Shopping is one of the primary activities while on vacation. Even if it's a trip for history, the beach or snow-skiing, travelers always carve out time for buying a souvenir or a finding a great new piece for their home or wardrobe to remember the occasion. Finding a great deal is also a plus. Lucky for visitors to St. Augustine, two outlet centers on I-95 provide designer names at anywhere from a 25 percent to a 65 percent discount.
The St. Augustine Outlets (500 Outlet Mall Blvd., 904.826.1311) include 75 outlet stores on the east side of I-95. Shoppers will find high-end designer brands like Gucci, Cole Haan, BCBG, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, bebe and St. John. Other popular stores include Pac Sun, Nautica, Charlotte Russe, LOFT, Bath & Body Works, Sunglass Hut and Talbots. The shopping center has recently undergone a $35 million renovation.
The St. Augustine Premium Outlets (2700 State Road 16, 904.825.1555) on the west side of I-95 houses 85 stores. Ladies will find plenty of favorites like Banana Republic, The Body Shop, Coach, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Motherhood Maternity and White House Black Market. For men, there are dozens of stores tailored just for them such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Jos A. Bank and Levi's. For the kids, you'll find J. Crew Crew Cuts, Janie and Jack, Carter's and Hartstrings. And there are also nearly two dozen shoe outlets featuring brands like Nike, Adidas, Skechers, Converse, Crocs, Sperry, Keds, Reebok and Merrell. Just in time for Spring Break, a few more stores have opened at St. Augustine Premium Outlets. Torrid, a trendy, plus-sized clothing store, and Swarovski, which sells high-quality crystal jewelry and home decor items. Additionally, GNC, a popular health and welness center, has relocated to a larger space to help get those beach bodies ready.
“Each of the new additions will deliver outstanding customer service and offer an exceptional product at St. Augustine Premium Outlets,” says Ashley Rodgers, director of marketing and business development at St. Augustine Premium Outlets. “We are thrilled that our shoppers will have the opportunity to visit these new and expanded tenants in the coming month.”
St. Augustine Outlet Shopping Tips
Before heading out to shop for great deals at St. Augustine's outlet malls, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. There are two outlet malls in town, both across from each other on I-95 with very similar names: St. Augustine Outlets and St. Augustine Premium Outlets. Be sure to study the store directories to pick the right location for your shopping needs.
2. Parking is free, but the lots can get crowded. Shopping early when the stores open or late in the evening is wise, especially during the peak spring break or summer months.
3. While outlet shopping is popular on rainy days when visitors leave the beaches, keep in mind the outlets are located in outdoor shopping centers. Be prepared for the crowds and the weather. Remember your raincoat and umbrella. In the heat, bring bottled water with you.
4. When shopping at the outlet malls in St. Augustine, be sure to compare apples to apples when it comes to price. For example, some outlets offer last season's merchandise that didn't sell at retail shops while others sell items specifically manufactured for the outlet market. You may find a great deal on high-end luggage at Samonsite or Coach that was introduced last year, while other shops like Banana Republic offer trendy clothes with good prices but the quality is less than clothing offered at their regular stores.
5. The Food Court not only provides nourishment when you've shopped till you dropped, but its information center provides other resources during your trip to the outlets as well as the entire region. You can also rent a stroller for the wee ones there.
With so many great outlets, there is no way to go home empty handed.