What are the five best things to see and do in St. Augustine?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Since St. Augustine is one of the oldest cities in the nation (the debate continues on whether it is the oldest), many of its attractions focus on its rich past. While you're here, don't miss the following:

1. Castillo de San Marcos. Once flanked by two forts — Fort Mose on the north (the structure is no longer there) and Fort Matanzas on the south — Castillo de San Marcos is the center of the city's historic defense. Like the town of St. Augustine, the 20.5-acre monument site is a reminder of what the old world was like under the Spanish Empire (then considered the "New World"). The architectural wonder is made of coquina (a hard-to-find type of limestone) and includes the original city gate. It is one of the most popular sites in the city.

2. The lighthouse. On one of the countless sunny days, head over to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and peer out as far over the Atlantic. The 1870s lighthouse beams all the way across the harbor and is still fully operational. Kids at least 44 inches tall are allowed to climb the lighthouse tower; those under 12 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.

3. The Fountain of Youth. To relive the past, head straight to the Fountain of Youth, one of the city's oldest tourist attractions (and always a crowd-pleaser). Almost 500 years old, the Fountain of Youth serves paper cups full of its famous water to help you turn back time. But you won't want to sip any more than that — the sulfur-tinged water tastes rather vile, but eternal youth comes at a price.

4. Old Town. The Dow Museum of Historic Houses offers a collection of historic homes. The nine houses here date from 1790 to 1910 and include artifacts, antiques, pictures and turn-of-the-century collectibles. One abode that you’ll want to check out is the Prince Murat House, where Napoleon's nephew Achille Murat is said to have boarded.

5. San Sebastian Winery. For more adult fun, go to San Sebastian Winery. The St. Augustine winery offers free 45-minute-long tours that include tastings.

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