Rich in Spanish colonial architecture, beaches, nature preserves, and Southern charms, it’s no wonder America’s oldest city is also one of Florida’s top tourist destinations. But with its excellent schools and proximity to jobs in Jacksonville, more and more people are choosing to live in Saint Augustine year-round!
Saint Augustine’s cost of living is a bit lower than other cities in Florida. You can often find great homes in the $300k range that are within the St. Johns County school district (rated #1 in Florida) and within walking distance of beaches. While the local economy is mainly geared toward tourism, all of Saint Augustine is within commuting distance of job centers in Jacksonville.
Covered in this guide:
Saint Augustine Shores
World Golf Village
Saint Augustine South
St Johns Communities West of I-95
Come along as we check out the best neighborhoods, top-rated schools, and popular amenities that make Saint Augustine a great place to live!
Anastasia Island is a laid-back town buffered by nature preserves and blessed with ocean breezes. Anastasia connects to downtown Saint Augustine via the Bridge of Lions, which spans Matanzas Bay.
Lighthouse Park is a quaint, older neighborhood with mature tree canopies providing shade all the way to the beach. Home prices start in the mid-300k range. When something comes on the market, it doesn’t last very long.
Gloriously preserved Anastasia State Park is a great place to enjoy nature and one of the most pristine beaches in Florida. The Amphiteather has concerts and also hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday morning.
Lighthouse Park features tennis courts and is a popular staging area for kayak and paddleboard trips into Saint Augustine harbor. The iconic black and white striped lighthouse that gives the park and the neighborhood its name was built in 1875. The view from the top is breathtaking.
The Alligator Farm Zoological Park is another popular attraction. The park is home to every species of crocodile on the planet and some rare species of endangered monkeys.
For everyday shopping, there are grocery and big box stores along A1AS. You’ll find restaurants, hotels, and mom-and-pop shops along A1A Beach Boulevard, closer to the beaches.
Real estate tip: Saint Augustine rarely gets hit directly by hurricanes, but flooding during big storms is not uncommon. Look for a home at an elevation of over eight feet and no history of flooding. If you have a mortgage, you will need flood insurance.
Davis Shores is a beautiful waterfront community, great for strolling and biking. Homes are a mix of bungalows from the ’30s and ’40s, midcentury moderns, and new construction. Prices range from $300k to over $1 million for a waterfront perch.
Butler Beach offers vast stretches of white sand beaches, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The beach has an interesting history. Frank B. Butler, an enterprising young African-American man, bucked the Jim Crow laws of his day by acquiring a tract of land stretching across Anastasia island from the Atlantic to the Matanzas and opening it to African-Americans. In the 1920s, it was one of the only beaches on Florida’s Atlantic coast that was open to people of color.
Local tip: For a great view of the Intercoastal Waterway, head to the west side of Butler Beach.
If you want to be in the heart of it all, the downtown historic district is the place for you. Homes are a little pricier here than elsewhere in the city. Still, there are few neighborhoods in the US that offer this much history, excellently preserved period architecture, attractions, shops, and restaurants.
A stroll down St. George Street will open a world of Spanish colonial arch., boutiques, galleries, local dining delicacies, and gift shops. Locals sell crafts out of storefronts tucked close together along narrow brick-paved streets. Approachable restaurants serve up Spanish, Cuban, and Southern fare. One of our faves is Catch 27, an intimate spot for locally caught seafood.
Spanish colonial era landmarks include the 1600s Castillo de San Marco, a fort that was built to stop pirates in their tracks. Among the historic district’s many attractions is the Villa Zorayda Museum. Housed in a fantastical building that pays homage to 12th-century Spain, the museum’s collection includes a 2,400-year-old Egyptian mummy’s foot.
Flagler College is located on the south side of the downtown. Situated on the former Ponce de Leon Hotel grounds, the campus is an opulent example of Spanish Revival architecture.
Traffic can be tough during the high tourist season, but it’s good to keep in mind that all of the good stuff the historic district has to offer is spread across 144 square blocks, so the downtown rarely feels overcrowded. One perk of living in a heavily visited neighborhood is that you’ll have no problem subletting your house when you want to get away yourself!
Lincolnville is a friendly, quintessential Southern town near the historic district. The housing stock ranges from Victorians to restored cottages with front porches that are the key to Lincolnville’s sociability. Porch Fest is a homegrown music festival that takes each year in February. The main stage is located at St. Benedict the Moor, with a number of porches serving as stages in the neighborhood.
This historic district has seen lots of interest from developers and investors lately. As a result, home prices are rising. Renovated cottages can go for over $300k. With Lincolnville’s proximity to the historic district, vacation rentals have also proliferated, but neighborhood advocates are working with city officials to retain the neighborhood’s residential feel.
Preserved Restaurant is a staple of the neighborhood. Set in a Victorian home once occupied by Thomas Jefferson’s great-granddaughter, Preserved is a great place to have brunch, Southern style. It’s run by a James Beard-nominated chef who transformed a minimarket into one of the city’s best restaurants. The Lightner Museum is another of Lincolnville’s gems. If you like the gilded/Victorian era, this is your museum. The Downton Abbey and Degas exhibitions have taken the Lightner to a new level. Lincolnville played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement. The Civil Rights Museum is a testament to the neighborhood’s long association with the African-American community.
Saint Augustin Shores is a quiet community of families and retirees, just a short drive from the historic district. Its mix of fairly old houses and new construction makes it a great neighborhood for first-time home buyers. Condos are another option here if you prefer not to deal with maintenance.
Residents of Saint Augustine Shores love to get outdoors. The neighborhood enjoys fifty miles of walking paths that connect with nature preserves, golf courses, and marshlands, and you’re 15 minutes to Crescent Beach.
Local tip: Spots for fishing off the pier at Vaill Point Park are limited, so it’s best to get there early. The canopied paths that lead to this secluded gem are great to walk any time of day. You might even have a gopher tortoise walk the trail with you for a bit!
If classic cars are more your speed, you’ll love taking a nostalgic stroll through automobile history at the Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine.
HOA fees are low in Saint Augustine Shores, and home prices are more affordable than downtown. Prices are rising, but homes can still be found for under $300k.
World Golf Village, as the name implies, is a golfer’s paradise. Located off I-95 on 6,300 sprawling acres, this planned community is a mix of golf courses and residential subdivisions generously buffered by nature preserves.
Both of the two golf courses are world-class and feature clubhouses with first-rate dining rooms. Residents can even connect with the PGA Tour Golf Academy to work on their game.
Community amenities (besides golf) include an IMAX theater, a spa, swimming pools and tennis courts. Did we mention that over a third of World Golf Village is a nature sanctuary dotted with ancient oaks? You won’t find much suburban sprawl here. For shopping and a larger variety of dining options, you’ll need to travel to neighboring districts.
Though many of the Village’s residents are retirees, families also love WGV for the excellent public schools. Housing options range from large estates to maintenance-free condos. The area surrounding World Golf Village also offers a variety of suburban housing options.
Saint Augustine South is a peaceful community with tree-lined streets and lovely views of the intercoastal waterway. Most of the homes were built post-1940s and are well-kept and affordable. There are no HOA fees.
Shops and restaurants line Dixie Highway, which bounds the area to the west. Two of our favorite Mom and Pop operations are Leroy’s (“Not your average hole in the wall”), a comfy family-owned nook serving homestyle standards, and eclectic Ned’s Southside Kitchen, which draws crowds for its heaping plates of shrimp and grits.
Saint Augustine South is a convenient option for folks working at Flagler Hospital. It’s also a great area for first-time homebuyers and families.
Shearwater stands out among the planned communities west of I-95 in St. Johns County. The amenities-rich development is set in a preserved natural habitat and features a resort-style lagoon, fitness center, tennis courts, and miles of hiking trails.
St Johns is a fast-growing suburb of Jacksonville just a short drive from all that Saint Augustine has to offer.
Cordova Palms is St. John’s County’s newest planned community. This brand-new single-family home community is conveniently located off US Highway 1 between historic St. Augustine and booming Jacksonville.
A perch in elegant Cordova Palms gives you access to pristine beaches, the eclectic shops and restaurants of downtown Saint Augustine, regional employers in Jacksonville, and the excellent St. Johns County school district.
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