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Tips for Planning Travel to St. Augustine

This article is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove Project

One of the most popular tourist destinations within the United States, St. Augustine is a favorite among locals and travelers alike. A truly historic city, well-preserved buildings offer an insight into life in the 1700’s, and beautiful white sand beaches contribute to Florida’s pristine coast.

A unique and truly original destination, there are a wealth of activities and attractions on offer in St. Augustine, though there are also some tips you should consider before booking your vacation.

The following are tips for planning travel to St. Augustine.

Avoid the Tourists

It’s difficult to avoid tourists in a city as popular as St. Augustine, though there are a number of fantastic attractions which are off the beaten path and see much fewer crowds.

While most travelers flock to Castillo de San Marcos for instance, a 500-year-old Spanish Fort and the centerpiece of the historic district, the city actually has another fort equally as impressive, though much lesser known.

Fort Matanzas. Photo CC by Eccentric Scholar

Those who want to experience historic fortifications without the huge crowds should head to Fort Matanzas, a national monument sitting 15 minutes south of the city.

Snag a Cheap Hotel

As with any destination, hotels in St. Augustine are cheaper when tourist season is off-peak.

Tourist season in St. Augustine is between December and August, so those looking for cheap accommodation should plan to travel during September, October and November.

Cheap hotels during off season

Those who cannot travel off-peak should travel on weekdays – St. Augustine is a popular destination for local Floridians, and as such is incredibly busy on weekends.

Click through for an overview of cheap hotels in St. Augustine on Hipmunk where I have written a guide on the different choices for budget accommodation.

Consider Driving

Those who fly into St. Augustine usually land at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), though depending on your location it can often be cheaper to catch a flight into Jacksonville or Daytona Beach. From there St. Augustine is only a short 1 hour drive.

Car rental in St. Augustine is easy, and there are many lots conveniently located throughout the city close-by a number of main attractions and hotels.

Additionally, St. Augustine is one of the rare destinations which will allow you to drive onto the beach! Fabulous beach activities are one of the main draws in St. Augustine.

Drive your car onto the beach!

Unexpectedly fun, and not as careless as it sounds, travelers can enjoy a cheap 4WD adventure ($7 per day for vehicle access) and access exclusive parts of the coast which are not normally accessible to regular beach-goers.

Plan Extra Time for Day Trips

Well located between a number of other fabulous tourist destinations, St. Augustine is a great base for day trips to explore the greater Florida area.

Travelers can enjoy easy access to Jacksonville, Flager Beach and Washington Oaks State Park, and the likes of Universal and Disney in Orlando and the speedway in Daytona are both less than a 2 hour drive away.

A Disney day-trip.

The cost of gas in the United States has recently plummeted, so day trips are an affordable way to discover multiple locations in one trip.

Plan a few extra days into your itinerary for some great day trips from St. Augustine.

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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.

Featured Photo Credit: Scott Smith

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