Save Money on Your St. Augustine Vacation

Saving money on a vacation to St. Augustine requires flexibility and a little bit of research. Last month we shared tips for free activities in St. Augustine—a great way to watch your budget while visiting the Oldest City. Of course, not everything in our great town is free, but here are some tips to help your dollar go further during your next trip, all while still enjoying everything our beautiful city has to offer.

exterior of Bayfront Marin House

Timing is Everything

Knowing the dates for the high season can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars—particularly on lodging. St. Augustine is fairly busy year-round, but two seasons are typically the busiest months in our ancient city, that being March and April. They are widely considered to be the high season downtown and many of our guests come from the south to enjoy the cooler weather. At the same time, people visit from the north to enjoy our beautiful, warmer weather, the perfect escape no matter where you come from. The second busy season is the period associated with Christmas, or more specifically, during Nights of Lights. For those who haven’t experienced it, this event is a magical time in St. Augustine. All the businesses are lit up with white lights, especially on the bayfront for an unforgettable holiday sight. Nights of Lights starts the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Catch a trolley at the start of their nightly tours and see the tree in the Plaza lit up at 6:00 pm that night. All the businesses flip their switches then as well! Our prices go up during this time of year, and stay higher than average through New Year’s. (Pro Tip: the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the busiest of the year, and the most expensive rates at our inn).

a couple with bikes on a getaway near bayfront marin house

Best Times to Travel to St. Augustine

We recommend coming to St. Augustine at the end of February for the best prices on hotels. The weather is beautiful and peak season pricing will not have kicked in yet. At our inn, we raise our prices for March and April, then generally go back to normal operations in May. Visiting in February lets you enjoy high-season weather without the high-season prices! There’s a trick for enjoying Nights of Lights on a budget too! It goes through the end of January and the crowds really thin out at the beginning of the month. Though the Christmas trees are taken down, all the other lights and decorations stay up until the 31st. It’s a fantastic time of year to enjoy the lights and extend your holiday spirit. When are the lowest rates of the year? For downtown, it’s the slow season near the end of August and all of September. The kids are back in school, and travel slows down as families get into a routine. It’s a great time to take advantage of specials throughout the town! The lowest rates at our Vilano Beach cottages are in January. Have we mentioned that the cottages come with a parking pass for downtown, that way you can see the lights without worrying about parking!

Make Midweek Plans

If your travel plans are flexible, then we recommend looking for mid-week stays. Many hotels, ourselves included, offer mid-week discounts in the summer months. For non-peak seasons, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the slowest nights of the week. Wednesday is always a reliable day for bookings. Some restaurants in town are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but Wednesday means restaurants are open, crowds are light, and you might even catch a discount on your room.

a couple having dinner on a St. Augustine vacation together

Get the Best Deal at Bayfront

When comparing properties for your stay in St. Augustine, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. While almost all properties offer free wifi, many have high charges for parking which can be upwards of $20 per day plus tax and gratuity, while we don’t charge resort fees! Parking meters are free on Saturdays after 6:00 pm, and they are free all day on Sundays and national holidays—but it can be hard to find an open space, especially on popular weekends. The Bayfront Marin House offers free parking to all our guests. This is included in our premium rooms as well as our downtown apartment and Aviles Street Cottage Park just behind the inn at the corner of Bridge and Aviles Street. Other rooms park at the Oldest House parking lot, conveniently less than a 7-minute stroll to the inn. Not only does our inn offer free parking, but its central location also means that you can park your car with no need to move it again until you check out! Note: we have a loading zone right in front of the inn, making it easy to get everything to and from your room.

Compare the Extras

We like to say that the extras are standard at the Bayfront Marin House. You’ll enjoy free breakfast in bed each day for the ultimate luxury, plus a complimentary happy hour each evening at our main inn. Apartment and cottage guests are also welcome to join us on the patio. We offer complimentary bicycles, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and filtered water for all your beachcombing needs. Coffee and tea are available all day as well in case you need a pick-me-up. At other places, these would all be small charges, but they can really add up! Saving money on breakfast each day is another great way to have a better stay.

a woman holding an envelope

Use Coupons to Enhance Your Stay

You may use coupons at the grocery store, but did you know there could be coupons available for your St. Augustine getaway? We’ve done the work for you, and we’ll actually deliver them to your room! The magazines and flyers put out by Visit St Augustine and The Restaurant Times are full of great information and, most importantly, full of coupons! We make it easy for you and put copies of the Free Discount Coupon Book, Restaurant Times, and the St. Augustine Sightseeing Map & Guide right in your room! Look through them for maps, menus, history, and area information. All three of the publications include ads for local attractions and restaurants, that way you can plan out the perfect evening. Many of them also include coupons in their ad, so keep an eye out for that 10% off dinner, free desserts, or big deals on things to do. Planning ahead? Ask us to send you copies of the publications before your stay.

guest room at Bayfront Marin House

Give the Gift of Seasonal Cheer

Coupons aren’t the only way to save money on restaurants. Many of our local eateries offer special gift card promotions during the holidays. For instance, Harry’s sells a $100 gift certificate and gives a $25 gift certificate for “free”. They run the same special during the summer for early Christmas in July savings! Buying gift certificates for dinners out can really stretch your restaurant dollars—so check restaurant websites in December to see if any of your favorites are participating! Don’t forget to add a couple of gift certificates to your holiday wish list!

See the City in a New Way

Make sure and check our website for any lodging specials throughout the year, that way you’re always in the know. One of our seasonal specials for the holidays offers midweek guests a chance to take a free trolley ride through the lights! Just stay two nights, and we’ll get you a free ticket for the Nights of Lights courtesy of Old Town Trolley. Let us know which day of your trip you would like to go, and we will pre-register you. You can grab a trolley anytime from 6 pm til 9 pm at the visitor’s center completely free! Trolleys run every 15 minutes, so it’s super convenient. Plus, the special continues in January–so you can enjoy smaller crowds and a free ride!

a plate of breakfast at bayfront marin house

Have a Delicious Homecooked Meal

St. Augustine is a true foodie paradise, and our restaurants are on many “Best of” lists throughout the country. However, we know that dining out can be expensive, so our complimentary breakfast and happy hour are here to help! Staying in a room with a full kitchen can have its own extra costs, but what if you could have the best of both worlds? All the rooms at Vilano Beach have at least a small kitchenette with a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker for your convenience. In addition, many more of them also have full kitchens—including the Atlantic Suite, the Royal Palm, Oceanview Cottage, and Lagoon Cottage. Full kitchens at our Downtown location are in our Marine Street Apartment, Jose Simeon suite, and Aviles Street cottage. Our full kitchens are outfitted with a microwave, oven, full-size refrigerator/freezer, coffee maker, toaster, silverware, dishes, and several pots and pans. We also stock the rooms with creamer, sugar, and coffee pods. Finally, let us know if you’re planning something special. For instance, if you want to make cookies or other baked treats, tell us in advance! We’ll make sure there is a cookie tray or muffin tin available when you check-in.

a dog on the beach near bayfront marin house

No Doggie Daycare Needed

Wouldn’t your pup love to come on vacation with you? We are one of St. Augustine’s only pet-friendly boutique hotels with several dog-friendly rooms, both downtown and at the beach. Our $35/night/pet fee is likely cheaper than hiring a dog sitter or boarding your little buddy. You can find pet-friendly rooms in the following locations:

  • Downtown: King George, Hopkins Cottage, Robinson Lewis, Burgess Cottage, Coquina Suite, Napoleon Suite, and Francisco Marin. Also, the Aviles Street Cottage, and the first floor of the Sanchez House, the Jose Simeon Suite.
  • At the beach: the Oceanview Cottage is entirely dog-friendly.

We never want you to “skimp” on vacation, but we do want you to enjoy your stay without breaking the bank. Hopefully, you can use some of the suggestions above to plan a wonderful, budget-friendly vacation to St. Augustine! Start now by choosing your favorite room!

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