St. Augustine Florida is one of my favorite cities in the world. It's pretty much a second home to me. I'm a big history buff so of course I'm drawn to the oldest city in the United States. St. Augustine is truly a special place.
Here are a few history facts about the ancient city.
The land was explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and settled by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565.
Colonial America started in St. Augustine 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, and 42 years before Jamestown.
An archaeological dig in St. Augustine in 2006 revealed a Timucuan site dating back to between 1100 and 1300 AD predating the European founding of the city by more than two centuries!
Now that you know a little history of St. Augustine it's time to explore! Here is my extensive list of my personal favorites spots.
Museums and Tours:
Lightner Museum - This beautiful museum was built by Henry Flagler in 1888. It's not only full of 19th century stunning art, but the building itself is something to see. There is also a great lunch spot in the museum. Cafe Alcazar is located in what once was the hotels indoor pool. So it's pretty cool!
Legacy Tour at Flagler College - A must see!! This tour takes you through the former Hotel Ponce de Leon. Talk about a beautiful building!
Wolf's Museum of Mystery - Not for the faint of heart. If you are into serial killer memorabilia, oddities, and anything macabre then this is the place for you. It's small and only $5, so its worth it! There is also a good chance you will run into the multiple black cats who call the museum home.
Aviles Street - The oldest street in the United States. This brick road is chock full of history. It dates back to the early 1600's.
Fountain Of Youth - I can never say enough good things about this park. It was first explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513. This place is packed with so much fascinating history, and they are continuing to discover more. Plan to spend a least a couple hours there.
Ripleys Believe it Or Not - The very first Ripley's. It's located in a castle built in 1887. It is also rumored to be haunted like most places in St. Augustine.
Potters Wax Museum - The very first wax museum in the US. This is a common theme in this town.
Castillo de San Marcos - Most commonly known as "The Fort." and surprise, it's the oldest masonry fort in the US!!
St. Augustine Distillery - They distill small batch vodka, rum, gin and whiskey in a historic ice manufacturing plant built in 1917. They offer free tours! They are located in the same building as the Ice Plant (restaurant and bar) which I mention later in this post.
St. Photios Greek Shrine - This is a small, but beautiful shrine. A peaceful spot. Also a great spot to go cool off on a hot day.
Old Town Trolly Tours - It's a 70 min narrated tour that takes you throughout the historic district of St. Augustine. You can also hop on and off at it's 23 stops. One ticket is good for 3 days. It's so worth the money, and is such a great way to see the whole city if you only have a day to explore. Your feet will thank you! I also highly recommend the ghost tour they offer. Best ghost tour I've ever been on!
Eat, Drink, and Snack:
The Kookaburra - Coffee! They have several locations throughout St. Augustine.
Hooked on Harry's - New Orleans style restaurant. I recommend the fried pickles. The patio is the best place to enjoy your meal. So charming!
The Floridian - Southern fare, and very vegetarian friendly. The cheese board is my favorite.
The Blue Hen - Souther comfort food. A great breakfast stop.
Maple Street Biscuit Company - Biscuit sandwiches and Southern sides. They are open for breakfast and lunch (dinner on weekends).
The Ice Plant - Farm to table cuisine, and cocktails. It's located in an old ice plant, hence the name, built in 1927. It's a must!
Columbia - This is a classic spot. They have a few locations throughout Florida. They serve amazing Cuban food in a beautiful setting.
The Conch House - Caribbean style sea food, and frozen cocktails. Sit under a grass hut and enjoy a pina colada!
Hyypo - Gourmet popsicles. Perfect way to cool down after exploring on a hot day.
Cousteau's Waffle and Milkshake Bar - The name pretty much says it all. So good! Also if you wear a red beanie you'll get a discount.
The Fountain of Juice - Located directly across the street from The Fountain Of Youth. This little spot has the best fresh squeezed lemonade!
Odd Birds - Cocktails, and small plates. Try the Green Nest. It's a stuffed avocado, and is Heaven on a plate!
Decloration and Co. - Super cute shop full of stationery and other fun gifts. The shop is also right by a bunch of great antique stores that are worth a browse.
The Rosy Cheek - Beauty bar and apothecary. All the pretty things!
Anchor Boutique - Handmade jewelry and accessories. Located in the same spot as The Rosy Cheek.
Red Pineapple - It's like a mini Anthropolgie. Full of all the girly cute things.
Oak & Adze - For all the manly things you need.
Tonevendor - Quirky little record shop.
Rype and Readi - A daily farmers market with farm fresh food.
Casa Monica - This hotel was built in 1888. It's absolutely beautiful and is worth the splurge.
St. Francis Inn - A charming inn and bed and breakfast in the heart of St. Augustine.
I hope you enjoy exploring this amazing city, and maybe even discover new spots of your own! I will continue to update this post as I explore more myself.
- Brittany Reagan