Best places to stay in St Augustine, Florida – TOP AREAS & HOTELS
Its beautiful beaches, lovely walks, and unique history make St Augustine one of the best vacation spots in Florida today.
You may not know, in fact, that this city is the oldest settlement in the United States, established in 1565 by a Spanish Admiral and Florida’s first governor.
In my guides, I usually like to go directly to the point and tell you straight away what is the top area to spend your time, giving my motivations of course.
But in this case I find it very difficult, because I can see at least two possibilities, if not more.
So let me tell you, that the best place to stay in St Augustine for an overall experience is probably the downtown area.
I say probably because you will be at least 4 to 6 miles from the coast and if you are a bit of a beach bum, then St Augustine Beach works better.
It is possible, however, to find different alternatives depending on whether you’re looking for a secluded vacation spot, some private time, or a quiet family vacation.
Is your budget limited? Hotels and vacation rentals in inland areas offer great value for money (more on this later).
I will break down each area and explain the advantages and disadvantages of all the choices
Table of Contents
- 1 Historic St Augustine – The best place to stay in St Augustine overall
- 2 St Augustine Beach – A great place to stay for a beach holiday
- 3 Vilano Beach – The best place to stay in St Augustine for a quiet time
- 4 Anastasia – The best area to stay in St Augustine on a budget
Historic St Augustine – The best place to stay in St Augustine overall
The Historic Center is the best place to stay in St Augustine because:
- It is the perfect place for history buffs that want to explore some of the oldest buildings in the United States
- It is the best area to stay in St Augustine for a short stay exploring the unique historic sites
- You can find some of the oldest and most characteristic accommodations and B&B in the country
- The district to be in winter, when the sea is anyway too cold, and the beach is not really a destination
- The best place to stay in St Augustine for couples looking for a romantic getaway
The weakest points:
- it is the most expensive area to stay in St Augustine
- you are 4 to 6 miles to the beach
- as you can imagine, streets and lanes are narrow. The Historic district is busy and finding parking is not easy.
Tracing its roots to the 16th century, St. Augustine takes the crown as the “oldest continuously occupied European Settlement”, making it the nation’s oldest city.
It was established in 1565 by the Spanish, 4 decades before the English colonized Jamestown, and over half a century before the Pilgrims themselves first landed at Plymouth Rock.
Taking a walk through the streets here shows you evidence of its rich history.
Start your visit from the Old City Gate and the popular St. George Street, in the heart of St. Augustine, packed with boutiques and historic homes characteristic of the Ancient City.
Keep strolling to the beaten-down Aviles Street that’s technically the oldest street in the US.
You can find all around art galleries as well as romantic restaurants to enjoy with your significant other.
Then walk down to Cordova Street, that’s home to the Tolomato Cemetery, which originally serves as a burial place for Christian Indians in the 18th century.
A couple of blocks from St. George Street is the aptly named “Oldest House”, which has been around since the 1600s.
Take a walk around the outstanding Flagler College for its amazing architecture and interesting history.
The Plaza de la Constitucion, bordering Cathedral Place and King Street, got its name from its monument to the 1812 Spanish Constitution.
Here you will also find the Governor’s House Cultural Center and Museum, with its private courtyard that actually served as the residence for Spain and England governors during those colonial centuries.
And for a cool night, head to the Stogies Jazz Club, a famous spot for its live music, wine and beer list, and cigars.
The Historic Center is really the perfect spot to stay for sightseeing. It has it all.
Here below are 3 of the best hotels in St. Augustine that work great for a stay in the Historic District.
Your stay here will give you a historic vibe, with the architecture dating back to the 19th century.
The amenities are all modern though, from the TV and Bose sound system for entertainment, to the private bathroom and even the hot tub and fitness center available to guests – complete with weights and cardio machines.
The guest rooms have been nicely decorated with an old-world charm, and the Moroccan theme featured in the common areas of the hotel adds to the ambience.
During your stay in this boutique hotel, take time to pamper yourself at the Poseidon Spa, and go for a dip in the outdoor heated pool.
The Collector Inn pulls no stops when it comes to giving the guests the best comfort.
Imagine yourself starting in the morning with a European-style free breakfast, then taking a splash in the heated outdoor swimming pool, relaxing in a spacious room with a fireplace, sofa bed and even a kitchenette. You have it all.
Each of the houses is unique in their own right, with an old-world charm and personalized decorative touches.
The gardens have been well maintained – where you can spend your nights downing cocktails by the fire pit with your significant other.
Note that this boutique hotel is an “Adults-Only” establishment.
Located in the centre of the city and on a pedestrian-only street, you can easily walk on your tours, as well as to dining and shopping points.
Actually the eateries on the courtyard that’s on the first floor give you numerous options to grab a bite.
Some of the guest rooms in St. George Inn come with balconies, giving you nice views of the colonial buildings of St. Augustine, as well as Castillo De San Marcos.
Days here start off with a continental free breakfast, and some of the comfortable rooms also come with a spa bath.
St Augustine Beach – A great place to stay for a beach holiday
St Augustine Beach is a great area to stay because:
- You will be right in front of beautiful sandy beaches with all the typical organized facilities
- It has a good selection of restaurants, bar and cafes around to spend some easy night time
- A short walk to the lovely St. John’s County Ocean Pier
- Easy access to the St Augustine Historic District to experience almost 500 years of history, and to the Anastasia State Park
- Easy parking
- It is the best area to stay in St Augustine for a beach holiday
- It works very well for a long stay where you want to mix some beach time with visits to the St. Augustine’s Historic District
The weakest points:
- it is not as expensive as the Historic Downtown St. Augustine but it doesn’t come cheap
- you are 6 miles from the historic city and you need a car to visit it
- you will miss the historic buildings
Enjoy the sun from your beach chair, take a dip in the clear waters, go fishing at the St. Johns County Ocean Fishing Pier, hit the splash park, get some beach volleyball action and grab a bite at the tropical seaside restaurants – St. Augustine Beach has something for everyone.
You can swim anywhere on the beach as long as it’s more than 400ft from the fishing pier.
Water sports here range from skim and boogie boarding, to surfing, paddle boarding and kite boarding – with the surf shops on site providing the equipment you will need.
You can as well take a bike ride along the expansive shoreline.
There are designated areas where you can drive on the beach, and this will depend on the tide and weather conditions.
Indeed, it’s more of a beach holiday.
It is an ideal place for a long stay because you can plan a couple of visits to the downtown St Augustine and still enjoy the beach and sunshine in most of your vacation. A win-win situation.
Here below are two great options for a beach vacation.
This large property has 2 bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, and ample space for a family or group or friends to enjoy their stay.
Bring along your kids – there is a playground on the property for the little ones to use.
The apartment is right on the beach, meaning you get ocean-front views, and is also a short drive to the St Augustine Historical Centre.
Air-conditioning, WiFi availability – these contribute to making you feel at home.
Wake up to beach-front views, get your breakfast delivered to your room, and enjoy the tropical gardens before starting your day activities in St. Augustine.
Whip up some of your own coffee with the coffee maker in the room – and there is also a microwave and small refrigerator for you to use.
There is also a heated outdoor pool where you can relax during your stay. While at the La Fiesta Ocean Inn & Suites, you get access to the YMCA, as well as laundry facilities.
Vilano Beach – The best place to stay in St Augustine for a quiet time
Vilano Beach is the best area to stay in St Augustine because:
- It is the quietest place in St Augustine, perfect for a relaxed vacation
- Easy access to the St Augustine Historic District with almost 500 years of history
- Mostly free parking everywhere
- The nature lover will enjoy this area, with the possibility of going for walks over boardwalks and along the quiet beach
- It is the best area to stay in St Augustine for a family with small kids that want to have some beach time
- It works very well if you are after a relaxed long stay with the possibility to quickly visit the Historic St. Augustine (5 minutes by car)
- You can find great value for money accommodations
The weakest points:
- there is only a small selection of bars/restaurants (although it must be said that they are all excellent)
- you are 4 miles from the historic city. It’s not that much but it can be bothering. It will take only 5 minutes by car or 15 minutes by public bus
- you will miss the historic buildings
While most of St Augustine areas are popular with tourism, Vilano gives you more of a local experience.
It’s a favorite for the local communities here, with them showing up for water sports, fishing, shell hunting, and also to enjoy the views of St. Augustine.
The pier at the end of the old bridge gives you a stunning view of the sun setting over the waters.
In line with the residential feel of the area, communities hold a “Sunset Celebration” at the Vilano Beach Pier that runs from 3 p.m. to sunset on the first Saturday of the month, where you can mingle with local families celebrating on land and in the water.
Even the service at nearby restaurants is by locals – though given the laid back nature of the area, there are fewer options for available eateries compared to other beaches.
Here, you can drive your car right to the beach – but note that vehicle access depends on the season and the weather conditions.
Here below are three great options for a beach vacation.
This ocean-front property comes with a private balcony for you to soak in the views during your stay.
Patio access, lots of room available for large groups – it’s a 3-bedroom property after all, a pool for guests to use – these all make your stay in St. Augustine relaxing.
It’s a holiday home that sleeps 6, meaning you can come on over as your family or group of friends.
Comfort here is key, with air conditioning and modern amenities that include a fully equipped kitchen complete with a microwave and dishwasher. That way you get your ‘home away from home’ experience.
All the comfortable rooms in the Hampton Inn & Suites come with flat-screen TV, free WiFi, and breakfast is delivered every morning.
The staff are particularly friendly, from the front desk to the food service crew.
The balconies overlook the pool – which in itself gives you a lovely spot to take a dip in while on your stay.
Ocean views add to the elegance of the accommodation – and the property is actually a walking distance from the beach, where you can get there in under 5 minutes.
You get free parking here – then welcomed into a cosy motel where the rooms include standard modern amenities like a flat-screen TV, as well as a private bathroom.
The daily maid service ensures things are kept clean and neat during your stay. Enjoy views of the ocean, and the beach is just one block away.
The air conditioning works superbly – a critical factor when looking for any accommodation in Florida, and the property is a short drive from popular tourist spots in the area.
Anastasia – The best area to stay in St Augustine on a budget
Anastasia is the best area to stay in St Augustine because:
- It has a good range of motels and inns that won’t break the bank
- You will be very close to St. Augustine’s Historic District
- Mostly free parking everywhere, typically included in the accommodation
- Close to the Anastasia State Park, with secluded beaches and great hiking trails
- Next to the St. Augustine Lighthouse
- It is the best area to stay in St Augustine for a budget stay
- It works very well if you are after a short and straightforward stay, close to the historic sites of the city
The weakest points:
- It is a residential area, lacking the character of the historic city
- You will not be between historic buildings and neither at the beach
- It is a budget stay, but you will not find a real cheap hotel (below $50/night), missing in St Augustine
Anastasia is the residential area between the Historic Downtown and St. Augustine Beach.
It is a nice area, with plenty of space, but it’s neither fish nor fowl. You won’t get the historic buildings and you will miss the beach vibe.
In saying that, this is the area where you will not break your bank for a night, and you will be actually quite close to the historic center.
In fact, you could potentially walk there (based on the accommodation place), with inns and motels just half a mile from the historic district.
In Anastasia you will find also the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, with some beautiful shipwreck exhibits and the possibility of walking to the top for the beautiful view over the region.
For sunbathing, you can drive to St. Augustine Beach or the much quieter beautiful beaches of the Anastasia State Park.
For the night, you should not miss a drink at Shanghai Nobby’s, famous for its live music
Anastasia is the best area to stay in St Augustine for a weekend on a budget.
These below options are surely not the best hotels in the area, but they offer such a great value for money, located very close to the Bridge of Lions, connecting Anastasia to the Historical District over the Matanzas River.
You’ll be cosy during your stay here, with each room in this Saint Augustine Budget Inn coming with its cable TV – where you can also catch up on trending HBO movies, a small refrigerator, coffee machine, microwave, and also free Wi-Fi, giving you bang for your bucks.
The reception provides bottled water on demand. Rooms are cleaned daily.
There’s a vending machine available, and the front desk has personnel 24/7 to address any queries and concerns you may have over the course of your stay.
A family-owned motel with an outdoor swimming pool, standard coffee maker, fridge and microwave, sitting area for you to lounge in with every room, as well as satellite TV – it makes it worth your while.
The decor in the rooms of Anastasia Inn has a traditional vibe, neat and clean.
It’s close to the town and beach, and you can even take a easy walk across the bridge into St Augustine Old Town without difficulties. Parking is also available – but at an extra charge.