How To Spend A Week In St. Augustine, Florida

St Augustine is nicknamed “the ancient city,” and the name is well-earned. This Florida coastal haven predates the pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock by over 50 years and is the North American landing point for the acclaimed explorer, Ponce de Leon, in staggering 1513.

From its riveting pirate history to its ghost tours, the city exudes ancient exploration history from the Old Florida architecture to the quaint cobblestone streets. It’s all upon the backdrop of the gorgeous Matanzas River, which courses its way along the city’s historic downtown. Of course, the Atlantic Ocean isn’t far off.

Why spend a quick weekend getaway when you can make it the whole week? We cover the best way to spend a week in St. Augustine, hitting the top attractions, seeing the most pleasing sights, and getting the most out of every morning, afternoon, and evening. For convenience, some of the best St. Augustine beach rentals offer an intimate and compelling getaway to the best of the city’s attractions. 

Jet Ski Tour

jet ski on the water

Start big with an adventurous and uproarious jet ski tour.

Most jet ski providers offer a self-guided trip. With this, you and a small crew (usually a maximum of two per jet ski) are dictated a specific area you can travel. You are given 30 mins, 60 mins, or 90 mins out, and you must return in that time.

The self-guided approach is convenient for anyone who wants to learn the ropes of jet skiing. But we recommend guided tours. Here, you’ll have a leading guide, offering some extra safety and security on the water. You will also sightsee on your trip, including finding spots where dolphins hang out and reaching out to secret nooks for some quiet reflection.

One of our favorite jet ski tour providers is Raging Watersports. The guided tours lead from the Sebastian River south to Crescent Beach and Fort Matanzas. Northern trips will take you along the historic district, where you can see the city’s main sights, like the Castillo de San Marcos fort. Both directions provide a mix of slow sightseeing and fast action, with speeds upwards of 50 mph in the open ocean.

Tours are around two hours, and reservations are required. A jet ski tour is the best way to see the vastness of the ocean- fast!

Alligator Farm

Visiting the Alligator Farm could take a whole day. It’s a grand and rewarding romp through alligator and bird habitats recreated from virtually every central continent. 

It is the largest and most varied farm/zoo of its kind. Go on the gator scavenger hunt and seek out every recognized crocodilian species from around the world, all in one location. Visitors will discover unique birds of Africa, lizards and turtles in the reptile room, and snakes in the Python Cave. There are even mammals like five different monkey species, pygmy marmosets, red-ruffed lemurs, and a sloth or two at the Sloth Landing.

Alligator

The highlight for many is the daily wildlife shows. The most famous is the alligator feeding, where upwards of 20 alligators leap and jump for some tasty afternoon mice snacks! The farm is a blast for animal enthusiasts and a must-see addition for your weeklong visit.

St. Augustine Aquarium

jellyfish

The aquarium is a relatively new addition to the city. About 20 minutes from downtown St. Augustine, the St. Augustine Aquarium has multiple large pools housing an array of beautiful marine life.

The aquarium is famous in the summer for its school camps and during the school year for its educational field trips. But you don’t need to join a center or local school to get in on the fun. Guests will find opportunities for guided tours of the grounds led by marine biologists. There’s also ziplining, hand feeding, touching, and the most popular activity, snorkeling. The touch tank contains urchins, horseshoe crabs, and starfish, among others, while the snorkeling tank gets you up close with gorgeous reef fish and rays. The St. Augustine Aquarium is an excellent stop for all ages.

Black Raven Pirate Ship

The Black Raven easily stands (or floats) as one of St. Augustine’s top sites. It’s common to see the Black Raven from downtown, resting along the marina and waiting patiently for its next journey along the river.

The Black Raven is both a pirate ship and a theatrical show. Guests aboard will seek some booty on the shores of St. Augustine. But when a fight breaks out and a battle ensues, only one pirate will lead the survivors to the gold.

The ship offers tours every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required. You will meet a cast of pirates, like Scarlet, Lady Red, and Walter Plankton. And there’s old Blackbeard himself!

Timucuan Indian Village at the Fountain of Youth

If you only have time for a romantic weekend, we highly suggest putting the Fountain of Youth at the top of your St. Augustine bucket list.

The Fountain of Youth is filled with natural flourishes and deep history. It is the site of Ponce de Leon’s original La Florida expedition. He and his crew assembled the Timucuan Village and created an account. All were enamored with the natural beauty, believing it to offer vitality and youthfulness.

Fountain of Youth sign

Now, the Fountain of Youth is filled with beautiful exhibits, including the Navigators Planetarium, the Blacksmith House, the Spring House with its incredible water, the Peacock Garden, and the Spanish lookout others. Keep heading east, and you’ll eventually land at the Founders Riverwalk, recognized as close to the same site Ponce de Leon first “discovered” Florida over 500 years ago. Guests come and freely explorer the different areas and exhibits at their pace. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hunt for Sharks Teeth at Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach

shark teeth

Mickler’s Landing is a unique little gem of a spot located in Ponte Vedra Beach, about 15 miles northeast of downtown St. Augustine.

The landing is a quiet and reflective alternative to the busier beaches of St. Augustine. You’ll find some convenient amenities, like a restroom and outdoor showers, as well as clean parking.

It’s also away from any significant land development. You’ll walk along a wooden walkway through 20-foot high dunes to find incredible solace right on the beach. It’s even dog-friendly, so don’t be afraid to bring your pup along.

It’s simply a lovely and romantic getaway, and you can stay for as long as you’d like at no charge.

Plan Your Next Stay

And why would you stay for any less time? The city is brimming with excitement, from jet ski adventures to historical tours, ghosts to pirates, and more excitement in between. Book your next St. Augustine vacation rental and stay for a week with us!

Take a Ghost Tour

With as much history as St. Augustine has, it should be little surprise that it managed to provide some eerie and captivating ghost stories. From the little boy in the graveyard during the summer to the haunts of Flagler College, ghost history is prevalent in St. Augustine.

Ghosts and Gravestones offer walking and trolley tours throughout the year. Tours begin around dusk and take you to some of the top haunted sights in the city. This includes the Old Jail, the Tolomato Cemetary, and Flagler College itself.

You will hear authenticated ghost stories from your tour guide, capturing the spooky history of the city. Sightings are not common, but they are consistent. And these stories are based on personal accounts and extensive research from reputable historians. And each site has its own well-traveled oral stories about ghost sightings that have captured the attention of locals for generations.

You will meet up at 27 San Marco Ave to start your tour. Pre-registration is required.

Marineland

Marineland is romantic and wonderful. This part rehab clinic and part zoo house dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life. Visitors can experience a dolphin show and even get up close and personal with some treasured local sea turtles. Guests will be educated about local marine life protection as well.

two dolphins

Marineland is perhaps most famous for its dolphin swimming. It is one of the only spots in Northeast Florida where you can get in the water with dolphins.

Affordable and convenient St. Augustine condo rentals are available right on the Atlantic. Visit our website for more on specific amenities for condos as well as seasonal rates. Special rates are applied for whole week stays, and many St. Augustine vacation rentals require a minimum of a week’s stay.