Kids Activities in St. Augustine
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 by Margaret Wallis
St. Augustine is an amazing place to make childhood memories, and is the setting for many of my own. My family and I loved visiting here when I was a kid, and we spent quite a few weekends tent camping at Anastasia State Park and enjoying the variety of kids activities offered in the nation’s oldest city.
I remember days on the beach, hiking the park’s sandy trails, and making up ghost stories as we strolled the city’s historic streets. I remember racing my older brother up the stairs of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. But most of all, I remember the way the city captured my imagination, the sense of adventure, and the feeling of stepping back in time to a different world when we visited St. Augustine.
Kids of all ages will enjoy taking in the view from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
Whether you’re local or looking for a great place to make summer memories as a family, there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained in St. Augustine, and visitors will find no shortage of family-friendly places to stay.
Tour the Town
For shorter stays, or for an easy adventure that will keep the kids entertained on a dog day of summer, hop aboard one of St. Augustine’s popular tour vehicles, Old Town Trolleys or Ripley’s Red Trains.
These tours are a great way to see much of what St. Augustine has to offer in a short amount of time. With stops all over town, there are tons of things to do with kids along the way, from attractions and historic sites to shopping and restaurants. Some family-friendly stops on the tours include Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the Castillo de San Marcos, and the Pirate and Treasure Museum.
Both tour companies offer free parking, which is a contested commodity in the popular little old city. The tours begin and end where you park, making navigating a breeze.
Hop off at the tours’ family-friendly stops, and hitch a ride when the little ones’ feet start to get tired. The pace of the tours is leisurely, the tour guides are knowledgeable, and the open design of the trains and trolleys even catches welcome breezes on Florida’s hot summer days.
Keep kids entertained with a scavenger hunt with St. Augustine Scavenger Hunters while shopping and dining in the historic district.
Don’t let the heat discourage you from planning outdoor activities with the kids this summer. St. Augustine is host to plenty of parks and beaches that feature ways to beat the heat and get out of the sun.
Davenport Park is conveniently located just a few minutes north of downtown St. Augustine on San Marco Avenue. This park features a play area shaded by an oak canopy, and also boasts an antique carousel that offers $1 rides for kids seven days a week.
If you’re sticking close to the downtown area, Project Swing Park, pictured below, is right across from the parking garage near Francis Field. The park boasts a large play area with a big wooden playground complete with slides, swings, and even outdoor musical instruments.
If you’re looking for a park where you can entertain the kids and bring the dogs along, Davis Park features two fenced dog parks in addition to four stocked fishing ponds where kids under age 12 may enjoy catch-and-release fishing. The park is just one of many great places for fishing in St. Augustine, and it’s the perfect place for little ones to learn to fish.
If the kids are still too little to catch a wave, or sand isn’t your scene, there are plenty of other places to swim and play in the water in St. Augustine. The Splash Park at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier is a popular spot for little ones.
Fort Menendez offers the best of both worlds with indoor and outdoor activities for families. Kids will enjoy the museum's hands-on activities that offer a fun and interactive approach to learning about the history of the fort and St. Augustine's early settlers.
Kids can learn about St. Augustine's Spanish Colonial history at Fort Menendez.
For kids of all ages who love nature and wildlife, the Alligator Farm Zoological Park is home to native and exotic reptiles, birds, and other animals. The conservation park also boasts a zipline adventure course that will excite even the the most blasé adolescent. Who could resist Instagramming themselves zipping over a pool of hungry gators?
After all these outdoor summer activities, kids will definitely want to cool down with a sweet treat. There’s no shortage of places to grab a cone of your favorite flavor of ice cream in St. Augustine. Tedi’s Old Tyme Ice Cream a visitor favorite, and Cold Cow is a local favorite. For dairy-free treats, try The Hyppo’s fresh fruit popsicles or Italian ice from Rita’s near St. Augustine beach.
Indoor and Air-Conditioned Activities for Kids
There are plenty of ways to keep cool on a hot day in St. Augustine, including air-conditioned attractions that can give you just enough relief to carry on.
Potter’s Wax Museum, pictured below, is a great place for families to step inside, cool down, and have a blast interacting with some of their favorite famous figures and characters.
The Fountain of Youth is a St. Augustine must-see, and kids will love feeding the attraction’s resident peacocks (after enjoying the A.C. in the Fountain of Youth’s Planetarium and Discovery Globe).
Night Activities for Kids
After a day of outdoor activities with kids, there are still plenty of family-friendly events in the evenings in St. Augustine throughout the summer. Take in one of the Castillo by Candlelight events or visit for the Fourth of July fireworks show.
Music by the Sea concerts take place at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier.
For kids who love a good ghost story, the train and trolley tours also offer ghoulish ghost tours after the sun goes down. Old Town Trolley’s Ghosts & Gravestones Tours pass many of the famously haunted buildings in the downtown area, and offers its brave participants a chance to visit the Old Jail, pictured below, for some ghost-hunting.
The Ripley’s Ghost Train will delight thrill-seekers with an 80-minute paranormal investigation style tour that employs electric and magnetic field meters and laser grids to detect spirits haunting St. Augustine’s historic streets. (These tours can be a little scary, so parental discretion is advised.)
From playgrounds to pirates to the pursuit of the paranormal, there's something for kids of every age to enjoy in the old city. Whether you choose playing on one of the area's beautiful beaches or exploring the myriad of local attractions, families will find no shortage of things to do with kids, and summer's refrains of "I'm bored!" will become a thing of the past in historic St. Augustine.