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St. Augustine, Florida vacation advice?


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As a compromise between finding a historical and beach vacation, I was thinking of taking the kids to St. Augustine for a few nights. It has to be a cheap visit and we will be driving there. Only my 8 yo has ever been to Florida (with family), but we used to live fairly close to the beach in NC. I picked St.Augustine because of the pretty beaches and historical sites...so I hear. But I'll admit, flat out, I have no idea what to expect. So some questions:


1. Any good hotels within walking distance to a clean and child-friendly (please no/a minimum of drunk naked college students) beach? By good, I mean no bugs, prostitutes, clean rooms and fairly comfortable beds. We don't usually go for fancy. ;) But under $120 a night by far.


2. Best places to visit WITH KIDS? Preferably cheap/free?


3. Places to avoid?


4. Better alternatives? ;)



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St. Augustine Beach is fine (and free), but we prefer Anastasia State Park because it's cleaner and there are no dogs allowed. We pay for a yearly state park pass but I don't think the fee per car is that expensive.


The attractions can get pricey. The Alligator Farm is great but probably one of the most expensive. Less expensive things would be the oldest schoolhouse, The Lighthouse, Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth park, and the Castillo de San Marcos. My dds have enjoyed all of these. I would avoid Ripley's. It wasn't that great and too expensive for what it was. The Trolley would be something to look into because you pay for the day and it takes you everywhere. You just hop on and off whenever you want. You can walk everywhere as well though, especially if you have more than one day to visit. You can also tour Flagler College for cheap and it's beautiful. Marineland is not too far down the road.


You could also spend a lot of time just walking around downtown (which is where the school house and Castillo are located). We usually always see dolphins following the boats in the intercoastal. There are tons of stores, as well as restaurants, cafes, and ice cream.


The only restaurant I will say to completely avoid is the Santa Maria that's on the water. It sounds like fun because you can feed the fish while you eat, but the food is so bad. At least it was when we went .

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Agreeing with Horton, except on the restaurant. Maybe it depends on who's cooking that night :)


One of the nice things about going to Anastasia is that has bathrooms and showers!


Fort Matanzas is just down the road by Crescent Beach (my personal favorite) ~ there's a free ferry to get over to the Fort.


And Washington Oaks State Park is just down the road from Marineland. It has some really fun coquina rock formations to climb on (on the ocean side).


We love just walking around Old Towne.


I don't actually know anything about where to stay. Sorry.

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Fun things to do for a family vacay in St. Aug:


1. Old Florida Museum (not free, but I see they have a $30/family special. Neat place.)


2. Fort Mose (we did a homeschool field trip there that was really great, but it looks like they have self -guided things as well for only a couple of bucks museum admission)


3. Castillo De San Marcos (the fort--you can't miss it, and though it does cost, it's reasonable).


There's a relatively new Hampton Inn on Vilano Beach that is about $120 a night. I can't offer much else as far as accomodations go. But as far as I know none of the beaches are the naked college student partying sort. They all go to Daytona for that.

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We're going to St. Augustine in May on our way to Disney!


My hubby graduated from Flagler College so I definitely recommend a tour!


Castillo de San Marcos is REALLY neat .. my kids loved it and the admission fee was relatively inexpensive (I think around $6 for adults and $3 for children).


We're staying at the St. Augustine Beachfront Resort -- indoor pool, right on the beach -- and rates for our May stay are $100 per night. Not bad at all, I think.


It's right next to Anastasia Island Park.


Be sure to take a walk down St. George's Street! It's the oldest street in the nation and full of cute shops and restaurants. I believe there's also an old schoolhouse there that you can take a tour of.


This year we're visiting the Alligator Farm, which we haven't done before....so can't comment on that yet.



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You will love St Augustine!! I lived there until I was 11. If you go to Castillo De San Marcos take a picnic and lunch on the hill next to the fort. Walk around downtown and not just the area with St George Street. Venture further out and check out the old historical houses and churches around there.

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I wanted to add that the fort (Castillo de San Marcos) is a National Park & they participate in the Junior Ranger program. Ask the desk when you walk in & they will give the kids a Junior Ranger booklet that has questions & puzzles the kids complete as they tour the fort. If they finish the booklet, the ranger will give them a Junior Ranger badge! My kids did it last year & they had so much fun & learned so much!

Have fun!!

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