I recently spent a couple days in St. Augustine, Florida and even though I’ve been there many times before, I was able to find a few things that were new to me. I thought I would share them since it’s vacation time!
I saw some photos that were taken from Fort Mantanzas and started looking into where it was located and how to get there. It was built in 1742 to defend St. Augustine from the British. It is maintained by the National Park Service.
Access to the fort is via a short ferry ride, with some history of the fort given to you by the rangers. (Our ranger was named Griselle and quite entertaining and ended up having a connection to my hometown).
Once there, you climb up a steep set of stairs to the fort. The views are amazing. I highly recommend checking out the fort for the views alone. The ferry ride is fun and since we didn’t have a very big group the Park rangers took us out to look for dolphins and manatees. The whole thing took only an hour.
The ferry and fort access are free. They do take donations to the National Park Service. More info can be found here. Highly recommend checking this out!
I almost always check out the outlets when in St. Augustine. Not much to say about them, I always find something there, but I find outlets to not be as exciting as they used to be when they were rarer. The one unique thing about St. Augustine is that there are two outlet malls, located across the interstate from each other. I go to both when I am there, because there are stores in each I like to visit. What I have found near the outlets, is a great casual restaurant called The Press. Actually my mom found it, but I will take credit for it!
I’ve been to The Press twice in about six months and both times I had excellent food, as did my lunch mates. As most people who know me are aware, I almost always order a hamburger for lunch and I can honestly say the one at The Press is the best I’ve ever had. That is high praise from me.
It is located in a nondescript strip mall, so use your GPS to let you know when you reach it and it is much easier to access when returning from the outlet malls toward St. Augustine on Rt 16 (in my humble opinion). Check out their menu here.
The St. Augustine Distillery has been around for a couple years, but I haven’t been able to check it out until this trip. It was definitely worth the wait! I went into it not expecting much, but it was quick and fun. Our guide was named Michael and he was very entertaining and full of love for the Distillery. He gave a short history of the building and distillery and then took us into where they mix the mash and get the product into the bottles and barrels. It was beyond hot that day, like ridiculously hot even for Florida, so they warned us a bazillion times to let them know if we felt woozy. Because of the heat, we spent a pretty short time in that room and I personally wasn’t sad.
Next it was onto the AC and the bar where we sampled the goods. Our tour guide entertained us while explaining their mixers and liquors and made us three different drinks to sample. My faves were the Rum Tiki and the Florida Mule. The tour then moves to the shop, but the samples don’t stop. We were able to sample the other liquors they offer and any you wanted to taste as shots (without the mixers) were available. The shop had a lot of cute souvenirs in addition to the liquor and you get a free shot glass (if you ask) with your purchase!
The tour is free, the samples are free, more info here. People did bring small children. I personally wouldn’t, since it is alcohol based and not very interesting for them, but people did. The kids were clearly bored, but hey I get why you need some shots while on vaca! All in all, a fun time. Quick, entertaining and free booze!
Honorable mention goes to the Purple Olive. We went for the Early Bird dinner and it had the best Early Bird menu choices we’ve ever seen. Both our meals were excellent. Check them out here.
Have you been to St. Augustine? What are your fave things to do there? I am always looking for new and different things to check out while I am there. Any questions, let me know in the comments!