St. Augustine, FL, a mini Charleston on the Florida Coast!
This historic town dates back to the 1500s!! Charleston is 1600’s to give some perspective!
The narrow brick streets, the old colorful buildings with interesting detail, it’s a beautiful town that sits right along the waterfront & I highly suggest you visit! At just 4.5 hours south of Charleston, it’s an easy trip and so worth the drive.
This tiny town is packed full of things to do with kids among old charm and quaint streets and we tried to fit it all in.
For Saturday-Monday, we probably spent ~$450-$500 on this weekend getaway including gas, lodging, and all meals + sightseeing/activities and parking. I think we faired pretty well considering all we did.
Here’s a little re-cap!
The camp sites were small and lacked any shade at all, BUT I did like the convenient location to the downtown and close proximity to the beach. A Trolley also ran through that we never used, but had we known, we would have planned a bit differently. The staff were super friendly and polite +helpful when we asked for tips in the town. If you don’t have a camper, this campground had cute little log cottages you could rent as well.
We ate at Meehans Irish pub which had some of the best food I’ve ever had and then Prohibition Kitchen who had some of the best food my husband has ever had. Seriously, I think we hit the restaurant jackpot with our choices. Both were suggestions from the KOA giftshop :).
Prohibition had live music and was in the heart of the historic district on St. George Street.
Meehans was waterfront and had irish music playing the whole time. I loved the vibe in there plus the fries, seriously, the fries!!! This restaurant was our most expensive bc the kids each got a kids meal that I didn’t know didn’t come WITH the drink. It ended up being $10 each! Say whaaaa? I did better at Prohibition having them split a kids meal which was plenty for both and they both drank waters.
St. George Street-Pedestrian only!-where you’ll find tons of sweets shops and gifts galore
Colonial District on St. George-Pedestrian only!-Don’t miss this section
shops on St. George
We explored the 1.fort(Castillo de san marcos), watched them shoot a canon from up top, the kids rolled down the hill outside over and over, visited the 2.pirate museum for a break from the heat, had popsicles at 3.hypo(they dip those bad boys in chocolate y’all), had ice-cream at 4.Whetstone chocolates(get the mudpie flavor), walked the charming little streets, played a game of 5.putt putt along the water front, 6.walked the oldest street in america(aviles), saw from the outside the 7.oldest house, played on the canons at 8.Plaza de la constitucion, watched taffy being made through a window, and visited the 9.irish gift shop. Theres SO much to do! We tried to fit in so much but there’s only so much time on a weekend getaway.
ps..our 4 year old was totally fine with the sights and sounds of the pirate museum, but I can see how this may scare some kids 5 and under. It’s dark inside, there’s a canon that goes off every 30 seconds if a kid starts it, and there are somewhat over the top sights that might just be too much for younger eyes and ears.
St. George Street-Colonial District-Right behind this spanish bakery is where you’ll find the ‘mudpie’ ice-cream at Whetstone chocolates that is so delicious!
We skipped the alligator farm b/c we have the Edisto Serpiterium just down the road and were certain it had to be similar. We also didn’t actually go on the beaches, only rode through St. Augustine Beach to see it b/c well, we live AT the beach, so we wanted to focus on doing things we can’t do at home since we were on such a quick trip.
I sat right along this wall(middle photo above) with my daughter and we just chatted, watched the drawbridge open, watched the kayaks go by where she sweetly thought their legs dangled IN the water. Four is such a precious age and sitting with her along this wall while the boys finished a game of putt putt is a memory I will never forget with her.
Tip…IF you go to the lighthouse, there is a height limit! Our 4 year old daughter wasn’t quite tall enough so even though we tried to go climb it, we were turned down at the ticket counter. We could have taken turns, but we didn’t want our little Hallie Lulu to feel left out so we decided to just get out of there. Huge bummer, but the kids were fine with it and it meant even more time for exploring the historic downtown district, which is just what we ended up doing and it was perfect.
Someone was getting married on that yellow roof!
Back at the campsite after a morning of exploring on Sunday, we came back for a rest and found about 5 baby turtles crawling around under our camper. We ‘rescued’ them, played with them while we ate in a bowl of water, then returned them to the pond. It’s probably the biggest thing the kids will remember from our trip. It was like our own private ‘sea turtle’ release only these were pond turtles and we weren’t at the beach.
Parking in St. Augustine is a real nightmare! We got lucky both times we went and found spots. They don’t check the meters on sundays so you can park for free. We were lucky enough to find a spot on sunday afternoon right along the water right as we exited the bridge of lions! It was the most perfect timing and most perfect parking space for FREE!
Castillo De San Marcos Fort-Canon reenactment at 10:30am! See, taste and smell the history…as the guard described it.
Tip…parking is FREE always at the oldest house(with admission) or at the old jail. There is a red train, a trolly and a blue ‘explorer’ bus. We also saw, too late, that they have golf carts you can rent to tour the city. You can rent bikes, scooters, segways, little 2 person cars, or the golf carts to cover more ground, but walking is also a great option. The roads are narrow and the sidewalks are almost non-existent so leave the big stroller at home. A little umbrella one is just perfect for toddlers whose legs get tired quick.
Spanish St.-Quaint, some spanish moss and where you will find an irish pub and a cute coffee shop called Relampago.
Corner of King and George St.
Overall, this was such a fun little weekend adventure for us and I highly recommend St. Augustine for a family or couples getaway!
My only regret is not getting a biscuit from Maple Street Biscuit Co.! They are closed on Sundays :(, and we didn’t have time to make it back there Monday morn, but it’s ok. I will be back to St. Augustine and that will be my first stop :)! Thank goodness I have Callie’s here in Charleston to hold me over.
1.We had a bit of a hang up coming home with the camper coming OFF the hitch while we were driving on hwy 17 but thankfully our safety chains kept it from fully disconnecting and there’s no damage to the camper itself. We are thanking our lucky stars on that one b/c we are fully aware of how bad this could have been for not only us, but other cars on the road. HUGE lesson learned.
2. Also on our last day, I had just enough peanut butter to make PB&J for the kids thinking this would save us a stop on the ride home plus not having to spend more money on to go food on the road. I made the sandwiches, wrapped in paper towels and put on the front seat of the truck and shut the door to help the hubs finish the camper load up stuff. Little did I realize, he had put our little dog Cooper in the back with the kids! His favorite thing in the world is a spoon of peanut butter so it’s no surprise he smelled it and helped himself. I opened the door to get something and saw the paper towel open and actually first said, ‘Easton you ate your sandwich already??’, only to quickly see the dog in the floor of the driver seat looking up at me like he knew what he did. Boy was I mad at him! We ended up having to get McDonalds on the ride home b/c FL and GA are all about that subway or McDonalds at gas stops There are zero chick fila’s! We ate the happy meals and it was only an extra $10 (I didn’t realize how cheap McDonalds actually is b/c I literally never go!) Cooper thankfully did not get sick on the ride home, even after our near horrible accident!
I would love to come back to this charming little town sans kids to experience it on a different level and actually stay in the historic district. They had tons of cute B&B’s and the mornings were so peaceful, way less crowded and in the summer months, much more pleasant before the heat sets in.
Tickle: Everything but I really liked the popsicles
Tickle: Everything was my tickle
Tickle: exploring the streets and seeing the historic buildings
Tangle: Obviously the accident