Floridians, are you looking for a quick weekend getaway that won’t break the bank? Well then, your savior is here! If you still haven’t made plans for the upcoming long weekend, then you may want to keep on reading. This past weekend I visited the historic city of St. Augustine in Florida and loved it. Let me show you why St. Augustine is your next weekend getaway spot.
In case you don’t know much about St. Augustine, here are some fun facts. St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city and was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers.
St. Augustine is about a 2.5 hours drive from Orlando, and is located on the Atlantic coast. Due to it’s close proximity and beautiful Spanish style architecture, St. Augustine makes for a perfect weekend getaway. The fort, the streets, the architecture, all take you back to another era.
WHERE TO STAY?
A hotel by the beach is always a great idea, except when a hurricane hits. There are several options available for all price points. If you are looking to stay in the heart of the historic city, then the Moroccan themed Casa Monica Resort & Spa looks like a dream. The hotel was built in 1888! Click here for the hotel. If you are looking for a smaller, and cozier option then check out the Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens. Looks like such a unique piece of work especially for the art lovers or the romantics. Click here.
If you are new to Airbnb, click here to join and receive a $40 credit towards your first trip. Free money!
Surprisingly, it was really hard to find any good and reasonably priced Airbnbs. When I say good, I usually look for an entire house or apartment under $120 per night for 2 people. Majority of what I found was either a private room in someone’s house (nahh) or priced over $200 per night. Having said that, you won’t find very many skyscrapers in this city. Here are some of the Airbnbs that caught my eye. Option 1. Option 2 (where I stayed). Option 3. Option 4. Option 5.
Do you prefer staying in a hotel or Airbnb? What factors help you decide? Price? All inclusive? Sense of safety?
WHERE TO EAT
Isn’t this the biggest question during every trip and well daily life for me? Talking about St. Augustine weekend getaway, don’t you worry, I got you.
The food scene in St. Augustine- lots of cute cafes and restaurants especially by the fort but surely overpriced (*insert sad face*), food trucks are the bomb, definitely must try one or several.
Need More Day Trip Options?
Bars by the beach area-unfortunately, they were all dead on a Saturday evening around 9:00 PM! I am not a drinker but I do like to brag about not being in bed by 10:00 PM while on a vacation. I am not sure if it was still off-season but I wasn’t impressed.
Here are a few options that I have tried and have been recommended to me. Keep in mind, this was not my first visit to St. Augustine, I have visited several times in the past.
- Terra & Acqua– Italian dinner- I loved the food and drinks. Even though it was a busy weekend, my bartender server was amazing!
- Manatee Cafe– Breakfast- Great vegan option
- Taberna del Caballo– Lunch- Located on the popular George St., right by the fort, very cute outdoor seating. My tacos were good, drinks are overpriced in my opinion.
- Everything Bagel– Breakfast- Fresh bagels made in house
- Smokin Ds BBQ– Delicious bbq sandwiches!
- Sporks– Lunch food truck- Heard really good things about their food.
- Falafel Queen– I love me some Mediterranean food. This one gets a thumbs up from me. Must try their shawarma wrap.
- Blue Hen Cafe– Cute cafe, comfort food.
- Palm Valley fish camp– A little further away from St. Augustine, however, worth the drive for some good seafood.
- DOS Coffee & Wine– Isn’t that the best combination ever?
- Ice Plant Bar– Set in a 1927 industrial building, this eatery offers locally sourced dishes & seasonal cocktails.
- A1A Burrito Works Taco Shop– They have 4 locations, lines were pretty long.
- Barley Republic Public House – Irish pub and cocktail bar in the heart of St. Augustine.
- St. George Tavern– Another Irish, fun little hole in the wall kinda bar.
- The Hyppo-Gourmet Popsicles– Gourmet popsicles is actually a thing!
- Trade Winds Lounge– Another dive bar that has become a St. Augustine staple with live music. Apparently it is the oldest lounge in the oldest city.
- Odd Birds Bar: Outside seating, craft cocktails, (Live music on Thursdays on the porch)
- Juniper Market: Cute lunch spot, cafe serving health conscious light bites, organic coffee & unusual drinks to eat in & take out
- Ospray Taco– Can you tell I have a thing for tacos?
WHAT TO DO
Like why am I even telling you to go there if you don’t know what to see, right? You can always spend most of your time at the beach soaking some sunshine or explore the historic city or well do both like I did.
So St. Augustine beach is beautiful, and you can visit Castillo de San Marcos, however, I personally was not too impressed. The ticket costs $15 for an adult, parking was $2.50 per hour. After the canon ball firing, I spent maybe another 15 minutes there, that too because I kept stopping to take pictures. Reason being, there is not much to see. In all honesty, it was not worth my money.
Another option was a visit to Fort Matanzas National Monument. The fort itself is small, however, the entire tour was fun, and it includes jumping onto a ferry to get to the other side. The best part of the visit? It was free! The ferry ride- free! The tour guide- free! I recommend setting aside no more than 2 hours for this tour. Do you typically look for some free things to do when you travel to a new city?
If you are looking for the best view of the city, then head to St. Augustine Light house & Maritime Museum. Just a heads up, be prepared to climb 200 some stairs, but I promise the views make it worth it.
Here is a list of few more things that can help make your weekend getaway to St. Augustine memorable.
- Matanzas Inlet: Perfect place to swim and soak up the sun
- St. Augustine Amphitheatre: Outdoor amphitheatre, lots of fun concerts.
- Anastasia State Park: Popular for camping, you can rent a canoe, go to the beach or explore the trails
- Trolley Tours: Great way to see city, especially if you don’t want to be hassled with parking in several places and walking around in the heat.
- St. Augustine Wednesday Farmers Market: Local foods at the Pier.
- Debbie’s Day Spa & Salon: Full service spa, perfect way to treat yourself.
- Magnolia Ave: One of the most photographed streets in the U.S. Drive or walk down it as you are making your way towards downtown. Saw couple of wedding photo shoots happening.
- Alligator Farm: Personally not a fan of these creatures but I figured others might be.
- Out There Antiques: Great place for antique lovers, they carry a large selection of unique pieces.
- Anchor Boutique: Had some cute jewelry pieces.
- Lightner Museum: A museum of antiquities, mostly American Gilded Age pieces, housed within the historic Hotel Alcazar building in downtown St. Augustine.
I hope you are heading to St. Augustine for your next weekend! I love how you can drive just 2 hours away from Orlando and end up in a beautiful city like St. Augustine where it’s history has been well preserved. My favorite parts had to be all the food options and the architecture.
I surely hope you get to visit St. Augustine soon if you haven’t already. Let me know your thoughts!