Last summer my husband and I decided to take a trip just the two of us. After tons of discussion on flying or driving we decided to hit the road. We drove from Texas to Florida even all the way down the A1A. All I wanted to see was beach. Real sandy, white beach. The history of St. Augustine captured our attention on Travel channel when they spoke about the Castillo. My love for everything pirate I knew we had to visit. Below is an account of what we did see and enjoyed in St. Augustine. I hope to go back some day at Halloween or Christmas. Everyone was super friendly! The history is just amazing.
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo De San Marcos clearly topped my list as the first thing to see when visiting St. Augustine. We pulled into town. Checked in at the bed and breakfast we stayed at just a few blocks away. Then headed straight over to the Castillo De San Marcos. The picture above was from our water tour. Each step at the Castillo has shells and coral that they used to build it. Several rooms are alive with rich history set to display what it would have been like when each group occupied it. The picture below shows one of the set ups displaying when the British occupied the fort.
What is completely amazing to me is this one of the oldest pieces of history in America. The fort is 323 years old and took 23 years to build. The fact that it’s even still there amazes me! The Castillo just sets the setting for a romantic trip full of history. We said we wish we would have stayed in St. Augustine for our full trip and just skipped Disney all together.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
On our second day of the trip we visited the pirate and treasure museum. For a girl who loves her pirates movies I just fell in love with this museum. The shear amount of history that they have pulled from the ocean in front of the fort that is now on display in the museum is fascinating. On display is a real jolly roger flag (one of the only two to exist), old rum bottles, guns from that time span, and even a ships manifest. If you love pirates go to St. Augustine it’s a must! I wish would could have visited the fountain of youth also but the museum was it for me. I just wish I would have picked up the silver ring I saw there. Guess that means I have to go back!
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
Collecting all things lighthouse especially pictures for my nordic nautical room the lighthouse wasn’t an option for me to miss. Unfortunately, my feet were to swollen to make it up to the top of the lighthouse. My husband did go to the top but still has nightmares of how bad his legs hurt after. When adding this to your list keep in mind there is plenty of stairs inside the light house at 219 steps. The Maritime museum that accompanies the lighthouse has interesting artifacts from the man and his family that kept up the lighthouse. Along with other maritime artifacts from the lighthouse itself. They have a lovely shop when you enter. My husband bought me a pair of silver lighthouse earrings and I picked up a lighthouse frame for our room. It’s now on my desk with a picture of the two of us at the lighthouse itself.
St. Augustine Scenic Cruise
If you want to see St. Augustine one really fantastic way is from the water. They have scenic water tours that you can take that will show you all the points from the ocean along with talk about the history of St. Augustine. The picture of the lighthouse above was take from the water tour. Along with the Castillo picture above. I found this the best way to see and get pictures of all the surrounding attractions. That day their was a tropical storm off the coast so you can see the waters where choppy. The boat ride was still very nice. I could imagine it would be fantastic on a calm day. This was also my husband’s first ride on the ocean in a boat.
St. Augustine Beach
The beach for us was a bit hard to find since most of the entrances seemed to be hidden by houses. We didn’t get to swim that day as it was a red flag alert due to the tropical storm off the coast. I am always aware of the flags and what setting they are at when visiting the beach. We did take a walk on the beach and collected a little sand for our memory jar. I have to say I loved the sand at St. Augustine!
Right between the ocean and fort and the bed and breakfast we stayed at is about three or four blocks of nothing but shops. People say you can only get the dole whip at Disney we got it in St. Augustine. Along the shops is a salt water taffy place with every single flavor imaginable. The beach shops has plenty of Reef sandals which to my excitement has more than just two or three to choose from. I wanted to buy them all. I ended up with a very nice pair that I wear daily for half the price I would pay here in Texas. My husband also got a pair my treat. They had plenty of trinket shops that could easily take a day to visit them all. They did have one with everything nautical that I could quite literally bought everything in the store.
Michael’s Tasting Room
The lovely lady named Barbara that we met up with from the Visitors Bureau treated us to a wonderful dinner there in St. Augustine. She had us meet her at Michael’s Tasting Room where the chef’s prepared a special dish for us. The snapper he prepared was phenomenal. My mouth is seriously watering just thinking about it. I’d kill for a piece of that snapper right now. I have never been much for grits however, that changed that day paired with the local fresh snapper with grits and top with a shrimp. Everything just melted in your mouth.
Just incredible along with the gazpacho that was served first as an opening to the meal. Paired with a nice white wine the restaurant is located on the streets between the town and the fort. Tucked away in a corner with a gypsy style shop next door. Just some perfect and picturesque. If you want fine dining in St. Augustine then my suggestion would be to call ahead for a dinner at Michael’s Tasting Room.
Just a block away from the bed and breakfast we stayed at tuck in on the corner of the street is the Tolomato Cemetery that sits on just an acre of land. Historical figures and tribes people from that region are buried there. What make it so significant is when your walking along the street and see this cemetery pop up with the old ways they used to bury people. The above ground graves and the architecture around them is just fascinating. Make sure to take a scenic stroll by it.
Ghost Tours of St. Augustine
St. Augustine being a such an old city there plenty of talk about of ghost sightings all over the area. Many have said to see things at the fort. The city has several ghost tours and this something fun to do in the evening while staying in St. Augustine while learning all the history of the city. I could ride roller coasters all day but something about seeing history from the 1700’s along with older homes build in the 1800’s just has a bit more luster to it.
The Spanish Bakery and Cafe
This is a MUST! Don’t miss this if your in St. Augustine. Go for lunch, just follow your nose. We could smell it but it was so tucked into a corner we walked past it at least four times. I finally ask a local and they pointed us in the right direction. I ran in and bought myself empanadas for lunch and then plopped down outside the bakery on the picnic tables to look up and see what the picture above shows. These beautiful wispy trees dangling in the sky. The reason you don’t want to miss this place is that they bake this in a stone hearth oven. The lemon cookies are to die for! I am still kicking myself that I didn’t get the cuban sandwich too.
We hope you take a lovely trip to St. Augustine some day. The history really is alive there. The beach and beauty is also there. I’d go in Spring or Fall next time as Florida sure is humid but absolutely lovely to visit.
My stay along with entry into each place was complimentary. All opinions are my own and are no reflection of the brand featured as I truly enjoyed this lovely historical city. This is a sponsored post.
Photographer, Writer, Traveler, Food Courtesan, Dog Devoted, Movie Enthusiast!