Your first stop in St. Augustine should be the Ripley’s Red Train Tours. This is the best way to get an overview of the city and see the sights! The train takes you throughout the city, stopping at 20 of the most popular sites. Along the way, you’ll hear about the history, stories, and little known facts that you can’t get anywhere else. Plus, you can hop on and off all day – hearing new stories because this tour is not scripted!
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Ripley’s Red Train Tours Review
While busy sightseeing, it is refreshing to be able to relax and enjoy everything instead of driving! The Ripley’s Red Train Tours gives you the opportunity to experience everything together, as a family. This is the original train tour in St. Augustine, dating back to 1953 – afterall, everything in St. Augustine is measured in how old it is as you visit the Nation’s Oldest City! It is hard to decide on whether to take the entire 90 minute tour around the city at once or hop on and off when something catches your eye! We did a little of both.
We hopped on at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the nation’s first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.
Next up is the Old Senator Live Oak tree which is over 600 years old, old enough to witness when Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Saint Augustine’s famed Fountain of Youth just 600 feet from this tree.
You’ll drive through the most photographed street in America according to National Geographic, Magnolia Avenue. The majestic Live Oak trees have branches hanging over the paved road for a site to be seen – and photographed!
From there, you can hop off the train for the Fountain of Youth, the site of mysterious healing water discovered by Ponce De Leon and an amazing 15 acre family fun historic attraction.
Another fun stop is the Old Jail is a historic attraction that allows you to walk through the halls and in the cells of a maximum security jail that was home to prisoners back in 1891 (restored and renovated while keeping that hold jail charm).
A favorite stop along the route is St. George Street where you can walk the pedestrian-only streets for shopping over 200 shops, restaurants, and historic sites. We recommend the Colombian Restaurant, The Floridian Restaurant, and Catch 27!
You’ll find 200 year old coquina city gate pillars here as well. (Get exclusive Red Trains discounts in this shopping area too!)
A stop at Flagler College & Villa Zorayda is a stop with a castle from 1883 filled with millions of dollars worth of relics and antiques.
Another must-see attraction and stop is at the Spanish Military Hospital & Aviles St. where you’ll step inside an 18th century hospital and learn about how the Spanish were advanced in their techniques and survival rates.
There are also museums and art galleries in this part of the city that dates back to 1570.
For a relaxed and leisurely times, walk along the City Marina & Bayfront Golf (also owned by Ripley’s and the oldest mini golf in St. Augustine).
This is where you’ll also find the Bridge of Lions that connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island across Matanzas Bay. The name comes from Ponce de Leon whose name means lion.
You can also step aboard the Victory III here for a scenic cruise in the bay area.
Another stop is the Oldest House which dates back to 1702.
We picked up the train at the Oldest House often because it is right next to where we call home away from home, St. Francis Inn.
One of the most famous sites in St. Augustine and popular stop on the tour is is Castillo de San Marcos. This coquina stone fortress was built in 1672 and never conquered in battle.
These are just some of my favorite stops while riding the Ripley’s Red Train Tours. We rode it for a couple days because it was the easiest and most entertaining way to sight-see. If you ride it one day, you can ride it for as many consecutive days as you want for just $5 a day!
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