Plan the Ultimate Florida Family Vacation
Children and adults have plenty of things to do in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach.
These tips will make planning a fabulous family trip to Florida a breeze – complete with family-focused activities, kid-friendly accommodations and delicious food for even the pickiest of palates.
St. Augustine Attractions
Drum Man Charters depart from Conch House Marina and Camachee Cove. Visit St. Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island for white sands and amenities such as a playground, volleyball and St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park – the site of the Music by the Sea summer concert series.
Scenic and unspoiled Crescent Beach offers boating, diving and fishing, while Anastasia State Park is known for recreation like swimming, hiking and camping, along with several miles of sand dune-bordered beach. Rent a kayak or paddle board from Anastasia Watersports and take a spin in Salt Run or utilize the sea breezes for kite flying. Take to the water to kayak St. Augustine with St. Augustine Eco Tours or Ripple Effect Ecotours. These outfitters provide a family-friendly kayak tour of the area for beginners.
To encounter the area’s native animals, visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. The Crocodile Crossing features two thrilling zipline courses that let you soar among tropical birds and lemurs over crocs and gators in the waters below. Wildlife shows and exhibits educate kids about numerous species ranging from pythons to exotic mammals. At the southern end of St. Augustine, Marineland Dolphin Adventure lets visitors view and even swim with dolphins.
A visit to America’s Oldest City wouldn’t be complete without a look back in time. Live the history at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a masonry fort that dates back to 1672. With a self-guided program, explore the ins and outs – like the living quarters and gun deck – while costumed living history interpreters fire cannons.
Tour the St. Augustine Old Jail that operated from 1891 to 1953 in a building designed to look like a Victorian house. Nearby, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park features the infamous natural spring of lore, a re-created Timucuan village, Spanish watch tower, planetarium and more. Ascend the 219 steps of the St. Augustine Lighthouse for expansive views, and don’t miss the maritime archaeological discoveries in the museum.
Where to Stay
One of the top accommodation choices in the area is Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, which was voted America’s Best Family Hotel by Travel + Leisure readers. Lawn games, arts and crafts, a waterslide and playground are just a few of the seemingly endless kid-friendly amenities you’ll find. The resort offers vacation packages with themes ranging from Family Golf to Fun in the Sun. For families that want to keep snacks on hand or even cook full meals, there are plenty of options with this flexibility. The Saint Augustine Beach House is a hotel with rooms that include a well-equipped kitchenette, complimentary breakfast and an additional sleeper sofa, perfect for families of four. For a full condo experience, look to the Ocean Village Club with its one- and two-bedroom units equipped with a washer and dryer, some units approved for pets, two outdoor pools, shuffleboard courts and a picnic area with grills.
When it’s time for a family meal, head to Sunset Grille for lunch or dinner and enjoy fresh seafood, views from the second-floor deck and a kids’ menu. St. Augustine Seafood Company is also known for its ocean-focused menu, and little ones can chow down on fried shrimp or fish, along with chicken strips or a cheese quesadilla. Finish off the day with a sweet treat at one of the ice cream shops in Old Town. For tips on planning a budget-friendly vacation to St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach, read this article.