I was lucky enough to spend my college years in a little town many people choose to vacation in. St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States, over 450 years old. It was occupied by the Spanish and the French before Florida became a part of the United States, and this shows in the architecture and historical streets. More and more people are traveling to St. Augustine each year to enjoy its beautiful beaches and historic sites, but it’s easy to get lost in the plethora of over-the-top touristy options. These tourist options tend to be expensive and inauthentic. They’re frowned upon by the few locals who call St. Augustine home year-round. Here are the best locals-approved places in St. Augustine!
You might be surprised to learn that St. Augustine is a foodie wonderland. In the past few years, we’ve had an influx of new locally owned restaurants that deliver farm-fresh concoctions and unique menus.
The Floridian is a local favorite, hidden away from the hustle of St. George Street on Spanish Street. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts! They have a private room upstairs for special events and a really cute bar downstairs which serves everything from local craft beer to key lime pie.
72 Spanish St, St. Augustine, FL
Back 40 Urban
If you’re willing to drive a few minutes outside of old town, you’ll find this local gem tucked in a residential neighborhood. Located in an old Florida style house, this eatery serves cult-favorites like the notoriously large wet burrito.
40 S Dixie Highway, St. Augustine, FL
A1A Burrito Works (“Taco Shop”)
Ask any college student in St. Augustine where they always go after a night out, and they’ll all say Taco Shop. Open late on the weekends, both taco shop locations offer up quality food and service. There’s a taco shop location right on St. George St, but I’d recommend making the drive to the original location on Anastasia Island. It’s grungy beach vibe always attracts a crowd on the weekends!
Local Tip: Try the UFO!
671 A1A Bch Blvd, St. Augustine, FL
There are a lot of places to get dessert downtown, but none are as good as Cousteau’s Waffles and Shakes. Located off of St. George St, this small shop delivers authentic Belgian waffle goodness daily.
Local Tip: Share the waffles with a friend, they’re big!
15 Hypolita St, St. Augustine, FL
Don’t be fooled by this hole-in-the-wall coffee shop on the main King St. Plaza. Good things come in small packages, and this Australian coffee spot is top notch. Featuring specialty coffee and Australian meat pies, this tiny spot is a must-visit for any caffeine addict.
Local Tip: Try the Hot Aussie!
24 Cathedral Pl, St. Augustine, FL
While not as popular as the Kook, City Perks will always have a place in my heart! The staff is super nice and willing to help you with your coffee or tea selection, and the muffins are to die for!
6 St George St #107, St. Augustine, FL
Uptown San Marco
If you’re tired of the touristy vibe of St. George Street, wander a bit north on San Marco to check out the newly developed Uptown district. This little strip is packed with Instagram-worthy boutiques, antique shops, and yummy cafes and bakeries.
North San Marco, St. Augustine, FL
While St. Augustine Beach attracts tourists and visitors, Vilano maintains a locals-only atmosphere. Vilano Beach, located on the North side of St. Augustine, has a drive-on beach perfect for long days spent in the sun. It’s also a popular surf spot.
Local Tip: Free beach parking on Sundays!
Free (Unless you pay to park on the beach)
A1A North of St. Augustine, FL
There are a lot of museums to visit in St. Augustine, but none are quite as unique as the Lightener Museum across from Flagler College. This 19th-century hotel was once home to the largest indoor swimming pool in the world, space which now serves as a luxury lunch spot. The entrance of this museum is home to cafes and antique shops as well as a koi pond. For a small fee, you can explore the luxurious interior of the hotel and see unique displays of Gilded Age artifacts.
75 King St, St. Augustine, FL
St Augustine Distillery
Whether you’re a liquor aficionado or a history buff, the story of the St. Augustine Distillery will have you on the edge of your seat. Featuring free daily tours, this distillery shares the history of how this little distillery fought the state government over outdated liquor laws. When the tour is over be sure to stop upstairs and enjoy the restaurant and bar, featuring ice from a 100-year-old ice plant!
112 Riberia St, St. Augustine, FL
Hidden away on Aviles St, this cocktail bar boasts a hefty menu and a great happy hour. You won’t even know you’re in the oldest city inside this hip, modern cocktail bar. Enjoy a drink on supposedly the most haunted street in America.
6 Aviles St, St. Augustine, FL
This cigar bar is one of a kind, and always a popular destination any night of the week. Have a craft beer and a cigar in front of the outdoor fire pit. There’s also always live music here, so don’t miss out!
Local Tip: You can get a free house cigar with any draft beer!
36 Charlottes St, St. Augustine, FL
Nobody really knows whether this bar is named “No Name” or if it actually has no name, but, either way, it’s favorite for both college students and an older crowd. With live rock music on Friday and Saturday nights, this mostly outdoor bar has cheap drinks and a stunning view of the Spanish fort.
16 S Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, FL
Locals Guide to St. Augustine
St. Augustine is easily one of my favorite towns in America, and it’s perfect for visitors of all ages. This historic town has a perfect mix of new and old additions, and it’s well worth a visit whether you’re interested in the history or the beach! What are your favorite spots in St. Augustine?