Located on the northeast coast of Florida, St Augustine is long believed to be the oldest city in the US. Known for its beautiful colonial Spanish architecture, St Augustine is one of the best places to go on holiday with the family. With so many things to do, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to write the ultimate travel guide for St Augustine with kids. In this guide, you’ll find the best things to do in the city, the tastiest food to try, and much more to make your time the greatest it can be.
When to visit St Augustine
Spring has the best weather of the year and is the best time to travel to St. Augustine. You’ll be away from the extremely hot temperatures that you can get in the summer, and therefore get to spend more time outdoors. The lowest temperatures are around 50 at the start of the season, but it tends to warm up quite a lot. We recommend visiting some food festivals such as the St Augustine Lions Seafood Festival and Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest – they’re great for the family and can pretty much guarantee the most incredible meals.
Summer isn’t the greatest time to visit St Augustine with kids. It’s way too hot and crowded, and accomodation prices tend to peak. The temperatures can get so high that heat strokes should be looked out for. If you go in the summer, we recommend you pack a lot of sunscreen and protective clothes for the sun.
Fall is generally hurricane season, so it’s probably not the best time to travel during these months. You know it too well, make sure you’re able to cancel or make changes to your flights and accommodation reservations in case of emergencies! However, there are several good festivals you should think of attending like the St Augustine Arts & Crafts Festival; it’s a great option to go with kids.
Because of the lower temperatures and low tourism, you may find some good vacation deals during winter. The cold weather can get low between mid 40s to low 70s, so it’s not too bad. If you’re planning on visiting St Augustine during winter, make sure to go to the Nights of Lights Festival and Colonial Night Watch. Kids love it and it’s a great time to bond as a family.
Best Areas to Stay in St Augustine
Historic District and Colonial Quarter
The historical district and colonial quarter is definitely the best place to stay in when in St Augustine with kids. Here is where you’ll find the majority of restaurants, museums, hotels, shopping areas and main attractions. The historic district has been around since the 1700s, and has incredible views of the Matanzas River and Castillo de San Marcos.
Vilano Beach is another great spot to stay in with kids. Located just 2 miles away from the center of St Augustine, Vilano Beach is beautifully tiled, with a unique Art Deco look. besides the gorgeous beach, you’ll be able to see surfers, skimboarders and jet skiers. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a beachier adventure.
How to get around St Augustine
The best way to get around St Augustine is definitely by foot. St Augustine is rather small and easy to get around on foot. It’s easy for the kids too, most of the attractions are found in the center, so getting from place to place doesn’t take very long at all.
The trolley is also quite a popular way to get around the city. The Old Town Trolley Tours are great; there are 23 stops, and runs on a hop-on-hop-off system from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM.
How long to stay in St Augustine
St Augustine is perfect for a weekend getaway. Most of the attractions can be seen within two or three days, with some time to relax by the beach included.
Things to do in St Augustine with kids
St Augustine Lighthouse
Standing high is The St Augustine Lighthouse. Symbolizing the nation’s oldest port, it’s one of the first things you should see in St Augustine with kids. At the lighthouse, you’ll be able to climb all the way to the top to see a beautiful panoramic view of the city. There are also a bunch of outdoor and indoor activities planned for ids, as well as shipwreck artifacts conserved in a lab. In the Maritime Education center, you’ll be able to see four wonderful historic structures – don’t want to miss those.
Make sure to check out the Shipyard Playground – made just for kids. There is an 1876 Keeper’s House to visit, a scavenger hunt, and many more things to discover.
Website: St Augustine Lighthouse Address: 81 Lighthouse Avenue, St Augustine Florida, 32080 Opening Hours: Temporarily unavailable Cost: Adults $12.95 Children (up to 12 years old) $10.95
Visit the Colonial Quarter
The colonial quarter at St Augustine is something you’ll do whether you want to or not. It’s one of the best attractions on its own for its charming architecture and aged look, but it’s also the heart of the best tourist attractions, restaurants, and shopping. We recommend you to take your time and stroll as much as you can to really take in the history and stories it has to offer. There’s no doubt you and your family will absolutely love it!
Anastasia State Park
The Anastasia State Park is one of the best places to see in St Augustine with kids. With beautiful protected beaches, maritime hammocks and dunes extending over 1600 hectares, you can’t expect to see anything else than spectacular. For many visitors a year, the Anastasia State Park is paradise for wildlife such as osprey, eagles, and all kinds of animals. You can admire the landscape on a relaxing walk along the beach, or by hopping on a canoe to see it from the blue ocean water. If you’re feeling adventurous, we’re sure your family would love camping at one of the many park’s campsites!
Website: Anastasia State Park Address: 300 Anastasia Park Road, St. Augustine, Florida 32080 Cost: $8 per vehicle $4 per single-occupant vehicle $2 per pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers $28 per night for camping
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos is one of St Augustine’s best historical landmarks. It represents determination, and the conflict between cultures – one that ended in unifying the nation to look as it does today. It’s the embodiment of the country’s struggles, and a reminder of its history.
There’s much more to do than just visit the monument. The rooms that once housed soldiers and prisoners are still available to visit, as well as the beautiful courtyard and gun deck. From there, there are wonderful views of the city, make sure to look around! But what you really have to look forward to are the cannon firing displays every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Website: Castillo de San Marcos Address: 1 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL, 32084 Opening Hours: Daily 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Cost: Adults $16 Children (under 15 years old) Free
Black Raven Pirate Ship
The Black Raven Pirate Ship is the perfect blend of education and enjoyment. Their mission is to provide visitors with the closest experience to life as a pirate with talented pirate actors, a high-quality entertainment agenda, and of course; a legendary replica of a pirate ship. There are many activities you can participate in on the ship, but the best one is an exciting treasure hunt. From sword fights, banter with pirates, face painting, a sea battle, and cannon firing, the adventure may be nothing short than the highlight of your trip to St. Augustine with kids.
Website: The Black Raven Pirate Ship Address: 111 Avenida Menedez St. Augustine, FL 32084. Departure Times: Daily 2:15 PM and 6:15 PM Cost: Adults $34.95 Seniors $34.95 Children $24.95
Whetstone Chocolate Factory
If there’s one thing you won’t have trouble visiting in St Augustine with kids is the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. With a daily availability of tours, your kids will go crazy to discover how chocolates are made. The tasting tour takes about 45 minutes, and will let you in the world and secrets of chocolate like never before. From chocolates, to gelato, to fudge, to coffee and truffles, expect to be surprised with exquisite flavors….and a craving for chocolate that’s going to be difficult to get rid of. Of course, by the end of the visit, you’ll be able to bless your palate with a fine selection of milk, white and dark chocolate delicacies.
Website: Whetstone Factory Address: 139 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084 Opening Times: Mon - Thu 10:00 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:15 PM 3:30 PM Fri - Sun: 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:15 PM, 2:45PM, 3:30 PM Cost: Adults $8 Children (5 to 17 years old) $5.50 Children (under 5 years old) Free
St Augustine Beach
Located on Anastasia Island, St Augustine Beach is a pristine location for a day out at the beach. Not only is it one of the best beaches to visit in St Augustine with kids for the great views and the ocean, but also because of how close it is to many amazing casual dining options. We recommend eating at one of the Mexican eateries on Beach Boulevard – they’re so hard to resist already! Look out for the St Johns County Ocean Pier for fishing and several playgrounds for kids. There’s even one with a splash zone! You’ll definitely have a hard time getting the kids out of there.
St Augustine Wild Reserve
The St Augustine Wild reserve is one of the best places to visit in St Augustine with kids. Its an incredible sanctuary for formerly abused exotic animals; including big cats like lions, tigers, cougars, jaguars, leopards and other animals like bears, coyotes, wolves and hyenas.
Their goal is to bring guests the chance to be close to these animals and provide a larger education about them in order to develop a deeper understanding and respect for the protection of nature. This will definitely be one of the biggest highlights of your trip to St Augustine; these types or sanctuaries are rare and should be at the top of your list. Not only for your own leisure but also because it’s also a good learning opportunity for the kids. Keep in mind that tours are only available by appointment!
Website: St Augustine Wild Reserve Address: 5190 Farm Creek Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32092 Opening Hours (Tours): Mon & Wed 2:00 PM Fri 12:00 PM Sat 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Cost: Adult $30 Children (under 10 years old) $20 Children (under 2 years old) Free
Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth Archeological Parks pays tribute to the place where conquistador Ponce de León landed. Originally, the fountain of youth is believed to be a magical spring that gives people their youth back when bathing or drinking its waters. When Ponde de León travelled to Florida in 1513, legend says he was guided towards it by the Native Americans.
When the site was rediscovered in the 1930s, the digs uncovered several Christianized Timucua burials, indicating some of the first Christian missions in the United States. Today, there are many things to discover. Visitors can see a reconstructed Timucua village and its burials, a blacksmith exhibit, the Mission church, and even see more archeological excavations and digging in the area led by scientists and researchers. The start of the show, of course, has to be The Spring House. Here, you’ll be inside a coquina building that encapsulates the legendary fountain of youth. Make sure to look for the guest books! They’ve been signed since 1868!
Website: Fountain of Youth Address: 11 Magnolia Avenue, St Augustine FL 32084 Opening Hours: Daily 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Cost: Adult $18 Children (6 to 12 years old) $10 Children (under 5 years old) $5
Things to Eat in St Augustine
Key Lime Pie
One of Florida’s specialties is key lime pie. You’ll notice them in every restaurant or café you walk into in the city. You’ll also notice how it’s among the best things to eat in St Augustine with kids – they’ll never have enough! It’s essentially simple to make at home too, so make sure to hunt for their best baking secrets. In St Augustine, you can find the best key lime pie in Caps on the Water. Found among a beautiful canopy of oak trees and immersed in beach decor, it’s an amazing dining option for the whole family.
Iconic to delicacies in Florida are conch fritters. Put simply, conch fritters are deliciously battered conch meat pieces served with vegetables. Although they’re incredible on their own, make sure to dip them in the sauce – you don’t want to miss out on the delicious blend of ketchup, mayo and a touch of spice. These are just about the most kid-friendly snacks you can find all around the city. Find the best conch fritters in St Augustine at The Conch House Restaurant.
When visiting St Augustine with kids, there’s no way you can skip on some good barbecue. Whether it’s ribs, skewers, burgers or veggies, barbecue is always something you can come back to no matter where you are. Especially in such an amazing city in Florida like St Augustine! To us, the Smoked. Southern BBQ and Smokin’ D’s BBQ are the absolute best. Not only are they incredibly high quality, they’re local’s favourites.
Being so close to the ocean, ceviche is bound to be on the menu. The way it’s prepared in Florida is unique, and incredibly popular among kids. During our holidays in St Augustine, we had it at least three times! The best ceviche we could find is in Casa Maya, Llama Restaurant and Cantina Louie.
Since St Augustine finds itself so close to hispanic culture, empanadas should definitely be at the top of the list of things to eat in the city. Empanadas are savory dough pastries with all kinds of different fillings. They can come with beef, chicken, shellfish, cheese, tuna, or with vegetables. They’re also loved by kids, and easy to find restaurants. Try the empanadas from The Cuban Cafe and Bakery, De Leon Cocina or La Herencia Cafe; they’re by far the best ones we could find.
There you have it! The complete family travel guide to St Augustine. Let us know about your adventures in this charming Spanish-colonial city in the sunny state of Florida. We’d love to hear about your experience here, and if we’ve missed mentioning any other interesting places. We’ll be sure to visit them ourselves in the future!