Are you looking forward to spending 1 day in St. Augustine Florida? This travel guide includes One day in St. Augustine itinerary, plus everything you need to know before you visit including where to stay, the best food, the top things to do in St. Augustine, and more! So, keep reading!
Living close to Florida is one of the biggest blessings at the moment! After visiting Miami and Key West, I was yearning to visit St Augustine for so long! Earlier I was planning to visit it for the Christmas holidays but it didn’t happen so I along with my husband visited a few days back during a Florida road trip!
I’d always been drawn to the history, mystery, and old towns for their architecture. I always ended up spending time with beautiful buildings in the city! Read on to see how you can organize your own jam-packed 1 day in St. Augustine.
We spent One day in St Augustine, wandering around the city, eating delicious food, soaking up the views, and learning about the history. And I loved this small city!
St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States, established in 1565. It is full of old-world charm and as you walk around the cobblestone streets and admire the old buildings!! You will be transported to the past and you will have unforgettable experiences for sure!
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- 1 What to Do in 1 Day in St. Augustine, Florida
- 2 Practical Information to Spend One Day in St Augustine
- 3 Why to visit St. Augustine, Florida?
- 4 Getting to St Augustine
- 5 Getting Around during your St Augustine Day Trip
- 6 Where to Stay when visiting St Augustine for a day
- 7 Best Time to Visit St Augustine
- 8 1 Day in St Augustine Itinerary
- 9 Stop-1: Start your day with Breakfast
- 10 Stop-2: First stop of Trolley Tour – Old Jail Museum
- 11 Stop-3: Magnolia Avenue & Fountain of Youth
- 12 Stop-4: Castillo de San Marcos: Must visit for One day in St Augustine
- 13 Stop-5: Old City Gates
- 14 Stop-6: St George Street
- 15 Stop-7: Ancient City Baptist Church & Memorial Presbyterian Church
- 16 Stop-8 : Flagler College
- 17 Stop-9: Villa Zorayda Museum
- 18 Stop-10: Lightner Museum
- 19 Stop-11: Lunch in Historic District
- 20 Stop-12: Plaza de la Constitución and Avelies Street
- 21 Stop-13: St Augustine Lighthouse & Beach
- 22 Stop-14: Bridge of Lions & St Augustine waterfront at Sunset
- 23 Stop-15 Dinner at Floridian Restaurant
- 24 Stop-16: Ghost tour OR Nightlife in St Augustine
- 25 More Than One Day in St Augustine?
- 26 More Places for the Food in St Augustine
- 27 Where to get the Best Coffee in St Augustine
- 28 Free Things To Do In St Augustine In One Day
- 29 Popular Tours & Activities: 1 day in St Augustine
- 30 Travel FAQs for St Augustine One Day Itinerary
What to Do in 1 Day in St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine’s location makes it a Perfect day trip destination. It’s less than a 2-hour drive from Orlando and only 20 minutes from Jacksonville. This is the reason, most people spend just just 1 day in St. Augustine. So let’s deep dive into more information for your day trip to St Augustine.
If you’re looking for a destination that combines history, a small-town feel, beaches, and lots of things to do, then we highly recommend checking out St. Augustine!
I would like to share some of my favorite places to visit, restaurants to eat, and things to do if you only have one day in St Augustine. I am also including more options and recommend spending more than one day in St. Augustine if you want to hit the beaches!
Practical Information to Spend One Day in St Augustine
Why to visit St. Augustine, Florida?
For me, I always wanted to visit St. Augustine, Florida to learn about its history as the “oldest city in the United States.” The city was founded in 1565 by Spanish Explorers and has gone through so many transformations.
Being from India, I’ve always admired the history and culture of the countries I visit, the United States is the same for me. I was interested in learning history and seeing the festival of Nights of Lights along with visiting the gorgeous beaches which I usually like to visit any day!
Your 1 day in St. Augustine, Florida is perfect for History and architecture lovers, foodies, festival lovers, and day trippers. Beyond its historical charm, St. Augustine is surrounded by natural beauty. If you are an outdoor lover, visit Anastasia State Park for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the beach.
Getting to St Augustine
If you’re planning a Florida road trip itinerary, you’ll likely fly into Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) for the most convenience. It is 1 hr drive from St Augustine. Most of the major airlines fly here and it’s much easier to plan your one-day trip to St Augustine from here.
If you live in or are already visiting Florida, then St. Augustine is only 2 hours from Orlando, 3.5 hours from Tampa, and 5 hours from Miami.
Getting Around during your St Augustine Day Trip
One of the best things about St Augustine is it’s very easy to get around. The city is very compact and walkable! Getting from the airport to the city would require renting a car or you can grab an Uber ride. But once you’re in the city, you can walk almost anywhere for your one day in St. Augustine travel guide.
But be prepared if you’re renting a car and staying away from the old town area of St Augustine as finding street parking is very hard during weekends. We visited during the holidays and used a paid parking lot for the car parking. The best bet is to park your car in the garage and walk around the town without worrying! We parked our car at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility (Visitor Center) for $20 for the entire day.
You can also use UBER or LYFT to get around the major sightseeing places in St Augustine.
Another great option to get around town is to take a trolley tour. These trolley tours are one of the most popular things to do in St. Augustine (like other cities Key West, Savannah, Charleston). It costs $25.26 for a 1-day pass that allows you to hop off and on unlimited times at the 22 different stops around town.
This pass also gives you free admission to the St. Augustine History Museum and the St. Augustine Beach Bus, which takes you to the alligator farm, beach, and St. Augustine lighthouse, all located on nearby Anastasia Island.
If you want to save time and money and want to see everything from this One Day St Augustine Itinerary, the Trolley tour is one of the best options to get around while you have only 1 day in St Augustine Florida.
Where to Stay when visiting St Augustine for a day
As I mentioned, St Augustine is a pretty walkable city and all the major sightseeing places are located near the old town. So I highly recommend staying in Old Town for the convenience and easy access to everything.
Old City Hotels
- The Collector Inn (Adults only)
- Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
- Villa 1565 St Augustine (where “Old Senator,” a 600-year-old live oak tree is located!)
- Casa Monica Resort & Spa (luxurious hotel with the best location, highly recommended!)
Best Time to Visit St Augustine
St Augustine is a year-round destination. We visited during mid-January and the weather was perfect! It was chilly in the morning, but partly sunny and in the 70s in the afternoon. While this is not good beach weather, it was best for being outside to explore around.
Another best time to visit St Augustine is during the Spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) seasons. During these times, the weather is typically mild and pleasant, with comfortable temperatures and lower humidity. Additionally, you can avoid the peak tourist crowds that often occur during the summer months.
From November to January, you can enjoy the famous Nights of Lights Festival, which was why we visited it During January!
If you’re looking to spend time laying out at the beach, then the summer may be the best time to visit for you. However, it is the hurricane and rainy season in St Augustine. Also, the busiest time of the year, so be prepared for larger crowds, higher prices, and possible rainstorms.
But overall whenever you visit, there are so many things to do in St Augustine!
Planning a trip to Miami, Florida? Read this 2 days Miami Itinerary including day trips.
1 Day in St Augustine Itinerary
While you have only one day in St Augustine, first thing first, park your car at the visitor center and buy the Trolley Tickets to get around St Augustine. While you can do a mix of taking a trolley and walking, adjust this itinerary at your convenience. But before starting your Itinerary, make your first stop to start your day with a good breakfast.
PRO TIP: Make sure to purchase your Old Town Trolley tour tickets online. It’s cheaper than purchasing it in person. get your tickets here. Also, you have only one day in St Augustine, so I highly recommend starting your day very early to make the most of your time in the city!
Stop-1: Start your day with Breakfast
Head to Old Town, and grab a delicious breakfast at any of the local cafes in the historic district. I loved my coffee from The Kookaburra! This Australian coffee shop makes delicious coffee and donuts. We had a mocha nut and it was so tasty!
Another good breakfast spot to look into is Maple Street Biscuit Company! They are famous for its savory biscuits and southern-inspired breakfast dishes. You can also visit St Augustine Coffee House on St George Street!
Stop-2: First stop of Trolley Tour – Old Jail Museum
I started my 1 Day in St Augustine Itinerary at Old Jail Museum. It is where the trolley tours start! The Old Jail operated from 1891-1953 and was constructed by the same company that built Alcatraz. It is a distinctive structure made of red brick and includes both living quarters for the sheriff and his family as well as cells for prisoners.
They offer tours to highlight the jail’s history with interesting stories. I checked it out from the outside and didn’t go in, but if this interests you, check out this St. Augustine Old Jail tour.
You can also check out the St Augustine History Museum and Oldest Store Museum on the premises. It’s worth checking it out.
Stop-3: Magnolia Avenue & Fountain of Youth
Considered “One of the Prettiest streets in USA” and one of the most photographed streets in America by National Geographic – Magnolia Avenue is must must-visit during your one day in St Augustine.
The street is less than a mile and is located near the Matanzas River. The street is lined with majestic oak trees whose branches hang over the paved road. Light is filtered in through the leaves, giving an other-worldly feel to the area. If you want the perfect photos for you and your family, definitely stop by Magnolia Avenue. I saw pre-wedding Photo shootings when I visited it!
As you walk the street, you’ll come across the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. This Park tells the story about the history of St. Augustine’s origins. The park is huge, with plenty of fun exhibits and demonstrations. It is a whole complex of old settlements, missions, Native American villages, and other historical spots.
The star attraction here is The Spring House, which holds Ponce de Leon’s Spring of Eternal Hope. This legendary spring is said to grant eternal youth to those who drink or bathe in its waters.
The explorer Juan Ponce de León discovered the fountain there in the early 16th century. This is truly the oldest attraction in Florida and the centerpiece of the park. You can also take a bottle home with you when you visit the gift shop!
Magnolia Avenue is a very active street, so make sure you come here early in the morning. This way you can avoid the vehicular traffic to get the photos!
Stop-4: Castillo de San Marcos: Must visit for One day in St Augustine
From the Magnolia Avenue, hop on the Trolley and reach the Castillo De San Marcos- the star attraction of St Augustine. Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest and largest masonry fort in the United States.
It was constructed between 1672 and 1695 as a defensive fort. Key features of the Castillo de San Marcos include its distinctive star shape, made of coquina stone, a limestone found in the area.
Explore all the rooms of the fort, chapels, living quarters, and the jail to learn its history through exhibits. Take a walk along the top to see the cannons at Gundeck and the breathtaking views of the Bayfront.
When we visited, we could attend the live demonstration of Cannon firing at Gundeck. You can see volunteers and staff dressed as colonial Spanish soldiers firing replicas of cannons! It was one of the unique experiences to see the historic weapons demonstration in St Augustine. You can see the demonstrations at Gundeck every hour from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Castillo de San Marcos is operated by the National Park Service and you can visit and tour it every day of the year except a few holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you have a National Park Pass, it’s free to visit.
Stop-5: Old City Gates
Before that take the time to have a look at the Old Spanish Trail Zero milestone. This big round ball marks mile zero of the Old Spanish Trail. It was erected in 1928 and served as a symbolic starting point for the transcontinental highway.
The Old Spanish Trail was a network of roads and highways established in the early 20th century, connecting St. Augustine on the east coast of Florida to San Diego on the west coast of California. You can get from this marker to the one in San Diego along this route that crosses 8 states along the southern border of the United States!
Next, walk to the Old City Gates – known to be the entrance gates that once guarded the northern entrance to the city. The gates are part of the historic city wall that was constructed during the Spanish colonial period to protect the city from potential invasions. They are made of coquina blocks and at one point were the only way to get into St. Augustine!
Stop-6: St George Street
In front of the City Gates, you’ll find the long beautiful street that is St George Street. St. George Street is a pedestrian-only street in the historic district lined with restaurants, shops, historical landmarks, open-air cafes, and plenty of historic inns. It’s the main street of St Augustine and is considered as the heart of the city!
Walk down St. George Street and check out the following important landmarks:
- The Oldest wooden schoolhouse: Built over 200 years ago(oldest Schoolhouse in the USA).
- The Colonial Quarter: To learn about the city’s history.
- Spanish Military Hospital Museum: A museum that showcases the medical practices of the Spanish colonial period, providing insight into healthcare during that time.
- Spanish Bakery & Cafe: Devour Spain-inspired food here!
Stop-7: Ancient City Baptist Church & Memorial Presbyterian Church
Exit the St George Street and walk towards the Flagler College. You’ll come across these beautiful churches of St Augustine on Sevilla Street. I was amazed at its architecture and colors! The church dates back to the 18th century and it has a rich history of its own.
Memorial Presbyterian Church is a prominent example of the Moorish Revival architectural style and was built by Henry Flagler in memory of his daughter Jennie Louise Benedict, who died in childbirth. The church is known for its distinctive architecture with minarets and a dome just like St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The interior features intricate decorations and beautiful stained glass windows. Don’t forget to visit its interiors!
Stop-8 : Flagler College
After the San Marcos monument, Flagler College is another iconic attraction of St Augustine. You may have seen so many pictures of this place all over social media!! Though it is a college today, it was once opened as a luxurious Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1888, built by Henry Flagler(railroad pioneer and oil magnet).
You can admire the Spanish Renaissance architecture, walk through the beautiful courtyards, and learn about the college’s history and notable alums.
Here are some interesting and fun facts about the Flagler College:
- It was one of the first buildings in the U.S. to be wired for electricity (way before the White House actually)!
- Thomas Edison personally helped to install the electricity here.
- It possesses the world’s largest private collection of Tiffany stained glass worth an estimated $130 million!!
- Louis Comfort Tiffany decorated the building’s interior with stained glass, mosaics, and several murals.
- It was the first hotel of its kind to be constructed entirely of poured concrete using the local coquina stone as aggregate.
You see here the scientists and business tycoons created this masterpiece hundreds of years ago!!
You can take a guided tour of the college that is led by current Flagler College students. It is one of the best things to do during your 1 day in St. Augustine! The tickets are $17 for adults and free for children up to 4 years of age. Tours must be reserved in advance and you can book it from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Buy it early since tours often sell out fast.
Stop-9: Villa Zorayda Museum
Located across Flagler College, Villa Zorayda is a historic house museum located in the historic district of St Augustine. Built in 1883 by Franklin Smith as a winter residence, inspired by the famous Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
I solely wanted to visit this amazing masterpiece for its architecture and colors! The museum houses a collection of antiques and decorative arts, including items from different periods and cultures!
You’ll learn about the history of every piece of the house and from where it was bought! Few of the pieces are placed in their original condition at their original place in the room!
You can take the guided audio tour of the museum to learn more about the history of the building! It costs $14 per person but it’s so worth it!
Stop-10: Lightner Museum
Head to the Lightner Museum, housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, a stunning Spanish Renaissance Revival-style building. The museum displays an extensive collection of art, antiques, and decorative pieces from the Gilded Age. Must check the beautiful stained glass dome in the main lobby.
Stop-11: Lunch in Historic District
Hop on the trolley or walk back towards St George Street to grab your lunch at Columbia restaurant. The Columbia Restaurant, established in 1905, offers delicious Spanish and Cuban cuisine and is a great place to try the local flavors.
Stop-12: Plaza de la Constitución and Avelies Street
After finishing the lunch, head back to the main square of St Augustine- Plaza de la Constitución. The square is surrounded by so many restaurants and shops, memorials, monuments, trolley stops, and the coast on one side.
Take a walk around the area and see the Governer’s Mansion, St Augustine Cathedral Basilica and spot the statue of Ponce de Leon. This plaza hosts festivals and regular art walks and is all lit up at night. You will see so much action here in the evening.
Across the Plaza de la Constitución, you’ll see the beautiful Avelis Street. Aviles Street is the oldest street in the oldest city. It is the oldest street in the United States.
This cobblestone street is lined with restaurants, art galleries, and historical markers, as well as several bed and breakfasts. Just take a walk and admire the beautiful architecture!
Stop-13: St Augustine Lighthouse & Beach
One of the most interesting things to do during your one day in St Augustine is to climb the St Augustine Lighthouse. The St. Augustine Lighthouse dates back to 1874 and was even used by the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII to watch for German U-boats.
You can climb the St Augustine Lighthouse for panoramic views of the city and the coastline. You can explore the Maritime Museum and its exhibits, which highlight the area’s maritime history and the role of the lighthouse in navigation.
After visiting the Lighthouse if you have more time, you can visit the Alligators Farm or St Augustine Beach if you are traveling with kids.
Stop-14: Bridge of Lions & St Augustine waterfront at Sunset
Now it’s almost the end of your 1 day in St Augustine Itinerary. Head back towards downtown and stop at Bridge of Lions. This bridge, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the mid-1920s.
The Bridge of Lions is a drawbridge connecting Anastasia Island to the mainland and is guarded by two lion statues(exact replicas of the Medici lions outside Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy). Just walk towards the Park and waterfront, and enjoy the scenic views of the bridge.
After that, Stroll along the picturesque St Augustine Bayfront as the day ends! Enjoy breathtaking views of the Matanzas River with the setting sun. You can capture the iconic Bridge of Lions with a mesmerizing sunset at the Bayfront. It is perfect to complete your St Augustine in one day trip.
If you want to enjoy the sunset with a relaxing trip over water, you can take a scenic Sunset Boat ride to experience St Augustine from a different perspective!
Pro Tip: If you want to get the best views of the Bayfront with drinks, head to The Tini Martini Bar or Meehan’s Irish Pub. I visited Tini Martini Bar at sunset and their martini is so delicious! Don’t forget to check out them during the Nights of Lights festival!
Stop-15 Dinner at Floridian Restaurant
End your day with a delicious dinner at one of the Bayfront restaurants. I dined at the Floridian for Vegetarian dishes. Though there are limited options for vegetarians, it was one of the best dining experiences. The food is great and cocktails are delicious here. It gets quite busy throughout the day, so make sure to reserve it in advance.
You can also check out the ICE Plant Bar or Prohibition Kitchen in the town. For dining with the best views, check out the Casa Reina Taqueria at the waterfront near the main square.
Stop-16: Ghost tour OR Nightlife in St Augustine
If you still have energy left, don’t forget to join a ghost tour through the historic district at night. St. Augustine is known for its haunted history, and a ghost tour will take you to the most haunted locations while sharing paranormal history stories. This tour is a very thrilling way to end your one day in St. Augustine. Check out the St Augustine Ghost Tour rates and availability here.
If Ghost Tour is not your choice, you can head to Colonial Oak Music Bar on St George Street. The live music with drinks is the perfect way to end your day in St Augustine.
More Than One Day in St Augustine?
Have more than one day in St Augustine or looking for more things to do in St Augustine? Here are my suggestions for you.
Visit the Oldest House
Known as the “Gonzalez-Alvarez House”, the oldest house is considered one of the oldest houses in the United States. It dates back to the early 1700s and has a rich history. It is located at 14 St. Francis Street. Honestly, this was not so exciting place to visit in St Augustine because I have seen so many such houses in other parts of the southern USA, particularly I liked in Charleston! But maybe that’s not the case in Florida!
But if you’re interested and haven’t seen any, this is such an interesting site to visit if you have more than one day in St Augustine.
- Also Read: Key West Long Weekend Itinerary
St Augustine Distillery
I wanted to visit the St Augustine distillery, but due to time constraints, I couldn’t. But this is considered as the “most toured Whiskey Distillery in the USA”, this is must see in St Augustine. It is family family-owned distillery inside a 1907 ice plant. They transformed Florida’s oldest ice plant into the most visited craft distillery! You can enjoy the free tour of the distillery to learn about the distilling process for bourbon, gin, vodka, and rum! And the best thing is, at the end of the tour, you will be given free cocktails samples.
The distillery offers free tours and tastings seven days a week – no reservations required. Make sure to check out the Ice Plant bar & restaurants on the premises for amazing farm-to-table dining.
Visit Nearby Beaches
St. Augustine is surrounded by so many beautiful sandy beaches and you should check it out as a day trip. Even better, if you are doing a North Florida trip, driving Highway A1A, or visiting Disneyworld Orlando, it’s good to add St Augustine Beach to your itinerary. You can visit nearby Crescent Beach, Daytona Beach, or New Smyrna Beach. I have heard so many good things about Daytona Beach!!
More Places for the Food in St Augustine
- Gaufres and Goods
- Osprey Tacos
- Prohibition Kitchen
- Treylor Park St Augustine
Where to get the Best Coffee in St Augustine
- Crucial Coffee Cafe
- Kookaburra in the main square
- City Perks Coffee
- Cafe Del Hidalgo
- The Whitty Whisker Cat Cafe (unique experience)
Free Things To Do In St Augustine In One Day
St Augustine is America’s oldest city with many historical landmarks and there are so many free things to do for budget travelers. Here is a list of free things to do in St Augustine.
- St George Street
- Flagler College
- Bridge of Lions
- Plaza de la Constitucion
- Aviles street
- St Augustine Beach
- Vilano Beach
- St Augustine Bayfront
- Ground of Castillo de San Marcos
- Spanish Street
Popular Tours & Activities: 1 day in St Augustine
Check out these popular tours and activities for your one day in St Augustine.
- Guided Walking tour of St Augustine historic district.
- Visit Ripley’s Believe or Not. This is Ripley’s oldest Odditorium.
- See the gators at the St Augustine Alligator’s Farm. (best activity for the kids)
- St Augustine Pirates & Treasure Museum to see some pirate artifacts.
- Visit the Fountains of Youth and learn about the colonization of St Augustine, take a riverwalk and drink from the fountain of youth!
- Take a Haunted Pub Tour in St Augustine, and learn about St. Augustine’s most infamous and allegedly haunted watering holes, where you can grab drinks while learning about the haunted history of the city.
- Visit the speakeasy bars of St Augustine. I highly recommend Meehan’s, Ice Plant, Ancient City Brewing, A1A Ale Works, and Ann O’Malley’s for the best cocktails in historical buildings!
- Take a Scenic Boat ride to see St Augustine from the water.
- Take a Corks & Forks culinary tour.
Travel FAQs for St Augustine One Day Itinerary
Is 1 day in St Augustine Trip Worth it?
Yes, it’s totally worth visiting St Augustine for a day! You will be able to do so much! Take a walk around the historic district, visit Castillo de San Marcos and Flagler College, and end the day by watching the sunset over St Augustine Bayfront.
What is the prettiest street in St Augustine?
Magnolia Avenue in St Augustine is the most beautiful street in St Augustine. It runs in front of the Fountain of Youth with a beautiful canopy of Oak trees lining it.
What is the main shopping street in St. Augustine?
The Main Shopping street in St Augustine is St George Street. You’ll find cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and local shops on this street. You can buy souvenirs from here.
Is St. Augustine walkable?
St Augustine is an extremely walkable city. You can walk almost everywhere from the historic district to Castillo de San Marcos. It’s a pretty pedestrian-friendly city in Florida.
What is the oldest street in St. Augustine?
Avelis is the oldest street in St Augustine. Earlier it was home to the second Spanish military hospital and now Cobbaledstone Street is known as an art district filled with several galleries, boutiques, and antique shops.
Hope my 1 day in St Augustine Travel Guide helps you to plan your trip! From exploring historical landmarks to indulging in food and visiting beaches, there is something for everyone in St Augustine. If I am missing something share it with me! Pin this post to read it later!