Parking in St. Augustine
It’s easy to love visiting St. Augustine, for its charming old buildings and narrow brick streets, its beautiful beaches, its art galleries and shopping, and its position as an up-and-coming destination to hear music, eat fine food, and dive into over 450 years of history.
What’s not easy to love is trying to find a parking space here! Unfortunately, it’s the very age of the city that makes this so difficult. Those same picturesque narrow brick streets don’t leave much room for parking spaces, and the downtown buildings, built so charmingly close together in an age when that was essential for a colonial town, leave no room for parking lots. So all those things that make up its considerable charm also make getting around downtown St. Augustine a bit of a nuisance, especially during busy times like Nights of Lights.
Here’s everything you need to know about parking year-round in the nation’s oldest city, along with maps that are linked to the corresponding Google maps. Just tap on the map to see it an interactive version!
City Parking Garage
If you’re coming into town for the day, your best bet is definitely St. Augustine’s Historic Downtown Parking Facility. There’s plenty of room (spaces for 1,200 vehicles) and it’s open every day of the year except Christmas. Visitors can park here for $12 per vehicle for the whole day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The parking garage is conveniently located at 1 Cordova Street, just across the courtyard from the Visitor Information Center (10 W. Castillo Drive). This convenient location gives visitors access to St. George Street, the pedestrian walkway in the heart of the downtown district, and most of the museums, attractions, shops and restaurants in town.
Handicapped spaces are available in the garage, and you do not have to pay a fee to park in a handicapped space. There’s also motorcycle parking available there.
City Metered Parking
We all know people who pride themselves on always being able to find a parking spot within a few steps of their destination. The annoying thing about those people is that they usually come through on their promise. But for those of us who are still circling the block, there’s still hope, and some facts you need to know about parking on the street in St. Augustine.
The city of St. Augustine provides a mix of metered street parking and lot parking with pay stations. All official city parking areas are designated with the city crest on the meter or pay station. The rate for parking on the street or in city-owned lots is $1.50 per hour.
Here is a map that shows all the locations where parking is offered by the city of St. Augustine, with the street parking locations showing an orange P and the lots showing a blue B.
On-street parking spaces with individual meters are available along many downtown streets. The meters take coins only, and the maximum time limit is three hours. However, street parking is free after 5 p.m. every day and all day on Sundays and federal holidays.
City-owned lots, where a meter pay station services the whole lot. Don’t let the pay station intimidate you … all you need to do is slip in your debit or credit card (they do take bills as well), punch in the amount of time you expect you’ll be there (there's a four-hour limit), and then take the receipt the machine gives you and place it (face up!) on the dash of your car.
Parking with a handicapped placard or handicapped license plate is free at any city-owned meter or pay-station and at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility. When entering the Historic Downtown Parking Facility the person who owns the placard must be with you. Here are the handicapped parking locations:
In an effort to encourage and facilitate a greater use of bicycles around town, the city of St. Augustine has expanded its bicycle parking areas. You can download a map of bicycle rack locations here.
Park and Ride Shuttles (peak visitation periods only)
During the very busiest times of the year — on select dates during the annual Nights of Lights and during some one-time celebrations, like the city’s 450th Celebration in 2015 — the city provides a free park and ride shuttle service where visitors can park in lots just outside the historic area and ride a shuttle into town. This service is available for Nights of LIghts in 2016 on Saturdays in the month of December 2016. Visit here for information about the Nights of Lights shuttle, including routes, parking locations, and hours of operation.
Alternative Ways of Getting Around
Trolleys and trains are not just sightseeing tours, but they offer one of the most convenient ways to get around town during the day, with multiple stops at strategic locations downtown.
At night, when the trains and trolleys don’t run, you’ll probably need to get the car out of the hotel lot. The good news is that parking on the street is FREE after 5 p.m., so if you’re lucky enough to find a curbside spot in the evenings, you don’t have to feed the meter. That’s true for all day Sunday and federal holidays as well. The Parking Garage and privately-owned parking lots still charge for parking at those times.
Consider taxis, pedicabs, and even a horse and carriage ride to take you around town at any time of the day. It’s a great way to get to know the city, with a local doing the driving for you. You will find taxis parked at the East end of the Plaza de la Constitucion (along Avenida Menendez), as well as the north side driveway of the Visitor Information Center on S. Castillo Dr. The best way to locate a taxi service is to Google "taxi companies near me,” or try a taxi service app from your mobile device.
There are so many customized tours in St. Augustine, and many of them are walking tours, but there are also a large number of tours that offer transportation as well. From a small group tour on a minibus or a ghost pub crawl on a hearse to bike and scooter rentals, there are a ton of ways to cover more ground than you can just by walking, with the added benefit of a tour guide!
Stay Downtown and Walk
Staying in a downtown hotel may be the best way to tackle the parking problem in St. Augustine. The city is eminently walkable, and it’s yours to enjoy if you’re willing to take a stroll from your accommodation to a nearby shop or restaurant. By foot is probably the best way to see the city — that’s when you notice things like a secret courtyard tucked away behind a coquina wall, or a bubbling fountain nestled in between buildings. Visit here to choose a downtown hotel, bed and breakfast, or inn.
When it comes down to it, St. Augustine’s real charm is in the details. So however you get from one place to another, be sure to take your time once you’re there and really savor the atmosphere of this amazing city — you'll feel like you've traveled to Europe without ever leaving the country!