Fun, Sun, and History: St. Augustine, Florida

It lies between the city of Jacksonville and Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast. St. Augustine is America’s oldest city and it was founded yes, before Plymouth. Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles established St. Augustine in the fall of 1565. In 1586, Sir Francis Drake and his matches burned the town. Even before the place was established, this is where Ponce de Leon was sure he had finally found the “fountain of youth” and it remains today. Don’t forget to take a sip! I’ve had many drinks from it from many trips there and when it comes to feeling more youthful . . . Uh, well take a sip anyhow!

There are endless things for travelers to do in and around St. Augustine and every time I go, there are new discoveries that I hadn’t found before. No matter how many times I go to this town, one of my favorite places on earth, there are new discoveries.

Plan to spend at least 3 days here. A lot of the main attractions could maybe be seen in two days, but that is cheating yourself terribly. Buy a trolley ticket when you get to town, there is more than one company offering them, so know which attractions you want to see. The tickets are good for three days of riding around St. Augustine. When you see the traffic and small streets, you will understand why using the trolley is a wise decision.

If you are lucky enough to be in town during the holiday season, you will be treated to countless white lights illuminating everything around town. It is truly an amazing sight during December. You won’t see snow here, but this has to be the next best thing, very definitely! The decorating of “the oldest city” is called Nights of Lights.

Whether you have shopping in mind, or enjoying some fabulous meals out, you will find everything you need here. There are also hotels to fit every budget from the very apex of upscale to smaller motels if you don’t plan to spend very much time in the room.

I won’t recommend particular restaurants because so many are incredibly good, but I will say that if you are walking on St. George Street, there are numerous places to eat, but one of my favorites, The Spanish Bakery, is tucked back away from the street. I stop here for an empanada each time I am in town. They also offer a few other Spanish options. It is very small and seating is outside and in the courtyard only.

It is imperative to research these things before your trip so that you know the options for hotels, restaurants, shopping, and attractions ahead of time. Some of the reasons for that are obvious, but another good reason is that many of the places in town offer discount coupons for these things. If you didn’t take the time to look for online coupons before your trip, at least look for some discount coupon books when you get to town. Many of the restaurants will offer a percentage off and attractions may offer something like a second admission free, so unless you have tons of extra money to throw around, definitely check out the discounts.

Watch for my next blog that will list some specific things to do while you are visiting this extraordinary place.

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