The Fountain of Youth is asking your name—similar to it called to the Spanish explorers greater than 500 years ago. Maybe it’s those terrifi seashores or perhaps it surely is something in the water. Either way, there is lots to discover in this fascinating city on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
St. Augustine is Florida’s Historic Coast
Most humans don’t realize that St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European agreement inside the United States. (It turned into preceded with the aid of Puerto Rican colonies; Pensacola, which turned into destroyed in 1559; and Fort Caroline in Jacksonville, Florida, destroyed in 1565.) In fact, Ponce de Leon claimed “La Florida” for Spain in 1513, that’s decades earlier than the Jamestown colony in Virginia, and lengthy before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Over the centuries, many cultures have referred to as the metropolis domestic, including Native American, Spanish, British, French, and African.
Interestingly, we tend to analyze extra about English history in college in place of Spanish history—so that’s why now not as many Americans have a complete appreciation for Florida’s Historic Coast, which incorporates both St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach. Besides the excellent beaches and ancient web sites, there are terrific restaurants, lots of possibilities to concentrate to stay song, and masses of friendly parents in this charming beach vacation spot.
Historical Icons in St. Augustine
One of the most architecturally sizable structures inside the metropolis, and also the oldest masonry castle in the u . S ., the waterfront Castillo de San Marcos is definitely a sight to behold. Originally built inside the 17th century, the countrywide monument is fabricated from native coquina stones—which absorbed or deflected enemy projectiles, giving the Spanish a special advantage. Climb to the top of the fortress and take a look at out the high-quality views of the metropolis and waterfront.
Just two miles north of Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Mose Historic State Park is the vicinity of the primary free African agreement in North America. Learn approximately this vital forty-acre historical web site and stick round to spot a number of the natural surprise and contemporary residents like bald eagles and blue herons.
Take a sip from the legendary fountain at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, which tells the tale of the delivery of St. Augustine, in addition to the Timucuan folks who preceded the Spanish through lots of years. Walk via the lushly landscaped park (puppies are also allowed) to pattern water from the bubbling fountains.
Experience history come alive within the Colonial Quarter, located in St. Augustine’s ancient district along St. George Street. The -acre attraction takes you on a journey through the 16th, seventeenth, and 18th centuries. Learn about blacksmithing, watch a stay musket demo, and climb to the top of the 35-foot watchtower for panoramic perspectives of St. Augustine’s bayfront and the historical Castillo de San Marcos.
Fast ahead to the early twentieth century, whilst oil tycoon Henry Flagler got his own flavor of the bounty this shoreline has to offer. He developed St. Augustine into one of the usa’s first wintry weather lodge locations. Paying homage to the metropolis’s first rate beyond, the millionaire developer constructed the beautiful Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College), with its opulent 80-foot domed ceiling and Spanish Renaissance architecture.
More Fun Things To Do in St. Augustine
There are so many extraordinary possibilities to explore St. Augustine, whether or not or not it’s via a horse-drawn carriage journey, historic walking excursion, or a hop-on-and-off trolley ride. A form of tour operators can craft an revel in to suit any flavor, whether it be culinary, historical, or maybe paranormal (yes, we’re speakme ghosts). Legend has it that St. Augustine is one of the most haunted cities in America. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, be prepared to be entertained (and perhaps a bit anxious) on Ripley’s Ghost Train Adventure, Old Town Trolley’s Ghost & Graveyards Tour, or Ghost Tours of St. Augustine.
St. Augustine Lighthouse is rumored to be haunted too, however in the course of the day it’s a superbly ghost-loose (they only come out at night time, proper?) and splendid website to look. Located midway between downtown St. Augustine and the seashores of Anastasia Island, it’s the oldest navigational website in North America and home to a maritime museum. Climb up the 219 steps to the pinnacle of the lighthouse and check out wonderful views of the water and city.
Speaking of the water, there are lots of possibilities to enjoy the ocean and 12 months-spherical balmy weather. Help hoist the sails of the Schooner Freedom, a huge topsail schooner captained by means of John and Sarah Zaruba. Or cruise aboard a mahogany paneled Matthews yacht courtesy of Ancient City Charters, best for a romantic sundown sail. If you’d want to try your good fortune with a rod and reel, get offshore or on the apartments on a fishing tour with expert courses like Sea Love Charters or Drum Man Fishing Charters.
There are masses of locations to concentrate to stay track within the oldest town. Just walk along the streets of downtown in which a variety of restaurants host live bands. The St. Augustine Seafood Company hosts loose live shows at their on-web site Colonial Oak Music Park. Known as The Amp, the four,000-seat St. Augustine Amphitheatre hosts some of ticketed live track performances at some point of the yr. Located a little farther north, the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is every other popular appearing arts venue.
The Best Beaches in St. Augustine
While Florida’s Historic Coast is maximum famous for its storied beyond, make sure you go away lots of time to kick back at the place’s unspoiled seashores. Home to the popular St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier, St. Augustine Beach gives a large oceanfront pavilion, splash and play park, sand volleyball courts, and masses of beach restaurants like Salt Life Food Shack and South Beach Grill.
Just north of St. Augustine Beach, Anastasia State Park is a pristine stretch of sand with abundant flora and fauna and herbal tidal marshes. There’s a coquina quarry wherein laborers mined stones to construct the majestic Castillo de San Marcos and different ancient systems in downtown.
In the northern part of St. Johns County, Ponte Vedra Beach is famous for its historical and costly motel town feel. It’s also the website online in which, consistent with navigational statistics, Ponce de Leon first set foot on Florida sand. View the precise spot on the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, seventy three,000 acres of covered coastal dunes, tidal lagoons, and forests. It’s a splendid region to hike, bike, fish, kayak, picnic, and ride horseback. There are over 9 miles of nature trails, as well as a prehistoric earthen burial mound, and 17 extra archaeological websites.
The Best Restaurants in St. Augustine
There are masses of options to taste the neighborhood flavors along Florida’s Historic Coast. There are several culinary excursions that come up with the opportunity to pattern cuisine from the many locations that have stimulated the city’s records which includes Spain, France, Italy, Asia, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Check out The Tasting Tours and City Walks Savory Faire Food Tours. And you’ll actually want to tour the St. Augustine Distillery, where you could sample small batch spirits in a restored ice plant courting again to 1907.
Two crowd favorites equally famous for their water views and oyster bars, dine at Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House inside the coronary heart of the historical district, and Cap’s On The Water in Vilano Beach, which has killer sundown views because it faces the Intracoastal Waterway to the west. Nearby to Cap’s, also take a look at out Aunt Kate’s, a family-owned waterfront eatery that has a subculture of serving Menorcan dishes, fresh seafood, and a well-known clam chowder for greater than 100 years. The circle of relatives’s records dates again to several indentured servants from the island of Menorca, who fled the failed English Colony at New Smyrna to safety in St. Augustine in 1768. And at the same time as the authentic restaurant succumbed to hearth, the brand new constructing is serving up the same first-rate recipes on the water.
And, of route, that delectable Southern style cooking is what many foodies have grown to recognize and love approximately St. Augustine. Supporting neighborhood growers and manufacturers, The Floridian features a clean local tackle traditional down-domestic fare like fried inexperienced tomatoes, peppered shrimp, fish fry pulled beef and waffles, and the “Dixie” burger. Another nearby preferred, Catch 27 is a made-from-scratch kitchen that serves up hefty helpings of fried buttermilk chook, grits, and deviled eggs.
For an artisan-fashion after dinner deal with, head to Hyppo Gourmet Ice-Pops or Peace Pie in the ancient district, or close by Whetstone Chocolates of St. Augustine, which offers a chocolate tasting excursion.
The Best Hotels and Resorts in St. Augustine
Blending romance and history collectively seamlessly, The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens is a high-end mattress and breakfast with the atmosphere of a luxurious boutique inn. Located on a one-acre property within the coronary heart of downtown St. Augustine, the resort capabilities stylish visitor rooms and suites that have been completely restored inner a group of nine vintage structures—the oldest courting lower back to 1790. History abounds as you wander via lushly landscaped gardens and bubbling fountains. And you’ll be in correct organisation. A Colonial Revival residence that became constructed in 1909 once welcomed traffic like Mark Twain and Sinclair Lewis.
A waterfront gem placed inside strolling distance to all of the ancient sites in downtown, the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront inn gives extraordinary perspectives of the Bridge of Lions and Mantanzas River.
Or in case you’re searching out a lavish beachside get away, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is a AAA Five-Diamond stunner with a storied beyond. It originally opened in 1928 and has been attracting the who’s who of nicely-heeled guests for nearly a century. A main perk is the motel’s 36 holes of serene seaside golf. And there’s tennis, youngster’s sports, a beautiful spa, and plenty to do at the beach.
The vacation spot’s newest resort is Embassy Suites with the aid of Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort. Nestled among the St. Augustine Beach Pier Park and the 1,six hundred-acre Anastasia State Park, the inn provides masses of opportunities for water sports activities, nature hikes, and get admission to to miles of pristine undeveloped beaches.
When to Go to St. Augustine
It’s a toast of historic proportions. Dating returned to while Pedro Menéndez and the primary European settlers arrived on the beaches of St. Augustine more than 450 years ago wearing loads of wine from Spain, the ancient metropolis has grow to be referred to as America’s Spanish wine capital. Celebrating this unique heritage, the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival takes area in February and functions a series of special occasions that function Spanish wine, cuisine, and subculture. And all proceeds from the competition benefit local charities.
Let the rhythm flow you on the annual Sing Out Loud Festival in September. Including all of us from huge call headliners to nearby talent and songwriters, the event takes location for almost the complete month of September and functions stay track performances at venues around the town. The first-rate element? It’s the most important unfastened tune festival in Florida.
The whole metropolis of St. Augustine transforms for the duration of the holidays for the annual Nights of Lights celebration. Wander thru the historic district and witness magical presentations of tens of millions of Christmas lights. And there are plenty of unique holiday-themed events like the Holly Jolly Shopping Spree, the beer infused Nights of Pints, Villa Zorayda’s annual Candlelight Tour, excursion live shows, craft gala’s, boat parades, and extra. The festival kicks off the Saturday earlier than Thanksgiving and continues nightly thru January.
Whether you walk via the brick streets of Old Town or kick back at the beach, Florida’s Historic Coast is a notable vicinity for a family excursion.
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