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View of room from St. Augustine Hilton Historic Bayfront

Things to Do in St. Augustine, FL with Kids

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This December we took our 9 and 6 year olds for a quick getaway to enjoy some of the fun things to do in St. Augustine, FL with kids. St. Augustine is near our home in Jacksonville and we have visited before, but never during the holidays, and we’ve never spent the night.

Where to Stay in Historic St. Augustine

We stayed at Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront which is an ideal location for seeing the sights in downtown St. Augustine. We had a room that looked out over Matanzas Bay and even had a little porch. Unlike many city hotels, this one has an historic feel and facade which is appropriate for the area. There is a hot tub and small pool and despite the cool weather, my kids enjoyed both. There is required valet parking, but once we parked the car we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to visit.

Where to stay in St. Augustine, FL with kids - Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

Hilton St. Augustine blends in seamlessly with the other historic buildings in the area.

Things to do in St. Augustine, FL with Kids

Because we visited during the holidays, on the way into town we were excited to check out Winter Wonderland at St. Augustine Amphitheater. (This is 10 minutes from downtown St. Augustine.) We went ice skating, and the kids went on an ice chute — an inner tube ice ride that they loved! There was also face painting, bouncy houses and an “Elf Village” (some small playhouses that my 9 and 6 year old were not impressed with). In the evenings, Santa makes an appearance and there is snowfall. It’s a fun 2-hour outing if you’re in the area.

We had already seen some of historic sites in downtown St. Augustine before, and our favorites include walking through Fort Matanzas and going to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. The Fort is across the street from St. Augustine Hilton and the Pirate museum is just a few blocks away.

One museum we had not visited before was Ripley’s Believe It or Not. So, at my 9 year old’s request, we checked it out this time. This is near the Visitor’s Center and also walking distance from the Hilton. There were definitely some interesting oddities such as a replica of the tallest man in the world, and we enjoyed the brain teaser room and “freeze shadow” activity at the end. However, my kids found some of the scenes bothersome — particularly those with animals and people like the replica of the two-headed goat.

Things to do with kids in St. Augustine, FL include the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in St. Augustine, FL

A lovely window on the historic building that now houses Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.

Eating with Kids in St. Augustine

We are always on the lookout for healthier options when eating out and this trip we stumbled upon a gem called Ripe Bistro in a strip mall on A1A outside the downtown area. This local spot offered fresh, local, organic meals and was willing to make something completely off the menu to accommodate my son with allergies and picky taste.

For dinner we wanted to try a highly recommended pizza place right behind Hilton St. Augustine called Pizzalley’s Chianti Room but it is very popular and we were not interested in a long wait at that time. Instead we ate at Mojo BBQ Old City which is a great barbecue spot for families and large groups. The kids meals even came with a scoop of ice cream so we didn’t have to stop at one of the dozens of ice cream stores along the St. Augustine streets!

For breakfast we enjoyed the buffet at Aviles Restaurant and Lounge, the restaurant at the Hilton. Everyone in the family found something they liked, and eating with a view of the bay made it even more of special meal.

Historic St. Augustine is an overlooked destination, and I would recommend it to families in the area or who are making a drive to other spots in Florida.

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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…

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