Free Things to Do in St Augustine FL: 13 Fun Activities

Stunning Spanish Colonial architecture, pristine white sand beaches, and palm trees to spare. St. Augustine may truly be heaven on earth. Thankfully for thrifty travelers, a trip to America’s Oldest City doesn’t have to break the bank.

Follow along to discover the 13 best free things to do in St. Augustine Florida.

From the outstanding military history of the Castillo de San Marcos to cathedrals accented with Renaissance-inspired stained glass, many of St Augustine’s most magnificent wonders are open to the public.

Leave that wallet at home when you soak up sunshine and saltwater at St Augustine Beach, or get your fill of quaint retail, restaurants, and live entertainment when you stroll down
St George Street.

Kick off your evening with some spirit samples at the St Augustine Distillery, or feel the breeze on a ferry ride.

No matter if you are looking to tour historic monuments or catch up on some uninterrupted R&R, the Ancient City proves you don’t have to spend a fortune for an inspired Floridian getaway.

St Augustine Hotels

Can’t wait to save some serious change in the Sunshine State? Before you embark on your free ninety-nine vacation, you’ll need to reserve some superior lodgings. While we’ve yet to discover a way to score gratis accommodations, we can offer the best prices possible for St Augustine Hotels.

From boutique hotels nestles in the heart of downtown to luxurious resorts that sit oceanside, we offer a bevy of options for every price point. As always, make your reservations stress-free knowing you are guaranteed our lowest rates online.

Wide shot of the historic style Spanish buildings with red roofs and a fountain at Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort St. Augustine Beach in St Augustine, Florida, USA
photo credit: Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort St. Augustine Beach via Facebook

Free Things to Do in St Augustine Fl

Visit a Beach

Blessed with some of the best beaches in the nation, you can’t visit St Augustine and not score some sun. Hightail to any of the following beaches for days of ocean adventure:

  • Frank Butler County Park West – cloudless blue skies, refreshing waters, and a near-perfect boardwalk. All can be found at this natural park which includes a stunning beach. Pack up a picnic and be sure to stick around for a spectacular sunset showing.
  • St Augustine Beach – wide swaths of sandy shore make this public beach a go-to for visitors and locals looking to sprawl out. First, stroll along the pier and pick up a fishing permit. Then, join in on a beach volleyball game.
  • Vilano Beach – serene azure waters and a tranquil atmosphere mark this beach located on the north end of St Augustine. Thanks to its distance from the city center you can expect fewer crowds.

beach and coastline at St. Augustine, Florida, USACathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

Head to this historic house of worship and get ready to marvel at its spectacular Spanish facade, exquisite altar, and detailed murals. Built in 1793, this Roman Cathedral is considered one of the most opulent in the country. The Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine is open daily to the public.

Feel free to wander in and observe its old-world charms, mosaic-tiled floor, and biblically inspired stained glass windows. The Cathedral’s visiting hours are as follows: Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Flagler College

Feeling that college spirit? Walk through the hallowed halls of what is now Flagler College. While this liberal arts institution may only be half a century old, its history as the Hotel Ponce de Leon dates back to 1888.

Built by Flager, this ode to Spanish Renaissance architecture is now known as Ponce de Leon Hall and serves as a centerpiece of the college. Meander through this palm tree-studded campus and be sure to note the attention to interior design, including stained glass and mosaics by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Aerial view of gardens and palm trees along with Spanish style buildings at Flagler college
Photo Credit: Flagler College via Facebook

Fort Matanzas National Monument

A free ferry ride and a slice of Spanish military history? Yes, please! Enjoy this National Monument completely free of charge when you swing by the Visitor’s Center and obtain your completely gratis ferry pass. The Fort Matanzas National Monument both protects 300 acres of Florida’s coastal environment, and preserves the fortified coquina watchtower.

This staggering tower was completed in 1742 and was constructed to defend the southern approach to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine. In addition to beach views and plentiful picnic spots, visitors to the National Monument can tackle a range of marsh and nature trails, or earn a badge by completing the Junior Ranger program.

Memorial Presbyterian Church

Calling all architecture fiends! Prepare to swoon over both the unique facade and intricately designed interior of this Renaissance Revival church. The Memorial Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary started its construction in 1825.

Related Post: Fun Things to Do in St Augustine for Couples – 25 Unforgettable Date Ideas

Throughout its storied history, the church served a military purpose during the Civil War as well as a place of worship. Today, visitors can swing by for a complimentary guided tour of the building on Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Aerial view of spanish style cathedral at dusk with sunset in the background
Photo Credit: Memorial Presbyterian Church USA via Facebook

Peña-Peck House Museum

It should come as no surprise that America’s oldest city offers up a wealth of history. Dig into the fascinating legacy of St Augustine when you peruse the gardens and grounds of the Pena Peck House Museum. Constructed out of coquina stone and located on George Street, this historic monument is one of the 35 remaining first Spanish Period buildings in St Augustine.

Originally built by order of King Ferdinand VI for the Spanish Royal Treasurer Juan Estevan de Peña, this stately edifice is stuffed full of historical furnishings, artwork, and more. Stop by for a free tour and admire the Peck’s hefty collection of 19th-century art and antiques, or check the schedule to see what events are happening in their award-winning ornamental gardens.

Wednesday Pier Farmers Market

Rise and shine! Greet your St Augustine vacay with a smile, and maybe a fresh acai bowl when you make a pit stop at the Wednesday Pier Farmers Market. While purchasing some tasty treats may cost you, chatting with local vendors and browsing tons of artisanal wares is completely free!

Related Post: Things to Do St Augustine with Kids: 15 Fun Activities

Every Wednesday morning, a congregation of community farmers, artists, and growers head to St Augustine Beach Pier Park. Preparing to show off goods ranging from goat milk soap to healing Baltic Amber jewelry.

After you’ve gotten your fill of plants, pottery, and more, reward your thrifty spending! Enjoy a cup of shaved ice or a delicious empanada from Mama Carmen.

close up of cherry tomatoes at farmers marketFree Things to Do in St Augustine at Night

Window Shop and People Watch on St George Street

Looking for a splash of local flavor? People watch, window shop, and revel in some of St Augustine’s most historic landmarks when you take yourself on a St George Street date. Well known as one of the picturesque streets in the city, visitors can begin their exploration at the Old City Gate, and walk all the way to the Plaza de la Constitución.

Along the way, you’ll encounter places of interest. Such as the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse and the Colonial Quarter. In addition to colonial shops and dining, this lively area often offers free music and comedy events. Be sure to carve out an hour or two to peek into George Street’s many art galleries, bakeries, and specialty shops.

Brick alley surrounded by old buildings at night with fairy lights and a treeFirst Friday Art Walk

Ditch the bar scene and squeeze some culture into your Friday night plans when you admire the artistic talents on display at over 30 participating galleries. The First Friday Art Walk is a beloved tradition. Letting everyone browse the exhibits and showings from some of St Augustine’s most renowned art galleries.

On the first Friday of every month, art lovers can spend their evenings admiring pieces created by both local and national artists. From oil paintings to photography and ceramics. There are works in every medium to admire. Check out landscape paintings showcasing the natural beauty of St Augustine. Or appreciate the attention to detail on a new line of gliclée prints.

St Augustine Distillery

Thirsty? Get ready to sip on the spirit of Florida when you partake in some whiskey history and sampling at the St Augustine Distillery. Luckily for spirit lovers, tours are free at this world-class establishment. Originally founded by 20 local families. These pioneers of bourbon, rum, and gin transformed Florida’s oldest ice plant into a flourishing craft distillery.

Free tours and tastings are available 7 days a week. Allowing you to follow along on the journey from farm to bottle. Uncover the secrets behind the distilling process. Then smell the unforgettable aroma of fermenting ‘sweet mash.’

Be sure to snap selfies in front of their famous stills and bourbon barrels. Visitors will even get to sample four signature cocktails and find out how to recreate them at home.

Interior room with brick walls and exposed beams filled with distilling equipment
Photo Credit: St. Augustine Distillery Company via Facebook

San Sebastian Winery

More in the mood for vino? Get your getaway off to a grape start at the San Sebastian Winery located on King Street. For almost 30 years, this establishment has remained a pioneer in the development of premium, sparkling, and dessert wines.

San Sebastian is regularly ranked as one of the state’s top wineries. Therefore, it has garnered numerous awards for excellence. Prime your palate for the pleasure of sampling everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet with a leisurely self-guided tour.

Related Post: Tasting Tours St Augustine – Discount Tickets & Reviews

Take in a short video presentation, learn the details of fermentation, and spy the stainless steel tanks where the magic brewing happens. Complimentary tours and tastings are offered seven days a week. With the exception of major holidays.

An orange and pink sunset on the pier at Alpine Grove Park in St Augustine, Florida, USA
photo credit: @JulieAbellaPhotography via Facebook

The sweet aroma of salt water and SPF should accompany any Florida vacation. Save the sting of overpaying on St Augustine fun when you opt to take on all of the Ancient City’s free attractions.

Sunbathe, swim, and sprawl out at Vilano Beach. Or become acquainted with native Florida flora at the Pena Peck House Gardens.

Gaze upon the stunning sanctuary of the Memorial Presbyterian Church. Or picnic in the shadow of a National Military fort.

See if you can identify the tasting notes of a bold red at the San Sebastian Winery. Or admire the handiwork of jewelers and crocheters at the Farmer Market.

There’s never enough time to tackle all of the free things to do in St Augustine.

Tell us, What’s Your Favorite Free Thing to Do in the Old City?

Leave a comment below!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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