Free Fun in St. Augustine
As the oldest city in the Americas, St. Augustine is brimming with attractions, both historical and contemporary. It is easy to overspend on a St. Augustine vacation, but when the budget runs low, there are still many attractions to see for no charge. Strolling historic St. George Street is a good way to spend an afternoon, and there are many markers around the city explaining events that occurred throughout St. Augustine’s nearly 500-year-old history. But besides strolling the city, Fort Matanzas, Mission de Nombre de Dios, and the San Sebastian winery all offer unique and exciting tours for free.
At the mouth of the Matanzas River, on a piece of land locals call “Rattlesnake Island,” sits a small Spanish fort. The fort is just big enough to house five canons and six soldiers, whose only job was to guard the Matanzas River against enemy attacks before they could reach St. Augustine.
Fort Matanzas is only accessible by tour boats, which depart every hour on the half-hour from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Rangers and reenactors dressed in 18th-century Spanish military regalia lead visitors on a tour of the fort and its island, complete with a history lesson of the 1565 massacre that gave the river its name. Fort Matanzas is located 15 miles south of the city of St. Augustine on Highway A1A. If traveling north from Flagler County towards St. Augustine on A1A, the fort is visible on the left while crossing the Matanzas Inlet Bridge.
Movies in The Plaza De La Constitucion
When looking for a fun and affordable night out in St. Augustine, look no further than Movies in The Plaza De La Constitucion! This free event takes place every month at the historic Plaza De La Constitucion, located in the heart of downtown. Every month, the plaza is transformed into an alfresco movie theater, complete with inflatable screens, sound systems, and seating.
Attendees can enjoy watching a variety of genres from cult classics to newly released films in an open-air setting. Those interested in participating should note that all attendees must abide by local public health regulations, including wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing. As long as these guidelines are followed, guests can look forward to a relaxed and enjoyable evening at the movies!
Free Festivals in St. Augustine
Throughout the year, St. Augustine plays host to a variety of lively and entertaining festivals. Check out the San Sebastian Wine Festival, the Great American Cooties Race Festival, or the Bed Race for Charity. There’s something for everyone, from lovers of music and art to food enthusiasts. And best of all, entry is usually free!
Ranging from cultural events such as the Lightner Museum’s First Friday Art Walk to family-oriented celebrations like the Night of Lights holiday party each December, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Summertime in St. Augustine brings an especially prolific selection of live music and entertainment during special seasonal festivals like the St. Johns County Music Festival, the A1A Bluegrass and Folk Festival, and the Sing Out Loud Festival. Meanwhile, fall ushers in unique opportunities for education and exploration with the Hispanic Heritage Festival, as well as annual events like the Farm to Table cooking competition. Regardless of your interests or budget, these free festivals offer an abundance of entertaining ways to explore and experience the city’s rich culture.
St. Augustine Lighthouse Tour
Built in 1874, St. Augustine Lighthouse is not only iconic but also full of legend and mystery! For a truly unique experience, join a guided tour that will take you high above one of Florida’s oldest lighthouses. Enjoy breathtaking views of St. Augustine from the top and learn interesting facts about the lighthouse’s past. Best of all, there’s no admission fee for individuals!
This hour-long tour offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience all that St. Augustine has to offer, from its Spanish colonial-style architecture to breathtaking views of the Matanzas Bay. The tour will take you through one of the nation’s oldest lighthouses, which stands at the entrance of St. Augustine’s harbor and provides a glimpse into the maritime history of the region. During the tour, visitors have access to the keeper’s house, old artifacts, and educational exhibits about the rich and varied history of St. Augustine. You can also scale the 219 steps to the top of the tower for a spectacular view of the bay or take part in a guided day tour along A1A. This is a great option for those looking for an educational experience while exploring one of Florida’s most beloved cities.
Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park is home to some of nature’s most majestic wonders. Spend the day exploring the trails or simply enjoy a picnic by the beach. Keep an eye out for wildlife – from dolphins to rare birds – who often make appearances in these waters. Adventurers can also rent boats and go kayaking or fishing in designated areas!
Located on the banks of the stunning Matanzas River, the park offers stunning views and plenty of opportunities for exploration. Visitors can spend the day swimming in the warm waters, exploring the miles of trails, or simply walking along the beach in search of seashells and beautiful wildlife. The campgrounds offer tents, RV sites, and even cabins, so visitors have plenty of options when it comes to overnight accommodations. Whether you are looking for some fun in the sun or an adventure, there is something for everyone at Anastasia State Park!
St. Augustine Historic District
At the heart of St. Augustine lies its historic district, where centuries of history and culture await exploration. Take a stroll through the charming streets and marvel at the gorgeous architecture, or explore the many museums, such as the Lightner Museum. You could also visit the oldest public square in the United States, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. For an even more immersive experience, take a guided tour that will tell you all about the history of the city and its people.
From the 16th-century Castillo de San Marcos fortification to the cobblestone streets and historic buildings, the area offers visitors an immersive experience of St. Augustine’s rich history and culture. Take a stroll down the narrow, picturesque lanes and admire the remarkable architecture from the colonial era. You’ll find plenty of attractions and great places to explore in St. Augustine Historic District, such as the Old City Gate, Flagler College Chapel, El Escribano (the oldest house in America), and the One Hundred Steps that lead up to the top of the Old Masonic Lodge. For those looking to feed their curiosity about the city’s heritage, the Lightner Museum and Visitor’s Reception Center offer guided tours throughout the year. So if you’re looking for free, interesting things to do in St. Augustine, be sure to explore the Historic District!
Mission de Nombre de Dios
St. Augustine was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles at the site of the Mission de Nombre de Dios in 1565. The founding of the city included a large Catholic mass, establishing the first Catholic mission in the Americas. The man who led that mass, Father Lopez, is honored with a statue at this historic site.
The mission has a shrine to the Lady of Guadeloupe, an outdoor altar to commemorate the first mass held in St. Augustine, a 208-feet stainless-steel cross, a shrine and chapel dedicated to Our Lady of La Leche, and excavation sites maintained by the University of Florida. Artifacts from recent excavations are some of the oldest, if not the oldest, remnants of Spanish settlements in the Americas.
Mission de Nombre de Dios is impossible to miss since the Great Cross can be seen from almost anywhere in St. Augustine. The mission sits on Highway A1A, a mile north of Castillo de San Marcos.
San Sebastian Winery Tour
Most historians believe St. Augustine is the birthplace of American wines. San Sebastian continues the American wine-making tradition from a historic East Coast Railway building in the heart of the city. Known for table and dessert wines made from Floridian muscadine grapes, San Sebastian has won over 300 awards.
Touring the winery is absolutely free and family-friendly. The tour demonstrates the details of the wine-making process, including showing visitors the barrels where the wine ferments. A wine tasting finishes the tour for adults, while children are treated to red and white varieties of muscadine grape juice.
San Sebastian Winery is located on King Street, just north of Flagler College and the other historical downtown attractions. Tours are given Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
Whetstone Chocolate Factory Tour
The tour will include a complimentary milk chocolate seashell for each visitor to sample. As the only working chocolate factory in the entire state of Florida, Whetstone Chocolates offers a unique experience to learn about the chocolate-making process. When this tour resumes, it is a definite must-see attraction.
A visit to the Whetstone Chocolate Factory Tour in St. Augustine is sure to fulfill your sweet tooth cravings and provide you with an educational experience as well. This tour offers a unique opportunity to learn how chocolate is made from bean to bar while also indulging in samples of some delicious award-winning artisan chocolate. The tour includes a walking journey through the factory, during which visitors are able to witness firsthand the process of making chocolate, from roasted cocoa beans to finished bars.
There is, of course, an interactive tasting session at the end where each guest can sample different chocolates and discover their favorite flavors. Afterward, there is a retail shop where visitors can purchase any of the chocolates they have just tasted. If you find yourself in St. Augustine and have a hankering for something sweet, this pleasant and informative tour of the Whetstone Chocolate Factory is definitely not one to miss!
When it comes to finding free fun activities, St. Augustine is a great place to explore. There are endless opportunities for adventure, exploration, learning, and recreation, all without spending a dime. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities in nature, cultural experiences, or unique attractions, St. Augustine has something for everyone. So if you’re looking for the perfect place to relax while having an enjoyable and thrilling time, look no further than this beautiful and historic city. With its many attractions and activities, St. Augustine will provide you with an unforgettable experience that you’ll never forget.