Springtime is one of the best times to visit America’s oldest city. The summer heat hasn’t arrived and there’s a lightness in the air. St. Augustine is home to many unique sights, pristine beaches and historical points of interest. Here are some of the best things to do in spring in St. Augustine.
Visit the original site of the Oldest City and drink from the fountain of eternal youth that Ponce de Leon discovered in 1513. The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is more than 15 acres of waterfront beauty, lush grounds and centuries of history, offering a day of wonder for visitors of all ages. Step inside the Spring House – a 60-year old coquina building where the original spring from the 17th century still sits.
Have a seat in the Navigators’ Planetarium and learn about the tools and techniques that the Spanish and Portuguese explorers used to brave the world’s oceans in the 1400s and 1500s. See the Timucuan Village that recreates and celebrates the culture of these Native Americans featuring living history interpreters, a large Timucuan family house, an authentic canoe replica and more.
To see all the best sights in St. Augustine, take a seat on the orange and green trolley. The trolley will stop at more than 100 points of interest including the Castillo de San Marcos, the Old Jail, the Lightner Museum, Flagler College, Potter’s Wax Museum, the Tolomato Cemetery, the Spanish Quarter and much more. You’ll have a chance to get off and spend as much time as you wish at any of the stops, so enjoy a delicious lunch, take a carriage ride and shop for souvenirs on historic St. George Street. Old Town Trolley’s hometown conductors will entertain and enlighten you as they share fascinating information about all the people and places that have shaped the city.
The Old Town Trolley Tour will transport you back centuries in time, sharing the history of the nation’s oldest city.
For a lesson in history and a picturesque view, put the St. Augustine Lighthouse on your vacation itinerary. The lighthouse, which dates back to 1874, includes a Keeper’s House Museum and a shipyard playground and offers visitors a chance to learn all about the history of the sailors, fishermen and light keepers throughout 500 years of history. Climb the 219 steps to the top and enjoy panoramic vistas of historic St. Augustine, the beach, ocean and the Intra-coastal. Take a guided tour, explore on your own or stop by for one of their special events.
An awe-inspiring sight, the Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. It stands as it has since 1672, guarding the coast against foreign invasion. Today, you are invited to wander through the fortress and learn about its significance to the city and our nation. Take a self-guided tour, meet the costumed re-enactors who will share their knowledge of the fort’s history with you and see demonstrations of the historical weapons on site. Guests are invited to relax and enjoy the expansive green space on the property, pack a lunch or simply take in the magnificent views of the water and the city.
Fort Mose is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in the United States. The park is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National register of Historic Places. Today, you can see the land where the original settlement first stood, take a walk along the boardwalk, visit the museum to see numerous exhibits and explore the grounds. Bring a picnic and enjoy the lovely spring weather.
Docked next to the Bridge of Lions in Downtown St. Augustine, the El Galeon Andalucia is a full-size reconstruction of a 16th Century Spanish galleon and is open to the public through July, 2014. Take a self-guided tour to learn the story of Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival on the shore of Florida and the many explorers and pirates that sailed during the 16th century. Walk through four decks of authentic artifacts, exhibits, videos and much more.
Activities & Festivals
If you can’t decide where to go for lunch or dinner in St. Augustine, try it all at the annual Taste of St. Augustine. At the city’s best outdoor food festival, sample everything from local cuisine to local brews and wine. Live music and discounts from local businesses, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, top off the delicious experience.
Acoustic Americana music reigns at the Gamble Rogers Music Festival. Hosted in memory of folk music legend Gamble Rogers, the festival is known for its live music, kids tent and big prize giveaways. This family-friendly event is perfect for enjoying St. Augustine’s rich history and the tunes of accomplished local musicians.
Chalk artists, students and art educators flock to the St. Augustine Chalk Walk Festival and transform the city streets into works of art. Open all day for visitors to view sidewalk chalk art, this free festival celebrates innovative public art and creativity. Cash prizes are awarded for the best chalk art.
The Azalea Festival is located along the banks of the beautiful St. Johns River and down St. Johns Ave. The event is free for the whole family. Featured events are the Florida Azalea Beauty Pageant, an Antique Automobile Club of America Car Show, a Bowling Tournament, and Shriners’ Parade.
Experience Ravine Gardens at its best with our 100,000 azaleas in bloom this time of year! Spend your day at the park as you enjoy guided wagon tours, music, vendors featuring arts, crafts, and plants, and much more! See nature’s colorful display up-close by taking a ranger-narrated wagon tour around the park’s 1.8 mile loop through thousands of blooming azaleas.
Searle’s Sack, the annual event that re-creates the famous bloody pirate raid on St. Augustine in 1668, takes place on the first Friday and Saturday in March. This deadly raid was led by Robert Searle when he and his crew laid siege upon the city and its inhabitants.
Find more monthly events this spring by visiting our St. Augustine events calendar