We went to St. Augustine on a whim. My family covered a lot more distance in the car than we expected to so we decided to spend our newfound time in St. Augustine. We stayed here for just one day. St. Augustine is a pretty little city. It’s known as the oldest city in America. It is also known for it’s historic Spanish architecture. With just a few hours to spend here, we decided to visit the Castillo de San Marcos, the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, and take a little stroll through the historic part of town. We also checked out a Flea Market in the area.
The Castillo de San Marcos is now owned by the National Park Service. It is a masonry style fort used by Spanish settlers to protect Florida from invaders. Learn about the Spanish and the native Seminoles here. The fort is one of only two in the world built from a rare limestone called coquina. If you look closely, you can see it’s made of tiny shells and sand. We explored the fort, listened to a short talk about ammo, watched a video, and then heard costumed soilders fire a cannon. From the top of the fort, you can get some nice pictures of the waterfront. Admission is $10 for adults 16 and older. This is good for 7 consecutive days. Kids under 16 are free with an adult.
The Castillo de San Marcos is open to the public every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25).
First admission is at 8:45 am and last admission is at 5:00 pm with the Castillo closing at 5:15 pm. The park grounds are closed from midnight until 5:30 am.
1 South Castillo Drive
Saint Augustine, FL 32084
Parking is $1.50 per hour. If you park here, you can walk to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum or the little historical village and gift shops.
Our next stop was the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. “Captain Mayhem” obviously loves his job! He will be your tour guide through the museum. He separates pirate fact from fiction, recites poetry, tells jokes, and involves the kids. He does a really nice job and made the trip a lot of fun. This museum houses real artifacts, like one of only two authentic jolly rogers flags in the world. There’s a real-deal pirate chest and booty recovered from shipwrecks. There is a scavenger hunt for kids, interactive exhibits (including “firing” a cannon), and a talking severed head which scared the pants off my poor child. He recovered pretty quickly when he got to choose a prize for completing his scavenger hunt though. Admission for adults is $13.99. Children 5-12 yrs are $6.99. Under 5, admission is free.
Hours of Operation: 10am to 7pm
Phone: (877) Go-PLUNDER (877.467.5863)
12 S. Castillo Drive
St. Augustine, FL 32084
For all my homeschool friends, here are educational resources to go with your trip.
We also explored this area of town. The oldest jail and schoolhouse in America still stand here and are open for tours. There is a small gorgeous shrine here too; St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine. I was curious so, we peeked in for a minute. It was beautiful. My husband bought some sunglasses in a little shop on the main street. We also bought jerky. There was a fun shop selling exotic jerky like gator and bison. After trying some free samples, we decided to be brave and purchased cobra jerky. It was super sweet and my daughter loved it. There are lots of shops and restaurants to duck into for a visit. But, we were ready to move on.
Our last stop before leaving town was the St. Augustine Flea Market. My hubby loves flea markets. I think he believes he’ll unearth some priceless antique someday. Who knows? Maybe he will. He had a great time here rummaging through old junk. My kids found discount Pokemon cards. I was thrilled to purchase the best oranges I’ve ever eaten here.
Open for shopping rain or shine Saturdays and Sundays 9AM-4PM
2495 State Road 207
St. Augustine, FL 32086
St. Augustine was fun. It was worth the detour and I’m glad we stopped by.