We all know the scene – your family have all gathered here for the holidays because (let’s face it) we live in a little slice of paradise. Once the hours start to drag by, though, every one is getting a little tired of the same board games, video games, and movies. Cabin fever starts to set in. Luckily, though, St. Augustine has plenty of fixes for cabin fever. So ditch the card deck and the remote and take a ride on a ship, zip over alligator-infested waters, or even just explore the city. Say goodbye to holiday boredom!
Be a Tourist for a Day
Okay, we know that lots of the local monuments, landmarks, and attractions are pretty old hat to locals now, but it always helps to remember that your family is getting introduced for (maybe) the first time. And honestly, going back to explore some of the St. Augustine favorites can be pretty exciting! So take a day to tour the Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Matanzas, or Fort Mose. Get a whole new perspective on the city by climbing to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Step back into the Gilded Age with a tour through the Lightner Museum. You can even hop on a Red Train or the Old Town Trolley to get the true tourist experience.
Take a Ride On The Schooner Freedom
There’s nothing quite like seeing the St. Augustine city skyline from the deck of a stunning schooner. With an experienced and delightful crew in tow, the Schooner Freedom is a magical experience. We recommend trying the sunset cruise (which, at this time of year, will also give you a view of the lights) with a warm blanket and a glass of wine in tow. If you have a big group, you can also book a private cruise to have your run of the ship.
Get a Taste of St. Augustine With the Local Libations
Certainly best suited to the members of your group that are over the age of 21, taking a tour of the St. Augustine Distillery or the San Sebastian Winery or visiting City Gate Spirits can be a delicious way to spend an afternoon. And you and your guests will get to test out some favorite local drinks in the process. If you like the idea, but want to get a little more involved, you can also book a highly educational but utterly delightful wine class at Carrera Wine Cellar or you can even get some tickets to one of The Tasting Tours (like pub crawls or a pairing adventure!).
Experience the Paranormal on a Haunted Tour
St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, so it should be no surprise that many believe some of that history has decided to stay around. If you’re guests are up for a ghostly encounter, there’s no shortage of ways to experience the local paranormal world. You can go low-key (and easy on your feet) by taking a seat on the Ghosts and Gravestones Train or you can get a little more intense with walking tours from places like GhoSt Augustine or Ghost Tours of St. Augustine. The Dark of the Moon tour even lets you explore the Lighthouse. It’s time to go full Ghost Hunters.
Test Your Puzzle-Solving Skills at an Escape Room
If your family is the mystery-loving, competitive type, you can’t go wrong with an escape room. Follow the story and discover the clues to try to get out of a locked room at spots like Escape U or Xscape Our Rooms. There are a ton of stories to choose from (as well as different difficulty levels), so you’ll be able to choose something that the whole family will enjoy.
Explore the Local Music Scene
St. Augustine always has music in the air. You can practically wander into any bar or restaurant to find local musicians keeping the atmosphere alive. If your family loves a good tune, consider checking out the lineup over at The Amp or looking at the schedule for the Colonial Quarter. If they’d rather something a little more classical or filled with holiday cheer, peruse the upcoming concerts for the St. Augustine Orchestra, the St. Augustine Community Chorus, or the EMMA Concert Series.
Zipline Over Croc-Infested Waters
Is your family itching for adventure? We’re always for planning trips to see the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, but if you want to take that trip up a notch, you can book a zipline excursion. Flying high above the animal exhibits, you can navigate obstacles and swing from the trees. All while eyeing the crocodiles and alligators below. Though it’s an outing for the older kids, this activity is definitely still kid-friendly.
Be a Pirate for a Day
St. Augustine has its fair share of pirate antics, so if your little scallawags are up for an adventure, you’ll have plenty of options. Take a cruise with a crew of pirates on the Black Raven Pirate Cruise, explore the exhibits at the Pirate & Treasure Museum, tour the town on a Pirate & Plunder tour, even hop aboard the Pirate Trolley! You and the little ones will all have your fill of sea shanties and pirating adventures.
See Nights of Lights in a Whole New Way
If you’re family is visiting during the holiday season, then experiencing Nights of Lights is nothing short of an essential. But even though it’s easy to just wander around downtown under the glow, there are a ton of local tours that let you see the lights from a new perspective. So hop on a trolley, board a local boat, even take a seat in a horse-drawn carriage to add a little extra holiday magic to your family’s Nights of Lights encounter. Visit this post to see some of the best ways to see the lights.
What’s your favorite way to entertain out-of-towners? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image by Brian Miller