St. Augustine, Florida: 11 Activities and Attractions for Beacon Lake Residents

St. Augustine City View

Florida has a well-deserved reputation for being a tourist state. However, there is more to Florida’s sights and experiences than its more famous areas such as Orlando and Daytona Beach. A great example would be the city of St. Augustine, which provides plenty of recreational activities and things to do for both residents and visitors alike.

St. Augustine has a compelling blend of historical monuments, museums, outdoor shopping areas, and entertainment venues to please visitors of all ages. Residents and visitors can enjoy live music, learn about Florida’s history, sample unique foods, or even hunt for ghosts!

Beacon Lake recommends the following activities for both first-time visitors and long-time residents of St. Augustine:

Spend a Day in the Old Town of St. Augustine (Historic District)

Perks of Living in St. Johns County

Deemed the oldest city in America, Old Town St. Augustine is the oldest European port city in the continental United States, having been continually occupied since 1565.

It is a beautiful city filled with historic sites, quaint shops, delightful courtyards, ancient cemeteries, boat tours, barrier islands, a pristine beach, and great food.

The Historic District is truly the heart of St. Augustine. As the oldest part of the city, it boasts buildings from the 1700s with a variety of design elements including Spanish Colonial, Queen Ann, Byzantine, Minorcan, Caribbean, Revival Renaissance, and other styles. The streets invite you to explore this easily walkable city to witness the abundant history through its sites—which include churches, courtyards, homes, cemeteries, and museums.

History is not the only draw, as the city of St. Augustine offers an abundance of shopping venues and opportunities to sit back, enjoy live music, or reflect while gazing at the panoramic views of the Matanzas Bay and riverfront. In fact, there is so much to do in Old Town that it deserves its own list of offered activities, including:

  • Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park – This may be the most obvious of the sites in St. Augustine, but it is a must-see. Featuring 15-acres of historic preserve, the site features living history, archaeological excavations, free-roaming peacocks, and—of course—the famed Fountain. The park also offers an opportunity to explore the native marshes of the area.
  • The Lightner Museum (Alcazar Hotel) – Built in 1888, the Alcazar Hotel was originally commissioned by Henry M. Flagler, then designed by Carrère and Hastings. In 1948, Otto Lightner converted the Hotel into a museum for housing his expansive and eccentric art collection.

Within the Lightner Museum, you will see Gilded Age (1870-1900) furniture, clothing, and other artifacts. There is also an exquisite art glass collection featuring Tiffany, Victorian, and other designs.

  • Ximenez-Fatio House – Built in 1798, the Ximenez-Fatio House first belonged to a merchant’s home and business. Today, it stands among the best-preserved colonial buildings in the city. The coquina stone home on Aviles Street became a famous boarding house during the 1830s through the 1850s.

Today, the Ximenez-Fatio House has been authentically restored to its time as a stylish boarding house. It features the main area of the residence, a detached kitchen, a washhouse, and a museum store.

  • Castillo de San Marcos – The Castillo de San Marcos stands apart as the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The Spanish fortress was built of coquina over a 23-year period that began in 1672. As the oldest historic structure in the city, its objective was to defend the Spanish claim to the region.
  • The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum – The St. Augustine Lighthouse first lit up in 1824 and is the oldest aid for navigation in North America, as well as the city’s oldest surviving brick structure. Featuring 219 iron steps, eight landings, and windows to pique your interest; you will not be disappointed by the view when you arrive at the top. While onsite, visit the Maritime Museum, the Keeper’s House, and Heritage Boatworks to learn more!
  • Historic Cemeteries – While a visit to the cemetery might not be for everyone, there are many that enjoy such historic pursuits. The Huguenot, National, and Tolomato Cemeteries of St. Augustine are all must-see places for those seeking such an activity.

The Huguenot Cemetery dates to 1821 when it was used as a final resting place for the victims of yellow fever. With elaborate grave markers and tombs, this small cemetery is worth exploring. The National Cemetery was originally a part of a Franciscan monastery and was later dedicated to deceased armed forces members.  Finally, the Tolomato Cemetery saw use from 1777 to 1884, and its graves exhibit the backgrounds and lives of city settlers and residents from over a century of time.

  • Augustine Beach/Anastasia State Park – Pristinely beautiful, St. Augustine Park is located on Anastasia Island, which is also home to Anastasia State Park. After your adventures in history, the wide beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun or playing in the surf. The Park features additional beaches, ancient sand dunes, maritime hammocks, and tidal marshes to explore along the beach or nature trails. More amphibious visitors can rent a canoe or kayak for further exploration opportunities out on the water.

Shop, Dine, and Sightsee on St. George Street in St. Augustine

St. George Street offers a variety of local goods and sights, as well as having a location within walking distance of many other St. Augustine attractions. Visitors with a sweet tooth will enjoy spending time at The Bunnery – a bakery that serves coffee and baked goods – or shopping at Whetstone Chocolates for a variety of fudges and other chocolate treats.

Historic attractions on St. George Street include the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine and the Historic Pena-Pack House. The stores and vendors on St. George Street sell a variety of antiques and local goods.

Catch Dinner and a Show at the Pirate Ship Black Raven in St. Augustine


The Pirate Ship Black Raven is a unique dinner-and-a-show experience involving two ships: the Black Raven and the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The main show involves a pirate attack by Captain Blackbeard and the crew of the Black Raven giving chase to reclaim their stolen goods.

Pirate Ship Black Raven also offers birthday party packages for children with a variety of scenarios such as treasure hunts and pirate raids. Pirate Ship Black Raven also performs Rum-Runner tours with humor, skits, and songs geared specifically for adults.

Travel the City (or Search for Ghosts) with the St. Augustine Trolley

The St. Augustine Trolley has 22 stops on its route, making navigation through St. Augustine simple. The St. Augustine Trolley sells one-day and two-day packages for residents and visitors on the go, but the service also conducts multiple types of tours.

During the day, trolley-goers can see the sights of St. Augustine. Night tours include additional viewings of the Tolomato Cemetery and the Old Jail. As a bonus, usage of ghost-detecting equipment is included in the price of the tour package.

Purchase Fresh Produce at Farmers Markets

St. Augustine has two farmer’s markets for residents and visitors. The Farmers Market at the AMP is open on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. In addition to vendors that sell produce, fine art, and snacks, the Farmers Market at the AMP provides live music and art galleries. The Farmers Market at the AMP also offers yoga lessons on the first Saturday of the month and a bookmobile on the second and fourth Saturdays.

The Wednesday Pier Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays from 8 am to noon and serves both residents of and visitors to St. Augustine. The Wednesday Pier Farmers Market sells produce, fresh foods, arts and crafts, and herbs.

About Beacon Lake

Beacon Lake offers its residents a variety of activities as well, providing individuals and families with entertainment and activities that are steps away from their homes. Aquatic activities include a junior Olympic pool, a launch area for canoes/kayaks, and a splash park. Fitness-related activities include tennis courts, a fitness center, and a multipurpose park. Social-centered facilities include event rooms, a culinary studio, and a boardwalk.

If you are interested in exploring Beacon Lake’s award-winning homes just 30 minutes away from St. Augustine, please contact us by filling out our online form.