If you’re looking for a coastal vacation in 2020, then you just might consider St. Augustine, Florida.
Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, St. Augustine is considered by many as the oldest city in America.
The city boasts historic charm, hundreds of family-friendly tourist attractions, miles of white, sandy beaches and an eclectic array of locally owned boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, craft cocktail bars and plenty of live music.
Want some ideas for the ideal vacation? Here are 20 Top Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida in 2020.
- 1. Zipline over a swarm of alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm
- 2. Climb 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
- 3. Drink from Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth
- 4. Sample small-batch spirits at the St. Augustine Distillery
- 5. Catch a free music show at Colonial Oak Music Park
- 6. Stay at Kenwood Inn, a charming, historic bed & breakfast
- 7. Find the Celt in you at the 2020 Celtic Music & Heritage Festival
- 8. Sink into some ribs and music at the Rhythm & Ribs Festival 2020
- 9. Explore St. Augustine by air through parasailing
- 10. Take a stroll on the oldest street in America, Aviles Street
- 11. Buckle your swashes for the St. Augustine Pirate Museum
- 12. Hear cannons fly at the Castillo de San Marcos
- 13. Soak up the sun at St. Augustine Beach
- 14. Take a historic tour of Flagler College formerly the Ponce De Hotel
- 15. Sail the sea at sunset on the Schooner Freedom tall ship
- 16. Take a rendez-vous back in time at the Prohibition Kitchen
- 17. Visit Potters – the first established wax museum in America
- 18. Take a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing Trolley Tour
- 19. See some big name acts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre
- 20. See fireworks light up the sky over Matanzas Bay
1. Zipline over a swarm of alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Ziplining is a thrilling experience in itself but what about taking it to the next level by flying over live alligators and crocodiles?
There are two courses available: Sepik River ($37) (45 minutes, 9 zip lines, 35 feet high) or the more challenging, Nile River ($67) (90 minutes, 17 zip lines, 35 feet high).
2. Climb 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
The climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse is worth it as you will take in the breathtaking views of historic downtown St. Augustine, the beaches and the Old Port.
Learn more about St. Augustine’s rich maritime history and explore exhibits in the keepers’ house.
Hands-on activities for all ages are available indoors and outdoors at the stie. There are also shipwreck artifacts being conserved in the lab.
The Museum offers specialty tours and experiences for a deeper look at the maritime heritage including the Keepers’ Tour, Dark of the Moon Ghost Tour, St. Augustine Lighthouse SIDE QUEST, and more.
3. Drink from Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth
With guest books dating back to 1868, Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is the oldest attraction in Florida. It’s also chock-full of history.
In 1513, Ponce de Leon discovered the waters the Foutain of Youth. Legend has it that a drink from the waters will bring you eternal youth.
The park also boasts 15 waterfront acres filled with lush gardens and nearly 30 beautiful peacocks that strut their stuff for visitors.
Other exhibits at the park include the Discovery Globe, Planetarium, Timucua Indian Exhibit, Spanish cannons, and Native Christian Burial Ground Exhibit.
There is a cost to admission to see The Fountain of Youth. Tickets are $18 for adults; $17 for seniors; $10 for children 6 – 12.
It is recommended to allow at least two hours to explore the park at your leisure.
4. Sample small-batch spirits at the St. Augustine Distillery
Check out the St. Augustine Distillery, housed in a renovated ice manufacturing plant from 1917, for artisanal vodka, gin, rum and bourbon made with Florida ingredients.
The distillery also offers a free tour where you can watch the staff mix, mash, cook and distill small-batch vodka, rum, gin and whiskey. The tour is free and runs every 30 minutes.
5. Catch a free music show at Colonial Oak Music Park
Colonial Oak Music Park is a hidden gem in the heart of historic downtown St. Augustine’s.
On most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the park features live music on stage with seating for more than 250 visitors.
A big draw of the Colonial Oak Music Park is its intimate outdoor setting within nature.
Featured acts are musical talent from North Florida along with occasional professional touring aritists from different genres of music.
See the lineup on Colonial Oak Music Park’s social media page.
6. Stay at Kenwood Inn, a charming, historic bed & breakfast
Built in 1865, The Kenwood Inn in St. Augustine boasts elegance, comfort and Victorian charm as it is the city’s oldest bed & breakfast.
Individually decorated guest rooms feature hardwood floors, four-poster and antique beds for a mix of Old Florida elegance with a hint of the tropics.
The inn is kid and pet-friendly and guests can enjoy complimentary bikes for exploring the city and beach towels and chairs for a beach excursion.
The Kenwood Inn has a 5/5 rating on TripAdvisor based on 1,000+ reviews and has a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
7. Find the Celt in you at the 2020 Celtic Music & Heritage Festival
Known as the finest Celtic music festival in the US, the 10th annual Celtic Music & Heritage Festival returns March 14 & 15, 2020.
This year’s festival features a whiskey tasting kickoff event; Celtic performers from around the world; Celtic & local food offerings; Celtic handmade gifts; and more.
Did you know that the first-ever recorded St. Patrick parade was celebrated in St. Augustine in 1600? 2020 marks the 420th anniversary of the first St. Patrick Day celebration in the US. This year’s parade takes place Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 10 am.
8. Sink into some ribs and music at the Rhythm & Ribs Festival 2020
Easily one of the most popular annual events in St. Augustine, the Rhythm & Ribs Festival features award-winning barbecue, live music and family-friendly activities.
The two-day festival will be held March 27 – 29, 2020. A full list of vendors and musical performers to be announced in the coming year.
9. Explore St. Augustine by air through parasailing
Soar above the Atlantic Ocean with amazing views of downtown St. Augustine, Anastasia Island, and Vilano Beach through an exhilarating parasailing experience.
St. Augustine Parasail offers a beginners package where you fly at 500 feet of line released ($79) or an adventurer package where you fly at 1,000 feet of line released ($89).
10. Take a stroll on the oldest street in America, Aviles Street
Aviles Street is considered to be the oldest street in America with its history dating back to the late 16th Century. It’s also the early home to St. Augustine’s arts district.
There you will find shops, restaurants, historic architecture and several galleries with all styles of art, jewelry, handmade leather goods, boutiques, antique shops, and more. Carriage rides are also a fun way to explore the area.
Some historic highlights nearby include the O’Reilly House (one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine) and the Spanish Military Hospital Museum (where you can learn about the early medical practices of the Spanish).
11. Buckle your swashes for the St. Augustine Pirate Museum
If you’ve ever been curious about pirate culture, you must check out the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum which has the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts.
This exciting and educational museum experience will take you back over 300 years to the Golden Age of Piracy.
Some highlights include the recreated Main Deck of a pirate ship; learning how to tie knots in ropes; raising the Jolly Roger (or Pirate Flag); finding the hidden Discovery Drawers; smelling the ship’s stolen cargo and more.
Tickets are $14.99 for adults, $7.99 for children, and $11.99 for seniors and military.
12. Hear cannons fly at the Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos is a national monument and the oldest masonry fort in the continental US.
This fort has been standing since 1695 and was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World.
As one of the main attractions in St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos sits on a 20.5-acre national park where you can step inside of the defense walls of the fort, hear the cannons fly, and watch live reenactments.
Admission is $15 for those ages 16 years and older. Children 15 and under are free.
13. Soak up the sun at St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Beach is the most popular beach in the city with a beachfront park, a large beachside pavilion, a splash park, and a sand volleyball court.
Relaxing on the beach is easy with beach chairs and umbrella rentals readily available through Barney’s Beach Service.
Other beach activities suggestions include surfing, boarding, bike riding, and swimming. Surf sports equipment can be purchased or rented from The Surf Station.
Dogs are even allowed on the beach as long as they are on a leash. You can even drive on the beach in designated areas depending on tides and weather conditions.
14. Take a historic tour of Flagler College formerly the Ponce De Hotel
Flagler College was once the site of an exclusive luxury hotel in St. Augustine known as the Ponce De Hotel.
Built by millionaire developer and railroad magnate, Henry M. Flagler in 1888, the Ponce is considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture in America.
Tours depart daily from May to August on the hour from 10 am until 3 pm on the top of the hour from the main lobby (Rotunda) of the College located at 74 King Street.
Pricing is $12 for adults and free for children under the age of 10 with a paid adult .
15. Sail the sea at sunset on the Schooner Freedom tall ship
The two-hour sailing experience features music, sunset-drenched landscape and wind in the sails.
You are also welcome to help set sail and maybe even take the helm. Look out for dolphins as well while you’re aboard.
The ship departs daily from the City Marina. Rate is $55 per person. Check the website for departure times.
16. Take a rendez-vous back in time at the Prohibition Kitchen
Rendez back in time to the clandestine, mysterious, and yes, illegal world of flapper dresses, speakeasies, and moonshine at the vintage gastropub, Prohibition Kitchen.
The seasonally-inspired menu includes snack, small plates, craft burgers and sandwiches while the cocktail program features creations inspired by the Prohibition era.
Live music also takes stage for a truly entertaining dining experience. Check the calendar for upcoming musical lineups.
17. Visit Potters – the first established wax museum in America
Touted as the first established wax museum in America, Potter’s has been entertaining visitors to St. Augustine for more than 50 years.
The museum features more than 160 wax figures of famous and infamous people including actors, athletes, and politicians.
There are plenty of Instagram moments with these famous characters out of history and entertainment.
The museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. Online tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 6 – 12.
18. Take a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing Trolley Tour
With so much to see and do in St. Augustine, a hop-on, hop-off Old Town Trolley Sightseeing Tour is a great way to take in hundreds of sights for the entire family. This fun, fully narrated tour will take you to dozens of stops.
The 1-Day Trolley pass is $25.26 for adults and $13.10 for children ages 6 – 12. The 2-Day Trolley pass is $35 for adults and $22.46 for children ages 6- 12. Tickets are available online here.
19. See some big name acts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Quickly making a name for itself as a top music destination in the Southeast, you can find singer-songwriters, street buskers and nationally touring acts every night of the week in St. Augustine.
Check out the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, a state-of-the-art performing arts venue that seats nearly 4,100 audience members.
The amphitheatre brings acts that appeal to the youngest viewers (Yo Gabba Gabba Live!); tweens and teens (Victoria Justice); country music fans (Alan Jackson); rock aficionados (Third Day, Chicago) and more.
Every Saturday morning from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm outside the amphitheater is a Farmer’s Market where you can find a gathering of St. Augustine’s finest growers, artisans, and artisans. Admission is free and open to public.
There is also a Night Market every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from March – October from 6 pm – 9 pm. The Night Market showcases over 50 vendors specializing in handmade crafts, goods and art and features fantastic dinner options, a full bar, and live entertainment. The Night Market is open to the public with free admission.
20. See fireworks light up the sky over Matanzas Bay
For more than two decades, St. Augustine has been putting on a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate the Fourth of July in style.
With thousands of fireworks lighting up the night sky over the waters of Matanzas Bay, revelers line the streets to catch a glimpse of the city’s famous historic bayfront lit up in red, white and blue.
The best viewing spots for the fireworks are along the bayfront between the Castillo de San Marcos and the Bridge of Lions.