Is St Augustine a Good Place to Live? Pros & Cons

by Rentals Editorial Team | Published: Sep 4, 2023

St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the United States, offers a high quality of life and a vibrant community for its residents. The city is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, with picturesque beaches and lush parks that provide endless opportunities for outdoor activities. Its rich history is also a major draw, with well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and historic landmarks scattered throughout the city. St. Augustine nurtures a thriving cultural scene, with art galleries, museums, and annual events that celebrate its heritage. The city’s strong economy and diverse job market make it an attractive destination for individuals seeking career opportunities. Additionally, St. Augustine offers excellent educational options, from quality public schools to renowned colleges and universities. While public transportation options may be limited compared to larger cities, residents can rely on private vehicles for commuting needs. With its diverse neighborhoods, affordable housing options, and family-friendly atmosphere, St. Augustine is an appealing place to call home or retire in tranquility. Cost of living and quality of life in St. Augustine

Nature and Outdoor Activities

St. Augustine is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its picturesque beaches, lush parks, and abundant wildlife, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy in this charming city.

The city is embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, offering pristine sandy beaches where residents can swim, sunbathe, or engage in water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Anastasia State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, with its beautiful trails, birdwatching opportunities, and scenic picnic spots.

For those who prefer land-based activities, St. Augustine boasts numerous parks and gardens to explore. The Washington Oaks Gardens State Park showcases stunning botanical gardens filled with unique plant species and majestic oak trees. The St. Augustine Wild Reserve provides a chance to see exotic animals up close while learning about conservation efforts.

City’s History

As the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the United States, St. Augustine is steeped in rich history that draws visitors from around the world.

The city’s historic district is a treasure trove of well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and historic landmarks such as the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument – an impressive fortress that has guarded the city since the 17th century. The St. Augustine Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the city and allows visitors to delve into its maritime past through interactive exhibits.

Exploring Flagler College is like stepping back in time with its stunning architecture reminiscent of Gilded Age grandeur. The Lightner Museum showcases exquisite collections of art and artifacts housed within the former Alcazar Hotel.

Culture and Arts

Beyond its historical significance, St. Augustine nurtures a thriving cultural scene that attracts artists and performers from various disciplines.

The city hosts numerous art galleries and studios, allowing visitors and residents to explore a diverse range of artistic expressions. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre hosts concerts, festivals, and other live performances throughout the year.

St. Augustine is also home to several museums that celebrate and preserve the city’s cultural heritage. The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers an immersive experience into the world of pirates, while the Lightner Museum showcases decorative arts from the late 19th century.

Additionally, various annual events take place in St. Augustine, including the renowned Nights of Lights festival when the city becomes adorned with millions of twinkling lights during the holiday season.

City entertainment

St. Augustine offers a wide array of entertainment options for residents. From historic sites to outdoor activities, there is something for everyone. The city is known for its charming downtown area, which is filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors and locals alike enjoy exploring the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, where they can learn about the city’s rich history. For those who enjoy the arts, St. Augustine boasts several theaters and music venues that host performances throughout the year.

Local sights, attractions, events and things to do

St. Augustine is a city filled with stunning sights and attractions that draw visitors from near and far. The city’s most famous landmark is the St. Augustine Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking views from its observation deck. The beautiful beaches are also a major draw for residents and tourists alike, providing opportunities for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.

In addition to its natural beauty, St. Augustine is home to many historical sites such as Flagler College and the Oldest Wooden School House. Residents can also explore unique museums like the Lightner Museum or take a leisurely stroll through the scenic gardens of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.

The city hosts various events throughout the year that cater to different interests including concerts, art festivals, food fairs, and holiday celebrations. Whether it’s attending a local farmers market or enjoying live music at one of the many outdoor venues, there is never a shortage of things to do in St. Augustine.

Job opportunities

St. Augustine’s job market offers diverse opportunities across various industries. Some of the biggest employers in the area include Flagler Hospital, St. Johns County School District, Northrop Grumman Corporation, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, and Ring Power Corporation.

Overall economy

The overall economy of St. Augustine is strong, with a healthy average household income and low unemployment rate. The average household income in the city is above the national average, providing residents with a comfortable standard of living. The unemployment rate in St. Augustine is consistently lower than the national average, indicating a stable job market for residents.

State taxes and local taxes

Living in St. Augustine comes with its fair share of taxes, both at the state and local levels. As a resident of Florida, one of the major advantages is that the state does not impose a personal income tax. This means that individuals can keep more of their hard-earned money. However, it is important to note that Florida does levy sales taxes on various goods and services.

On the local level, St. Augustine does have its own set of taxes. These include property taxes, which are calculated based on the assessed value of your home or property. The city utilizes this revenue to fund essential services such as public schools, road maintenance, and public safety.

Education system

St. Augustine offers a range of educational opportunities for its residents. The city is home to several quality public schools that strive to provide a comprehensive education for students from kindergarten through high school.

In addition to public schools, there are also several notable colleges and universities in and around St. Augustine:

  • Flagler College: A private liberal arts college located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine.
  • University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences: A graduate institution focused on health sciences education.
  • St. Johns River State College: A state college offering various associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville: A nearby institution offering a wide range of academic programs.

City’s public transportation and traffic

In terms of public transportation, St. Augustine provides limited options compared to larger cities. The city operates a public bus system known as Sunshine Bus Company, which serves various routes within St. Johns County.

However, due to its relatively small size, many residents choose to rely on private vehicles for their daily commuting needs. St. Augustine does experience some traffic congestion during peak hours, particularly on major roads such as U.S. Highway 1 and State Road A1A.

For those looking to travel by air, the nearest major airport is Jacksonville International Airport, located approximately 50 miles north of St. Augustine. This airport offers domestic and international flights, providing convenient access to air travel for residents of St. Augustine.

Neighborhoods in St. Augustine

  • Downtown Historic District: Known for its charming cobblestone streets and historic architecture, the downtown area offers a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
  • North City: Situated just north of the downtown area, this neighborhood is known for its diverse mix of housing options and proximity to natural landmarks like Mission Nombre de Dios and Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
  • Anastasia Island: Located across the Matanzas River from downtown St. Augustine, Anastasia Island offers beautiful beaches, outdoor recreational opportunities at Anastasia State Park, and a range of residential options.
  • Lincolnville: This historic neighborhood has a rich African-American heritage and features beautifully restored Victorian-era houses alongside newer constructions. It is known for its vibrant arts scene.
  • St. Augustine South: Situated south of downtown along the Intracoastal Waterway, this neighborhood offers a suburban feel with many single-family homes and access to boating facilities.

Is St. Augustine a Family Friendly City?

St. Augustine is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, making it a great place to live for families of all sizes. The city offers a wide range of activities and attractions that are perfect for kids and adults alike.

One of the main reasons why St. Augustine is family friendly is its abundance of outdoor recreational areas. Families can enjoy spending time at the beautiful beaches, exploring the numerous parks, or taking a stroll along the city’s historic streets.

In addition, St. Augustine is home to several family-friendly attractions that will keep kids entertained and engaged. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park offers a chance to see exotic birds and reptiles up close, while the Pirate & Treasure Museum takes visitors on an interactive journey through pirate history.

City Tourism in St. Augustine

St. Augustine is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world due to its rich history and charming atmosphere.

The city boasts an impressive array of historical sites and landmarks that are worth exploring. The Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish fortress, is one of the most iconic attractions in St. Augustine. Visitors can take guided tours or attend reenactments to learn more about the city’s past.

Additonally, St. George Street is a bustling pedestrian-only street filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries for tourists to explore. Visitors can also take scenic boat tours along Matanzas Bay or hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a guided tour of the city.

Moving to St. Augustine

If you’re considering moving to St. Augustine, you’ll be pleased to know that it offers a high quality of life with plenty of amenities and opportunities.

The city has a strong economy, with diverse industries including tourism, healthcare, and education. It is also home to several universities and colleges, providing excellent educational opportunities for residents.

In terms of housing, St. Augustine offers a variety of options ranging from historic homes to modern apartments. The cost of living is relatively affordable compared to other cities in Florida, making it an attractive choice for individuals and families.

Retiring in St. Augustine: A Tranquil Paradise

Nestled on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine offers a serene and picturesque setting for retirees seeking a peaceful and fulfilling lifestyle. With its charming historic district, stunning beaches, and diverse cultural attractions, this city provides an idyllic retirement destination.

Pros of Retiring in St. Augustine

  • Historical Charm: St. Augustine’s rich history is reflected in its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and numerous landmarks, creating a unique and captivating atmosphere.
  • Natural Beauty: From the pristine sandy shores of Crescent Beach to the lush greenery of Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine boasts breathtaking natural landscapes that offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • Cultural Hub: With vibrant art galleries, museums, theaters, and an array of annual festivals, retirees can indulge in a thriving arts scene that fosters creativity and intellectual engagement.
  • Pleasant Climate: St. Augustine benefits from a warm subtropical climate throughout the year, allowing retirees to enjoy outdoor pursuits comfortably and relish in abundant sunshine.
  • Social Community: The city’s welcoming community values inclusivity and actively promotes social connections among residents through various clubs, events, and volunteer opportunities.

Cons of Retiring in St. Augustine

  • Tourist Crowds: As one of Florida’s popular tourist destinations, St. Augustine experiences heavy visitor traffic during peak seasons, which may occasionally lead to congestion and increased noise levels.
  • Insect Pests: Due to the city’s humid climate and proximity to marshlands, residents may encounter mosquito and other insect populations that can be bothersome, especially during the warmer months.
  • Healthcare Availability: Although St. Augustine offers quality healthcare facilities, some retirees may prefer larger cities with more specialized medical services and advanced healthcare systems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about St. Augustine

1. What is the cost of living in St. Augustine?

The cost of living in St. Augustine is slightly above the national average. Housing expenses can vary depending on location, with beachfront properties commanding higher prices. However, affordable housing options can be found within the city and its surrounding areas.

2. Are there recreational activities for seniors in St. Augustine?

Absolutely! St. Augustine offers a wide range of recreational activities tailored to seniors, such as senior centers, fitness classes, golf courses, fishing excursions, and social clubs that cater specifically to retirees.

3. What are the transportation options in St. Augustine?

St. Augustine provides several transportation options to residents, including a local bus service called Sunshine Bus Company, taxi services, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, and ample parking facilities for those who own vehicles.

4. Is St. Augustine prone to hurricanes?

Like many coastal regions in Florida, St. Augustine is susceptible to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 – November 30). However, the city has well-established emergency management plans and reliable evacuation routes to ensure resident safety.

5. Can I enjoy water activities in St. Augustine?

Absolutely! With its prime coastal location, residents of St. Augustine can partake in a variety of water activities such as boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and even dolphin-watching tours.

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