I spend a lot of time in my second home in Orlando but let’s be honest. It can get kinda boring. When doing a lot of research I came across St. Augustine, Florida and I was surprised to find so many free thing to do in St. Augustine. After doing a little research and planning our day we decided to jump in the car and go.
It’s a two hour drive and unfortunately the weather was not in our favor but it definitely didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for a budget friendly day trip or weekend getaway then St. Augustine is the place to go.
There are tons of tours including the trolley and red train however you can do your own self guided tour for free. First, stop at the visitors center where you can pick up a map and the lovely people there will assist you with things to do. The other option is to find discount tickets for the trolley tours. Even though we didn’t go I did a search online and was able to find tickets to the trolley for 12.50 which was about half price. Not bad if you are not interested in walking.
Looking for some more inspo that won’t break the budget. Check out this list of the cheapeast places to travel this year.
Free Things to Do in St. Augustine FL
Most of the museums and sites require an admission fee however I put together a list of things you can do in St. Augustine that are absolutely free.
(1) Walk St. George Street.
This is a pedestrian only street with a ton of cute little shops and historic sites. Most of the historic sites require admission but you can definitely admire the architecture and read about their history on the plaques. Come around the holidays and you will be delighted.
And if you’re like me and are on a tight Christmas budget this is a perfect place to visit and see all the holiday decor and decorations without spending a dime.
(2) Trinity Parish.
This is a beautiful church at the corner of St. George and King Street. You can explore the church for free however be respectful of parishioners who may be attending mass or saying a prayer.
(3) Lightner Museum.
Continuing down King Street you will run into the Lightner Museum as well as Flagler College which are both amazing. You have to pay to go into the actual Museum however you can walk the grounds for free. The courtyard is especially beautiful. They have a little shop where you can order coffee, ice cream, beer and wine and sit in one of the outdoor tables. If you need a break it is worth the few bucks you may spend on a beverage or treat as it is such a pretty place.
(4) St. Augustine Distillery.
This place is really cool and they offer a tour and tasting for free. You sign up when you get there and there may be a little bit of a wait but how cool does this sounds. If you are impatient like me you can skip the tour and head to the gift shop where they offer the free tastings. I tried the three types of gin. They were pretty good.
(5). San Sebastián Winery.
You will find this place at the end of King St. so it’s a little walk from town but so worth it. They also offer a tour and tasting for free. The tour is self guided however it includes 6 wines to taste. For an extra five bucks you can add on two additional premium wines. Well worth the five bucks as these wines were awesome and they were very generous with their pours. Extra tip: Keep going up to the third floor where you will find a rooftop deck with a bar and amazing views. They even had live music. We ordered a few glasses of wine and a snack while up there. Since we didn’t spend money all day we thought we would splurge. It was a great way to end our day of exploring.
(6) St. Augustine Beach
With miles of coastline why would you go to St. Augustine and not visit the beach. Not only it is it free but it is a great way to start (or end) your day. I love a picnic on the beach. So pack a picnic and enjoy. it is a great way to unwind. So whether you are starting or ending your day it is a great option to add to your list.
If time permits head over to Mickler’s Beach. One of the best shelling beaches in Florida.
(7) St. Photios Greek Shrine
Called “The Jewel of St. George Street,” the St. Photios Chapel is a must visit when in St. Augustine. As you step in you will be transported to another time and place. The shrine is dedicated to the first colony of Greek people who came to America in 1768. The Shrine consists of exhibits depicting the life of early Greeks in America and the development of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. It is definitely a site to be seen.
(8) The Peña Peck House
The house was built in 1750 by order of the king of Spain. Since then it has passed through only a few different families however, the last owners, the Peña family, owned the home for 94 years before donating it to the city of St. Augustine in 1931 to serve as a house museum.
Today your can visit the house for free or donation of your choice. Guided tours of the house are available Sundays through Fridays 12:30p.m.-4p.m. and Saturdays 10:30a.m.-4p.m.
It is one of the oldest colonial buildings in St. Augustine. If you love history like I do then you this should be on the top of the list of places to visit in St. Augustine.
(9) Father Miguel O’Reilly House Museum
Built in 1691 the Father Miguel O’Reily House Museum is one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine. There is so much history in this place therefore it should definitely make your short list of places to visit in St. Augustine.
Father O’Reilly left the property to a religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph who were recruited from Le Puy, France by then Bishop of Savannah, Augustin Verot, who would later become the first Bishop of St. Augustine.
Today you can visit the museum from Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-3pm. Admission is free however donations are accepted.
(10) Fort Matanzas
Fort Matanzas, built in the 1740s was built to protect the Matanzas Inlet, otherwise known as the the “backdoor” to St Augustine.
To access the Fort vist the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center to get your free boarding pass for the ferry. The Fort open every day of the year from 9am-5:30pm except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, December 25.
Looking for another amazing Fort to visit in the US. Then check out El Morro on the Island of Puerto Rico.
It really is a great way to go back and time and experience St. Augustine as it was over 250 years ago.
I can keep going with this list as there is so much to see and do in St. Augustine. It truly is one of the best places to visit in the US. I definitely would love to visit again sometime soon. I hope this list will give you a good starting point of all the amazing and free things there are to do in St. Augustine. So have I convinced you to go yet.