Palm trees, sunshine, the Atlantic Ocean, and historic buildings dating as far back as the 16th century create an ideal setting for anyone who appreciates history, preservation and a beach atmosphere. St. Augustine's amenities package, along with the high quality of life residents enjoy, helped earn it a spot on our Top 100 Best Small Towns list. Things to do in St. Augustine range from the relaxing island getaways to thrilling zips over gators. Here’s a brief list of activities you can't miss:
Zipline Over Gators
View alligators, crocodiles and pythons at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, a modern zoo that conducts numerous research and conservation efforts for the good of animals. Attractions include exhibits like Albino Alligators, Birds of Africa and Python Palace, while visitors can also zipline across a Crocodile Crossing to see live crocodilians, lemurs and komodo dragons from a bird’s-eye view.
Meet Michael Jackson
Get your photograph taken with celebrities like Albert Einstein, Michael Jackson and Princess Diana at Potter’s Wax Museum, a fixture in St. Augustine since 1947. The museum has 160 wax sculptures that represent real and fictitious figures, including famous politicians, entertainers, horror characters, historical personalities and sports stars. Figures include Pirate Jack Sparrow, Michael Jordan, Abe Lincoln, Richard Nixon and Henry VIII.
Tour a Chocolate Factory
Satisfy your sweet tooth during a Whetstone Chocolate Factory Tour, which details the history and making of Whetstone chocolates while allowing tourgoers to sample dark, milk and white chocolate along the way. The walking tour takes about an hour, and a large gift shop is available at the conclusion. Tours occur seven days a week.
Admire Anastasia Island
Experience many outdoor recreational opportunities at 1,600-acre Anastasia State Park, located on Anastasia Island across a bay from downtown St. Augustine. The park is open every day including holidays, and activities range from hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping, fishing and surfing. Nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife and exotic plants.
Hear the story about the nation’s oldest port by visiting St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, whose key attraction is an active lighthouse built in 1874 that stands at the north end of Anastasia Island. The lighthouse is open to the public, and the museum keeps the light burning as an aid to ships on the Atlantic Ocean. The museum also features hundreds of St. Augustine artifacts, some of which date to the 1500s.
Take a Scenic Cruise
Relax and enjoy a 75-minute cruise aboard the Victory III, which sails four times a day along the vast waters of St. Augustine. Narrated tours by the captain provide information on the city’s many historical landmarks and points of interest that showcase St. Augustine’s natural beauty and architectural splendor. Boarding the Victory III takes place at a convenient downtown municipal marina.
If golf is your bag, check out the World Golf Hall of Fame located at World Golf Village in St. Augustine. The site honors the game’s top men and women players, with exhibits that focus on history, equipment, major personalities, apparel, trophies and swing techniques. Visitors can play a round of golf on an 18-hole natural grass putting course, and try to make a hole-in-one at the 132-yard Hall of Fame Challenge Hole.