Updated July 20, 2020.
It’s Faraway Friday! This week, however, it’s also Flashback Friday. With Steve’s and my 4th wedding anniversary coming up in just a few weeks, I’m feeling nostalgic. The last trip I ever took as a single lady was to beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, with my girl friend Andrea! It was my bachelorette trip, and I was so excited. St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the United States, and as a history lover, that is right up my alley! Here are 10 things to do in St. Augustine, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, with friends, or with family!
10. Get Some Amazing Iced Coffee and Ice Cream
It was actually pretty chilly in northern Florida that March, but our last day was warm enough to warrant some incredible ice cream! We stumbled upon the cutest little coffee and homemade ice cream shack called the Crucial Coffee Cafe, and it was incredible! It was the best way to round out our trip (and the sweetest!).
9. Take a Ghost Tour
At the time, I was giving ghost tours back home in Virginia, so we had to take a ghost tour here! Between the long history, the pirates, the battles, and the bars, there are plenty of ghosts and mysteries to hear about in Old St. Augustine. This was a highlight for us!
8. Explore Old St. Augustine
And speaking of the old city gates, St. Augustine’s Old Town is not only one of the oldest in the country, it’s also one of the most charming! Check out the old school house, the oldest wooden house, boutique shops, and Colonial architecture. It’s great for history lovers and cute town lovers alike!
7. Visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse
Climb the 219 steps to enjoy the views at the top! There is a small maritime museum here, too, and the grounds are lovely to walk around. The lighthouse itself is the oldest surviving brick structure in St. Augustine, dating from the late 19th century. There has been a variety of watchtowers and lighthouses on this site since the 16th century, making the site “the oldest, permanent aid to navigation in North America.”
6. Tour the Ximenez-Fatio House
This former merchant’s home dates from 1798 and is both very well preserved and meticulously interpreted by the Colonial Dames of America. They take great pride in this house museum! I thought it was a great tour, and it gave some light to a portion of U.S. history I didn’t know anything about regarding Florida’s early days of statehood! If you’re into unique history, this is a great stop for you!
5. Tour the Castillo de San Marcos
This fort is hundreds of years old, but the most interesting thing about it to me is the material used to construct it. Coquina is a light, porous material that acts a little like styrofoam. Instead of shattering when impacted by a cannon like a hard stone would do, coquina stops the impact and absorbs it, preventing a cannon from destroying it! Be sure to ask questions to the costumed interpreters. They really know their stuff!
4. Explore the Lightener Museum
This was an unexpected delight. This eclectic museum is sort of a museum of hobbies. It’s a collection of collections! The museum itself is in the former Alcazar Hotel, built by Henry Flagler (of railroad riches). You can still see the hotel’s old pool, bowling alley, and gilded-age gym! You’ll also see unique artwork and novelty collections, like this collection of glass hats:
3. Tour Flagler College
Fun fact: Flagler College has the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world. It is worth a tour of the college just for that! But the rest of the tour is pretty great, too. It was an all-girls school for a long time, but is now co-ed. Tours are offered every day at 10:00am and 2:00pm, and it was a highlight of the trip!
2. Say Hello to Ponce de Leon
Ponce de Leon is kind of a big deal here! There are several statues of him around, but this one is my favorite. Stop off to say hi and get a selfie with the famous Spanish Conquistador! And don’t forget to admire his puffy pants.
1. Visit the Fountain of Youth!
It’s a little cheesy, it’s a little silly, but it’s fun! It’s something they really took seriously in the 16th century, and Ponce de Leon really thought he found it. You can drink some water from the fountain for yourself to test it! Some might still mistake me for a youthful 28 even to this day!
Are you ready for your own trip to lovely St. Augustine? Tell me in the comments below! And check out my United States Page for the best in all-American travel!
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