One of them at least…
Confession time: I’m not really a beach person.
I grew up in Florida, surrounded by water and beaches. How can this be?
I’m not entirely sure, maybe it’s all the sand in places it shouldn’t be, the bright sun (night owl here!), or the self confidence issues that come with wearing bathing suits. I can appreciate a good beach every once in a while though. I’m just not as into them as other people seem to be…
But I digress, I just wanted to point that out because when I mention a favorite place in Florida it doesn’t include a beach destination. Although St Augustine does have a nice beach.
Anyways, here are a few reasons it is one of my top Floridian destinations:
I’m sort of a history nut. Any place that has ruins and/ or museum or historical significance instantly gets added to my travel list. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are pretty much my bucket list. And so, as being one of the oldest European settlements in North America, it definitely made the cut. One of the sites that stands out the most is the old Spanish fort, The Castillo de San Marcos. Built by the Spanish in the 17th century, the fort guards the the city and the Matanzas Bay and is open for tours.
A Taste of Europe in Florida
If that doesn’t float your boat (but why wouldn’t it??), there is also the quaint old historic downtown area. More like a small European town than anything else I’ve seen in Florida. There are shops and restaurants and even more historical sites to see.
A Sweet Lighthouse
Another icon of St. Augustine is the black and white striped lighthouse. Built in the mid 1800s, the lighthouse and the light keepers house are in excellent condition and both are open for tours. Though the climb up to the top can be quite challenging, the views are worth it!
There is much more to see in this small city: Flagler College, which used to be a hotel, Hotel Ponce de Leon, for the wealthy in the late 1800s. It is home to some priceless Tiffany glass and chandelier works. And college students that look at you funny for touring their school.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
Memorial Presbyterian Church
There’s still so much more to see and I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the historic city.
Other Notable Holes:
♦ There are of course ghost tours available. Cheesy, but fun!
♦ The famous Fountain of Youth is skippable. It is more of a tourist trap than anything, also, it doesn’t work. I’m still aging…
♦ The original Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, built in a historic castle-like residence.
♦ There is also an old jail that you can tour and be glad you weren’t locked up in olden times.
♦ The Hyppo gourmet ice pops. So freaking good with unusual but tasty flavor combos.
♦ Cousteau’s waffle and milkshake bar (dedicated to Jacques Cousteau) can’t go wrong with candied bacon and chewy homemade waffles.
♦ The Floridian. Really good food using local sustainable and seasonal ingredients.
♦ Also, if you’re a fan of Gone With The Wind, check out Scarlett O’Hara’s restaurant, set up in an old house with decor inspired by the movie.