Countless people travel to St. Augustine every year for vacation. Why not save the money and enjoy a fabulous vacation experience right here in your own backyard with these staycation ideas in St Augustine?
It’s not a vacation without the beach! Grab some subs and drinks from Publix and prepare for a day at one of St Augustine’s beautiful beaches. Visit St Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island near the pier to enjoy the Splash Park and other free amenities, or try the more secluded Butler Beach (further south), which still has access to public bathrooms and outdoor showers. You can also head north to Vilano Beach where your family can enjoy playing on the rocks at the jetties or find black sharks teeth in the sand. Whichever beach you go to, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Movie, Pizza and More
Take a break from the sun and spend some time indoors. Grab a slice of pizza from St. Augustine’s best local pizza place, De Leon Pizza. Then head to the movies (right next door) and enjoy a family friendly flick at Epic Theatres. For bonus savings, go on Tuesdays when movies are only $6!
Head to a local mini golf place (my favorite is Fiesta Falls) for some evening fun ($9 Adults/$8 kids). Finish the day with Rita’s Italian Ice and a nice walk on the beach at sunset, or enjoy the free concert series, Music by the Sea on Wednesdays at 7pm at the St Augustine Pier.
Downtown St Augustine has so much to offer! Start with mid-morning playtime at SWING Park, located just beside the parking garage ($12/day) or stop by the Visitors Center for free to take a look at the exhibits on display.
Pack and enjoy a picnic lunch on the Fort green at the Castillo de San Marcos. Save a trip inside the Fort on ‘free’ national parks entry days. Playing outside and around the fort can be just as fun as actually going inside.
When you’re ready to cool off, head to Ripley’s Museum for some weird and wacky fun (Adult $13/ Child $7). Save $3 off each ticket by purchasing online. Kids under 4 are free.
Other options include the Lightner Museum (free for St Johns County residents); the Nation’s Oldest Wooden School House (free for residents), the Pirate Museum (Adults $14/ Child $7/ Under 4 FREE) or the Colonial Spanish Quarter (Adult $10/Child $5 discounted prices for residents).
If you happen to be visiting downtown on a Wednesday, stay for Ripley’s Movies on the Bayfront. Bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy a family-friendly movie, beginning weekly at 8:30pm.
History in the Making
Hidden away in the marshes of northern St. Augustin is one of the most important sites in American history: the first free community of ex-slaves. Visit Fort Mose, where it’s only $2/person to explore the museum. The Old Florida Museum on San Marco includes a fully interactive walking hands on tour of the fort, the Spanish and Indian area and the Corazone de Madre ($9/Person).
While the ferry boats to explore Fort Matanzas were damaged in Hurricane Matthew, the grounds and beach access are still open. Enjoy the boardwalk trails (stroller approved) and get in touch with nature.
Take a dip in the intercostal or head to Marineland to see the dolphins (Adult $17/Child $12/ Under 3 FREE). Alternatively, travel a little farther to visit Washington Oaks State Park where it’s only $5 per car and view the beautiful gardens.
For the kids who love animals, add a trip to the Alligator Farm to your list (Adult $24/Child $13). Head over to the newly opened St Augustine Aquarium where you can snorkel a ‘Florida reef’ ($35/person), get up close with Stingrays and Sharks and experience horseshoe crabs and starfish at their hands on touch tank (Adult $8/Child $5). Or check out the free educational programs offered by Guana State Park to get hands on experience with Florida wildlife.
Hopefully, these staycation ideas in St Augustine have sparked your creativity and inspired you to get started in planning your budget family vacation in our beautiful city.