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We had yet another St Augustine day trip on our way to a recent press event at Marineland Dolphin Adventure. I say “yet another” because our family has been to weddings and other events and I was even invited by a historic hotel during the annual Nights of Lights celebration, but couldn’t stay due to other commitments. Because Saint Augustine Florida is such a fascinating city, we never hesitate to visit every chance we get. I’ve compiled a top 6 list of things to do in St Augustine with your people when you are nearby – even if it’s for just a few hours.
St Augustine Day Trip Ideas
St. Augustine, Florida is unmatched in Spanish colonial architecture as it lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S. Not only is this incredibly walkable city full of stunning historical structures at every turn, there’s also the fabulous waterfront, shopping, food and quirky museums. What more could you ask for on a St Augustine day trip with the family?
STROLL AROUND ST AUGUSTINE
One of our favorite attributes of St. Augustine is the walkability and layout. This colonial planned city was laid out in a logical grid pattern with a gorgeous town square in the center. Surrounding the town center are lovely views of the statues, the Bridge of Lions, unique shops, and churches. The narrow, brick-lined Aviles Street and its counterparts are my favorites because you can just envision the bustling colonial life of years past as you stroll along them.
SEE ST AUGUSTINE HISTORY
During busy seasons, driving around the blocks a couple times may be necessary to find a parking space. This time around we easily pulled into the small parking lot on Orange Street – close to Cordova Street. I love how many historical buildings and attractions there are to see in such close proximity to each other. For instance, I spotted four cool things to do immediately upon exiting our car in the parking lot.
Right in front of my eyes was the Potter’s Wax Museum, a stop for the Old Town Trolley Tour and the Tolomato Cemetery Tour. I immediately walked over to the cemetery to check it out.
Nearby our coveted parking spot we found Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest wooden school house, the colonial quarter and the first parish of the new world, Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, to name a few. It’s so neat to learn in a fun way about St. Augustine’s rich history in becoming a city that truly changed America.
TASTE ST AUGUSTINE FOOD
I don’t know about you, but one of the things our family looks most forward to is searching for the best food when visiting new places. Another great thing about the place we parked is that we noticed a super cute burger joint on our way into the city. After walking through the historic treats and stopping in for fudge and salt water taffy samples, it’s was time to have lunch.
We really enjoyed our sitdown meal at Burger Buckets on Cordova Street. Our meal started out with fried dill pickles and very yummy burgers and fries. The menu boasts some pretty crazy burger combinations and a fun kick-the-bucket eating challenge. One of the waiters let us try a free key lime pie slice (shipped in from Key West), so we were stuffed, to say the least. My advice is to sit in the front room unless you want to be in the warmest spot and in a dog-friendly area.
We stumbled into a neat little store that was down one of the narrow streets called Olde Town Jerky that had the tagline on their sign, “A real taste of the Old West.” We were able to choose a jerky sample from all sorts of meat/game choices: beef, buffalo, elk, or alligator. They even had jerky made from rattlesnake and rabbit! The cool thing is that they are made the old-fashioned way without preservatives or MSG.
Lastly, since it was warm weather, we started to get a little toasty and in need of refreshment. We decided to stop at a little kiosk-type stand named Likit Dole Whip on George Street so Superman and Princess could get some dole whip soft serve ice cream. Although this cute little counter service place served lots of choices, E and I only wanted a couple sodas.
ENJOY ST AUGUSTINE SHOPPING
On this recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida, us girls really hit as many shops as we could. There were so many unique shops with one-of-a-kind items. There are many little nooks and crannies to duck into along the Colonial Quarter, but we found some new favorites alongside the St Augustine City Square Plaza on King Street.
First, we met an inspiring woman who worked for two of the side-by-side stores, So Mermazing and Artsy Adode Boutique. She shared that her Grandfather had been instrumental in building Marineland eighty years ago. Both of these stores were just delightful and had us all smiling. Be sure to look for a coupon book in the front of the Artsy Abode Boutique when you visit.
The winner of our favorite store of the day definitely went to a charming little shop called Two Sparrows. Y’all. This store is not only stunning but it’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve had the privilege of walking into. After viewing many of the beautiful clothing and houseware items, my daughter-in-love called me over to see something special. She was giving me one of those looks that meant, “You aren’t going to believe this!” It was a lovely prayer wall where visitors and locals to St. Augustine can leave prayer requests and/or praises. The staff said they pray over them daily. If you shop nowhere else on your trip to this historic city, you have to check out Two Sparrows.
TAKE A ST AUGUSTINE TOUR
If you followed The How-to Guru for long, you know I always suggest taking some sort of “big picture” tour around a new city as soon after you arrive as possible. There’s no better way to get the lay of the land and get your bearings as a city tour. During tours of new cities, our family makes mental notes of which spots we’ve like to discover later on foot. For a St Augustine day trip, you can take a fun trolley tour from one of the two companies! There are also two wax museums in the city for those that enjoy quirky family attractions.
EXPERIENCE ST AUGUSTINE ON THE WATER
Not only are there are the family friendly activities listed above for a St Augustine day trip in the downtown area, the St. Johns River and Intracoastal Waterway is nearby too. There are many things to do on or near the water like fishing from the pier, chartering a boat, or riding on jet skis.
I purposely left off the option of a St Augustine day trip to the beaches near the top of the list for two reasons. Firstly, some people don’t enjoy going to the beach for just the day and leaving with sand all over them. The second reason is that I haven’t visited St. Augustine beaches yet (but I have many friends that ADORE St. Augustine beaches)! I’m excited to report though that we will have our toes in the sand of St. Augustine beaches within days and I’ll be sharing all of that with you as well.
Saint Augustine, Florida is one of those lovely places where there is always more to do than you could ever accomplish in one trip. Every time we spend time in the area, time flies faster than we desire and it’s always sad to say goodbye. One last travel tip for a fabulous St Augustine day trip is to visit the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Visitor Information Center as soon as you roll into town for loads of help and possibly some discounts too!
Location: 21 King St, St Augustine, FL 32084
What are your favorite things to do on a St Augustine day trip? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!