Your quest for the Fountain of Youth is over once you’ve visited this park in St. Augustine, Florida. This site where Spanish explorer Ponce de León came in search of the elusive fountain in the 16th century, founding the oldest European settlement in the US. Sip the legendary waters while you learn about the area’s indigenous history.
Since 1871, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park has drawn visitors to the birthplace of St. Augustine and colonial European America. Entertaining and interactive exhibits include de León’s Spring of Eternal Hope, a re-created Timucuan village, a planetarium, hourly cannon demonstrations, and informative staff in period dress. The park is a worthwhile addition to your St. Augustine sightseeing itinerary, which might also include a stop at the Old Jail, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Castillo de San Marcos, Potter’s Wax Museum, and other attractions. Skip the driving and try a hop-on hop-off tour to explore all of these attractions at your own pace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Fountain of Youth is great for historians, and offers a lot of entertainment and space for kids to roam, too.
- Discounted tickets are available for children, active military, senior citizens, and AAA members.
- An on-site restaurant serves locally sourced barbecue, or you can bring your own food.
- Plan to spend at least two hours to explore the entire site.
- The park is pet-friendly and mostly accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
The Fountain of Youth is located in downtown St. Augustine on Magnolia Avenue, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Jacksonville. Take I-95 South to FL-16 East to Magnolia Avenue. Free on-site parking is available. The Sunshine Bus purple line also stops at US-1 south of Matanzas Avenue, about a 6-minute walk to the park.
When to Get There
The archeological park is open from 9am to 6pm daily. St. Augustine weather is generally ideal in the spring, from March through May, and you’ll enjoy fewer crowds on weekdays and earlier or later in the day (though note that last entry is at 5pm).
Water of Life
This particular Fountain of Youth isn’t the only one in Florida that claims a Ponce de León origin story. Dozens of legends have sprung up about the area’s springs and wells, including a fountain in Punta Gorda that has been deemed unsafe for drinking and potentially radioactive. Rest assured, this park’s well is tested regularly and meets standards of consumption.