With its sandy beaches, versatile events, rich history, and vibrant nightlife, there’s something for everyone who visits St. Augustine.
Before you plan your trip, however, it’s good to take some time to learn about the best time to visit St. Augustine, the areas and attractions worth seeing, and some extra tips that’ll help make your stay unforgettable. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit St. Augustine
Situated in the northeastern part of the Sunshine State, St. Augustine shines with its authenticity. But why should you visit it, considering that major cities such as Miami or Orlando seem much more popular?
There are many reasons why St. Augustine is absolutely worth a trip, and here are the most relevant ones:
- Rich history. Do you know that St. Augustine happens to be the country’s oldest city? Considering it was founded back in 1565, this means it’s more than 450 years old! How cool would it be to visit America’s oldest inhabited city?
- Unusual attractions. Some of the most significant attractions you should see are the Castillo de San Marcos and St. Augustine Lighthouse. Castillo de San Marcos is for travelers who want to see the oldest masonry fort in the USA, while the 165-foot-tall lighthouse allows visitors to enjoy stunning ocean and city views (yes, you can climb the stairs and go check out the observation deck).
- Beaches. If you love the ocean and the sea, you have to spend some time on St. Augustine’s beautiful beaches (tip: if you’re fond of white-sand beaches, Crescent Beach should be on your list).
- Fishing. There are some excellent spots for those into fishing — for instance, the upper region of the St. Johns River is said to be the best spot for fish such as flounder, sea trout, and redfish.
- Food. Do you know that in 2019, St. Augustine was voted the best foodie town by Southern Living? Trust us, this city has so much delicious food that it can satisfy your needs regardless of what it is you’re craving at any given moment.
Now that it’s clear why St. Augustine is well worth a visit, let’s see when you should plan your trip.
Overall Best Time to Visit St. Augustine
The best time to visit St. Augustine is between March and May.
In March, the temperatures drop into the 50s; however, in May, the average temperature ranges between 64.9F and 84F, while in April it’s somewhere in between.
In this period, rainfall is minimal (you may want to bring an umbrella as a precaution, though), and humidity is almost non-existent. Flowers and trees blossom, there’s a fresh sea breeze, and the tourist season slowly begins.
Some of the most remarkable festivals of the year take place in this period, including:
- Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest;
- The Flower & Garden Expo;
- The Celtic Music & Heritage Festival;
- Lions Seafood Festival (we told you you’d get to enjoy awesome food in this city!);
- and The Taste of St. Augustine.
On the whole, thanks to the nice weather, popular events, and very few rainy days, spring seems to be one of the most popular times to visit St. Augustine.
You can spend the whole time outdoors without getting bathed in sweat and desperately trying to find shade (which can happen if you visit in summer), and you get to do it all.
You can read a book on the beach while listening to the waves, take a stroll in the random streets that branch off in various directions, pop into stores, bars, restaurants, and visit some attractions.
Our favorites include the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse Historic Museum and Gardens or Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (you can really drink from the fountain, so let us know how that goes!).
That said, the city does get quite packed during this time, however, the pros of visiting the city in this period far outweigh the cons.
Cheapest Time to Visit St. Augustine
The cheapest time to visit St. Augustine is in winter, in the December—February period.
This is when the city’s least expensive because there are fewer tourists, fewer activities, and no beach days (the temperatures drop in the 40s/50s).
Being willing to face St. Augustine’s coolest days means finding affordable holiday deals, cheaper flights, and more lodging options. Plus, chances are you won’t need an umbrella, as rainfall is at its lowest at this time of the year.
And while you probably won’t see any snow, you’ll still enjoy a nice escape from the otherwise harsh US winter climate. Also, there are Christmas vibes in the air, and the winter celebrations create a magical atmosphere that matches the city’s playful character.
One highlight that’s definitely worth sharing is the Nights of Lights, a mesmerizing holiday display that can only be experienced firsthand. It begins somewhere around Late November and it lasts well into the New Year.
More than three million lights dominate each corner of this historic city, bars and restaurants stay open till late, and people gaze at the decorated buildings.
Trolleys and trains have special seasonal tours and drive through the most popular areas. And while we already said that there are fewer tourists during this time, due to Nights of Lights’ popularity, you may come across serious crowds at this time.
But this is such an enchanting event that it’s perfectly understandable why more people would want to be part of it.
Least Busy Time to Visit St. Augustine
The least busy time to go to St. Augustine is in autumn, more precisely in October or November.
This is when the overall tourism winds down as the school year begins and the chaotic summer season comes to a halt. However, this is also when the weather is truly pleasant and the changing leaves contribute to the city’s already existing historic beauty.
The average temperatures reach the lower 60s in November, so the season is perfect for shopping and sightseeing in St. Augustine’s historic district, or even taking a walk on some of the vast beaches. Also, neither rain nor humidity is an issue.
Interestingly enough, with its pleasant climate and reduced crowds, many find St. Augustine to be an even more attractive destination during its off-season.
Finally, note that this period coincides with part of St. Augustine’s hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. So, if you decide to visit St. Augustine during this period, make sure to stay informed and have access to the latest information at all times.
To avoid hurricane-related travel cancellations (or any other travel issue, really), get travel insurance before your trip. Also, booking refundable flights/accommodation is a good idea.
Worst Time to Visit St. Augustine
This may come as a surprise to many, but the worst time to visit St. Augustine is during the summer months — in June, July, and August.
Another such “bad” month is September — this is officially St. Augustine’s wettest month. On average, there’s 7.5 inches of rain then.
However, summer can be rainy too. In fact, the summer months experience a lot more rainfall than spring. This also means visitors get to experience a lot of humidity at this time, so staying hydrated will help you deal with the overall heat.
Average summer temperatures in St. Augustine may range anywhere from the low 70s (in June) to the low 90s (in July and August).
If you decide to visit in September, however, note that the daily high temperatures decrease from 88F to around 84F. And it’s not just the weather that goes crazy in summer in St. Augustine — the prices, flights, and crowds swell in these months too.
School’s also out, so this is when most families plan their vacation. In general, if you plan on visiting St. Augustine in the summer, plan your stay well in advance — it will save you a lot of nerves (and a bit of money, perhaps).
On the bright side, visiting the city in summer means you get to enjoy the soft, sandy beaches to the fullest and soak vitamin D as much as you can.
The nightlife is also in full swing, and all visitors seem to be vibing to the sound of the city. Finally, although summer is considered to be the “worst time” to visit St. Augustine, it doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad time if you do.
Even though the city’s crowded, most people stay concentrated around the beaches, so if you make your stay there a combination of lying on the beach and visiting attractions in the downtown area, you’ll be fine.
Things to Consider
Here are several tips to consider while planning your trip to St. Augustine:
- Remember — SPF is your BFF. Especially when you go to Florida. If you want to avoid a nasty sunburn, bring SPF with you wherever you go.
- Pick the time to go depending on the experience you want. If you want cool days and Christmas decorations, opt for winter. The Nights of Lights will make your Floridian experience memorable beyond what you may anticipate. If you prefer warmer weather and hope to spend a lot of time doing beach activities, consider going in the summer.
- Eat seafood. You already know you can’t really go wrong with any food choice in St. Augustine, but seafood dishes are truly remarkable here.
- Visit as many beaches as you can. But if you truly want a special beach experience, go to the Ponte Vedra Beach. Known for its luxurious resort vibes and historic town feel, Ponte Vedra is always a good idea. Plus, it’s allegedly the place where Ponce de Leon first set foot on Florida sand. Just saying.
- Bring an extra bag (or two). If you go to St. George Street, you’ll be tempted to buy some of the souvenirs and other items you come accross.
- Pack suitable clothing and shoes. In St. Augustine, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. However, there are many cobblestone streets, so wearing comfy shoes is non-negotiable. Also, bring light, cotton clothes, and a hat to protect you from the sun and the heat if you visit when it’s warmer. And take it easy.
- Keep track of time. There is so much you can do and see in St. Augustine that it may be tempting to stay for a long time on the beach when you go there, or spend your whole day downtown buying souvenirs or window-shopping. Plan your time so that you see as much as you can of this interesting city. You know what they say, so much to see, so little time!
- Don’t rely only on traditional public transport. Be more adventurous and daring. You’ll see what we mean once you read our FAQ section.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need in St. Augustine?
While you’d need quite some time to see everything there is to see in St. Augustine, we suggest spending at least two days (three is better) to see most of it.
Although St. Augustine’s historic area is relatively compact, there’s still a lot you can do, so take your time and enjoy your stay there to the fullest.
Is St. Augustine cheap?
That depends. For instance, St. Augustine’s housing expenses are said to be 23% higher than the national average; utility prices are only 4% higher. That said, gas prices and transportation services are 18% lower than the national average.
In general, as a tourist, you’re expected to spend:
- $55 per day (if you’re traveling on a budget);
- $127 per day (mid-range expenses);
- $259 per day (for travelers who don’t mind breaking the bank).
Finally, if money is an issue, there’s a plethora of free activities you can engage in during your stay in St. Augustine, such as:
- Exploring the vast beaches;
- Going sightseeing on foot;
- Visiting the Fort Matanzas National Monument;
- Going to the San Sebastian winery tour (free samples included!);
- Taking a free art tour (once a month, around 30 galleries welcome all visitors for a free First Friday Art Walk).
Can you visit St. Augustine without a car?
Yes, you can get around St. Augustine without a car. The city is pedestrian-friendly, and you can always take advantage of the Old Town Trolleys and Ripley’s Red Express Tours. They operate year-round and have many stops where they leave and pick up passengers, so you’ll be able to navigate the city with ease.
If you want to explore St. Augustine in a more adventurous way, we recommend a pedicab. Finally, if you want to get around on your own, you can always just opt for car rentals.
Is St. Augustine a party town?
Yes, you can definitely party in St. Augustine and have a nice time. Almost all bars and restaurants in the downtown area organize live music to get their guests in a party mood. So, it’s a party town, but not in a reckless or unhinged way, but a relaxed and entertaining one.
Here are some places you can visit during the night:
- Tini Martini Bar
- Cellar 6
- Mardi Gras Sports Grill
- White Lion
- Prohibition Kitchen
- British Pub
- Barley Republic
- Bar None Saloon
- Planet! Sarbez!
- Scarlett O’Hara’s
- Chartsworth Pub
- Ancient City Brewing
- The Floridian, and so on.
If you’re looking for top-notch music entertainment and wish to “sing your heart out”, you can do so at any of the following venues:
- Cellar Upstairs Wine and Jazz Bar
- Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
- Cobalt Lounge at Casa Monica, or
- The St. Augustine Amphitheater
How do I spend a day in St. Augustine?
Here are some suggestions to help you spend an awesome day in St. Augustine (pick what you like, we know it’s impossible to do/see all of them in a single day, but you can certainly try):
- Have coffee on St. George Street. This is the place to be.
- Visit St. Augustine Distillery; this is one of the attractions that make the city so unique — its very own distillery.
- Go to the Anastasia State Park for an unusual beach experience (get ready for a hammock-type of environment and camp vibes).
- Go to St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum — both children and adults love it!
- Hit one of the beaches and take a rest.
- Go to a bar for a drink in the evening (our recommendation: The Bar with No Name — great views and live music).
- Have lunch in a restaurant you like. You really can’t go wrong with any of the places there, trust us.
- Check out Flagner College. The college is simply gorgeous to look at, and you’ll be tempted to take many photos of it.
- If you’re into golf, visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.
- Don’t leave without a popsicle from The Hyppo. They’re really good!
What kind of food is St. Augustine known for?
St. Augustine’s cuisine is a cool fusion of different cultural influences from East Asia, Europe, and even the Caribbean. Add some classic southern dining vibes on top of it, and there you have it.
You can find pizza, crab, fresh fish, shrimp, and barbeque, and one thing’s certain — whatever it is you end up eating, St. Augustine’s cuisine won’t disappoint.
Here are some specific food suggestions St. Augustine is known for:
- Conch fritters
- Fried green tomatoes
- Shrimp and grits
- Gator tail
- Minorcan chowder
- Cuban sandwich
- Key lime pie
Where can I swim in St. Augustine?
Here are our top suggestions for swimming in St. Augustine:
- St. Augustine Beach
- Ponte Vedra Beach
- Butler Beach
- Crescent Beach
- Vilano Beach
So, When Should You Visit St. Augustine?
All in all, the best time to visit St. Augustine is between March and May. It’s when the climate is pleasant, the rain and humidity levels are under control, and visitors can enjoy the city without being preoccupied with the weather.
The cheapest time to visit the city is during the December—February period. There’s very little going on, but the Nights of Lights truly compensates for the lack of other major events.
You may score good flight deals and find great accommodation at much more affordable prices. If you want to go during the least busy period, our advice is to go either in November or December.
These two months are when the tourist season truly slows down, and you shouldn’t worry about large crowds or not being able to find a table in bars/restaurants. The worst time to visit St. Augustine is definitely in summer (and in September).
The weather is hot, the city’s super crowded (the beaches even more so), there’s rain and humidity, and the prices are over the roof. September sees the most rainfall, so this one’s pretty much self-explanatory.
That said, St. Augustine is such a lovely city that even if you go at what you perceive to be the “worst season”, you’ll still have the best time.
Because this is Florida we’re talking about! The best time to visit is NOW and ALWAYS. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to this gorgeous city today!