6 Things You Love/Hate About St. Augustine

If you live or have lived in the nation's oldest city, this post is for you! Read below to find out everything great and not so great about living in St. Augustine.

  • The Bridge

    We hate the Bridge because…

    it truly is “The Worst Bridge in the Entire World.” The bridge hates everyone, but it especially hates those who are actually on time for Work/Church/School/Dinner. The Bridge purposely goes up in order to add 10 minutes or more to anyone’s commute. Not only does it choose to let ships pass at the busiest times of the day — like 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. — but it also creates a super long line of traffic because guess what, it's a single lane both ways that also permits bicyclists. Which we’ll get to later.

    Next time you're stuck on the bridge, use the "Stuck on the Bridge" location from the photo map on Instagram. Just make sure your phone is away when the light turns green.

    We love the Bridge because...

    when it goes up, it’s an amazing moment to relax. I’ll admit, sometimes during a beautiful sunrise or sunset, I’m secretly praying for the bridge to go up so I get that chance to snap a photo. It's nice to step out of the car and enjoy the scenery, taking in the beautiful vision that is St. Augustine. Not to mention the classic bridge isn’t just a lump of concrete and metal. There’s an artistry to its Venice-style spires and marble lions, making it both functional and beautiful.


    We hate cyclists because...

    they think they deserve to be in the same lane as cars. We’re almost accidentally hitting them all the time and always telling them to wear helmets (but seriously! Wear a helmet!). Let’s face it, St. Augustine is bike-friendly — TOO bike-friendly. With pristine beaches, gorgeous neighborhoods on the water, European-style streets too small for cars; our city design begs for its locals and visitors to be perched on Schwinns. It's a wonder anyone still drives.

    We love cyclists because…

    frankly, it’s nice to live in a bike-friendly town. It’s nice to ride around neighborhoods, nice to not worry about parking, nice to be green, and get exercise. For that exact reason, St. Augustine is a perfect city for cycling with its level altitude, bike lanes, and trails. Plus, imagine how bad traffic would be if everyone who was on a bike or in a trolley were actually in a car. So, thank you, cyclists, for not being another car in front of me.


    We hate St. Augustine’s smallness because…

    only in St. Augustine will you run into the same people you least want to see on a weekly basis. St. Augustine is the epitome of small-town life. Anyone you don’t recognize on the street is probably on vacation. Everyone’s in each other’s business, and getting a large event to come to your city is extremely difficult. Plus, good luck meeting people, because getting involved with an actual organized group that isn’t just your niche of friends feels relatively pointless, even to the people running the show. Everything is just too small. Shops, restaurants, and various services often have odd hours, are not open on Sundays, and sometimes are pretty inconvenient.

    We love St. Augustine’s smallness because…

    being in a small town is now mainstream, kind of like Portland, Oregon. Our smallness is attractive to the point where even Mumford and Sons saw value in our quaintness. God forbid St. Augustine ever got big from all of Henry Flagler’s work, because then it probably would have lost what it was – the oldest city, a small town, a beautiful example of early European settlements in Florida. We have flourishing small businesses, local flavor, and more than enough farmer's markets, festivals, and art shows to stock a calendar (b.t.w. visit our Calendar to see all those previously mentioned events.) St. Augustine could have been obliterated by skyscrapers and nightclubs and offices, but it wasn’t. And we like it that way.

    Tourist Town

    We hate living in a tourist town because…

    sometimes we have bad days, and those days are only aggravated by more traffic due to tourists, or even better, a near accident because a visitor wasn’t aware they were driving on a one-way street, or crossing in the middle of the road. The visitors pack our restaurants (most of which do not take reservations) and so attempting to eat out on any given weekend in the historic district is quite a feat. Also visiting our much-loved attractions becomes a crowd-control test when thousands of visitors descend upon the Castillo, the downtown area, the lighthouse, and the many other points of interest in the city at the same time on a Friday afternoon.

    We love living in a tourist town because…

    we love our city. Truly and honestly if you are living in St. Augustine on purpose, it's because you love it here and you want to share this love with everyone you have ever met (or haven't met). We love the visitors because they open our sometimes closed "lived-here for-too-long" resident-eyes. The tourists point out the things easily missed, like the quaintness of the small coquina walls, and the really amazing 400+-year-old Castillo, or the scenic beaches, just to name a few. We also love tourists because they help us locals spread the word about the greatest little city on the water (St. Augustine)! Not only is our tourist town gifted with a limitless amount of sights and things to do, but it's also a good reason for family and friends to visit us.

    Brick Roads

    We hate the brick roads because...

    they’re lumpy, patchy, murder on your tire rotation, and impossible to navigate in heels. The roads are narrow, just barely passable for vehicles (and some completely impassable with some vehicles). Good luck parallel parking on the south end of St. George Street, or ever feeling like your car is close enough to the curb until you hit the curb. Oh, and have fun stepping into a lake as you leave your car.

    We love the brick roads because…

    they’re unique. It’s hard to find a city in America with such an ancient feel to it. Any visitor or local can feel like they’re in Europe navigating these cobblestone roads. They make for amazing Instagram pics and wedding photos, and their allure continues to draw people in. In fact, the roads are so nice that walking could be considered the most popular pastime in St. Augustine.

    For more information on wedding photographers who can snap you and your wedding party walking down classic, old-timey brick roads, click here.


    We hate parking because…

    it’s virtually non-existent. Anyone who has ever been anywhere has struggled with parking. When you least need it there are 17 spots open, and when you are running late you are almost considering parking on the sidewalk. The city tries to offer parking but always charges for it. This makes going downtown for locals a bit tiresome and annoying, and it's the main reason that before committing to anything, we always ask "Will there be parking?"  Parking is such a big challenge here that we have an article dedicated to it, "Parking In St. Augustine." Don't miss it as there are some good tips.

    We love parking because…

    as bad as it can be, it’s not New York City. By some miracle, we always find a parking space somehow. Many locals have figured out what the best times to park, and where all the secret lots are. We know what lots don't get checked by parking officials during certain times of the day, and that the city stops charging after 5 p.m., so that is great for dinner (and happy hour). Plus, sometimes if you just talk to business owners with large lots, they will let you park for free for a few hours. After all, we are in this parking situation together!

    Everyone complains about where they live, and no place is perfect, but seriously, St. Augustine is getting pretty close.

  • Comments or Questions?

    Gettting ready to retire and looking at the St. AUgustine area. Need to look closer a little south of the area. Need to look at Villano beach. However my wife and I desire it more than on the ocean in New Jersey. If you have any sugggestions we are open.
    Thank You, Dr. Terrance Coleman

    Nice article for hope to be new home!

    Nice article, consider myself local after moving here from the UK last year :)

    I read your comment on the website visitstaugustine I am thinking about moving there how do you like it? I have family 1 hour away and she says I would love it there.

    Coming down for vacation in about 6 months to see if I want to make St Augustine my Retirement home. Heard lots of good things. I can't wait.

    Loved your take on all things St. Augustine. My husband and I try to spend a long weekend here each January for our anniversary. We are in love with the town. Have seriously been considering getting a small place for retirement to split time between the GA mountains and St. Augustine. Nice to hear how a local feels about living there.

    I mostly liked this good job on this

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Updated: Friday, September 18, 2020

Sarah & Alex

Alex Pooler and Sarah Worthington love St. Augustine deeply. Through their adventures they have amassed a large collection of valuable knowledge. They love collaborating together and sharing their superior wisdom with you, the much loved reader.