St. Augustine

Lightouse at St. Augustine

Credit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

Groups on South Coast getaway will discover, upon passing through the gates of the “Old City,” an enchanting opportunity to sample a stratum of over 450 years of richly diverse Floridian/American history heavily peppered with Spanish influence. St. Augustine’s lovely cobblestone streets bid visitors explore its menagerie of colorful shops, cozy cafes, intriguing architecture, luxurious inns and quaint bed and breakfasts intermingled with historically significant sites and relics; a relaxing and restorative stay in the old Downtown District affords guests in the Ancient City easy foot access to all the charm of St. Augustine’s culture and must-see points of relevance like The Colonial Quarter. 43 miles of pristine beaches beckon; wonderful shelling prospects fill waiting pockets with perfect souvenirs, and strips of fine, golden sand welcome tired tourists aching to bury their tanned toes and cast their cares to the sea. Magnificent landmarks like Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas and famed local attractions like the legendary Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, El Galeon Andalucia and the Lightner Museum continue to spark the vivid imaginations of countless visitors. Excellent miniature golf courses and tennis courts, world-class sport fishing and surfing, exotic day spas, narrated carriage and beach rides, unbelievable shopping and dining, cozy wine and martini bars, inviting taverns, lively clubs and an array of entertaining and imaginative area tours keep itinerants in this sunny clime moving from the tops of glorious seaside days into the enchanting starlit nights and beyond! Come sundown, the historic district and warm beaches are abuzz with vibrant nightlife and scintillating motion; incorrigible people-watchers strike gold here, as diners at dozens of great eateries and fine, full service establishments push away from their tables and head out in search of that perfect sweet bite – Summertime sees St. George Street open late- or head to the beach to wander off their repast. Smoky hibachis glow in the sand, guitars strum, happy voices carry and revelers on a typical breezy, starry evening embrace the inviting, old-world, “Old City” ambiance that is St Augustine.

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Sample Itineraries

St Augustine 2 Day Group Tour

Since we customize each tour we offer, feel free to request changes or substitutions that will best fit your needs.

    •  Oldest Lighthouse
    •  Alligator Interaction
    •  First and Oldest Ripley’s


St. George Street

Groups on Sunshine State escape enjoying beautiful, historic St. Augustine will want to stroll the oldest street in the Oldest City; a whimsical, wonderful melting pot of quintessential “Colonial Florida” flavor awaits visitors to this popular – albeit touristy – main thoroughfare, lined up and down both sides with wonderful galleries, intriguing museums and colorful and eclectic shops tendering everything from excellent coffee and delectable sweets to treasures, trinkets and luxury treatments. Fabulous eateries serving up diverse menus of casual to world class fare, amazing bakeries and historic “tabernas” and pubs tempt you in out of the Florida sun at every turn. Hoof it and wing it – or hop a trolley and see the stars of St. George Street; drop by the Oldest Schoolhouse, tour the Old Jail, duck into Gator Bob’s Trading Post or spend an hour or two exploring the Colonial Quarter; everywhere you go you’ll delight to the sounds of talented street performers, vendors and costumed characters hawking their tricks, trades and wares mingled with the laughter of happy wanderers trickling in and out of storefronts and ogling notable points of interest. It helps to know a little of the area history before embarking on your St. George Street excursion, so brush up a bit before grabbing your group and heading downtown; you’ll enjoy the updated historic architecture and the authentic cobblestone beneath your flipflopped feet that much more! Take that traditional tapas break, then head over to figure out your family crest. (No cars allowed in this designated “walking mall.”)

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St. Augustine Wild Reserve

Groups of animal lovers exploring The Oldest City will definitely want to schedule a special tour of the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, a non-profit corporation and wonderful rescue center for unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused exotic animals. Frequently, parties obtain an exotic pet, only to realize the animal’s wild nature doesn’t fit into their routines as they expected; the Wild Reserve steps up and rescues these creatures from sadly unfortunate domestic situations and gives them back their lives in a safe haven designed to properly meet their requirements and ensure happier, healthier futures while in the protective custody of caring and attentive individuals who cater to the special needs of wild animals in captivity. Mountain lions, tigers, an African lion, wolves, leopards, and a menagerie of smaller mammals including several cervals, a bobcat, a bushbaby, a caracal, a Siberian lynx, a jungle cat, an assortment of birds including fancy chickens and geese and even a Madagascar Hissing cockroach call the Wild Reserve home. All eight of the Reserve’s beloved tigers are treated to luxurious, weekly bubble baths, providing the big cats clean, pest-free coats and hours of necessary enrichment. Guests are given “no-cameras-allowed” guided tours of the seven-acre compound by experienced wildlife professionals who introduce every species and share each animal’s biography; they meet and enjoy close interaction with many of the resident exotics, including precious Onyx, the Reserve’s beloved black leopard who beat cancer but lost a leg in the process, gaining star status when Ripley’s Believe it or Not featured her fascinating story on their national television show.

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Fort Matanzas

Fort Montanza

Credit St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches CVB

Groups on Sunshine State excursion exploring historic St. Augustine area landmarks and points of interest won’t want to miss this well-preserved part of the Florida National Park System, a somewhat small and primitive yet crucial monument commemorating the Spanish phase of Colonial American history. For centuries, Coastal Florida was a major field of conflict as European nations fought for control in the New World and tiny coquina-stone Fort Matanzas, a seven – man, five – cannon structure with a 1500 gallon fresh water cistern built into the rear of the gundeck fiercely guarded Matanzas Inlet, the “back door” to the “Oldest City” of St. Augustine. Although the Fort was originally built on just two acres of land, time, tides and the hand of man have contributed to the island’s growth to nearly 200 acres, today known as Rattlesnake Island. This fascinating landmark is accessible only by ferry and complimentary park service – guided character tours are offered on the hour, acquainting you with the pristine natural surroundings while bringing Fort Matanzas’ important history to life. Imagine yourself a soldier assigned to this fortified watchtower; close your eyes, and listen to what this very early part of our Nation’s history has to tell you.

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Colonial Quarter

Groups on Sunshine State getaway won’t want to miss out on an afternoon at the Colonial Quarter—a fascinating, two-acre signature attraction in the very heart of St. Augustine’s historic downtown district. Enjoy a fabulously immersive foray into the rich and culturally-diverse past of the Nation’s Oldest City with a narrated Historical Adventure Tour, or wander the grounds at your leisure and see three centuries of city life unfurl with every step. Climb to the top of a 35-foot, 17th century-style watchtower and imagine you’re a Spanish soldier on duty – are you seeing what he saw? Stroll the colorful Flags of St. Augustine Boardwalk, watch skilled boatwrights at work crafting a 16th Century sailing vessel, find shady refuge beneath a mighty Colonial Oak in the center of the 18th Century Garrison Town or thrill to live musket and cannon firing drills. Enjoy savory tapas in a charming, candle lit taberna atmosphere or classic pub fare from a sunny deck overlooking the hustle and bustle of famed St. George Street. Drop by a colonial leatherwork shop, see a 1770’s printing press at work, dig for buried 16th Century artifacts, witness a blacksmith bent over his anvil and visit the carefully restored one-room colonial De Mesa-Sanchez house and an authentic 17th Century soldier’s home. Don’t forget a stop at the Mercado for that perfect memento of your Colonial Quarter experience!

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Ghostly Experience Walking Tour

Groups visiting the Old City in search of a little *extraordinary* after-dark entertainment will definitely enjoy one of area historian Sandy Craig’s wildly popular “Ghostly Experience Tours.” More than 20 years ago she realized groups lodging in St. Augustine overnight desperately needed a safe, fun evening activity. She and a few local writers and researchers put their heads together, investigated endless stories and photos, files, documents and diaries and designed a guided tour based on verifiable ghost “sightings” and other odd occurrences in the historic city, today considered a hotbed of paranormal activity. Her eerily fun tours met instant success! Expert guides usher guests down narrow, centuries-old cobblestone streets, by dim lantern light, searching for any glimpse of the supernatural. Participants are regaled with terrifying true stories of St. Augustine’s “dark side,” learn actual “haunting habits,” pick up a few tried-and-true spirit-spotting tips and are advised to “be on the lookout for swooping lights, unearthly fog and ghostly shadows in the night,” phenomena which have actually been witnessed at the “haunted” sites Sandy’s groups visit. Why do these spirits linger still, and occasionally appear to humans? Tours depart every night at 8pm, rain or shine, and last approximately 75 minutes; be prepared to spend the rest of your St. Augustine getaway pondering possible answers!

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Alligator Farm

Maximo from the Alligator Farm

Credit Alligator Farm

What began in the late nineteenth century as a small exhibition of native Florida reptiles ultimately evolved into the quintessential Sunshine State attraction. The Alligator Farm, today, functions as a modern zoo serving the public and scientific community, alike, with an array of entertaining productions and displays and ongoing research and conservation efforts. Wildlife shows like Florida’s Forest Friends, Realm of the Alligator and the Rainforest Review capture visitors in their thrall while fascinating exhibits like the Birds of Africa, Florida Native Reptile and Animal House and the Wading Bird Rookery provide wonderful up-close and personal opportunities to view and even interact with the Farm’s residents in their natural habitats. Encounter rare and mysterious Albino Alligators –legend has it simply gazing upon these legendary creatures will bring good luck – and pay a visit to 18 foot Gomek, one of the largest crocs to have ever lived at a zoo. Adventurous types with a need for speed may opt for an aerial view of the zoo’s birds and beasts as they zip through the sky and tackle more than 50 crazy obstacles on their choice of two thrilling Crocodile Crossing adventures. Once you’re back on “terrifying firma” in search of a “bite,” Toucantina tenders tasty tidbits and frosty refreshments certain to wet parched whistles and satisfy even the wildest appetites – chow down in the shade overlooking a friendly crew of Galapogos Tortoises doing their very cool regal reptile thing!

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Oldest Lighthouse & Museum


Credit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

The historic city of St. Augustine is the site of the oldest navigational aid in the United States; the original, a Spanish watchtower, was converted into Florida’s first lighthouse in 1824. A second lighthouse was completed in 1874 to replace its predecessor, taken by the sea after a long battle with erosion in 1880. Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron, it rises an impressive, candy-striped 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps; its massive lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape 12 feet tall and six feet wide. Visitors to the Old City are invited on self-guided tours of the Lighthouse, Museum and Shipyard Playground, with a variety of fabulous, fun and informative guided tours offered to enhance an already fascinating experience. Climb to the top and enjoy stunning 360 degree views of St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean; be regaled with the colorful stories of lightkeepers, sailors and fishermen who’ve shaped and protected the coast of Florida for more than 500 years and ponder centuries of maritime history and trivia as you marvel at three stories of intriguing exhibits and authentic artifacts, many from the sites of old shipwrecks.

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