Catholic Sites to Visit in Florida This Summer

St. Augustine Basilica at dusk in Florida, USA

When making plans for summer break, the first thing you tend to plan is a big trip with the family. For those times between out-of-state trips, there are plenty of places Floridian families can visit on a tankful of gas. Consider visiting a Catholic site right here in the Sunshine State. Here are a few we recommend going to at least once as a family: 

Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

Built in 1565 and relocated in 1797, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine was home to the first Catholic Mass in the continental United States. In 1976, the church became venerated and granted the pope’s seal, meaning the pope can visit the church. Also, if a fire burned down the city, it would be rebuilt on the foundation where it currently sits. 

To visit Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, you can take a guided tour throughout the day or light candles for loved ones at any time. You can also join for Mass at 7:00 a.m. Monday-Saturday. 

Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine

Plans for Mary, Queen of the Universe Basilica and National Shrine began around the time Disney World opened in Lake Buena Vista. They continued through 1993 when the first Mass was celebrated in the new church. The timing and location were very intentional. The original builders of the church decided to build it as a place where people from Central Florida and around the world could congregate under their shared faith. The grounds now include a Rosary garden, an outdoor chapel, a bell tower, and a pond brimming with wildlife. 

Visiting hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. You can find times for Mass and other events on their website

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios

While this St. Augustine shrine is small, the grounds of this shrine, known as “The Sacred Acre,” have received the title of the United States’ Most Peaceful Tourist Spot. In 1609, this shrine, the oldest shrine in the United States, opened in honor of Our Lady of La Leche. At this shrine, pilgrims from around the world pray for fertility, the health of children, and the safe delivery of babies for pregnant women. 

Visiting hours for the grounds are dawn to dusk, with church hours being Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 4 p.m. You can find times for Mass and other events by visiting their website

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Founded in 1854 and rebuilt twice, for the last time in 1910, this basilica represents Jacksonville’s oldest Catholic congregation. The first and second churches were burned during the Civil War and the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901, respectively. This beautiful building boasts a traditional European design, popular both for a Gothic-style exterior and for its interior design elements that look like they belong in an art museum. This makes it a popular destination for weddings, something the church takes great pride in. 

Office hours are Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Find Mass times and more by visiting their website

Visiting any of these Catholic sites this summer can make for a meaningful day trip for the whole family. Our Orlando Catholic school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.