16 Cool and Fun Things to do in St. Augustine on a Weekend Adventure

Steve Cummings

St. Augustine

Are you planning a trip to the historic city of St. Augustine and looking for cool and fun activities to make your weekend adventure unforgettable? Well, you're in for an adventure! 

St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, has old forts, buildings, monuments, and beautiful cobblestone streets. Besides learning about its history, one of the best things to do in St. Augustine is go to its nearby beaches, nature spots, and parks or try out endless outdoor activities. Whether you're here for the first time, bringing kids along, eager for beach fun, trying local food, or just seeking a laid-back weekend getaway, St. Augustine has everything anyone could wish for. Read on to find out the 16 cool and fun things to do in St. Augustine, which makes it a must-visit vacation spot on the East Coast of Florida

So, without any further ado, let's get started!

1. Visit Historic Castillo de San Marcos

St. Augustine
credit: depositphotos

Location: 11 S Castillo Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32084

Begin your St. Augustine adventure by visiting the iconic Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress built from coquina stone, a special kind of limestone made of broken shells. It is on the western side of Matanzas Bat and is known as the city's most popular attraction. If you have kids, they can get in for free. 

The fort is a “walk-in” park, so you walk through instead of driving in. Throughout the year, volunteers dress up in old-fashioned clothes to act out battles at the fort or tell guests about what life was like there in the past. If you're bringing kids, ask about the Junior Ranger Program. It is free and perfect for kids aged 6-12.

If you're visiting on a weekend, don't miss a cannon-firing demonstration. The Park Rangers show how the cannon and other weapons work. During your visit, you'll also learn about how the fort was used as a prison during the American Revolution and later to imprison Native Americans. Around the fort, you'll find a big park to relax, enjoy the water views, or have a picnic lunch. It is a great place to spend time.

2. Visit the Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

Location: 11 Magnolia Avenue, St. Augustine, Florida 32084 

Open Hours: 9 am – 6 pm (daily)

If you're looking for something interesting in St. Augustine, check out the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. It's only a mile away from the town center, by the Matanzas River. Legends say Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer, first landed here in 1513, making it the oldest European settlement in the USA! His real mission was finding shiny gold and taming natives, which is not as noble as the legend suggests.

At the park, you can drink water from the Fountain of Youth. It won't make you younger, but it's a spring flowing with fresh, warm water that smells a bit like sulfur. Inside the spring house, the staff in period costumes share the story of de Leon landing in Florida, separating the myths from the truths. 

Spread across 15 acres, it features the Planetarium, Timucua Indian Exhibit, and Discovery Globe, making it a must-visit destination. Here, you can check out archaeological digs, look at the stars in the planetarium, and see a reconstructed Native American village. 

The park is home to several peacocks that roam freely, including rare white peacocks. If you're traveling with kids, there is a free scavenger hunt at the ticket booth. It is an easy and fun way to guide your children through the park while they learn new things. 

3. Tour the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

St. Augustine Lighthouse
Credit: Depositphotos

Location: 100 Red Cox Dr, St. Augustine, Florida 32080, USA 

Open Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily

You'll find the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum at the top of Anastasia Island. The lighthouse, easily recognizable with its black and white stripes, sits by the Salt Run Lagoon. This towering 165-foot lighthouse was built from 1871 to 1874 and is the oldest brick building in the city.

The lighthouse is an operational lighthouse that also works as a museum. During your visit, you can take a tour to learn about 500 years of maritime history. Kids and adults can engage in activities like building boats, shrimping, finding objects underwater, joining daily programs, and visiting nature trails. And if you get hungry, you'll see a small cafe there. 

For some action and a fantastic view, you can climb the 219 steps to the top. You can see the Salt Run Lagoon, the Atlantic Ocean, and the St. Augustine skyline from above. If you enjoy beautiful views, this lighthouse is one of the must-visit spots in St. Augustine. 

4. Take a Scenic Kayaking Tour

St. Augustine is a must-visit place for people who love kayaking. The city is home to beautiful bays, winding rivers, estuaries full of animals, and other lovely places to paddle around.  

One special place is Anastasia State Park, a large 1,600-acre park that is great for beginners. You can choose to paddle in the ocean or go to Salt Run Lagoon, where the water is calm, and you can see many birds. If you want more fun, you can paddle north to the Matanzas River.

If you love wildlife viewing and bird watching, go to Faver Dykes State Park. It is also designated as Florida Paddling Trail. Helen Mellon Schmidt Park is another local favorite spot. Here, you can easily paddle to the Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve.

If you can't decide where to go, this historic district can arrange many eco-friendly tours. If you're visiting for the first time, St. Augustine Kayaking Tours is a good option. You'll start right in Historic Downtown, learn all about kayaking basics, and paddle past the Fountain of Youth, the Great Cross, and Castillo de San Marcos.

5. Visit the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

Location: 12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Open Hours: Daily from 10 am – 7 pm 

If you or your kids love pirates, you should definitely visit the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. This place tells the exciting tale of pirates that goes back more than 300 years to Port Royal, Jamaica, during the peak of piracy. As you go through the museum, you can learn a lot about the history of naval warfare, pirates, and the legacy of Sir Francis Drake.

This unique museum has one of the world's biggest collections of rare pirate things. Visitors can see Captain Kidd's journal from his last voyage in 1699 and Captain Thomas Tew's treasure chest from the 17th century. You will also find a real Jolly Roger flag. If your kids love pirates, take them to the Black Raven Pirate Ship. Visiting the museum is a fun and interactive way to explore pirate history.

6. Swim with Dolphins at Marineland

Location: 9600 Oceanshore Blvd St Augustine, FL 32800 USA

If you want to meet and greet the aquatic creatures, go to Marineland and Dolphin Adventure, the first oceanarium in the world. It is one of the largest habitats of dolphins, with 1.3 million gallons of water, where you can see them in different ways. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour and see them feeding sharks, watch trainers working with new dolphins, and learn about how it started as an underwater film studio. Seeing dolphins jump above the water is cool, but swimming with them is more fun. You can choose from different dolphin experiences in Marineland, like Dolphin Meet and Greet, Dolphin Swim Adventure, and Dolphin Encounter.      

If you want a special souvenir, they also offer a fun dolphin painting experience. Kids or even parents can play with the happy dolphins and create a beautiful painting together. It is a unique and memorable activity.

7. Take the Old Town Trolley Tour 

Old Town Trolley Tour
Credit: Depositphotos

If you're visiting St. Augustine for the first time, you should definitely try the Old Town Trolley Tour. It's an award-winning tour that stops at 22 of the city's most popular places. The whole tour is narrated by guides who know a lot about the city's history.

The tour goes around a seven-mile loop, which takes about an hour and a half. But if you don't want to do it all at once, you can get on and off for free all day! The ticket price also includes a shuttle to your downtown hotel, the beach, and the Alligator Farm, and free entry to the St. Augustine History Museum.    

During the tour, you'll see many interesting places, like the City Gates, Flagler College, Old Jail, the Fountain of Youth, and St. George Street. If you want something a bit spooky, wait until it gets dark and join the tour with ghost stories.

8. Experience Your Artsy Side at Lightner Museum

Location: 75 King Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Hours: Open daily, 9 am – 5 pm

If you're an art lover, visit the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine to explore and enjoy 19th-century decorative and fine arts. The museum is in the very famous Hotel Alcazar. The building, made in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style in 1887, is interesting and even on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lightner Museum has three floors filled with fine arts, decorations, and things from the American Gilded Age.

On the first floor, there is a small Egyptian mummy, the Victorian Science and Industry Room with Native American artifacts, and beautiful items of Victorian glassblowing. Go up to the second level, and you'll see unique Victorian art glass and stained-glass work from Tiffany to Thomas Rahner. The third floor is full of sculptures, furniture, and impressive paintings. 

Depending on when you visit, there will be different exhibits and tours. If you're hungry or need a coffee break, you'll find a cafe near the hotel's pool. The museum is one of the fun and exciting things to do in St. Augustine.

9. Check Out St. Augustine Old Jail Museum

Location: 167 San Marco Ave. St. Augustine, Florida 32804

Hours: Open daily from 9 am – 4:30 pm

The Old Jail Museum is another interesting site to visit in St. Augustine. Here, you can discover how the most dangerous criminals were once kept in jail and historical perspectives on the administration of justice and prisons. It is just a short walk from Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

The Old Jail was built in 1891 by Henry Flagler. You can take guided tours with actors dressed like prisoners. The jail was designed in the Romanesque Revival style. It is located in an old building which was Flagler's Ponce de Leon Hotel before. It is not a working jail anymore but a National Historic Landmark and a museum.

Inside, you can see where the criminals and gangsters were kept until 1935. You'll also see the Old General Store here. The salesman will show you historical items, like corn shuckers, animal-powered washing machines, bicycles, and medicines.

If you're feeling brave, you can even join a nighttime tour. They'll take you through the dark prison, and you'll hear all the spooky stories and adventures in the middle of the night. 

10. Explore Anastasia State Park

Anastasia State Park
credit: depositphotos

Location: 300 Anastasia Park Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080

Hours: Open Daily from 9 am to sunset

If you love nature and being outdoors, you must visit Anastasia State Park. The park is just a 10-minute drive east of the Colonial Quarter and the Oldest House Museum in St. Augustine. 

This 1600-acre park is known for its white sand beaches, hiking trails, and tidal marshes. If you're not sure which trail to choose, head straight to the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail – it is perfect for wildlife watching along the beach. If you prefer exploring on the water, you can go boating, kayaking, or canoeing. You can also rent canoes and kayaks or just relax on the beaches. There are also safe areas for kids to swim. 

And if you want to have a longer adventure, there are campsites where you can stay for more than one day. If you get hungry, head to St. Augustine Beach and try some fresh sea-to-table dishes at one of the many oceanfront restaurants. The park is a great place to explore and enjoy nature. 

11. Go Dining, Drinking, and Shopping along the St. George Street

St. George St.
Credit: Depositphotos

Here's something you must add to your must-see list in St. Augustine: St. George Street. It is a street just for people – no cars allowed! St. George Street is a lovely pedestrian street in the Colonial Quarter, the heart of St. Augustine. You'll discover many art galleries, shops, and restaurants when you stroll along this street. And since this is the Nation's Oldest City, you'll find many historic sites in this part of town.

If you want to learn about the area's history, visit the Oldest Wooden SchoolHouse to see how school life was during Spanish Colonial times. After that, check out the well-preserved 1750 Pena-Peck House and the Old City Gates. 

If you enjoy looking at shop windows, take a stroll through the Spanish Plaza, St. George's Row, and Heritage Walk. Along the way, you'll find souvenir stands and old-fashioned candy stores if you want to bring a treat home. 

When you get hungry, you'll have plenty of choices on St. George Street. And if you're looking for something fun to do after the sun sets, you'll find many historic taverns and rooftop pubs to choose from.

12. Get Spooked on a St. Augustine Ghost Tour

St. Augustine has a long history, and some people say it's one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. If you like ghost stories or things related to ghosts, you should join one of the nightly ghost tours. During the tour, you'll go by the Old City Gates and Tolomato Cemetery, where people have seen ghosts. Then, you'll visit the Old Jail, which is one of the scariest places in the whole state. The tour ends at Potter's Wax Museum's Chamber of Horrors, where you can hear about pirate stories.

13. Visit the Fort Matanzas National Monument

Location: 8635 A1A St. Augustine, FL 32080

Open Hours: Daily: 9 am – 5:30 pm 

Step back in time by visiting Fort Matanzas National Monument, where the Spanish settled on the southern part of St. Augustine. The fort was built to protect the Matanzas Inlet, serving as a backdoor entrance to the St. Augustine port, located 12 miles north. Even though it only fired once on an enemy before slowly falling apart, the tiny fort and tower are now beautifully restored.

The monument is located at the north end of Rattlesnake Island. It has over 300 acres of beautiful coastal landscapes with a variety of plants and wildlife to see. The monument has a strong coquina watchtower. Coquina is a special cement made from shells and is popular in St. Augustine. You can only get to the main fort by taking a ferry. Park rangers will guide you and provide a tour across the island and then inside the fort. After that, you can stroll around the nearby mangroves and dunes.   

The free ferry tours are offered from Wednesday to Sunday and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

14. Join the Tasting Tours

Eat like a local with the Tasting Tours! Tasting Tours in St. Augustine offers fantastic food tours that cover various areas and famous restaurants. You can try the Sunday Boozy Brunch tour, the Island Boulevard Culinary Tour, the Historic District Wines & Dine Culinary Tour, the Wine Carriage Ride for Two, and many more.   

During the holiday season, they also have special food tours, like Nights of Lights Carriage Ride for Two. Whether you're a foodie, a wine connoisseur, or just someone who enjoys exploring the heart and soul of a city through its tastes, these tasting adventures are for everyone.

15. Sample the Local Brews at the St. Augustine Distillery

Location: 112 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 

Hours: Open Daily, Shop: 10 am – 6 pm, Tours: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm 

Relax and enjoy yourself at the St. Augustine Distillery, one of the fun and cool things to do in St. Augustine. The St. Augustine Distillery, known as the Spirit of Florida, was an ice plant before and is now a craft distillery. They make various tasty drinks like Florida Straight Bourbon, Pot Distilled Rum, Florida Cane Gin, and Port Finished Bourbon. 

If you want to know how they craft beers, you can take a free distillery tour. After the tour, you can taste some of the drinks or even fill your bottle of beer with the Fill Your Own Experience.

16. Visit St. Augustine Beaches

Wrap up your weekend adventure with a day trip to St. Augustine beaches. St. Augustine has 42 miles of sandy beaches, making it a top beach destination in Florida. Relax on the pristine shores, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, and bask in the sun before heading back home.  

St. Augustine Beach, just 5 miles from the Historic District, is one of the most popular beaches. Explore this 2-mile stretch of white sand to find a fishing pier, a kid's splash zone, a sea turtle nesting site, and sand volleyball courts. When you get hungry, there are restaurants like Harvest & Reel, Salt Life Food Shack, and Sunset Grille nearby.

Vilano Beach, north of St. Augustine Beach, is another popular spot with some of the best hotels. Crescent Beach is a pretty part of the coastline near A1A, just south of St. Augustine Beach. It has a wide sandy area, creating a calm vibe with a lot of space to play.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a list of the 16 cool and fun things to do in St. Augustine, FL. St. Augustine is a fantastic destination with a rich history and a variety of enjoyable activities. From exploring museums and historic sites to trying out local food and relaxing on beautiful beaches, St. Augustine has fun things for everyone. 

So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable experience in the nation's oldest city. Happy travels!  

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