Swashbuckling adventures to St Augustine bed and breakfasts

The tale of St Augustine reaches back to 1565, when Spanish settlers first beached their galleons and planted their imperial flag. Fast forward over five centuries and the place is hailed as perhaps the best-preserved colonial town in the Americas, with a vast heritage core that's laced with taverns and cottages and eye-watering fortresses. St Augustine bed and breakfasts offer to immerse you in all that, all with a side of hearty service and Sunshine State charm.

Enticing features of bed and breakfasts in St Augustine, FL

If you're wondering what's so darn great about B&Bs and guest houses in this historic hub of the Florida coast, wonder no more. The pointers below reveal why these establishments are so beloved, whether it's for their old-timey atmospheres or penchant for romance.

Luxury additions for loved-up duos

Treating the other half to something special should be easy in St Augustine. Start in the venerable center of the town, where a smattering of boutique B&Bs occupy timber-framed inns that originated way back when – think the 1600s and 1700s. Then, you can move further afield, to find sumptuous rooms with canopy beds that spill onto balconies with stunning views of Matanzas Bay – expect sunrise shows you'll both remember.

A trickle of haunted bed and breakfasts in St Augustine

If you're more for paranormal encounters and supernatural stories than deluxe interiors, there are a few old homes in St Augustine that are sure to pique the interest. You'll want to be sure to focus on the spine-tingling lodges of the Colonial Quarter for this, where crooked porches merge with fire-warmed rooms, and legends of poltergeists and seafaring ghosts abound.

Beachfront spots to unwind in

You're not limited to the historic core of the town center when it comes to picking the very best bed and breakfasts in St Augustine. Beach lovers have wide expanses of barrier island and bay to consider. Those areas are still within driving distance of the fortresses and 17th-century abodes, but they come with direct access to powdery sands or boating marinas, too.

An area guide for booking St Augustine bed and breakfasts

If you're unfamiliar with the map of St Augustine and its vicinity, let the pointers below be your guide. They hop from coast to cobbled street, helping you discover the best place to base your Sunshine State vacay.

The immersive St Augustine Historic District

Turn one way and there's a rum-sloshing pirate pub. Turn another and there are the mighty bulwarks of centuries-old forts. Turn another and there are elegant Spanish churches with a flurry of the Baroque. And that's just a taster of the St Augustine Historic District, which is also a place to seek out heritage-rich bed and breakfasts that can whisk you away to the age of galleons and colonists.

Prepare the board shorts and bikinis for Anastasia Island

It's worth remembering that you're only ever a hop and a jump over the bay to the wave-splattered coast of western Florida from St Augustine's center. The piece de resistance in that direction is surely Anastasia Island, where old lighthouses and crocodile zoos converge on gold-tinted sand. There are also a few salt-washed guest houses in the area, for those who want to wake to the sound of the surf.

Family fun along San Marco Ave

San Marco Ave is the main artery leading north-south into the enchanting core of the city. It's established itself as the go-to for families after a fun-filled Florida adventure, touting Ripley's Believe it or Not! exhibits and the mystical Fountain of Youth where the conquistador Ponce de Leon might have touched land back in the 1500s. It's also got a selection of affordable inns with gardens.

Vilano Beach – less-busy shores that locals like to keep secret

It might be the closest Florida beach of all to St Augustine but Vilano Beach is the sort of spot that still jives to an indelibly local rhythm. It's got a Main Street laced with cafés and boutique shops, along with surf-side parks with family picnic tables and playgrounds.

Scoring cheap stays in St Augustine

Beach trips, ghost tours, colonial re-enactments, crocodile safaris – there's all sorts that you might need a healthy travel budget for in St Augustine. Cue the helpers below, which reveal some tried-and-tested ways to cut the price of B&Bs in the city.

Dodge midwinter and midsummer

There are two peaks in the average cost of guest houses in St Augustine. One comes around Christmas, when snowbirds are tempted by the warm beaches. The other comes in summer, when the main college and school breaks are in full flow. Avoid those times of year and there's certainly more chance you'll get a great deal.

Try to book long before arriving

Leaving things to the last-minute is a gamble in this popular town. History lovers, beach bums, fun-seeking families – there's no end to the crowds you're jostling with for wallet-friendly bargains. Book early and you'll give yourself the pick of the most sought-after places with the most attractive rates.