Pirates… conquistadors… Spanish colonial architecture… ghosts! These leading plot points will draw you in to the colorful story of St. Augustine, where every corner has a history. The city was founded by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés when his armada arrived from Spain in 1565 to this land, La Florida (“the land of flowers”). You can see his statue guarding The Lightner Museum looking out over Flagler College. Being the oldest continuously occupied city of European origin in the nation (thereby featuring the “oldest house”, “oldest school house”, “oldest drug store”… and because of all that rich old history, yes, “most haunted” city in the nation), it’s certainly the most historically rich adventure you can get in this part of the country. St. Augustine has so much to see, it’s a one- or two-day visit to take in just a fraction of it, but this experience absolutely must be near the top of your Florida vacation checklist or weekend adventure. Stay at one of the many historic bed and breakfasts, enjoy Spanish and local cuisine, fire off some cannons, relax at the beach, become a pirate for the day, toss a doubloon into the Fountain of Youth. St. Augustine is a unique historical experience.Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, founder of the city of St. Augustine in 1565. Flagler College exterior and courtyard fountain.
St. Augustine Beach Pier. Sunrise on the east coast is one of Florida’s Top Magical Moments. Castillo de San Marcos hosts historic tours, cannon fire demonstrations and beautiful views of the St. Augustine Inlet. I’m sure there’s paranormal activity all over St. Augustine. While I doubt spirits enjoy putting on shows for tourists, if you’re keen on ghost hunting you may be more likely to experience something in a secluded venture by yourself. If that pegs your fright meter, a tram or hearse tour with one of the city’s famous ghost tours might be more up your alley.Chapel of Our Lady of La Leche. St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. This particular shopping section of St. George Street remains the only part of the city retaining the original, authentic look of homes and streets as it was in colonial days. I learned so much from the Colonial Experience! Are you keeping your eyes out for friendly spirits? I am.
The Oldest House in the nation.
Azulejo tile work design in this Spanish architecture. I discovered azulejo tiling in my first travel blog, my experience in Southern Portugal, and I’m kind of obsessed with it. So fantastic to see it has made its way over here, and in lots of Floridian architecture since this St. Augustine settlement. Scarlett O’Hara’s restaurant and pub, American cuisine. Not particularly historically authentic, but it does have a resident ghost who is dying to meet you. St. Augustine Textiles, one of my favorite shops off St. George Street. The only place you can find authentic colonial fabric and wears, plus handmade grenades. In case you need those. If someone didn’t deserve your full piece, you can fractionate it with a cutlass. Yes they did that! Booty discovered at The Pirate Museum, which is an amazingly intuitive pirate experience. Must Do! (Ask for One-Eyed Willy!) I learned so much from this man on the Colonial Experience. Arguably the most historically accurate tour guide in St. Augustine (he’s got a Ph. D!). A colonial blacksmith shop. Oldest Drug Store in the nation, also home to a fantastic wax museum. View from across St. Augustine Inlet of the Bridge of Lions. Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine on the horizon. Thank you for taking this brief tour of St. Augustine! Set sail for the oldest city in the nation. You’ll want to spend more time than you’ve planned for it.