St. Augustine with Kids: 30 Best Things To Do in St. Augustine, Florida

The secluded St. Augustine Beach is a perfect respite from daily life. Photo Photo by Mancy Carter
The secluded St. Augustine Beach is a perfect respite from daily life. Photo Photo by Mancy Carter
9/23/23 - By James Smith

Florida has its “Emerald Coast,” its "Space Coast," its “Treasure Coast,” and even its “Forgotten Coast.” But unless you spend time in its northernmost section, you might be unaware of its “Historic Coast,” headlined by the haven of St. Augustine.

About an hour south of Jacksonville, whose sizable airport services most major carriers, sits America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. To visit St. Augustine’s charming cobblestone streets and seemingly ancient architecture is to be reminded of Florida’s multicultural history.

Of course, these days visitors—adults and kids alike—are better welcomed than the 18th-century pirates who sailed in for plunder. These days, St. Augustine is a seaside haven for kids and families, particularly those eager to mix a little education with all that Florida sunshine.

Read on for our picks for the 30 best things to do in St. Augustine with kids. Then check out our Florida Family Vacation Guide for more great getaways in the Sunshine State.


FYI: St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach are separate municipalities, with St. Augustine Beach sitting across the Intracoastal Waterway on 14-mile-long Anastasia Island.

St. Augustine with Kids: Anastasia Watersports
Experience St. Augustine’s pristine waterways with Anastasia Watersports. Photo courtesy of Anastasia Watersports

Things to Do Outdoors in St. Augustine, Florida

1. Boat Rentals

There are a host of cruise and sailing options for families eager to experience St. Augustine’s pristine waterways. Anastasia Watersports and St. Augustine Sailing Enterprises are two places to start. For a unique oceangoing adventure, consider Schooner Freedom Charters if your kids can handle a two-hour tall-ship excursion. Florida Water Tours offers sunset and full-moon tours, kayak rentals, and more.

2. Pirate and Sightseeing Cruises

Embark on a pirate-themed treasure hunt as the Black Raven attempts to catch the treasure-stealing Queen Anne’s Revenge, skippered by Blackbeard himself. If pirates aren't your thing, opt for a 75-minute sightseeing cruise past the city’s historical landmarks and sites of natural interest via St. Augustine Scenic Cruises, which has been ferrying around visitors for more than 100 years.

3. Hit the Beach

The St. Augustine area boasts 40 miles of coastline and is dotted with beaches. Head to St. Augustine Beach and the St. Johns County Fishing Pier for water activities, fishing, restaurants, and other amenities. Butler and Crescent beaches, a few miles south, are much quieter. Anastasia State Park is a natural gem. Wherever you go, be secure knowing water along St. Augustine’s beaches is generally calm and surrounded by some of Florida’s most ornate dunes.

St. Augustine with Kids: Anastasia State Park Beach
Go biking along beautiful Anastasia State Park Beach. Photo courtesy of Florida State Parks

4. Biking

St. Augustine sits just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Anastasia Island, a 14-mile stretch of seafront ideal to explore by bike. Otherwise, rent a bike and explore the historic Old City. St. Augustine Bike Rentals offers bikes, scooters, and golf carts by the hour or by the day.

5. Fishing

The St. Johns County Fishing Pier offers nonresidents fishing access for a small fee. It is one of several fishing piers in the area, including the popular Vilano Beach Fishing Pier, just north of St. Augustine and FREE to the public. Bait and tackle shops abound, where kids can be fitted with the latest gear. Fishing charters are also plentiful.

6. Mini Golf

Mini golf courses abound in St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach. If you’re eager to get your game on, try Anastasia Miniature Golf, Fiesta Falls Mini Golf, or Ripley’s Bayfront Mini Golf, among others.

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in St. Augustine, Florida
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 76,000 acres of Florida's NE coast. Photo courtesy of Visit St. Augustine

7. State Parks

Anastasia State Park is home to more than 1,500 acres of tidal marshes, dunes, and wildlife, including seabirds. Rumor has it, the state park is home to thousands of fiddler crabs just waiting to be caught (and released) by eager toddlers. Picnic tables, hammocks, campsites, and even kayak rentals are available. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve begins in Ponte Vedra Beach and winds through St. Augustine, offering biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and more.

Adventure Landing in St. Augustine, Florida
Try the go-karts, batting cages, and VR at Adventure Landing. Photo courtesy of Adventure Landing

Indoor Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida

8. Adventure Landing

At this entertainment facility, kids can test their driving skills on go-karts, their hitting skills in the batting cages, or their putting prowess on the mini golf course. But the must-do attraction is the roller coaster simulator, where you'll take off on an imaginary coaster ride from inside a virtual-reality chamber. Fair warning: This is not for the faint of heart, or for young children.

9. Bowling

Anastasia Lanes offers weekly bowling specials, birthday celebrations, and even lessons. Family bowling packages are also available. Anastasia Lanes is located near a number of kid-friendly restaurants on State Route A1A.

10. Escape Rooms

For rainy-day fun for teens or tweens, visit Escape U or Xscape Our Rooms. The template is familiar: A group of friends (or strangers) is “locked” inside a room, needing to find the necessary clues to be released. Xscape also offers axe tossing.

11. Potter’s Wax Museum

Much like at Madame Tussaud’s, in this museum you’ll find yourself side-by-side with some of history’s legendary figures. Potter’s claims to be the oldest wax museum in the country, and it’s housed inside the oldest pharmacy in the nation.

12. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

You’ll see the strangest things at Ripley's Believe It or Not! in the Old City. The self-described “odditorium” also features train tours through the city, highlighted by its Ghost Train Adventure.

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St. Augustine with Kids: St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.
Get your hands on a pirate ship's gun deck at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Photo courtesy of Visit St. Augustine

Activities for Fans of History (and Pirates)

13. St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum

This museum transports families back three centuries to the pirate stronghold of Port Royal, Jamaica. Embark on a “treasure” hunt and enjoy a special show about the legendary Blackbeard.

14. Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo de San Marcos, or “Castle of St. Mark,” is the oldest brick-and-mortar structure in the US, built by the Spanish to protect the city from raids by privateers and the British. Kids can explore the fortress, enjoy a Ranger program, and even search for celestial bodies in the clear night sky. A few miles south is Fort Matanzas National Monument, built in 1740 to protect St. Augustine from raids coming from the south.

15. Colonial Quarter

A walk through the quarter is quite literally a step back in time. Learn about blacksmithing, climb the top of the 35-foot watchtower, and join a tour culminating in a musket demonstration. Some of St. Augustine’s best family-friendly restaurants can be found in the quarter, which also hosts a regular series of outdoor concerts and movies at Colonial Oak Music Park.

16. Old Jail Museum

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, this museum offers visitors a glimpse into St. Augustine’s not-so-charitable past. Follow costumed docents as they lead a tour through the jail cells, telling tales of the city’s most notorious prisoners and “booking” your kids for crimes popular in the 19th century. It’s all good fun, and playful enough for younger children.

17. Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

This park celebrates explorer Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida in 1513, found while he was searching for the mythical Fountain of Youth. Attractions here include a blacksmith shop, historical excavations, a Native American village, resident peacocks, and, of course, the “magical” spring water that visitors can sample.

18. Pirate and Ghost Tours

The Old City’s Child-Friendly Pirate Walking Tour enables children ages 5-14 to learn about the city’s history and interact with “pirates” in a sort of pirate school for kids, all led by a costumed buccaneer.

If you want to learn about St. Augustine's paranormal past, Tour St. Augustine, Inc. offers ghost tours of the Old City appropriate for teens and mature tweens. The Ghosts & Gravestones trolley tour takes guests on a 75-minute trip past St. Augustine’s haunted sites, but, again, is best for tweens and teens.

19. St. Augustine Lighthouse

Scale the 219 steps to the top of this 145-year-old beacon for the best views of the city and beaches. Some form of watchtower has actually stood near the current lighthouse since 1589. Young kids will enjoy the shipyard playground area. Older kids might be intrigued by the wooden-boat builders who work on the main floor. Shipwreck artifacts are conserved in an on-site lab, and there are a number of nature trails.

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St. Augustine with Kids:: St. Augustine Aquarium
Meet a Galapagos tortoise at the Augustine Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

Where to See Animals and Wildlife in St. Augustine, Florida

20. St. Augustine Aquarium

Every week is Shark Week at the St. Augustine Aquarium, where kids can feed sharks and rays seven times a day. Sharks are also available via a touch tank at select times. Gear is provided for those who wish to snorkel with Florida reef fish and rays.

21. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

Ever heard of albino alligators? You can, in fact, find them at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, along with dozens of other reptile species. Zip line 50 feet above the gators, if you dare.

22. MarineLand Dolphin Adventure

MarineLand is actually an incorporated community just south of downtown St. Augustine Beach, and its dolphin encounters are among the most popular excursions for visitors. Kids can experience these friendly creatures in-house during a dolphin swim or at an open-water sail. Kayak and boat tours of the coastal ecosystem are also available.

23. St. Augustine Wild Reserve

The St. Augustine Wild Reserve is a working rescue center for unwanted exotic animals. Visitors are welcome for guided tours of the center’s tiger and bear sanctuaries, as well as its cougar, leopard, and wolf areas. Five resident Arctic wolves and an African lion were received from the late pop icon Michael Jackson.

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St. Augustine with Kids: The Reef
The Reef serves up a classic cheeseburger with a gorgeous ocean view. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Kid-Friendly St. Augustine Restaurants

St. Augustine is a foodie’s delight, and there is no shortage of family-friendly options.

24. Burger and Wing Spots

One Twenty Three Burger House in the Old City offers wood-fired oven delights, including its signature King Street Classic. Along St. George Street, enjoy the vibe and the food at Prohibition Kitchen, a great place to beat the heat or catch a game. Along the beach, sample the Datil Pepper Cheeseburger at The Reef while enjoying the memorable views.

25. Pizza Joints

Let’s start with Pizza Time, on St. George Street in the Old City, which in 2015 ranked second nationally for quality pizza. Locals also like St. Augie's Pizza, also in the Old City but away from the bustle of St. George Street.

26. Ice Cream and Candy

Sweet treats abound in the Old City and along the beach. Locals line up for sundaes at Cone Heads in St. Augustine Beach. Tedi’s Old Tyme Ice Cream is the oldest ice cream destination in St. Augustine and is right in the heart of the historic district. Mayday Handcrafted Ice Cream offers artisanal creations on St. George Street. If you’re craving chocolate, visit Whetstone Chocolates, located throughout the area, for tours and tastings.

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St. Augustine with Kids:: St. Augustine Beach House.
Wake to beach views, salty breezes, sunshine, and the sound of waves at St. Augustine Beach House. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Great Hotels in St. Augustine for Families

27. St. Augustine Beach House

This oceanfront boutique hotel sits right on Vilano Beach and features unobstructed ocean views, home-cooked breakfasts, and complimentary beach gear. Dogs are welcome in both the hotel and on the beach.

28. Holiday Inn St. Augustine

This downtown hotel is located minutes away from the shops, bistros and galleries along bustling St. George Street and within walking distance of Castillo de San Marcos. Kids 11 and under eat free with a paying adult at the on-site restaurant, and the hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool.

29. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District

Located less than a mile from the Historic District, Castillo de San Marcos, and Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, the DoubleTree boasts an outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant. As at all DoubleTree locations, each guest receives a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival.

30. Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

This charming hotel in the Old City features colorful cottage-style buildings with many rooms that overlook Matanzas Bay. There's an outdoor pool and a restaurant on-site.

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