Florida Guide > Days Out
St Augustine - a 'must see'
This lovely city with a fantastic mix of old and new is well worth a visit either as a day trip or even longer as you are taken in by St Augustine’s charm..
Founded on August 28 1565 by Spaniard Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St Augustine is the longest continually inhabited European founded city in the United States – or the nation’s oldest city.
It can be reached by car in around two hours and the easiest route is along I95 north from Orlando.
Once there, the Visitors Information centre is a good place to start. There is large car park close by. Once at the centre a short video gives you a good idea of what there is to see – and you will be spoilt for choice!
One of the easiest and very reasonably priced ways to get around is on the Red Train. Once your ticket is purchased you can get on and off the train at any one of the many stops along its route. The trains run frequently throughout the day and the driver provides commentary on the historic sites and more modern attractions. We found that a complete trip around the circular route gives you a great idea of the areas you want to return to for a closer look. Give yourself time to drink in the atmosphere of this special place.
The original Spanish quarter is a living history museum with costumed interpreters relive a time when St Augustine was a remote outpost of the Spanish Empire. A visit gives a fascinating insight into the history of the city. The Government House Museum is another fascinating place to visit.
On St Francis Street is the Oldest House Museum Complex also houses an exhibition gallery, which was showing some wonderful pieces of art when we visited. There is also an ornamental garden and a museum store.
Perhaps sailing, beaches or the ocean are your favourite pastimes. The marina and beachfront are close to the town and the Bridge of Lions and Castillo are more ‘must see’ stop off points in that area. See the city from the water or even take a helicopter ride!
St George Street is the main thoroughfare – at one end are all the many individual shops and stores. Here you can find numerous opportunities to flex that credit card ore just to potter and people watch. There are a number of galleries and craft shops, some selling hand crafted pieces which would be great reminders of your visit to one of the loveliest cities in the US. At the opposite end of the street are beautiful residential properties a number of which offer bed and breakfast accommodation. These houses are very individual and go back to a time of gracious living. They offer a space away from the stresses of modern living. Rooms are available with private porches and even private dining rooms. A truly memorable experience for a special occasion or just a restful getaway for a night.
There are all types of restaurants and cafes, from fast food to fine dining. Try the bar and café at the Grist Mill or our favourite, the Raintree restaurant 102 St Marco Avenue. This award winning restaurant offers an extensive menu and dinner there, for us, completes a visit to this picturesque, fascinating city.
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