Steeped in History, Beauty and Charm
By Patricia A. Vorbrich
Florida’s Historic Coast is home to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. Settled nearly 450 years ago, it has been home to many other cultures — Timucuan, Greek, Minorcan and British. With all the history and culture, St. Augustine is a perfect family destination to learn and explore all the city has to offer, and that is plenty. With 42 miles of unspoiled beaches, perfect for building sand castles, surfing and fishing, the pristine beaches are a peacefull place to watch the sun rise or sun set.
For historic B & B lodging, check out The St. Francis Inn. Dating from 1791, The St. Francis is the oldest inn in the city. Offering a daily buffet breakfast, and social hour, guests will truly enjoy the ambiance of this quaint inn. The St. Francis Inn also offers beach cottage rentals, giving direct access to white, sandy beaches.
Hop on the Red Train Tours for the best way to see the city. Guests on the train are allowed to stop at the attraction of their choice, and hop back on to explore more, at their leisure.
The Pirate Museum has one of the world’s largest collections of authentic pirate artifacts, dating back to the 16th century. Visitors will also want to make a stop at the Colonial Quarter, where guests can participate in musket drills, blacksmith demonstrations and more. Don’t miss the Fountain of Youth Park, where the most popular visit seems to be drinking from Ponce de Leon’s legendary spring, or see a cannon firing demonstration.
Some must see attractions: a tour of Castillo de San Marcos; this massive fortress took more than 20 years to build in the 1600s, and is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. Dark of the Moon Tour at the St. Augustine Lighthouse; climb 219 steps to the top for a breathtaking view, and learn all the ghost stories on the only tour that gets you in the tower at night. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm; with 23 crocodilian species from the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. Flagler College and the Lightner Museum are also must sees. The Victory III Scenic Cruise is a great way to see the city from a different vantage point.
When looking for unique dining experiences, look no further than The Ice Plant Bar & Restaurant; a farm to table restaurant and bar with a unique atmosphere. The Columbia Restaurant is a must stop for Spanish cuisine; for cajun-style seafood try Hooked on Harry’s.
The City of St. Augustine will be commemorating the 450th Anniversary of its founding through-out the year, in 2015, with the biggest events taking place in September. However, there are a number of ways for visitors to experience the celebration throughout the year. M
As written in Tampa Bay Metro Magazine.