach, Crescent Beach, and of course, St. Augustine Beach.No matter what your interests are, St. Augustine’s beaches provide a memorable destination for all travelers looking to explore places to visit in St Augustine.

St. Augustine Castillo de San Marcos at sunsetExplore Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos is a staple on our St. Augustine travel guide because without it St. Augustine may not have become the city it is today. Built to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, the coquina stone that makes up its walls withstood three days of cannon fire.

As you pull up to the national monument aboard Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine, you’ll be in awe of its massive fortitude. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the country’s oldest masonry fortifications.

st augustine lightner museumVisit Lightner Museum

The locals know that every tried-and-true St. Augustine travel guide pays homage to the Lightner Museum, a stunning collection of St. Augustine’s most celebrated works of art, architecture, design and history. Once a Gilded Age resort, the space now welcomes visitors in downtown St. Augustine to a variety of exhibits that all ages can enjoy.

Live Like a Local Tip: You can eat at the beautiful Café Alcazar, formerly the hotel’s indoor swimming pool, the largest in the world at its prime.

Try Local Favorites

St. Augustine tourism thrives on the unique tastes of the city. Being on the northeast part of Florida’s coast makes St. Augustine a hub for cuisines from all over. A combination of traditional Spanish dishes, the comforts of Southern-style cooking, fresh-caught seafood and more create a melting pot of diverse tastes sure to please every palate. So come explore these great places to visit in St Augustine and experience a truly unforgettable culinary journey!

Live Like a Local Tip: Try popular local dishes, such as Cuban sandwiches, alligator, key lime pie, oysters and empanadas, at St. Augustine eateries.

Browse and Buy Unique Local Art

The secret to a great St. Augustine travel guide is the creative nooks and crannies of the city. Your inner art enthusiast will have a ball when you’re among St. Augustine’s beautiful selection of local art. Not only will the piece you picked look perfect above the dining room table, it’ll be an artful reminder of your time on Florida’s coast.

First Look, The Artisan’s Market has creative vendors selling their handcrafted works that make excellent gifts and souvenirs. Coconut Barrel, another place to discover local artists, is northeast Florida’s largest artisan market.

st augustine flagler college interiorFlagler College Tour

Even if you don’t call Flagler College home for your college days, you can still get a glimpse of its architectural beauty. It was first the Hotel Ponce de Leon, a luxury hotel that welcomed St. Augustine’s finest. Now visitors can take historic tours of its halls for a crash course in the architecture of the Spanish Renaissance. Beginning in the courtyard and closing in the garden Flagler room, you’ll be amazed by this pillar of St. Augustine tourism from start to finish.

st augustine pirate treasure museumSt. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

Set sail for a day of indoor adventure on the salty brine at St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. You can spend hours eyeing the authentic details of the treasures, maps and weapons at the pirate-themed attraction.

The interactive parts of the museum have helped the experience earn its place on many St. Augustine travel guides. You can even embark on a scavenger hunt as you go through the museum to help uncover what the museum has to offer.

st augustine oldest wooden school houseGet Your Diploma at the Oldest Wooden School House in St. Augustine

The Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum & Gardens is one of the most popular places to visit in St. Augustine, Florida. There’s a lot to learn at the Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum & Gardens. Its essence of antiquity and historic nature make it the epitome of St. Augustine tourism. “An original American treasure,” the Old School was completed in the late 1700s.

The professor will welcome you at the door as you start your self-guided journey through the Old School, its kitchen and its quaint gardens. You’ll even graduate from the tour with a keepsake diploma.

st augustine lighthouseSt. Augustine Lighthouse

A can’t-miss on our St. Augustine travel guide, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is the picturesque peak of the city that every local knows and loves. It’s a St. Augustine tourism hotspot for both first-timers, locals and seasoned visitors. Share a moment at the top of the working lighthouse with your travel companions to see one of the prettiest views the Ancient City has to offer.

Live Like a Local Tip: Experience the supernatural side of the lighthouse after dark with a mysterious ghost tour.

See our lady of la leche shrineOur Lady of La Leche

The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is a peaceful addition to our St. Augustine travel guide. For those who appreciate having a moment to reflect and pray, the spiritual grounds are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The area also features walkable paths and touches of history unique to the city and St. Augustine tourism. A journey to the site will surely bring calmness and good will to your trip to St. Augustine.

Where the Locals Eat in St. Augustine

Grab a table at any of these restaurants below to eat like a local.

The Manatee Cafe

The Manatee Cafe is a dream for vegan and vegetarian travelers. Try a black bean burger, tofu scramble or custom story fry to add a tasty touch to your Florida vacation.

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille is the place for authentic Creole and Southern flavors. If you have a taste for Cajun favorites, you’ll be back to St. Augustine just for a signature dish from Harry’s.

The Floridian Restaurant

On Spanish Street you’ll come upon The Floridian. Remember the local favorites we mentioned earlier in our St. Augustine travel guide? You’ll find one of the locally made Cuban sandwiches here.

Catch 27

Fresh seafood is the heart and soul of Catch 27. With seafood delivered every day, locals and tourists love the variety of options, from fish to shrimp and clams.

Hotels and Places to Stay in St. Augustine for Sightseeing

St. Augustine tourism boasts old-world charm and comforts of home. Those comforts are also customary at the hotels around the Ancient City. Our favorite hotels at Old Town Trolley – St. Augustine capture the personality of the city, so you’ll be surrounded in the city’s charm even as you turn in for the night.

Marker 8 Hotel & Marina is fit to be your home away from home as you explore the Nation’s Oldest City. It’s a luxury stay just outside of St. Augustine’s Historic District that puts you within reach of the most picturesque areas throughout St. Augustine.

Minutes from the top attractions in St. Augustine, the Sebastian Hotel offers spacious well-decorated rooms for you and your vacation crew. As a pet-friendly hotel, your fur baby is welcome to join you.

The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens is a lavish experience complete with an array of amenities and services. Take a dip in the heated pool, walk the historic property with a tour guide or relax in the adults-only facility.

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