Located near Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Florida is a wonderful place for families to visit with lots of fun things for kids to do including history, a national park site, pirates, and beaches!
If you ever have a chance to visit St Augustine please do. I really dig on history and love touring historic sites so this was a perfect vacation for me but with lots of fun hands on stuff for the kids.
Probably we could have spent a whole week in St Augustine and we would have loved it. It is somewhere we are planning to visit again someday!
Fun facts about St Augustine
St. Augustine was first explored by Ponce De Leon in 1513. It is one of the oldest cities in the US. We just loved the feel of the city and enjoyed exploring the town.
You can visit a good portion of the city on foot which was perfect for us with two little ones. Parking is hard to come by which is another reason why it’s nice that the downtown area is very pedestrian friendly.
Family friendly place to stay in St Augustine
We got to stay in this awesome little hostel called The Pirate Haus which was super affordable and really fun for the kids. The guys who run the place were wonderful!
The rooms are all decked out in themes and it was just a really good (and cheap) place to stay right in the heart of St Augustine. They even serve breakfast!
Each morning, they made various pirate themed pancakes and even pancakes with the kids names on them. Super fun!
The hostel is located right in the downtown area so we were also able to walk to all of the places I mention with at most maybe a 15 minute walk. It is a really great location!
Things to do in St Augustine
The colonial quarter had some really fun hands on activities for the kids. There was a leather stamping station, an archaeological dig area, and various demonstrations including a blacksmith shop.
This was the spot that we spent the least amount of time and I was totally bummed. They showed what life would have been like through various time periods in St Augustine which was really interesting.
Cost: $14 for adults (over 16) , $11 for seniors and military, $8 for kids 5-15 years old , under 4 years old is free
For up to date prices and hours visit their website
The Pirate Museum
Note: this is not an appropriate venue for small children or those with sensitivity to noise and lights.
The Pirate Museum was also really interesting but was a bit scary for my two little ones at the time. It was extremely loud and some of the exhibits were a bit too realistic and therefore downright scary for them.
My daughter excitedly opened one door to find a skeleton and freaked out. There was also a very realistic diorama of a pirate having a teeth pulled complete with screaming. Perfect family memories of terrorized children!
Older children/ teenagers would find this much more interesting. It’s still really cool with lots of areas to discover and hands on interactive exhibits which are great for kids.
We got a few fun items of decor from here to put up in my kiddos’ mermaid and pirate themed bedroom!
Cost: $15 for adults, $8 for children, $12 for seniors and military
For up to date prices and hours visit the museum website
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos is an old fort. And when I say old I mean really old. You could walk through various rooms of the fort where they had exhibits talking about what that area was used for and the history of the fort through the ages.
Several times a day they do a cannon firing demonstration which was really awesome to watch but it was LOUD! More trauma to my 2 and 4 year old.
Cost: $15 for adults, children are free when with an adult, free admission with the America the Beautiful parks passes
For up to date prices and hours visit the fort website
After all of the trauma my kids experienced we took a short drive to Ponte Vedra beach where we basked in the amazing-ness of the Atlantic Ocean.
The warm water and gentle waves are perfect for little ones to play in the water and sand, and for me to sit right beside them and enjoy.
Other places to visit
We had a fairly short trip and my son took a 4 hour nap that day so we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted. Some of the other things I wish we could have done were the Lighthouse and visit the Lightner art museum. There is also the Fountain of Youth and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.
Walking around the downtown area there are plenty of fabulous restaurants and eateries to check out. There was a great Mayan restaurant that I have now forgotten the name of but I recreated their Pineapple Carnitas because they were just so good!
You might also want to consider doing a ghost tour (better for older kids just because of how late it is)! We did one in Savannah and it was much more fun and informative and much less spooky than you would have thought.
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