The ghosts of America’s oldest city invite you to listen to their stories.
When you think about the oldest settlements in America, you probably think of Plymouth Rock or Jamestown. But in Florida, there is a place that predates even these earliest of European settlements—St. Augustine.
Founded by Don Pedro de Aviles of Spain in 1565, St. Augustine is known as the oldest city in America. With its wealth of historic buildings, churches, mysterious haunted houses, and even the fountain of youth, St. Augustine truly whispers of a different time.
For many, those whispers from centuries past are closer (and louder) than we imagine. St. Augustine doesn’t use the word “haunted” lightly. Its ghosts are as real as the brick and mortar that form the building specters love to inhabit.
Are you ready to explore St. Augustine’s haunted history?
You’ve come to the right place. These St. Augustine attractions are where you are almost certain to experience a ghost encounter of your own…
St. Augustine’s Haunted Attractions
St. Augustine’s history is rich and diverse, from Native Americans to Spanish settlers, buccaneering pirates to land tycoons. It is no wonder that St. Augustine is home to some of the oldest and most fascinating historic sites in America–and their ghosts.
And the best place to start your ghost adventure might be the…
Castillo de Marcos
The Castillo de Marcos fortress was built to proclaim the Spanish settlers’ domination over the New World, and as a symbol of power and domination, it certainly does the trick. The oldest masonry fort in America, it is one of the most visited sites in St. Augustine; there, tourists can wander the gun deck with its magnificent view of St. Augustine, the many rooms that once housed soldiers, and even the prisoner’s chapel.
But with the violence the walls of Castillo de Marcos have seen, it is no wonder that it is one of the most haunted St. Augustine attractions. From links to the bloody Spanish Inquisition to love triangles between Spanish nobleman, a ghost tour of the Castillo de Marcos is just about a requirement for travelers to St. Augustine.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
Built on the site of an old Spanish watchtower overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is a must-do for both its history and its beauty. You can even climb 219 steps to capture this magnificent view the lighthouse provides.
Tours might teach you about the Fresnel lens or the everyday life of a lighthouse keeper. But as you listen, you might begin to wonder–do you detect the scent of a cigar? Perhaps it is one of the first lighthouse keepers paying you a visit.
Or do you hear the sound of laughter at the top of a staircase—the sound of two giggling girls?
If you are hoping to spot a ghost in St. Augustine’s, the lighthouse is one of the best places to do it–and its ghost stories will chill you to the bone.
St. Augustine’s Mysterious Haunted Houses
It is no wonder that St. Augustine stakes claim to some of the oldest houses in America. Take the Casablanca Inn, known for its picturesque beauty and view of Matanzas Bay, but perhaps even more for its resident ghosts steeped in a colorful history of Prohibition and bootlegging.
Or what about O.C. White’s, where the story of the elegant woman who owned it seems to come straight out of Love in the Time of Cholera.
From forbidden love affairs to owners found dead in their bathtubs, the oldest hotels, and homes of St. Augustine have found new identities as modern-day hotels, restaurants, and private residences that serve guests of the earthly realm.
But if you pay a visit to one of these haunted places, you might ask yourself–do the undead dwell amongst the living, standing over your bed, or perhaps imbibing a pint of beer at the seat next to you?
The only way to know, is to truly know their stories.
St. Augustine’s Creepiest Haunted Cemeteries
JK Rowling is said to have gotten her names for her beloved Harry Potter characters by wandering cemeteries in London. Perhaps she got a bit of inspiration for her supernatural stories as well, for cemeteries in just about any city tend to be a gathering place—of the ghostly kind.
St. Augustine’s Huguenot cemetery seems to be an overachiever in this regard. Dating back to 1821, it was built to house the undead who weren’t Catholic. Perhaps the spirits are angry at the way society shunned them, for many visitors to the cemetery have captured orbs and spectral activity on their cameras.
What might you encounter on a ghost adventure to the haunted cemeteries of St. Augustine?
A Ghost Adventure of St. Augustine
St. Augustine is one of the most haunted cities in America, full of haunted places too plentiful to cover in one article: there’s the Old City Gates, an old jail, a haunted drug store, and a hospital, not to mention the plethora of haunted pubs and bed and breakfasts. The only way to truly understand St. Augustine is to visit its many-storied places in person.
If you don’t know the stories of the people who lived and breathed throughout the city’s history, the significance of these places becomes simply reduced to a bunch of old brick and mortar. But if you listen closely, some of the residents still speak to discerning visitors, even to this day.
Residents of an immortal kind, that is.
Lucky for you, Nightly Spirits has spent years learning about the people who lived these stories, and we have learned from experience that these spirits are just dying to share their stories with you. Of all the things to do in St. Augustine, a ghost adventure might be the one you will remember forever.