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Free Things To Do In St. Augustine

See great stuff in St. Augustine for FREE or next to nothing


By Bill Wheeler


FREE is my favorite 4-letter word. Just ask my friends if "Wheeler gets a deal." But sometimes it's not about getting a deal, it's just looking for the right opportunities. For example, there are so many free (or very inexpensive) things to do in St. Augustine that often go unanswered. I want to take a few moments here to share some of the local secrets that will give you a great time while keeping that hard-earned cash still in your pocket. Most of these attractions may be familiar to you, but you may not have known how affordable (or free) they could be. You will need to provide proof of residency, like a driver's license or ID card to get free admission. Now the disclaimers, the prices that are shown below are when we went and are subject to change at any time, so if it is a little higher when you go, it's still a deal!


The Spanish Military Hospital (Aviles Street) ~ Learn about how the Spanish in colonial times were actually about 400 years ahead of the British! This ~45 minute tour will astound you at how advanced medicine was during this period and is the only tour that covers the second Spanish period in St. Augustine. This is a very inexpensive tour at $7.50 (plus tax), and St. John's residents get free admission.


The Lightner Museum (King Street) ~ This collection of collections is truly a delight, across from Flagler College (more on that in a minute), was once one of the premier hotels in Florida, now housing fine furniture, porcelains, statutes, antique jewelry of every imaginable kind. Be prepared to do some walking, this is an extensive collection spanning several floors. Admission is $10 for adults, students are $5, but St. John's residents are free. Prices will have tax added.


Ripley's Believe it or Not (San Marco) ~ This "odditorium" lives up to it's name, with a collection of over 800 exhibits on 3 floors Prices include $15.99 for Adults, $9.99 for children 5-11, children 4 and under are free. It's only $8.00 for St. John's residents. All prices will have tax added, but there are combo deals if you want to add mini-golf or to ride the Big Red Train (see website for details).


Farmer's Market (St. Augustine Pier Parking Lot) ~ Every Wednesday morning local farmers, artisans and crafters offer their wares, there is something for everyone. Free to all. 


Farmer's Market (St. Augustine Amphitheater Parking Lot) ~ Every Saturday morning you can find fresh produce, honeys, crafts and more at one of the larger farmer's markets in the area. Free for all to attend.
Bill at the Pier


Music at the Pier (St. Augustine Pier Parking Lot) ~ Every Wednesday night starting around Memorial Day and running through September/early October there is a free concert that starts at 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This is a great venue and local restaurants have food and desserts available. Parking is a premium, so come early if you want to park at the pier parking lot. However, Sax's big orange bus shuttles spectators from the St. Augustine City Hall to pier on a regular basis for a nominal fee, or free if you are a St. Augustine Beach Civic Association Member ($10 annual) that also gives you discounts to many area businesses. Bring a picnic basket (see our article on Music at the Pier by clicking here) or try a dinner from one of the local vendors. Free for all, but consider joining the Association that subsidizes this effort, just look for the tent and the volunteers. Just look us up look for our "island."


St. Augustine Distillery (King Street) ~ Offers free tours of their distillery, but it is interesting to note they are a sustainable business, sourcing raw materials from the local community everywhere possible, and there is a groundswell of community there. There is a bar and restaurant upstairs, but the tour takes you backstage to the mechanics of how the spirits are made. This tour culminates with tasting their finest in traditional cocktails and, of course, you end up in the gift shop, where if you are lucky, the owners are on hand to autograph your bottles! Free to all, but must be of legal drinking age to "sample."


Oldest House (Francis St.) ~ The González-Alvarez House is an absolute must visit place on you tour of St. Augustine. See how this house evolved over the centuries from it's most meager beginnings as a home for a soldado (Spanish for soldier) through the various renovations and additions today. It is a prime location for weddings and events as the grounds are lovely, and there is a separate building featuring maps of Florida over the centuries as well. Free admission to St. John's residents with ID, but it is still affordable at $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and military (with ID), student $4.00 (with ID).


Flagler College (King Street) ~ Now housing a local landmark of Flagler College. One of the best values in education, this private college used to be the first luxury hotel in Florida. but by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. He wanted every room to be different so guests would have a different experience in each room. Take the walking tour of the hotel and property to see how elaborate the gilded age genuinely was. This is a free tour for St. John's residents.


San Sebastian Winery (King Street) This is a free tour for everyone, and those of age can sample the various libations the winery has to offer. There is a short film explaining the history of winemaking in Florida which is very interesting, and of course you can purchase your favorites to take home.


We will have updates to this list as we are made aware of them. If you know of a venue that is free to attend, or offer's special discounts, please let me know. You can email me at billw@wheelervacations.com and I will certainly update this list.


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