If you follow me on Facebook (which you can do here), then you already know I recently took a trip to Florida. I visited a few places, but primarily stayed in St. Augustine. If you haven’t been there yet, it is a great place for a family vacation. It boasts of being the very first European settlement in the US, has very calm beaches with some family friendly attractions, plus a charming downtown historic district. It’s about an hour and a half from Jacksonville and two hours from Orlando, so you can fit it in while visiting some other popular Florida towns.
My number one reason to return to St Augustine is the beaches. They are pristine, practically empty in some spots and you can drive on them. I was blessed with amazing weather this trip, but I have visited during different times of the year and have always been able to spend some time on the beach. I would caution you to check ocean temps in Jan-Mar, as they can be cold, but it’s always been warm enough to take a walk on the beach.
I love to park myself in a beach chair with a good book and my ice tea and just enjoy listening to the ocean.
The beach side of St Augustine also houses the St Augustine Lighthouse. It is reportedly haunted and a big tourist attraction. Climbing to the top rewards you with an amazing view of town across the way.
If you need a break from the beach, venture into the town of St. Augustine via the Bridge of Lions to see the historic buildings. Check out the shopping district on St. George Street for a variety of shops and restaurants tucked into nooks and crannies. I’ll be back with some reviews of my favorites a little later in the month.
I’ve been to St Augustine a couple times and like to mix up what I tour each time I go. I checked out the Lightner Museum while I was there this time and it had so many amazing views around every turn. They hold weddings here and I can’t even imagine how gorgeous the photos turn out!
The Spanish influenced architecture is all over downtown St Augustine. Below is a photo of the Basilica. Be sure to check out the interior when you visit.
I happened upon this church having a pumpkin sale and couldn’t resist all the color. Is this not the definition of October or what?
St Augustine also has an amazing dolphin habitat called Marineland, which I recommend for a low key dolphin experience. The St Augustine Alligator Farm has an amazing assortment of reptiles for the kids too. The Fountain of Youth was very touristy for my taste, but is very popular also. For the educational portion of your trip, take the kids or your history buff to see the Castillo de San Marcos for a look at a real fort, complete with a cannon shoot and a view of the water. Two outlet malls are located outside of St Augustine proper for those who crave a little retail therapy and there are too many restaurants to count.
Have you been to St Augustine? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!