St. Augustine Beaches
Let’s start with the obvious low-cost option. St. Augustine has some of the best beaches in the world, hit the local beaches for some sun and fun. Parking and entry are FREE unless you want to drive onto the beach, in which case there is a small fee per vehicle. You can also purchase a year long pass for $30, $40 for non-residents.
De leon Springs State Park
Looking for a low-cost fun afternoon relaxing in the sun or taking a dip in one of Florida’s naturals springs? Take a short drive south and check out De Leon Springs. De Leon Springs State Park is a Florida State Park in Volusia County, Florida. Natural flowing cool springs for swimming, kayak and canoe rentals, and if your hungry, make your own pancakes at the pancake house for lunch. It is located in De Leon Springs, off CR 3. $6.00 per vehicle: 2-8 people. Open 8am-5pm until sunset, 365 days a year. 601 Ponce Deleon Blvd, De Leon Springs, FL.
Splash Park & Playground
The Splash Park and Playground are free of charge. Let the kids play in the park as you enjoy the views of the St. Augustine Beach Pier. You can also walk the pier and sightsee for only $1.00. St. Johns County Ocean Pier, 350 A1A Beach Blvd., St. Augustine Beach.
Sun Splash Park in Daytona Beach
If your looking to take a short cruise down A1A, you can check out Sun Splash Park in Daytona Beach. This oceanfront park features an interactive water fountain, decorative walkways, a shaded playground, volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, outdoor showers, two beach access ramps and a Coca-Cola sponsored “cool zone.” The four-acre facility also provides free, off-beach parking. Open sunrise to sunset. Located at South Atlantic Ave. and Revilo Blvd., Daytona Beach.
Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens
This option is probably the furthest from St. Augustine, but worth the drive for a fun day. Set on 12 acres of lush botanical gardens stands the remains of an English sugar mill. The gardens were once home to the 1940s theme park, Bongoland. Life-size dinosaur statues remain in the tropical setting and are still a favorite with children. The gardens also house a human sundial. The facility is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. 950 Old Sugar Mill Road (U.S. 1 to Herbert St.), Port Orange, FL.
Fort Matanzas National Landmark
Located 12 miles south of St. Augustine at the southern end of Anastasia Island. Take a free boat ride to Rattlesnake Island where you might see dolphins and/or manatees. Thespians reenact the roles of Spanish soldiers on duty at the fort, and on the first Saturday of each month there is a weapons firing display featuring muskets and canons. Open daily 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Walk The Grounds At Flagler College
Original built by Henry Flagler as the Ponce De Leon Hotel to welcome wealthy visitors to St. Augustine on his railroad, the grounds and buildings are now home to Flagler College. There is a Flagler Legacy Tour of the College but you are welcome to visit the lobby of the main building and stroll through the grounds at no charge. When you visit the lobby of the main building, look up. The ceilings are guilded in gold and adorned with beautiful murals. Many great photo opportunities for the photogs. Please be aware that this is an active college and not considered a tourist attraction. 74 King St, St Augustine, FL 32084
St. Augustine Walking Tour
Tour St. Augustine at your own pace with this free St. Augustine walking tour and guide. A nicely planned route through old town that highlights the main areas and points of interest. This is a great option if you like to take your time and not feel rushed by a tour guide. Get info here http://citywalkingguide.com/staugustine
Washington Oaks and Coquina Beach State Parks
Just south of St. Augustine on A1A, this former 1930’s estate once owned by a wealthy New York family is now a beautiful state park that features an undeveloped beach on one side of A1A and a botanical garden on the riverside of the highway. On the riverside, a rose garden lies within a few hundred feet of a scenic stretch of the river where you can stroll along the bank and let the kids watch the boats go by. When you’ve finished wandering the grounds and visiting the gift shop, drive across A1A and spend some time on the beach. Coquina rocks create small tide pools as the tides change making for an interesting search for shells and marine life.
Marineland is an accredited and scientific marine research center, visitors can choose from several interactive programs that allow them to come face to face with the resident dolphins. Packages range from simply viewing the dolphins to actually getting to swim with them. The park recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Also on site is the non-profit Conservation Field Station dedicated to research, rescue, rehabilitation and release of dolphins and small whales in Northeast Florida. Cost Adults $8, Seniors $6.75, Child under 13 $3.50. 9600 Oceanshore Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Anastasia State Park
Like many places in St. Augustine, you can’t escape the history of Anastasia State Park. The Park is where the coquina rock was mined to build the Castillo de San Marcos fortress. Visitors can check out the old quarry site where this took place. Camping, nature trails, boating and ranger talks are all activities available to visitors. Canoe, Kayak, and Paddleboard rentals are also available. The park is open 365 days a year. Cost $5 per vehicle.
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