Project SWING Park in Downtown St. Augustine

Cheap dates are the best! Ummm… well, in the literal sense when it comes to cost of the date night activity and not, of course, the person you're dating. LOL! Yes, it is possible to break the date night mold without breaking the bank in St. Augustine. So we've compiled a list of free things to do in St. Augustine to have priceless fun.

And if you find yourself looking for budget-friendly date ideas in The City Beautiful, visit our classic list of FREE things to do in Orlando. as well as specifically curated for families free things to do with kids in Orlando.

Free Things To Do in St. Augustine 


A handful of local museums have no admittance fees, like the St. Augustine Art Association, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024. The 3,200-square-foot galleria features 2,000 works every year, including its 400-piece permanent collection. 

Also open to the public (and not just students), the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum at Flagler College exhibits contemporary art by regional, national and international artists. Do check for special events as the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum often hosts artist talks, readings and panel discussions.

Other galleries, like the Lightner Museum and, in nearby Jacksonville, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, also waive entry fees on occasion. Plus, St. Augustine has plenty of art shops to peruse as well. 

Within the Lightner Museum, entry to the "indoor pool" is free. This space now houses a cafe.
Cafe Alcazar operates out of the former indoor pool of the Lightner Museum. | Photo courtesy of Nancy DeVault


Sand and surf seem to be a perfect marriage for romance and recreation. Naturally, the Northeastern shoreline of Florida boasts pristine beaches so it’s no surprise that beachin’ it is among the best free things to do in St. Augustine.

St. Augustine Beach, located on Anastasia Island, is arguably the best locale. However, fun in the sun can also be had at Vilano Beach, Mickler’s Landing, and Jacksonville Beach. 


Fun fact: St. Augustine is the birthplace of American wine! In 1952, Spanish missionaries harvested wild, local grapes to make wine for religious ceremonies and general consumption.

Right here in our historic town, you can toast to the birthplace of wine by visiting San Sebastian Winery. Enjoy a free tour and tastings, and do not forget to drink up the winery’s rooftop views.


A visit to St. Augustine Distillery is pretty cool but, if you visited back in 1907, the space was outright cold. Formerly a power and ice complex, the restored facility now produces several spirits including bourbon, gin, rum and vodka.

Free self-guided tours may happened on any day of the week. Additionally, there are ticketed options for guided tours. FYI, the Distillery's sister site, Ice Plant, is a delicious spot for brunch or any meal.

St. Augustine Distillery has quickly made a name for itself. Esquire praised the distillery as having the Best Whiskey in the state of Florida, and USA Today ranked this libation maker as the top Craft Gin Distillery in the country. Cheers to that!

Family at Mickler's Beach in St. Augustine
Large conch shells can be found on the beaches of St. Augustine. | Photo courtesy of Nancy DeVault


Whether you’re on vacation or simply playing tourist in our own town, strolling the historic streets of St. Augustine just never loses its charm. Back in the day, St. George Street was the main road and, today, this somewhat narrow pedestrian corridor remains the heart of the city.

Strolling arm-and-arm along St. George Street (and the surrounding roads like Aviles Street) grants access to many of St. Augustine’s historic sites, restaurants and bars, galleries, bakeries and shops. Consider popping into the Visitors Center to get a free tour map to help with navigation.

St. George Street is also part of our day trip from Orlando to St. Augustine itinerary.


Visiting historical sites is among the most popular free things to do in St. Augustine. There’s no charge to explore the Father O'Reilly House Museum, Governor's House Cultural Center and Museum, Huguenot Cemetery, Peña-Peck House and the City Gate.

Plus, you can walk across the Bridge of Lions and also walk along the ACCORD Freedom Trail

Still, while you won’t get the full experience without paid admission for all sites, a walk past can still be worthwhile. Wander the exterior of the Oldest House Museum, Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum & Gardens and, of course, the Castillo De San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.

Because it's deemed a national park, Castilla De San Marcos National Monument has free admittance on select holidays. This includes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day., the first day of National Park Week, Juneteenth, Great American Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day and Veterans Day.

Exterior of the Fort
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument | Photo courtesy of Nancy DeVault


Set sail with a free ferry ride, Wednesdays through Sundays, to check out Fort Matanzas National Monument. Like the Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Matanzas was constructed using coquina. Aside from appreciating its history, Fort Matanzas has lovely scene trails and a boardwalk. 


Many parks are free yet rich with recreation opportunities, like picnicking and hiking. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve), one of only 30 national estuarine research reserves in the country, is such a place.

Other park sites to try include Alpine Groves Park, Canopy Shores, Deep Creek Conservation, Frank B. Butler County Park, Lakeside Park, Nocatee Preserve, River to Sea Preserve, Treaty Park and, especially with little ones, Project SWING Playground.


There is seriously a festival or fair for every type of interest ─ from beer to chili, from art to music, from history to comics and so on. Everything is fair game for fun, so be sure to keep up with event calendars for fairs, festivals and parades.

Ongoing events that are must-try free things to do in St. Augustine include the First Friday Art Walk, Wednesday Pier Farmers Market, Night Market at the Amphitheatre, Nocatee Farmer’s Market and Vilano Beach Artisan Market Walk, among others. 

Children enjoy free petting zoo at Nocatee Farmers Market
St. Augustine has a robust events calendar of free fairs, festivals and farmers markets. | Taken at the Nocatee Farmers Market, this photo is by Nancy DeVault


The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios dates back to St. Augustine's founding in 1565. That’s when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed, proclaimed the site for Spain and celebrated its first mass. The grounds include a small chapel, the outdoor altar, a towering cross, main church and gift shop. 

Other holy historic sites include Ancient City Baptist Church, Memorial Presbyterian Church, Grace United Methodist Church and St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine and Museum

So that’s our two cents on free things to do in St. Augustine. We hope you find our guide valuable!