There are plenty of summertime activities in St. Augustine, but if you want to check out the attractions that the locals like most, take some tips from a local’s perspective on how to spend your time here. Read on for the perfect St. Augustine summer guide…
Ghost Hunting Experiences
Check out the NEW ghost tour in town — a collaboration between the Odd Macabre (a new museum on Spanish Street) and the Ximenez Fatio House. The Real Ghost Hunting Experience explores some of St. Augustine’s most haunted areas. Discover eye-opening evidence with fascinating factual histories and true stories. Experience investigations where you learn self-intuitiveness, communication techniques, and use paranormal equipment. Go beyond the ghost tour… INVESTIGATE.
Wednesday Farmer’s Market at the St. Augustine Pier
Every Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – Noon
Get the summer-ripe food you would expect at Wednesday Pier Farmers Market, as well as jewelry, candles, baked goods, and more. This market is right on the water, so you can enjoy the ocean breeze while you shop. It’s just a 10-minute drive away, and you’ll want the car to carry home all the great goodies you’ll get. If you’re staying in the Jose Simeon Suite, the Aviles Street Cottage, or the Marine Street Apartment, you’ll have a full refrigerator to store your purchases (or make dinner for yourself!)
St. Augustine Amphitheatre
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is right across the bridge from the inn – grab an Uber, and you’ll be there in minutes (unless the Bridge of Lions is up — then add about 10 minutes). If you want to eat dinner across the bridge before a show, try local favorite O’Steen’s Restaurant for fried shrimp, or go to the Conch House for drinks and a burger. Sit in one of their palapas, 20 feet above the intracoastal waterway. See the Amphitheatre’s website for the concert schedule, and don’t forget their second venue, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Concerts are held in a decommissioned church — it’s only a 20-minute drive from our beach cottages (or about 30 from downtown). This is a great place to see talented artists close up!
Concerts in the Plaza
Thursday Nights, 7:00 p.m. – 9 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day
Come see a wide variety of local and regional bands at our seasonal Concerts in the Plaza, and take in the historic architecture and majestic oaks of the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown St. Augustine. Borrow our beach chairs or a beach towel to sit on, and enjoy a small-town favorite. It’s a great place to meet locals as well!
May Day Ice Cream
Located in town on Hypolita (across from the Columbia Restaurant), May Day Ice Cream has the best ice cream and is a good spot to go after a concert in the plaza! Our favorite ice cream is the Aviator, which is Nutella and chocolate ice cream, with chunks of Biscoff cookies and hazelnuts. All ice cream comes with homemade sprinkles. It’s worth reading their WWII story on the website to see why a lot of the names are airplane based.
Take a stroll and grab dinner at Casa Reina or River & Fort. Both have outdoor firepits — get there early to grab a seat around one of them. Both are right on the water — Casa Reina is just a 5 to 7-minute walk (across from the Bridge of Lions), and River & Fort is only a 10 to 15-minute walk (across from the fort).
Go to the Beach
St. John’s County has over 40 miles of beach, so it’s never too crowded in any one spot. We LOVE the St John’s County Beaches App (which can be downloaded on Google Play or App Store), which lists the beaches and the amenities at each. It also gives updates on whether or not beach driving is allowed. Our favorite beach (we are biased) is Vilano Beach, right in front of our cottages. Not too crowded, and they’ve done a lot of work to the dunes for an easier walk into the water.
Cool Off Inside
It does get warm here. Here are our favorite air-conditioned spots to escape the heat:
- The Lightner Museum: This is a HUGE museum with a ton of Victorian Gilded Age collections: music boxes, oil paintings, sculptures, beer steins, taxidermy, etc. Collections rotate throughout the year, so be sure to check their website for current exhibitions before visiting. Throughout the museum, you’ll see pics of how the original space was used as a hotel. They are now also showing local artists (new in 2022), and offering art classes (starting in June with Martha Ferguson, who has done several plein air paintings at the inn). If it’s hot all day, you can easily spend the entire day exploring this museum. Pro Tip: Eat lunch at the Café Alcazar. It’s located in the old indoor pool, now drained, that is always cool and usually has a musician playing – the acoustics are amazing! Second pro tip: take quarters to buy some fish food in the courtyard and feed the koi.
- Pirate & Treasure Museum: Not just for kids! There is lots of fun history and folklore to dig into for any swashbuckler at heart. For example, did you know there were women pirates? They also boast a large collection of authentic artifacts (aka plunder!)
- Villa Zorayda Museum: Take in the unbelievable Moorish Revival architecture based on the Alhambra Palace in Spain, plus peruse great collections of art and furniture from the time when the property was constructed and owned by Franklin W. Smith as his winter residence in St. Augustine.
- Whetstone’s Chocolates: Take a tour of the plant and sample some of their confections. This spot is really close to the Villa Zorayda Museum.
- Flagler College: Formerly the Ponce de Leon Hotel—grand Victorian spaces. The front lobby area has a soaring domed ceiling, painted with frescos and gold leaf, plus carved pillars, a mosaic floor, and beautiful woodwork.
Downtown & Beachfront Accommodations
After all of that adventure, come back and relax in your luxurious downtown room or beach cottage at our historic St. Augustine boutique hotel. Book your summer stay and live like a local (at least for a while) in beautiful St. Augustine.