Located along the First Coast, St. Augustine is one of the top cities in Northeast Florida and a beautiful place to call home. But depending on where you’ve grown up and what’s important to you, St. Augustine could be the perfect place to live or the not-so-perfect place to live.
The truth is: it depends. People don’t always want the same thing, and life in this historic city isn’t necessarily for everyone. So, for anyone sitting on the fence, here are the pros and cons of living in St. Augustine (from people who actually live here).
9 Pros for Living in St. Augustine
To start, let’s take a minute to discuss all the reasons you should live in St. Augustine. While we could have written about a hundred pros of living here, we tried to limit it to the most important ones. Here are seven reasons you should consider living in St. Augustine.
1. Lots of History
St. Augustine is famously known as the oldest city in the United States. Located along the ancient coast, the area is full of historical sites and beautiful architecture dating back to the 17th century. From the cobbled road of Aviles Street to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, the streets in St. Augustine are paved with this country’s history.
You can visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, an old masonry fort built by the Spanish 350 years ago. To see relics from America’s Gilded Age, check out the Lightner Museum, located across the street from Flagler College. If you love history or might enjoy a look into this country’s illustrious past, St. Augustine is an ideal city for you.
2. The Great Outdoors
St. Augustine is home to countless parks filled with well-preserved nature and exotic wildlife. You can spend days birdwatching, hiking, biking, swimming, or doing any other nature-related activity your heart desires. If you’re looking for adventures in the great outdoors, then St. Augustine would be the perfect home for you!
3. Beautiful Beaches
St. Augustine is situated between two great bodies of water. On the city’s eastern side is the North Atlantic Ocean, offering a stretch of white sandy beaches with nearly endless beach and water activities. So, if you live in St. Augustine, your new home could be within walking distance of some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world
4. St. Johns River
The western side of the city also touches the St. Johns River. The river offers many amenities like swimming, water sports, rafting, and fishing. You can take your boat out on the water or just relax on the shore, watching the sunset over this great body of water.
So, if you live in St. Augustine, you have more opportunities than ever to live in a luxury waterfront property. And no matter where you live in the city, the water is just a short drive away!
5. Endless Activities
St. Augustine also offers an array of activities for the entire family! On top of all the water and nature-related activities, you can go shopping at the boutiques on Aviles Street, catch a world-class show at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, and golf alongside the professionals at the World Golf Village. And don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at some of our world-famous restaurants, home to some of the best coastal cuisine in the country!
6. The Schools
Located in St. Johns County, St. Augustine has the privilege of being in the county ranked #1 for Best Public Schools in Florida. So, if you’re looking for a top-notch education for your children, St. Augustine is where you want to be. Thanks to its top-ranked schools, outstanding extracurricular activities, and a culture that values quality education, St. Johns County is ranked the best county for families in the entire state.
7. No State Income Tax
Florida is one of nine states that doesn’t require you to pay a state income tax. While other states may take up 13.3% (California) of your income, Florida operates a little differently. So, if you’re looking for a place to live without that additional burden, Florida is the place to be.
8. The Architecture
We’ve already talked a little bit about the history here along the ancient coast, but we haven’t talked about the gorgeous architecture that comes along with it. Much of the city is dedicated to preserving its history, so many of the city’s oldest buildings and streets are still around. And this provides some of the country’s prettiest and most interesting architecture!
9. Conveniently Located
The city is also extremely well located. Jacksonville is just a short drive away, offering big-city amenities and a metropolitan experience. The beaches are literally within walking distance. And if you’re interested in spending any time at Disneyland in Orlando, St. Augustine is just two hours away, meaning you can be near the theme park without living in the middle of all that tourist-inspired, crazy traffic.
4 Cons for Living in St. Augustine
Now that we’ve covered the pros, let’s take a moment to discuss the cons of living in this beautiful city. Here are four reasons you might not want to live in St. Augustine.
1. Population Size
St. Augustine has 15,065 people, which makes it a relatively small city. So, if you’re looking for a metropolitan area with huge buildings and other big-city amenities, St. Augustine may not be the place for you. Though there is quite a bit of traffic from tourism, there aren’t many people in the area, making it a quieter and less busy place to live.
Some people want to live in the middle of the hustle and bustle, and if that’s you, that might ultimately influence your decision. But as we already mentioned, St. Augustine is located just an hour south of Jacksonville and two hours north of Orlando, offering larger populations and many of those big-city amenities you might want.
2. The Weather
While some people move to Florida for the nearly unlimited sunshine and warm climate, the weather here in St. Augustine could be a negative for some people. St. Augustine gets, on average, 223 sunny days per year with 118 days of precipitation and an average of 51 inches of rain. The average high in July is 91 degrees, and the average low in January is 45 degrees.
And you can’t forget about hurricane season. With 120 hurricanes between 1851 and 2018, Florida holds the record for the most hurricanes to hit one state, with an average of about one hurricane every three years. But, of course, you’ll have to contend with natural disasters no matter where you live, and unfortunately, Florida is no different.
3. Sales Tax
We talked about how Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, which is a pretty significant pro. But unfortunately, the state does have a 6% general sales tax that is added to all taxable goods, products, and services. Of course, it’s not alone. Forty-five states have a sales tax, and Florida is among the lowest in the country.
One last drawback of living in a city known for its history and culture is the heavy presence of tourism. People from all over the world travel to visit St. Augustine’s historical sites and gorgeous beaches, which means you’ll share your roads, restaurants, and events with travelers and tourists. That being said, tourism does help stimulate the local economy, providing plenty of business opportunities for local entrepreneurs!
Looking for Your Dream Home in St. Augustine?
After reading about the pros and cons of living in St. Augustine, are you ready to decide? If you’re interested in living in St. Augustine, want to see some of our beautiful St. Augustine homes for sale, or have questions about the area, contact the Welch Team today!
And while you’re here, don’t forget to pick up a copy of our free buyer’s guide. It’s a comprehensive look into the home buying process with expert tips and a list of our most trusted vendors.