St. Augustine is a charming little town on the northeastern coast of Florida and it’s the oldest city in the United States.
With that comes a lengthy history and a captivating culture that lures in locals and tourists alike.
St. Augustine is a quintessential spot on the southern coast, and it’s perfect for a day trip – whether you’re a Florida local, or you’re visiting the Sunshine State for a few days. But what makes this city so special?
What’s So Special about the Historic St. Augustine?
If you’ve never heard of St. Augustine before, you might be wondering what it’s all about. That’s what we’re here to help with!
St. Augustine is steeped in history. From its Spanish roots right up through the many wars fought on and off these shores, there is so much to learn and explore thanks to its long years.
For starters, St. Augustine is the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. Not only that, but it was the first settlement that stuck in Florida which had previously been almost impossible to conquer.
That shows resilience and strength on the part of the European settlers and a determination and pride from the previous inhabitants.
The Spanish settled here in 1565, and it quickly became a port to combat and thwart the French who were also looking for new land to claim.
As a result, the historic St. Augustine became home to many battles, bloodshed and war. But that only helped to strengthen the spirit of those who lived there.
Throughout the years, this town stood for many different things. During the Revolutionary War, it was used as a safe haven for British loyalists. Later, it was used as a fortress to imprison Native Americans. Later down the line, St. Augustine became a key instrument in the Civil Rights Movement.
It’s easy to see that St. Augustine has experienced and seen a lot in its almost 500 years of existence.
In 2019, there is still so much to see and do.
What to Do in Historic St. Augustine
1. Travel Back in Time
There are a number of tours that run daily all across St. Augustine. Some dive into its Spanish roots, others touch on its impact during war times and others focus on the paranormal. But there’s no doubt that these tours are full of interesting facts and depictions of this town rich with history.
To start your time in St. Augustine, sign up for a tour to get first-hand knowledge and retellings of the centuries-old town. These tour guides are knowledgeable, passionate and excited to tell you everything they know.
There are also a number of museums to check out, like the Pirate Museum and the Old Maritime Museum if you can’t get enough!
2. Grab a Drink at a Distillery
St. Augustine Distillery is locally owned and operated – making it the perfect place to check out if you’re into booze.
It’s built in what used to be an old ice plant, so it still holds some of its historic architecture and stories. But the best part is that it is still operational today – so yes, you can do some drinking as well.
There are free tours and tastings seven days a week – so pencil this destination into your schedule!
3. Enjoy a Drink on the Beach
St. Augustine also has its own beautiful coastline where you can enjoy some time under the sun. Take a relaxing stroll or rent a bike for a few hours and enjoy the peace and relaxation this park has to offer.
Visitors describe the beach as clean, quiet and relaxing. So if you’re tired from a long day of exploring, this is the place to be.
4. Explore the Old Jail
The Old Jail is another hot spot thanks to its history – both interesting and just a little bit gruesome.
This jail was home to some of the city’s worst criminals. It even had a maximum security section, with the prison operational until 1953. Now, it’s used for tours where you can learn about its dark past, some of the criminals that walked the halls (and some they say that still do).
If you’re a fan of history and maybe a fan of the paranormal, a tour of the Old Jail is something that you definitely need to add to your list.
5. Walk Down Saint George Street
Saint George Street is the main attraction in St. Augustine. The street is full of shops, restaurants and more. Some have been around for decades and some are new, making it a great option when meshing multiple itineraries and interests.
This street has existed for centuries, adding to the history – but some of the modern shops are great for appeasing particularly picky travelers who may not be as interested.
It’s the best of both worlds!
The Beauty of the Historic St. Augustine
Whether you’re a local or just visiting, St. Augustine has a lot to offer those looking for fun, excitement, relaxation and a heavy dose of history.
It’s the oldest city in the United States – and they take this history very seriously. Experience it for yourselves with the help of a guided tour or just check out the many attractions that retell stories of old. You won’t be disappointed.
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