Considered the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is one of Florida’s coastal cities, home to colonial architecture and tranquil sandy beaches. Most travelers visiting this part of Florida go to St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park for the zip lines and gator shows while history and architecture buffs love exploring the historic fort of Castillo de San Marcos. If you’re looking for some not-so-touristy alternatives, we have a full list that includes anything from taking a ghost tour, to fishing, to learning how vodka is made in the St. Augustine Distillery, to taking a sunset cruise. Excited to explore the many sides of St. Augustine? Here are our recommendations for the best non-touristy things to do in St. Augustine, Florida.
1. Visit the Fountain of Youth
St. Augustine’s Fountain of Youth is quite the experience. The park spreads over 15 acres (6 hectares) of lush greenery and is home to a 16th-century Spanish settlement and historic village site. A tour here will be packed with information, fun, and activities, as visitors get to join the excavations in the park, get a glimpse of the past through accurate reinterpretations like the blacksmith exhibit, or marvel at the parks flock of peafowls that consist of nearly 30 colorful Indian birds.
Fountain of Youth
Address: 11 Magnolia Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Website: Fountain of Youth
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 17 USD
Families looking to keep kids entertained but also offer them an educational experience can head to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Get ready to go back in time to over 300 years ago in Port Royal, Jamaica. Whether you’re here to celebrate your birthday, go on an educational field trip, try a scouting adventure, or just to spend fun times with your family while on vacation, the Pirate and Treasure Museum is sure to be a unique experience. The Pirate Museum hosts a collection of unique artifacts, paired with interactive technology, for a modern and entertaining time. Learn how to tie knots, fire a cannon, or hoist the Jolly Roger flag.
From Orlando: St Augustine Tour and Pirate & Treasure Museum
Duration: 12 hour
3. Marvel at the St. Photios National Greek Orthodox Shrine
You don’t have to be an art and history buff to marvel at the St. Photios National Greek Orthodox Shrine and appreciate its paintings. Only steps from St. Augustine’s historic city gates, travelers can find and be in awe of this religious institution dedicated to the first Greek colony that came onto American soil back in the late 1760s. The chapel is a unique sight in this part of the US, and its Byzantine-style frescoes are truly impressive.
St. Photios National Greek Orthodox Shrine
Address: 41 St George St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
4. Head to Castle Otttis
Built as an impression of an Irish castle, and situated only three miles (five kilometers) north of St. Augustine, Castle Otttis is a stunning landscape-sculpture. A landscape-sculpture is usually built to either adorn or view the landscape. Nowadays, the castle is available by appointment to larger groups and is used as a unique setting for intimate wedding ceremonies, but can also be admired from outside, as it is an impressive and rather unusual sight to see in this region.
Address: 103 3rd St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Website: Castle Otttis
5. Enjoy a good laugh at the Limelight Theater
Spend an evening with and like the locals, enjoying a good show at the Limelight Theater. The venue was established in 1992 and is the only year-round community theater in this part of Florida. Every season, they stage eight live shows on top of the year-round theater education they offer to visitors of all ages. Some of the plays here include musicals like “Cabaret” and “Smoke on the Mountain,” comedies like “Girl’s Weekend” and “Father of the Bride,” as well as classic dramas like “An Enemy of the People.”
The Limelight Theater
Address: 11 Old Mission Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Website: The Limelight Theater
Price: 26 USD
Exploring the less touristy side of St. Augustine should definitely include a ghost tour, especially in a place with so much history. Known as the oldest city of European origin in the United States, St. Augustine has its fair share of haunted stories, and what better way to learn more on the topic than from a master storyteller while touring the city’s historic landmarks. Some of the highlights include the Huguenot Cemetery and the old city gates. Get ready to join a small group and laugh the night away as you listen to some of the funniest, most entertaining and informative stories the city’s ever known.
Secrets of St Augustine Ghost Tours
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
If you’re looking to start the day exploring St. Augustine’s outdoors, or if you’d like to spend the afternoon on the water, this tour is for you. Enjoy a private fishing trip from Fort Lauderdale to catch trophy bass, spot alligators, and marvel at some of the region’s most spectacular birds. No previous fishing experience is required, as you will be initiated into the dos and don'ts of fishing by your experienced captain. All the gear and equipment needed is provided so no need to worry about that either.
Rodman Reservoir Fishing Trips near Gainesville Florida
Duration: 4 to 12 hours
8. Learn the process of vodka making at St. Augustine Distillery
It wouldn’t be a Florida vacation without trying the local taste and flavors and the spirits that capture them. St. Augustine’s restored Ice Plant is home to a small-batch distillery that makes whiskey, gin, rum, and vodka. People can visit the distillery for free, watch and learn all about the process of spirits making, including mixing, mashing, cooking, and distilling. Visits wrap up with a tasting session, so visitors get to see the final product for themselves.
St. Augustine Distillery
Address: 112 Riberia St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Website: St. Augustine Distillery
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: Free admission
When visiting St. Augustine, make sure you take in the spectacular views this part of Florida has to offer, and what better way to do it than out on the water, on a sunset cruise? This adults-only tour takes one hour and a half and includes a local guide as well as access to a beer and wine bar with very affordable prices. Some of the details to keep in mind include the fact that everyone has to be 21 or older, that the tour is not wheelchair accessible, and that service animals are allowed.
Sunset Cruise of St. Augustine with a Local Guide
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Another spectacular way to view St. Augustine’s sunset is from up above, on a guided helicopter tour. Get ready to fly over 12 miles (19 kilometers) of beach and catch the sun setting over the historic downtown area. It can be a great way to celebrate your honeymoon, an anniversary or a birthday, or even be the stage for a proposal, but it can be equally spectacular without any special occasion. The tour departs from the St. Augustine airport and lasts approximately 20 minutes. Some of the iconic sights travelers will get to see from up above include Castle Otttis, the coastline, and Anastasia State Park.
St. Augustine Sunset Helicopter Tour
Exploring St. Augustine like a local
There’s so much more to St. Augustine than meets the eye and countless ways of exploring this beach-side destination in Florida. Some of the best ways to experience the region’s vibe and see what it’s like to live like a local are through some non-touristy activities. No need to dig deeper, we’ve got all the must-do’s right here, so you can check them off your bucket list. Make sure you check out all these non-touristy things to do in St. Augustine, Florida, and try at least a few.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.