Vacations, while wonderful experiences, can sometimes be expensive endeavors. But with a St. Augustine getaway at Bayfront Marin House, you can enjoy tons of free things while staying at a comfy home base with all the amenities you need for a great stay. We’ve put together a list of some of the best free attractions near the inn so you can put together an unforgettable retreat!
Fort Matanzas National Monument.
When most people talk about ‘the fort’ in St. Augustine, they refer to the Castillo de San Marcos, the huge coquina fortress at the city gates. But there is another fort on Anastasia Island—and it’s free! Built in 1742, Fort Matanzas is fifty years younger than its larger counterpart downtown but was an important part of protecting the waterways of the nation’s oldest city. Both admissions to the fort and the ferry needed to get there are free, and we highly recommend this fascinating look into the past.
Lightner Museum/Cafe Alcazar.
The Lightner Museum is spectacular and well worth the cost of admission with a fairly affordable entry fee. But if you don’t have time for a full museum tour, here’s a trick for a mini-visit: go to Cafe Alcazar! It’s a little lunch spot located in the old hotel’s indoor swimming pool. After you’ve munched on one of their great sandwiches, climb the stairs next to the piano player. The bathrooms are located on this floor, but on your way there, you’ll get a great little exhibit on the walls of the old ballroom. The walls have old photos and postcards lining the hallway, an intriguing look at St. Augustine’s past. All that with a delicious sandwich and a free piano concert, a fantastic visit for any itinerary.
Beaches in St. Johns County.
All the beaches (except for Anastasia State Park) are freely accessible for waders and sunbathers! Grab one of our complimentary beach chairs, an umbrella, and some towels for a day of fun in the sun!
Music in the Plaza.
Held every Thursday from 6 pm to 8 pm, in the main plaza, go out on the town like the locals do. Neighbors meet for drinks at 5, walk to the plaza for the 6 pm show, then go out to eat in town after 8. Any of the restaurants on Aviles Street (Alta Marea, Nonna’s, Forgotten Tonic) are solid options for delicious and affordable eats. Stop by Peace Pie on Aviles for the ultimate summer dessert—ice cream and pie filling, sandwiched between two homemade cookies. Yes, Please! Performances in the Plaza run through August 31 and are a great way to kick back and relax under the stars for an evening of music.
Music on the Pier.
Enjoy a free concert every Wednesday night from May through September at the St. Augustine Beach Pier. Concerts start at 7:00pm and go until 9:00pm. The events feature a wide variety of musical genres—one week could be jazz, and the next week folk or country. We’ve heard reggae and R&B—it’s always a different experience! A different food truck visits as well so you can grab a bite to eat while there. Grab a chair from the inn before you go—seating is mostly on the sand.
Farmer’s Market at the Amphitheater.
Speaking of the pier, don’t forget the farmer’s market every Wednesday from 8 am til noon! You’ll find lots of produce and baked goods, as well as artisans who make sculptures, jewelry, and paintings. It’s not a big market, but it’s a simply delightful slice of local flavor. Even if you don’t end up grabbing anything it’s still wonderful to walk around and take in the sights and sounds. Sometimes food vendors will offer free samples, so snag a snack or two and try local fruits, honey, and more!
Held every Saturday from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, A larger market, with lots of food, produce, and locally made items, like local honey, local fermented food (their butter olives are highly recommended), and local datil pepper sauce. If you’re searching for souvenirs or gifts for the folks back home, this is a great place to find local, authentic items that help our small farmers and agribusinesses.
Music at the Colonial Oak Music Park.
If you haven’t seen this beautiful venue, it’s right in the middle of downtown, off St. George Street. It has picnic bench seating with live oaks towering above you—plus romantic hanging lanterns that move in the night breeze for unmatched ambiance. You can buy drinks or food at the restaurants in the Colonial Quarter, or you can just sit and enjoy the music.
West King Wednesday.
If you’re in St. Augustine on the third Wednesday of the month, grab your car and head to West King Street (between Route 1 and Duval Street). West King Wednesday goes from 10 am to 10 pm; park at Murf’s or the new public lot behind Broudy’s. The small businesses in this part of town are all locally owned and completely unique—you can enjoy a beer at Bog Brewery, a cocktail at newly opened Muggsy’s, a vegan sandwich at Buena Ondo, or a cupcake at Sweet City! If you go early in the day, you can also check out A Coastal Home. New furniture and refurbished treasures with dishware, pillows, candles, napkin rings, and lots of other goodies.
Free tours of the Tolomato cemetery.
This old Minorcan cemetery is on Cordova Street, right across from Mojo’s BBQ, the perfect place to grab lunch before the tour. Their blackened salmon salad with housemade honey mustard dressing and cornbread croutons is absolutely delicious, a fantastic choice if you end up eating there. Tours are on the third Saturday of the month from 11 am to 2 pm. Free tours usually include a helpful guide to Minorcan history, as the cemetery is kept up by the Minorcan Society of St. Augustine.
St. Augustine has a huge art heritage—the St. Augustine Art Association has been around since 1924, and for years the SAAA was based on the first floor of our Sanchez House! The first Friday of every month is full of people highlighting that connection—the many galleries in town are open late, and most serve wine or finger foods, a scrumptious accompaniment to the beautiful art on display. You’ll also find some great musicians (try Aviles Street to start) and many talented artists showcasing their work.
Other Events Throughout the Year:
Sing Out Loud – Every September
There is plenty to sing about during this huge musical celebration. Yes, there are tickets for purchase to see the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, and Lord Huron, but that’s just the tip of this musical iceberg! Every weekend, the city is dotted with free performances—in the plaza, on the street, and even inside private venues.
On September 16, enjoy Lincolnville Porch Fest, a free music event with performances on porches throughout the historic neighborhood of Lincolnville, and it’s walkable from the inn. On September 24, there’s a Record Fair at the Amphitheater—a great place to supplement your vinyl collection. The month wraps up with the Songwriter’s Festival, which is a must for any music lovers. Bands and events will continue to be added until the month is chock-full; keep checking their website to see which bands will be confirmed next! Bands and events will continue to be added until the month is chock-full; keep checking their website to see which bands will be confirmed next!
The Night Market at the Amphitheatre – Select Tuesdays
This is another local favorite and a great place to take advantage of the cooler evenings. It features handmade arts, crafts, and goods along with a variety of local food trucks, a full bar, and free live music! The Night Market takes place on select Tuesdays throughout the year from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Stay at Bayfront Marin House
Wake up to our complimentary breakfast in bed each day, as well as our free happy hour each evening! We offer free bikes to borrow, free bottled water in your room, free high-speed internet, and free parking. Our cozy and spacious rooms are just what you need after a long day, with king and queen beds, soaking tubs, and rain showers available in some units. Explore the sights with a variety of lodging options, including our picturesque beach cottages, centrally located street cottages, and more! If you want to save some money on your vacation, check out our St. Augustine bed and breakfast!Book Now