A step back in time awaits you in this seaside city on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Whenever I visit I always plan lunch or dinner at The Columbia Restaurant. It sits in the center of the old city and is a personal favorite. They offer sangrias made table side, the white is the best I have had anywhere made with a sparkling wine. The menu is specific for lunch or dinner so if you plan to visit check the menu to determine which menu best suits your desire. The old city is full of galleries, eateries and historic sites including museums and provides a view of early life in North America. There is likely to be something to peek your interest during your visit.
Saint Augustine is the oldest permanent settlement in the United States. Founded in 1565, it continues to provide a view of life in the early settlements created in the New World. The Spanish style fort, Castillo De San Marcos, protected the city and is a National Landmark maintained by the National Park Service. Tours are available daily before dark. Fort Matanzas also guarded the city from those approaching on the river and has tours by boat. St. Augustine’s lighthouse is also open and includes a museum. It is located south of the city on the coast. The old city includes the oldest standing one room school house which is open for tours. Mission of Nombre de Dios is the smallest church in America also located in the old city.
St. Augustine offers a variety of activities. The waterfront area includes walkways for a nice stroll along the coast past the marina and eateries of this seaside city and the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view on one of the many benches along the way.
Tour stands are situated throughout the city offering a diverse selection of tours. There are several guided walking tours of specific areas that offer an opportunity to learn about the history of the city. Ghost story tours abound and provide you with enough details that you can visit local establishments following your tour to see for yourself the spirits that visit, if you dare. Ponce De Leon believed he had found the fountain of youth and the nearby park includes a chance to see the fountain and perhaps restore a youthful perspective if nothing else during a visit there. Segway tours are also offered whether you want to soak in some local history or just try it for a fun ride. You can always enjoy spirits while you are looking for Spirits on the Haunted Pub tour. Pirates that preyed on these coastal waters are also featured on tours and at a local museum.
Special events are planned this year to celebrate the 450th anniversary of this quaint city. The main events to celebrate the 450th anniversary occur Labor Day weekend. Festivities include a Spanish Wine Festival, fireworks on the Matanzas River September 5th and Founders Day from September 4-7th includes several activities in the City. In the early evening you can observe the changing of the guard. Complete in 18th Century Spanish Soldier costume the St Augustine Garrison march from the old city to city hall. Visit the websites listed below for more detailed information.
Of course there are water activities throughout the year in St. Augustine including dolphin watching trips, Eco tours in kayaks, surf lesson camp, sunset cruises (complete with Christmas lights during the holiday season), sailing trips, speedboat tours, parasailing, ghost boat tour and of course sea fishing.
St. Augustine is located between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach Florida. It is also an easy day trip from Orlando if you are visiting theme parks. All in all it is a beautiful city full of history and charm. It is among my favorite seaside cities to visit.
- http://oldcity.com/ 
- http://augustine.com/ 
- http://staugustine-450.com/ 
- http://visitstaug.com/ 
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