Can you feel it in the air? The warm breeze and the vibrant sun – springtime has arrived in St. Augustine! That means beautiful weather, buds in bloom, festivals of all kinds, and, of course, spring break. For both our public schools and Flagler College, spring break happens from March 16-20. For a lot of people, that might mean traveling to exotic places for wild parties. But if you feel like skipping the crazy crowds, saving a lot of money, and avoiding possible quarantines, you can plan a St. Augustine staycation. From events out in the open air to an array of activities, there’s no shortage of local spring break entertainment – so we’ve gathered up all you need to know about spending a spring break staycation in St. Augustine.
Take a Refreshing Bike Ride through the Countryside
We all know how oppressive the summer sun gets, so spring break is a perfect time to take advantage of some beautiful Florida weather. The Palatka-to-St. Augustine Bike Trail is our little part of the St. Johns River to Sea Loop. These paved bike paths give you a gorgeous view of the St. Johns County countryside, and you can easily adjust your route to be either invigorating exercise or a leisurely meandering.
Spend the Day at the Beach
It’s March, so that means that the ocean still has a definite chill to it. You’d be hard pressed to find any Floridians willing to wander into the waters. However, the beach still has plenty of charms. Bring your furry friend and let them get some exercise or take a dip (they seem to be less bothered by the cold). You can pack a picnic to enjoy on the sand. You can sunbathe or build sandcastles or just relax with the salt air in your lungs.
Get in Touch with Nature at the Local Parks
Florida is home to a rich and diverse landscape. From the marshes teeming with life to the pristine beaches, there is so much beauty to see and explore. Right here in St. Johns County, we have many of those habitats all concentrated in one place and acres of natural Florida beauty still preserved. All you have to do is head to one of the local state or county parks. Fort Mose state park sits on a salt marsh; Faver-Dykes state park offers a plethora of activities like canoeing, picnicking, or fishing. Situated in wildly diverse habitats, Alpine Groves Park has a playground, trails, two butterfly gardens, and an historic homestead. Bird Island Park has artworks, a stage, and curated flora. There are endless acres to explore over your break.
Take in the Tunes at a Concert in the City
If there’s one thing St. Augustine knows how to do right, it’s local music. Take a walk down St. George Street, and you’ll hear sultry sounds emanating out of nearly every bar or restaurant on the strip. Grab dinner or dessert and take in the music. If you don’t want to take up a table for dinner, you can browse the lineup at one of the local venues – like Colonial Oak Music Park or Sarbez. If you’re looking for more a high-key concert-going experience, you can check out the schedule at The Amp or the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall.
Experience History with Some Local Learning
If you’ve lived here for any length of time, St. Augustine’s rich and lengthy history is an inescapable fact. But even knowing all the surface history, have you taken the time to really delve into it? Spring break might just be the perfect opportunity. There are so many museums and landmarks that tour different pieces of the Nation’s Oldest City that you’ll never be without entertainment. If you want to combine history with fresh air, visit one of the local forts – like Fort Matanzas or Fort Mose – or walk the Freedom Trail on your own. Even the smaller attractions – like the Spanish Military Hospital, the Pena-Peck House, or even an historic homestead at a local park – will introduce you to a previously unknown part of our city’s diverse history.
Celtic Music & Heritage Festival
This weekend-long event will have you celebrating every moment! This year’s event is the 10th annual Celtic Festival and time again for our community to come together and celebrate the tastes and sounds of traditional Celtic heritage. The weekend will kick off on Friday evening with a Whiskey Tasting and will continue on Saturday and Sunday with live entertainment, arts and crafts, vendors, food, traditional Highland Games, and much more.
The World Masters Professional American Rhythm, Smooth and Showdance
Renaissance World Golf Village Resort
March 14, 8am-10pm
Hosted by First Coast Classic, three days of incredible dance skill will make for an unforgettable show. Watch the master perform as they compete for a chance to qualify for Best of the Best in Ohio. If you love ballroom (or at least loved the movie Strictly Ballroom), then this is the place to be this spring break. It’s a lively, vibrant, and sequined event that you don’t want to miss.
St. Patrick’s Parade
March 14, 10am
As a part of the weekend-long Celtic Festival, this year’s St. Patrick’s Parade will be celebrating the holiday’s 420th anniversary. Line along the sidelines of downtown St. Augustine and watch as floats, horse-drawn carriages marching bands, and much more fill the streets for a spectacular show. This is the only St. Patrick’s Day parade that takes place throughout Northeast Florida, so you definitely don’t want to miss it!
Fort Matanzas Kayak Trip
Fort Matanzas National Park
March 14, 12:30-3:30pm
St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the National Park Service to bring you an exciting kayak trip! During this trip you will get to view the fort from a whole new perspective and paddle through the marsh to experience Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park. Seats are limited, and you’ll need to register. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or 904-209-0335.
Dance Alive National Ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream
March 14, 7:30pm
EMMA Concert Association is partnering with Dance Alive National Ballet to showcase the classic performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The performance is based off of Shakespeare’s play while also including selections from Felix Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music. Watch as the stage comes to life at this beautiful show. Tickets to this event are $40.
St. Augustine Race Week
St. Augustine Bayfront
This event will feature live music, food, and a variety of sailing and boat events along the St. Augustine Bayfront and near the Vilano Bridge. This event raises funds to send underprivileged children to sailing camps every summer as part of their JDM Youth Sailing Scholarship Fund, named in honor of a strong supporter of Race Week, John Meehan. All social events will be held at the St. Augustine Yacht Club.
3K Raptor Run
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
March 15, 8am
The St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is teaming up with RaceSmith and the Avian Research and Conservation Institute to bring you the inaugural 3k Raptor Run! This fun run is designed for all ages to participate in as you run to help save avian species in Florida. Pre-registration for this event is required. All proceeds of this event will benefit the Avian Research and Conservation Institute to aid in the conservation and research of native avian species.
Rhythm for the River
Dog Rose Brewing
March 15, 2-6pm
Head out to Dog Rose Brewing Company for a day of music for a good cause. This fundraiser will benefit the Matanzas Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to ensuring that the Matanzas River and its tributaries remain clean and healthy. Rhythm for the River will feature live music by some of the best of the local music scene – including Snake Blood Remedy, the Sand Fleas, Aslyn and the Naysayers, and the experimental folk band and earth activists Holy River (formerly known as Lobo Marino). You’ll also get to enjoy raffles, donation chair massage, local art, food trucks, drinks, and lots more!
A Walk on the Wild Side
Anastasia State Park
March 16, 9:30am
Explore and learn about the estuarine habitat of Salt Run and the maritime hammocks as well as the amazing array of wildlife and plants that are indigenous to the various ecosystems of Anastasia State Park as you wander the stunning local shoreline. The two-hour walks starts at the shoreline, heads up through the dunes, on the boardwalk over the salt marsh, and finishes along Salt Run.
Canopy Shores Park
March 19 and 20, 7:15-9:45pm
Join St. Johns County Parks & Recreation to learn these fascinating creatures of the night and explore the park at sunset in search of our resident owls. This program is free and open to all ages, but you must register on CivicRec to attend. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at [email protected] or 904-209-0348.
St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival
The annual Lions Seafood Festival is back and better than ever for its 39th year! Be sure to attend this weekend-long event for delicious food, live entertainment, music, vendors, and much more. This event is family-friendly, offering an array of local vendors and artists to browse as well as a designated kid’s zone to keep your little one’s entertained. Admission to this event is $5, kids under the age of 12 get in for free.
Corazon Cinema & Cafe
March 21, 6-10pm
The Adventure Project – St. Augustine’s home for improv – has been in town for four years now! What better way to celebrate than by hosting one BIG improv comedy extravaganza? Improvapalooza features acts from St. Augustine and beyond. Come hungry and thirsty as the Corazon Cinema & Cafe has a bar and a full menu. Tickets for a single show are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Festival of Chariots 2020
Plaza de la Constitución
Come join this vibrant Festival of Chariots or Rathayatra to celebrate the Hindu and Indian culture and participate in singing, dancing, and parades, henna tattoos, art vendors, vegetarian food, and live entertainment. The Festival of the Chariots is also referred to as Rathayatra, which means Chariot Festival. The Rathayatra festival first started in the ancient city of Jagannatha Puri in India to celebrate the Hindu Lord of the Universe. Bring your friends and family to celebrate and learn more about the Hindu and Indian cultures while you sing and dance! Admission to this event is free.
Anastasia State Park
March 22, 8-10am
Calling amateur bird lovers and birding experts alike! Led by a park volunteer and naturalist, the walk leads guests along the beaches, boardwalk, and nature trails of the state park. Anastasia Park boasts a diverse variety of shore birds, marsh birds, and hammock birds, as well as migratory birds in the winter months that cannot be seen any other time of the year. Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring binoculars, water, and walking shoes. The walk will meet at the Island Beach Shop & Grill Pavilion.
What are your spring break plans? Let us know in the comments below! Featured image by Kate Gardiner.