I love living in the heart of historic St. Augustine and sharing all the fun things to see and do here like a local. However, I often forget that most of you will have to do what I rarely have to do which is FIND PARKING in St. Augustine.
Now don’t go getting all crazy thinking I am giving you free parking at my house. As much as my son loves cars, we don’t want them completely covering our homestead. I CAN, however, give you some tips for parking around here.
The St. Augustine Historic Downtown Parking Facility (aka The Parking Garage)
The Parking Garage isn’t just for downtown either. Check out the Uptown neighborhood to the north for locally-owned shops, restaurants, and antique district. It’s also conveniently located next to the Swing Park. If you haven’t been, you should, because it’s definitely one of the best playgrounds around. Parking here makes it WAY easy to go, and also “go” because there are clean restrooms (most of the time) at the VIC.
There are several privately owned lots around town that have a meter or attendant, but I’m not talking about any of those because I think they are outrageously overpriced. If you find one that’s reasonable to you, then, by all means, go for it. From here on out, I’m talking about the City-owned lots and spaces.
The ParkStAug App
There’s a new app in town, along with new pay stations that will continue to accept credit cards, debit cards, bills, and coins. Download the ParkStAug App and enter payment and license plate info.
There is a Time Limit of 4 hours depending on where you parked. Without using the app, you most likely will have to return to put more money in the meter if you’re parked longer than that. This has been much to the annoyance of many a downtown employee who must use their valuable break time and tip money to feed the meter. So if you work downtown, download the app and use that break in better ways!
NOTE: There is a .15 charge each time you use the app to pay for up to 4 hours of parking. So let’s say you paid for an hour and then you find out you have to pay for another hour = 2 hours. No problem. You won’t be charged another .15 unless you have to renew your spot after the 4-hour time limit.
DO NOT PAY AFTER 5 pm …
…because it’s FREE! Sundays and National Holidays are also free unless otherwise marked – such as the parking lot by the Fort. That one charges seven days, 8 am-5 pm.
St. Johns County Residents: Currently there isn’t a way to use the actual physical ParkNow Card like the old pay stations (see below on how to score a St. Johns County resident discount on your parking with the ParkNow Card) however some meters still accept them.
To get the discount you have to use the ParkStAug app after setting up your account. Go to ParkStAug.com on your phone or computer’s web browser to set up your account online and also to connect your ParkNow Card to the account. It’s easiest to connect the ParkNow Card from a web browser. The tab to link the fabulous St. Johns County resident discount is located in the upper left of the ParkStAug website or just click here.
You will have to enter your driver’s license and vehicle registration for the Resident Discount via photo. For multiple vehicles, email Tara Bennie ([email protected]) at the Parking Department to send copies of the other registrations for the resident discount. She will attach them to the back end of your application so that you won’t need to fill out an app for each vehicle. This is particularly handy for couples and families that borrow each other’s cars.
City of St. Augustine Website: Info about the ParkStAug App
Need something more visual? Check out this local news video from January 2019
The ParkNow Card
I am constantly running into locals who don’t know about this, and it blows my mind. I’m pretty sure there’s some conspiracy to keep people from actually knowing about it because it will save you some cash. There has been some talk of phasing it out, but sources have informed me that if that does happen, it will not be for a very long time.
If you are a St. Johns County resident, get one of these ASAP!
I cannot stress this enough. I live walking distance to pretty much everything downtown and I STILL use one on occasion. Unfortunately, you can’t just snap your fingers and get one online or anything fancy like that, but its not hard. You don’t even have to get out of the car = no hassle with car seats because there’s a drive-thru!
Head over to the City of St. Augustine’s Financial Services Center, located at 50 Bridge Street (about a block behind the Lightner Museum). Hours: lobby – Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., drive-thru window – Mon-Fri, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Bring your driver’s license and you may need your vehicle registration as well.
ParkNow cards are preloaded with the incremental amount selected. Payment is deducted from the card total when used at downtown meters/pay-stations through the ParkStAug App or at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility
- A one-time cost of card: $2.50
- Available pre-paid card amounts: $20, $30, $50 or $100 (you may want to only do $20 at a time just in case the card is phased out for some reason, although I’ve been told that whatever balance remaining on the card at that time would be refundable in some way)
And it’s not just a pretty card with a chip in it. You get a big discount on your parking! Woo-Hoo!!!
It costs you $ .50 an hour instead of the $2.50 an hour rate at meters and pay-stations, and only $3.00 per entry at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility instead of the $15 entry rate. Yay!
After you get your ParkNow card, you can only reload it with additional funds at 2 places:
- Where you bought it (50 Bridge Street)
- Nearly invisible kiosk on the side of the Visitor Information Center (10 S. Castillo Drive), outside the Downtown Parking Garage. I had to hunt this thing down. Fortunately, a very nice gentleman working in the VIC walked with me and helped me find it, so I’ll pass that info along to you in the form of some photos below. It is on the Northside of the Parking Garage and VIC. It is REALLY easy to miss. I suppose it would be easy to drive up to if you wanted, but walking? No way. Totally hidden by a trolley stop.
IMPORTANT: You cannot purchase a ParkNow card at the Visitor Information Center or kiosk. You must purchase it at the Financial Office on Bridge Street.
ParkNow Card Brochure (subject to change soon due to the release of the ParkStAug App)
If you missed it, scroll up for step by step instructions on how to link the ParkNow Card St. Johns County Resident Discount to the ParkStAug App.
Where Else Can I Park?
Side streets in neighborhoods such as Lincolnville, Uptown, and east of the Bridge of Lions are generally free, but there are some areas that have restricted and residential parking. Most residential parking is enforced daily from 7 am-7 pm, however, some are 24 hours. Always be sure to check signage around where you park and do not park at yellow or red curbs. It seems obvious, but I see people do it ALL THE TIME. Don’t block someone’s driveway, and be mindful of parking across the street from a driveway. Some of our streets are crazy narrow because this town was originally designed for horse and carriages instead of SUVs and monster trucks. Illegal parking is strictly enforced 24/7 and people will call the police – for reals!
Map of City of St. Augustine Parking Lot and Meter Locations
List of City of St. Augustine Parking Lot Locations
St. Augustine Parking Info from OldCity.com
Park and Ride Shuttle Service available during peak events such as Nights of Lights, July 4th, New Year’s Eve, etc. There are plans in the works for acquiring more satellite lots and extending the service year-round which is desperately needed as more and more folks visit our beautiful, yet tiny town.
Have a super HUGE vehicle? The City provides free parking off of West Castillo and Riberia Streets (the other side of Francis Field from the Parking Garage). If it’s a heavy tourist traffic day, you might be out of luck because A LOT of buses will park there.
If you are still confused about any of this (I know…its a lot) feel free to contact Tara Bennie in the Parking Dept. at 904-825-1090 or [email protected]. She is super nice and more than happy to help answer any questions, just like she did for me!
Have you experienced parking magic (or lack of) in the Old City? Any suggestions for improvements? If so, let us know in the comments below!