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Things To Do in St. Augustine, Florida With Kids

On scrolling through my Instagram feed a friend remarked ‘only you could arrive in Florida and start sightseeing rather than get straight to a theme park’.  I totally understand. When you think Florida, the first thing that springs to mind is Disney and beaches. However the city of St. Augustine is well worth the few hours drive North of Orlando. St Augustine is part of Florida’s Historic Coast and is brimming with old world charm. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is known as the oldest European-settled City in the USA.  What makes the place so family friendly is that many of the attractions are within easy walking distance of each other.

We arrived in St. Augustine after flying the looong journey from Hong Kong to Orlando via Los Angeles.  They say the best time to visit St. Augustine is between March and May. We were there at the end of June so had hot sunny days with a few showers thrown in. For itinerary suggestions check out Florida’s Historic Coast

What did we see in St. Augustine?

  • Old Town Trolley Tours is an AMAZING way to see the city. The 90 minute tour has 23 stops and you can get on and off at your pleasure.  The conductors provide an excellent commentary on St. Augustine and its historic sites and the ticket is valid for 3 consecutive days.  It’s worth checking out the various packages on offer which will allow you into the museums and also discounted parking.
  • St Augustine Lighthouse
    Regular readers will know I have a penchant for lighthouses.  This was a beautiful lighthouse with 219 steps to the top for views over St. Augustine. Check the height restrictions as kids must be over 44 inches to climb. In addition to the lighthouse there is a Maritime Museum and you may want to time your visit with free tour. There’s a small kids play area underneath the warden’s lodge and also a kids playground.  You can also pick up a Maritime Hammock Scavenger Hunt at the entrance.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium is super cheesy but a good wet weather option.  Work your way through more than 800 bizarre exhibits, older kids will love this place!
  • Colonial Quarter
    Set within the historic downtown, the Colonial Quarter showcases several points in time from a 17th Century fortified town to an 18th Century British colony. There are interactive displays including the blacksmith, engaging in a musket drill and wandering around authentic homes.  Climb the Watchtower for super views over the Castillo de San Marcos.
  • The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse dates back to 1740 and is a small but interesting insight into the workings of  a small school.
  • St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
    Brilliant fun for pirate loving kids, this museum contains the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artefacts. Ask for a treasure hunt map. Be aware some parts are dark and loud – my 5yo got a bit scared at times.
  • The Old Jail was home to St. Augustine’s most violent criminals from 1891-1953.  This was one of our favourite tours in St. Augustine as our guide was extremely engaging and funny.  If I’d had older kids I would have loved to tour this at night through the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour as it’s supposed to be haunted….
  • Potter’s Wax Museum
    Inspired by Madame Tussaud, Mr Potter set up America’s first wax museum. Expect a focus on historical characters although there is a Harry Potter, Jonny Depp & Britney Spears.
  • The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort built in the US.  This is a great place for kids to run around and there are daily musket and cannon firings.
  • We loved wandering around St. George Street in the historic downtown, taking in the souvenir shops, attractions and food stops.
  • The St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park & Rookery was one of our favourite attractions in the area. The Park contains a multitude of crocodilian species in addition to birds, reptiles and monkeys. Check in advance feeding and other show times.

Where did we eat in St. Augustine?

  • One of the best breakfasts of our entire trip was at Metro Diner – try the corned beef hash
  • Take out pizza from Carmelo’s (adjacent to the gas station)
  • Uptown Scratch Kitchen is a gourmet food truck serving up contemporary American cuisine. Food can take some time so you are allowed to sit in adjacent cafe while you wait for your food. The kids meals are enormous so you may want to share one.
  • Gourmet ice pops from the Hyppo
  • Delicious chocolates from Whetsone Chocolates

Where did we stay?

A colourful airbnb rental about 15 mins walk from the Colonial Quarter. I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a 2 bedroom apartment. There was ample room for parking, the place was spotless and nicely furnished.

1 comment

  1. MummyTravels

    This is somewhere I have always fancied visiting for the history and the pirate links – I have also been to Florida a number of times and not been to the theme parks 🙂

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