Known as America’s Oldest City, St. Augustine, Florida has long been a popular place for getaways, especially for families and history buffs. But even if you’ve seen the major attractions, you’ll find so much to enjoy with a group of friends. The city is also close to Jacksonville and nearby beaches if you want to extend your stay.
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Where to Eat in St. Augustine
Despite the town’s relatively small size, you’re never far from a delicious meal.
Ancient City Brunch Bar– Started as a teenager’s high school project, this family-run restaurant is a popular spot for coffee and “brunch boards,” a breakfast take on charcuterie with cheese and pastries.
The Kookaburra– This bustling coffee shop takes its inspiration from the native bird of Australia. Here you can get a variety of coffee drinks, along with meat pies and pastries. There are multiple locations in town.
PK’s Roosevelt Room– The Prohibition-inspired space serves brunch and breakfast, including dishes like quiche, omelettes, sandwiches, and shrimp and grits.
Schmagel’s Bagels– Enjoy New York-style bagels and sandwiches with a variety of toppings and schmears. It’s been a student and local favorite for over 30 years.
Sunday– Every day is the weekend at this breakfast and lunch spot north of the historic district. The menu includes toast, egg sandwiches, and salads.
Aunt Kate’s– Set in nearby Vilano Beach, this waterfront restaurant was opened by a Menorcan family after Henry Flagler brought guests from the railroad for a cookout. You can have traditional clam chowder along with fresh shrimp.
The Ice Plant– This trendy bar and restaurant has a cocktail-heavy menu that takes inspiration from a drink’s most important ingredient. Menu highlights include their house burger, rabbit pie, and Minorcan-style seafood stew. The building itself is an old factory.
The Spanish Bakery & Cafe– The Colonial Quarter restaurant has been operating for decades, serving authentic Spanish dishes like empanadas and sandwiches.
St. Augustine Fish Camp– Enjoy waterfront views and fresh seafood at this laid-back restaurant. Favorites include local shrimp and grits as well as the fried fish sandwich.
Casa Maya– The lively restaurant in the historic district serves delicious cocktails and authentic Mexican food.
The Floridian– Focusing on what’s local and seasonal, the diverse menu includes an Asian-inspired fried chicken sandwich, catch of the day, and blackened Florida shrimp and grits. Even the decor is inspired by the tropics.
Llama Restaurant– For Peruvian food, head to this restaurant with items like ceviche, lomo saltado, and seafood stew. There’s also a full bar with wine and mimosas as well as chichu, a corn-based drink.
Preserved Restaurant– Chow down on Southern fare at the restaurant inside a historic Lincolnville home. The menu includes shrimp and grits and East Coast oysters.
Where to Drink in St. Augustine
St. Augustine isn’t a “party town” but there are plenty of places to grab a drink. Check out the craft breweries and distilleries as well as cocktail bars that lean into the history.
Ancient City Brewing– The brewery has two locations, the brewhouse and the downtown taproom, serving their lineup of beers as well as cocktails.
Boat Drinks– Sharing a name with a Jimmy Buffet song, the colorful bar is covered in coastal decor and has beverages like frozen drinks and rum cocktails. There’s also a raw bar and shareable bites.
Bog Brewing Company– Set across the bridge from downtown, this brewery has Belgian style and barrel aged beers.
The Chatsworth Pub and Tea Room– By night, this cozy pub is the perfect place for a pint or cocktail. By day, you can partake in traditional Afternoon Tea.
Dog Rose Brewery– Opened in 2017 in Lincolnville, this brewery serves German style beers along with American ones like West Coast style IPAs. There are also games to keep you entertained.
Forgotten Tonic– This hip tapas bar has dishes to split, like flatbreads and meatballs, with cocktails and wine.
Odd Birds Kitchen and Cocktail Lounge– The eclectic spot serves tapas like ceviche and empanadas, along with creative and colorful drinks.
San Sebastian Winery– Enjoy locally made wines at this tasting room in one of Henry Flagler’s former railroad buildings. Styles include pinot grigio, cabernet sauvignon, port, and muscadine wines.
St. Augustine Distillery– The former factory opened 11 years ago during the rise in craft distilling. Since then, it’s become known for award-winning spirits, including rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey. There are free self-guided tours and tastings.
Trade Winds Lounge– The downtown dive has a loyal local fan base for its frequent live music. There’s also tiki-style decor and a full bar.
Relaxing, Beauty, Fitness in St. Augustine
Your girl’s weekend doesn’t have to be just eating and imbibing. It’s also a chance to relax and catch up over a class or get yourself pampered.
Paddleboarding- Rent a paddleboard from a local outfitter to explore the waterways of St. Augustine.
Pilates and Yoga Loft– Join a beach yoga class or SUP yoga from this local studio.
Poseidon Spa– Located at Casa Monica, this spa has water-inspired treatments like facials, massages, manicures, and scrubs.
Salt Spa St. Augustine– Enjoy halotherapy at this salt spa in the heart of downtown. The spa also offers massage therapy, float tanks, and infrared saunas.
The Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club– The sprawling spa at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has a restaurant, an outdoor pool with a bar, and treatment rooms with hot tubs and saunas.
Shopping in St. Augustine
From the downtown boutiques and art galleries to the big box stores near the highway, there are plenty of bargains to be found in St. Augustine.
Aunt Matilda’s Steampunk Trunk– The funky clothing store sells Steampunk inspired gear.
Second Read Books– Every town needs a good bookstore and this is St. Augustine’s. Browse the stacks for titles from Florida authors.
St. Augustine Premium Outlets– Choose from over 65 stores from top brands like Kate Spade and Calvin Klein.
WildHeart Boutique– The women’s boutique has a wide range of clothing and accessories.
Sightseeing in St. Augustine
This trip may not be about sightseeing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cross a few attractions off your list during your visit.
Feast of Saint Augustine 3 Hours Walking Tour– Visit the best restaurants in downtown St. Augustine on this guided tour. For one price, you get samples along the way, along with cocktails for those old enough to drink.
Legacy Tours of Flagler College– Formerly the Ponce de Leon Hotel, this resort has been turned into a small liberal arts college. Tours are led by students and talk about the building and history of the property and how it came to be a school. Admire the Spanish Renaissance architecture throughout the campus.
Lightner Museum– This museum houses all sorts of oddities from shrunken heads to antique glassware to a stuffed lion. The building itself is the former Alcazar Hotel, another Henry Flagler property built across the street from Flagler College. Get a skip-the-line ticket before you go.
St. Augustine Eco Tours– See the waterways that surround the old city with this eco-friendly tour operator. Visitors can spot dolphins in kayaks or catamarans.
St Augustine Lighthouse– The view from the iconic lighthouse, built in 1874, is well worth the climb up the 219 stairs. Along the way, there are panels talking about the history of the lighthouse and its ghostly past. The museum has artifacts collected from the area as well as belongings of previous keepers.
Whetstone Chocolates– Tour an active chocolate factory that has crafted sweet treats for countless brands, including Walt Disney World. Book your tour in advance. Visitors are required to wear hear nets and no photos are allowed inside the factory.
Where to Stay in St. Augustine
There is a wide variety of accommodation options on St. Augustine, from historic inns to hotels to rentals, which may be better for groups.
Casa Monica Resort & Spa– This stylish Kessler Collection property is designed in the Moroccan style with chandeliers and artwork. The hotel boasts multiple restaurants and luxurious rooms. Guests have access to a private beach.
The Collector Inn– The adults-only inn is a short walk from the historic district, spread across nine buildings. Guests enjoy free WiFi, daily breakfast, a heated pool, and daily happy hour.
The Local– Set across the bay on Anastasia Island is this vintage motel that has been completely restored. Guests enjoy smartphone check in and keys, gym access, bicycles, and a pool.
Villa Victor– This modern hotel has a restaurant, bar and snack bar, an outdoor pool, and free WiFi.
Voco St. Augustine– The unique historic district hotel resembles a ship, with porthole-style windows and balconies. It has an in-house restaurant, an outdoor pool, and fitness center.
Ponte Vedra Inn and Club (review here)- Located in nearby Ponte Vedra, the beachfront property is the perfect escape while remaining convenient to the city.
Rentals- Stay in a colorful bungalow at the beach like the Mermaid Cottage or in a historic home in the district from Airbnb. This cozy bungalow in Butler Beach is another favorite.
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