We all love free, right? I am all for it and here is a list I have compiled of 8 things entirely free to do on your vacation to St. Augustine, Florida.
- Check out the historic plazas- In 1594, the King of Spain declared every colonial city must have a centralized plaza. Each plaza is adorned with gorgeous monuments and some with cannons. Plaza de la Constitution is a popular one.
- Be a tree hugger- St. Augustine has 2 special trees that are an interesting visit. The Love Tree is actually an oak tree wrapped around a palm tree located south of the Visitor’s Center on Cordova Street and on San Marco Avenue is Old Senator, verified to be over 500 years old. They refer to Old Senator as the oldest resident in St. Augustine.
- Stroll one of the most beautiful streets in America- Magnolia Avenue has been labeled “one of the most beautiful streets in America” by Nat Geo. With live oaks creating a graceful canopy over the street, it is a lovely sight. For the best view, turn right on Myrtle Avenue just north of Mission Nombre de Dios, go to the end and turn left. Cameras are necessary.
- Have a picnic or photography break on the bank of the Matanzas River- This river runs 20 miles south of the Atlantic Ocean and is on the SW border of Anastasia Island. The views are great for Fort Matanzas and Castillo de San Marcos, two of Florida’s national historic sites.
- Explore St. George Street- A pedestrian-only street features unique stores, historic sites, and a wide array of restaurants. Many of the shops are in restored old houses and there are some beautiful ones. Located on this street are the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Saint Phothois Greek Shrine, and the Colonial Spanish Quarter. Stop in some of the sweet shops, many offer free samples.
- See the Bridge of Lions- This stately drawbridge links the mainland of Anastasia Island to the heart of downtown St. Augustine, spanning the Intracoastal Waterway. The bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features arches, towers, and Medici marble lion statues. The lions names are “Firm” and “Faithful”. Impress your friends with that bit of trivia.
- Pay respects at the Huguenot and St. Augustine Florida National Cemeteries- I love visiting cemeteries. Many find that creepy but they hold some of the best history of all. At the Huguenot, you are visiting a cemetery established in 1821 used as a burial ground for the victims of the yellow fever epidemic. The Florida National is the resting place designated in 1881 for the soldiers that parishes during the Indian Wars. Beneath the three pyramids are the remains of 1,400 soldiers, stacked some 25 people deep, who died between 1835 and 1842.
- See a piece of the Freedom Trail in Lincolnville- This was one of the first free black communities in America, established shortly after the Civil War. There are lovely Victorian houses and several churches to visit, one being the gathering place of civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960’s. One house is marked with a sign stating that MLK visited there; and many others have historical markers explaining their historic significance.
Check out my other St. Augustine posts: