When we think of a tropical vacation to St. Augustine, we tend to first picture ourselves laying on the beach all day, languishing in the warmth of the Florida sunshine and softness of the sand on the beach while listening to the crashing waves and feeling the salt-tinged breezes coming from the sea. It looks and sounds perfect, but after awhile, you’ll want to switch up your vacation routine! The solution? Check out some of St. Augustine’s greatest attractions. We’ve listed a few below for you!
1. Fountain of Youth Discovery Park
According to legend, the site of this park is where famous explorer Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513 on his quest to find water with the power to grant everlasting youth: the Fountain of Youth. Whether that is fact or fiction, you’ll enjoy the pretty and romantic natural scenery, as well as learning about the colonialists and Native Americans who lived here in the village Seloy.
2. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Completed by Spanish colonists in 1695, this historic castle remains the oldest stone fortress in the continental United States. Reenactments of historical moments and demonstrations of old-fashioned weaponry give life to this place, which also has a beautiful view of the Mantanzas River from up top.
3. Anastasia State Park
This wildlife refuge contains five miles of serene, sandy beaches, as well as the quarry from which coquina rock (formed from shells) was mined to build the Castillo de San Marcos. You’ll see a diverse range of bird species here as well!
4. St. Augustine Distillery
Connoisseurs of fine spirits and liquor will rejoice to find that this award-winning distillery offers free tours. Sample the concoctions and even make one of your own during their cocktail crafting workshops that take place throughout the year.
5. Lightner Museum
The Lightner Museum was once the Hotel Alcazar, the most prominent hotel in America during the Gilded Age. Now, Lightner Museum houses a number of Victorian Era treasures, trinkets, and oddities that teach visitors about life during the late 1800’s.
6. Mission Nombre de Dios
The first Catholic mass in America was held here at this historic old mission, which still offers visitors the opportunity to pray and light a candle. Moss-covered headstones in the area provide insight into the lives of locals, while the benches seated within view of the bay allow for a moment of quiet reflection.
7. Colonial Quarter
Step back into the colonial days of the Spanish and the English at this interactive museum, where historical reenactments, musket drills, blacksmith demonstrations, and sailing ship engineering and all on display. There’s a watchtower with views of the Castillo de San Marcos and sandboxes for kids to dig in to find buried treasure.
8. Washington Oaks and Coquina Beach State Parks
Just south of the city proper, this pristine state park has both an undeveloped beach and a extensive botanical garden. The pink-hued sands are quite a sight!
9. Schooner Freedom Charters
There’s nothing quite like seeing a seaport city from the open water, and Schooner Freedom Charters allows you to do just that—in an authentic 19th century sailboat replica! Take a day, sunset, or night tour and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the ocean.
Recently celebrating its 75th anniversary as an accredited scientific marine research center, Marineland allows guests to choose from a number of programs that involve meeting the dolphins who live there, from observing the dolphins to swimming alongside them!
The Ocean Gallery Has Your Vacation Needs Covered
Our friendly and helpful reservation specialists can point you in the right direction, whether you’re trying to put together your trip itinerary or looking for the best vacation rental to stay in. Contact us today to learn more about all that St. Augustine and The Ocean Gallery have to offer!