There are so many wonderful things about the State of Florida and many of them are just plain free! On this site, I'll be exploring the free side of Florida as well as low cost options for your weekends or vacation. But because I don't want to steer you wrong, I'll post after I visit these places myself. Have a great time on the site and on your own adventures!

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St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine, FL

I never realized I had a fear of heights until I was 219 steps up, outside, with only a thin red rail between me and the sky. But the truth is, I loved the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The history there is amazing. Between the original lighthouse being built a little closer to the sea in the early 1700's (and eventually falling irretrievably into the abyss), and the construction of the "new" one in the 1800's, this place is a font of rich life.

Upon arriving at the site, visitors first enter the welcome center/souvenir shop. This friendly place is where you would purchase your wrist band for entry to the lighthouse and keeper's quarters. Tickets were decently priced at $9 for adults. There is also a choice of having a virtual tour guide in the form of a radio-like item that hangs on a lanyard. I accepted this free offer, however, the volume is so low that the narration can barely be heard and what I did hear was, frankly, boring. Skip it if you don't feel like carrying something else.

To find the tower, visitors then walk out the rear of the building to a small back porch where you can either continue forward to the natural trail leading to the lighthouse, or you may choose to take the longer route to the left. On the trail, the first site of the lighthouse is through the trees. Round the corner and the full height comes into view. Continue to the garden/yard and the choice is to visit the lighthouse to the left and the keeper's house to the right. Unless the weather is crisp and cool, go to the lighthouse first because you will sweat on the climb up (the keeper's house has air conditioning). There are several landings to rest on the way up and though you may think you're in shape, even the best of us got winded.

Once at the top, the view is spectacular! All of St. Augustine is below, including the ports, Castillo de San Marcos, old downtown, and of course the Atlantic Ocean. Despite my fears, I managed to take a lap around shooting pictures the whole way. Also, be sure to check out the workings of the light itself inside the very top.

Once the lighthouse is thoroughly viewed, it's on to the keeper's house. My suggestion is to start at the top and work your way down. The exterior stairs lead to the top floor which houses the story of the shrimping industry in the area as well as a few things for the little ones to play with.

The next floor down, which is considered the first floor, has numerous pictures and information on the line of keepers that lived there and cared for the tower. This is also where visitors gain access to the basement. (What? A basement in Florida??) This brick walled area is my favorite place in the house. Old cannons, cannon balls, cisterns, lighthouse lenses can all be found down there.

In conclusion, if you find yourself in the St. Augustine area and are looking for an inexpensive, unique sight definitely consider the St. Augustine lighthouse. For more information on the St. Augustine Lighthouse click the name or visit

Click HERE for a map.

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