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St. Augustine is one of the top tourist attractions within the United States, and travelers from all over the world flock here to experience its historical character and colonial charm.

The city offers a fantastic range of activities, including tours of the famous Castillo de San Marcos, world heritage museums, spectacular white sand beaches, and many more attractions which are off the beaten path.

However, those who only visit the city and don’t think to venture further are truly missing out. With St. Augustine as your base, some fantastic destinations are close by and each make for a great day trip.

And, with rental car lots located so close to many of the city’s budget hotels, picking up and dropping off a car is a breeze, and you can avoid paying for expensive group tours.

Coming to the US from abroad? Make sure you travel with a valid passport and a valid visa.

Find Your Base

Find the best hotels & Airbnbs in the city on this map, for setting yourself up with a St Augustine base:


Enjoy Water Sports in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is approximately an hour north of St. Augustine, and with beautiful beaches, rivers, and waterways, this is your spot for water sports.

Grab a jet ski and hit

Grab a jet ski and hit Jacksonville beach! Photo CC by Ross Elliott.

Try your hand at fishing, kayaking, surfing, or paddle boarding at locations like Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, and experience the city’s vibrant cultural community before returning to St. Augustine that night.

Orlando for Theme Parks

Only an hour and 45 minutes south of St. Augustine, Orlando is one of Florida’s biggest attractions. Spend your day exploring one of your favorite theme parks, and don’t worry about having to shell out for an expensive room on-site at the resorts.

From the four parks on offer at Disney, to the two at Universal Studios, you’ll never be short of options for what to do in Orlando. Be sure to leave early in the day so you avoid the crazy Disney crowds.

Daytona Beach

Daytona is an hour south of St. Augustine and attracts nearly 200,000 students every year during Spring Break.

Daytona beach – drive your car onto the sand!

The 23 miles of beach here are some of the only stretches in the world where you can drive your car onto the sand, a thrilling experience originating from the days when motorists would race on the beaches.

Flagler Beach

A 60 to 70 minute drive along A1A, this is an unspoiled beach town which will transport you back to life in the 1960s.

Opportunities exist for fishing, nature walks, and working on your tan. Remember your sun protection, as there is very little shade.

Washington Oaks State Park

Couple on the beach love RF

South of St. Augustine, Washington Oaks is a stunning park located between the Matanzas River and the Atlantic. Spend a day exploring the 425 acres of pristine preserve, spotting exotic wildlife native only to Florida, and enjoying the park’s abundant coastal scenery.

On the east side of the park is one of the largest concentrations of coquina rock found in the Atlantic Ocean, forming an incredibly unique and picturesque boulder-strewn beach.

As America’s oldest town, St. Augustine has much to offer those seeking a unique travel experience, however limiting your time to the city itself without venturing further out means missing out on it’s spectacular surrounds.

All of the fantastic day trip options close to St. Augustine make it the perfect base to discover the rest of Florida. If you’re looking for ways to get a cheap hotel in St. Augustine, go to Hipmunk’s St. Augustine Hotels guide page.  There you’ll find out what the average price per hotel is during the season, and whether or not you should tempt fate with lodging at a hostel.

Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


  1. What a great little list for an area I’m becoming more and more familiar with. I was in Daytona Beach only a couple of weeks ago so know many of these places are so easily accessible for day trips.

    I’ve not quite stopped off at St Augustine yet but it’s on my list!

    • Definitely make an effort to stop by St Augustine – it’s a fantastic spot. So glad you made it up to Daytona Beach – I love that area! Definitely one of my favorite parts of Florida!

  2. Oh, what an awesome places you have added for travelling. I mostly like Daytona Beach. And it is in my travelling list for upcoming New Year visit.

    • How fantastic! I love Daytona, and I’m sure it would be an amazing destination for New years! Happy Travels Cameron :)

  3. With so many great places to visit within an hour drive, St. Augustine really seems like a perfect base to explore the area. Flagler Beach sounded so attractive to me, that I went to check it on Google Images. Definitely a place to explore next time I’m in Florida. Thanks for sharing, Meg!

    • Definitely hit up Flagler Beach when you next come to Florida – it’s such a fun experience and I’m sure you will absolutely love it!

      So glad you’ll be heading back that way!

    • If you can, visit Flagler Beach on their “First Fridays” (of the month). They have different booths, food, and live music. Fun festival atmosphere!

    • Thanks for the heads up!

  4. To get off the beaten path, on land, head for Ocala National Forest. Wonderful solitude there.

    • Thanks for the tip Charles! Will have to get back to Florida soon – so much to do, one of my favorite States!

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