12 Insider Reasons to Visit St. Augustine in September
St. Augustine is a great place to visit in September. School is back and things are a bit quieter in the historic district. The wet season scares away the mass hordes of tourists, so visitors can expect much better prices on lodging. And even though it's rainier, summer weather is still very much in full swing in September; so those beach days stay hot, but they're more likely to cool off when the sun goes down. You might even have the opportunity to wear that newly purchased "St. Augustine" hoodie this month.
If you've got a heart full of wanderlust where nothing can rain on your parade, if you've conquered the Scottish highlands or Portland, Oregon and have had a grand old time, if you are a financially savvy traveler happy to save a buck and enjoy a calm tourism season, or if you just appreciate the idea of snuggling in a cozy bed and breakfast with a book or drinking a glass of wine on a patio as you listen to rain fall on the cobblestone streets—then, my friend, September is your month.
If all this isn't enough to convince you that rain or shine, St. Augustine is an amazing place to spend a vacation in September, then buckle up. We have a number of other great reasons to justify your trip here.
1. The Lines are Short and The Beach is Less Full
School just went back into session so you won’t see as many families around St. Augustine in September, and let's be honest, there's a lot of people in families. Now don't get me wrong, we love families! Families are great and we're very happy that people are getting married and having children and bringing those children to St. Augustine. But St. Augustine prides itself on its "small town" feel, so when that small town is filled with thousands of tiny tourists in the summer months, it can be a bit overwhelming for someone looking to use their paid vacation days to escape the chaos of everyday life.
Come September, parents are busy with the start of school and trying to get back into a routine. Vacations to the beach are not making it to their list of things to do this month. So, with that large demographic occupied, less people around means there are more open spaces on the beach for you. Whether you're retired, single, traveling with friends, or you belong to any other smaller demographic of traveler, you'll have a lot more moving room in the nation's oldest city.
If you are up for a bit of shopping you can expect shorter lines and a breezier St. George Street. You can also expect a shorter wait time at local restaurants that might have been 30-minutes earlier this year.
If you're wanting "to avoid the crowds and queues, then September's the month for you...s."
2. Easy Season
Because the city is entering into a more relaxed season, it's known as '"easy season." Many local attractions and hotels are offering special discount rates for September. Along with generally lower prices, discounts are given at many locations to Seniors, Government and Military as well as AARP and others—be sure to ask! Here are some of the money-saving deals I found for you:
- With a photo ID, St. Johns County residents can ride the Old Town Trolley Tour, visit Potters Wax Museum, The Oldest Store and the Jail for free until the end of September.
- Ripley’s Believe it or not is offering a Senior Special. If you buy one ticket at regular price, you will get the second for only $10.
- Beacher’s Lodge is offering a "Pay for 3, Stay 4" deal starting now through October 31st, excluding Labor Day Weekend.
- On September weekends at the Bayfront Westcott House, guests can stay Friday and Saturday at regular rates, and add Thursday or Sunday for just $99 + enjoy some free goodies.
- Use the promo code: ADVPUR to save 15% when you book 2 or more nights at The Collector, promo code: SELECT to save 15% and receive 2 complimentary cocktails on select dates, and promo code: ARRIVE when you book 2+ nights Sunday through Thursday to get 2 free cocktails and free valet parking.
- Use promo code: 9981531003 at TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine and find rooms for $99 a night.
- When you book 2 nights mid-week at St. Francis Inn B&B or Casa de Suenos B&B type in offer code: Midweek Special for a free sunset sail on the Schooner Freedom, and a free $30 gift certificate to Meehan's Irish Pub.
- Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast is offering mid-week booking specials from 15–20% off. Check their site for promo codes.
- Get free freshly made ice cream every Wednesday and complimentary margaritas every Thursday when you stay at the Bayfront Marin House.
- Book 2 or more nights with At Journey's End B&B and get $10 off the regular rate for each night.
- Stay at the St. George Inn during easy season and get a complimentary glass of wine and keepsake Bin 39 wine glass.
3. It’s Still Warm Outside...
Even with the more-than-occasional September shower, the month is still warm and sunny in St. Augustine. The average temperatures decrease as the month goes on, but the average low on the last day of the month is still in the comfortable 70s. If you were hoping to hang pool side and check out some places to swim, you still have a chance to! The water is usually around 80 degrees in September—pretty warm compared to the 65 degree norm in the northeastern states. The warmer temperatures allow for beach days even late into the fall, and you know you want to take advantage of that.
4. ...But It’s Not Scorching Hot Anymore
Although it's nice and warm out, it's definitely not as scorchingly hot as July and August. September means no more back-to-back 100-degree days that come with a sunburn guarantee. No more desperately going through every trick in the book trying to keep cool. The month brings just enough cloud coverage to keep things in St. Augustine from overheating.
If you are hoping to walk around town and enjoy the outdoors, now's the time to do it. It’s still warm, but you won’t have to worry about passing out from heat exhaustion after minutes in the sun. You could even go on that afternoon jog over the Bridge of Lions and not melt into a puddle of complete sweat now that the temperature is dropping! Maybe even register for the Endless Summer Run.
5. Blooming Flowers, NOT Falling Leaves
While most of the United States is watching their autumn leaves change color and fall, we in St. Augustine are watching our flowers bloom during Easy Season. Birds of Paradise, hibiscus, and other native tropical plants are green and thriving with new buds. The lush landscaping throughout downtown will be the perfect photo accent to your family photo in front of the Lightner Museum or on St. George Street. And it’s definitely the right time of the year to make that trip down to Washington Oaks Gardens.
Tropical plants like Birds of Paradise are in full bloom in downtown St. Augustine.
6. September Brings Festivals & Events
With it no longer being 100 degrees outside, the festivals, events, and races are starting back up again in the nation’s oldest city. Depending on your interests, St. Augustine is sure to have an event that’s right up your alley. A big one to enjoy is the Sing Out Loud! Music Festival! It's free, it's local, and it draws a big crowd. The Sing Out Loud Festival brings together musical acts from all over the country for a free concert series. Performances will take place at multiple venues throughout the area. Here are some of the bigger events going on this month locally:
- Spanish Wine Festival celebrates St. Augustine Spanish heritage with a variety of food and wine events, including the hilarious Batalla de Vino where contestants shoot each other with wine-filled spritzers (see photo above).
- The 2nd Annual Sing Out Loud Music Festival is on its way to becoming one of the major music events in Florida. It happens on three successive weekends in September (8 - 10, 15 - 17, 22 - 24) with FREE concerts at multiple venues around St. Augustine.
- The Florida Heritage Book Festival brings together regional writers and book-lovers to celebrate Florida’s literary voice.
- Go for your personal record on a 5K or 10K on the beach as part of the Endless Summer Runs.
7. Fall Seasonal Items Released
Most people will make a trip to St. Augustine for their summer beach vacations, but what's become real popular (or, at least more popular than usual) is beer. Although the season is called “Oktoberfest,” the festival actually starts towards the end of September, and there are few better places than St. Augustine, Florida to welcome the season. Florida is becoming one of the fastest growing craft beer markets in the country, with breweries like Ancient City Brewing, Bold City, Intuition, Engine 15, Veteran's United, and more in Jacksonville alone.
Similar to the annually awaited Pumpkin Spice Latte (referred to as a PSL by many), people can't wait to head to the bar to grab a fall seasonal ale. A1A Ale Works has a rotating tap that features a lot of the local Florida craft beers, as well as national favorites. One of the beers arriving mid-September is Green Room Brewing's Count Shakula.
Hoptinger on Anastasia Island is prepping for Oktoberfest in September with award-winning German beers on tap -- Hofbrau Original and Hofbrau Dunkel, as well as the Erdinger Original and Erdinger Dunkel.
8. Surf’s Up
A St Augustine September typically gets better waves then other months of the year. It is hurricane season after all, and a tropical storm 200 miles off the coast can give St. Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach a good little swell. Luckily for anyone not yearning for a storm to pass by our state, there is ample warning given by NOAA when a hurricane is brewing. The warnings will provide you with enough time to reschedule or delay your trip a bit if needed.
Sign up for Surf Lessons and take in a bit of beach culture in St. Augustine.
9. You May See a Sea Turtle
Nesting season for the endangered Sea Turtle is May 1st through October 31st. You will see the nests clearly marked on the beach with signs to keep your distance. If you are one for early morning or nightly strolls on the beach you just might cross paths with a Sea Turtle. If you see one, do not shine a light on them, and stay back at least 30 feet. These little babies and their mothers are adorable, but the least human intrusion they have the better off they will be at finding their way as nature intended.
A baby Sea Turtle makes his way to the ocean.
10. Seafood & Fishing
September is the first “R” month after a long summer of "no oysters" for many people like me who follow old wives tales. For those who don’t know, the wives tale suggests eating oysters in months that have an “R” in it like, November, December, January, and of course, September.
Not only are the oysters coming back into season, but other seafood specialties like redfish are still biting, putting up fights, and making fisherman smile. Whether you are looking to eat from the local waters or go off shore for a fishing charter, September is a great month for it. We have a number of professional fishing charter companies in town ready to take you out into the Atlantic Ocean, or stay inshore for a shorter trip.
A relaxing morning of fishing by the inlet is good for the soul
11. No Fees for Beach Driving Monday –Thursday
In addition to the comfortable temperatures and significantly fewer people in town, September brings fewer beach tolls for those who want to drive and park their car right on the beach. Starting after Labor Day beach tolls are only charged on the weekends in September. Check out the St. Johns County Beaches app for more information on beach access points.
12. History is Alive
We have a few living history events that happen in September, including the biggest one for our city: Founders Day! Although the reenactment is on the first Saturday of the month, the actually landing was on the 8th. Toast the city of St. Augustine’s birthday during Easy Season by doing something special like visiting the landing site, snapping a selfie with Pedro Menendez at Potter's Wax Museum, or chowing down on some Menendez chocolate from Whetstone's. Another historical reenactment visitors can check out in September 2017 is the 452nd Anniversary of the First Muster. At this event, which recognizes the birth of the Florida National Guard, visitors can learn about the military arts of the period
Re-enactments of Pedro Menendez discovering St. Augustine 452 years ago.
If you don’t live in St. Augustine you should consider a trip to this historic beach front town in September. You can even wear your white pants after Labor Day. No judgments.
Cover photo courtesy of FloridasHistoricCoast.com.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SOMEWHERE TO STAY IN ST. AUGUSTINE FOR YOUR TRIP?
- Bella Bay Inn: Sitting on the historic bayfront, the Bella Bay Inn has suites with fully equipped kitchens, elegant pastel rooms, and a central location.
- Casa de Solano: Located on Aviles Street, this historic B & B will make you feel like you are staying at a luxury home in the early 1900’s.
- At Journey’s End: A five room modern boutique located in the Historic Distric of Downtown St. Augustine. The private porches would be a great place to enjoy a morning coffee while people watching.
- Regency Inn & Suites: If the weather is less than ideal, take a dip in this hotel's indoor pool, and enjoy St. Augustine Beach restaurants and shops just steps away.
This article was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated to reflect current information on events and things to enjoy in St. Augustine in September 2017.