Exploring History in St. Augustine Does not Need to Expensive

St. Augustine is a destination providing hours of relaxation, exploration, dining, entertainment, and history. History buffs will find many free and inexpensive activities during your visit to the Nation's Oldest City.


1.The Governor’s House Cultural Center and Museum was the residence of Florida's Spanish and English colonial governors and hosted many visitors, including two Kings of Spain. The lobby exhibit explains the history of St. Augustine, the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. This free attraction is open 10 AM - 5 PM.


2. The St. Photios National Greek Orthodox Shrine honors the 1768 arrival of the first Greek settlers in America. Admission is free and includes tours of the museum and chapel filled with beautiful Byzantine-style icons and frescoes. It is open 9 AM - 5 PM Monday to Saturday and Noon to 6 PM Sunday.


3. The ACCORD Freedom Trail is a series of markers placed at historical sites around St. Augustine documenting the struggle and sacrifice of people involved in our country's struggle for civil rights. In the early 60s, St. Augustine played an important part in the civil rights movement. Each stop on the trail, which goes through the community of Lincolnville. is an easy walk and explains the important events which happened at each place. 


4. Located on the mission grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum that tells the story of the early days of Catholicism in what would be the United States. Nearby is the Great Cross (the tallest free-standing cross in the Western Hemisphere) marks the landing point of the Spanish colonists in 1565 and the site of the first Catholic mass in the U.S. The beautiful La Leche Chapel is a short walk away. Admission is free and hours are 10 AM to 4 PM Monday to Saturday and Sunday Noon to 4 PM>


5. The St. Augustine National Cemetery on Marine Street honors the sacrifices made by members of our military. It was dedicated as a national cemetery in 1881 and was once part of a Franciscan monastery and today is the resting place of more than 2,700 people. Make sure visit the three coquina stone pyramids that contain the remains of soldiers killed in action or who died in service between 1835 and 1842 during the Second Seminole War.  The cemetery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


6. The Coquina Quarry is the source of building materials for many of St. Augustine’s oldest structures. You can visit the namesake quarry and explore on a self-guided tour. 


7. Fort Mose is located north of St. Augustine off U.S. 1; this historic state park features 40 acres of history. This land was home to a group of African slaves who had escaped from English colonies and found sanctuary in Spanish Florida in 1688. It is considered by historians to be the site of the first legal black community in what is now the United States. It has an interactive museum telling the history of Fort Mose and features picnic areas, observation and birding boardwalk, and kayak launch. It was designated a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The visitor center is open from 9 AM to 5 PM Thursday to Monday. The grounds are open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Admission to the park grounds is free. There is a $2.00 fee per adult to enter the visitor center. Children under 6 are free. 


8. Fish Island Preserve, located on the southeast side of the Matanzas River by the State Road 312 bridge, is the city of St. Augustine's newest park. The waterfront park has many walking trails and a variety of wildlife. The namesake of the park, Jesse Fish, owned a citrus plantation on the land in the 1700s and visitors can still see the ruins of the home's coquina foundation.


9. Fort Matanzas National Monument, located 15 miles south of St. Augustine, is a Spanish colonial fort run by the National Park Service. The small coquina fort, completed in 1742, was designed to protect the southern approach to St. Augustine and the much larger Castillo de San Marcos from British attack. The Park service runs a free ferry to the fort, where visitors can see a recreation of the soldiers’ living quarters and historical cannons, as well as climb to the roof of the building. Fort Matanzas National Monument is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the ferry runs Wednesday through Sunday on a reduced schedule with limited capacity. Boarding passes are available on a first-come basis. Call 904-471- 0116 for questions.


After a fun-filled day exploring historical sites, a relaxing evening in your oceanfront condo at Barefoot Trace awaits! Check availability of our St. Augustine vacation rentals or call 800-587-2287 Ext 304 for reservation assistance.