Hip and Historic Old Town St Augustine: With Age Comes Beauty (and a Whole Lot More)

Did you know that St Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in America dating to 1565? It’s true — not just the oldest city in Florida, St Augustine is the oldest in America! Old Town St Augustine is the oldest continually occupied European port city in the continental United States, and living proof that with age, comes beauty.

We weren’t sure what to expect on our first trip to St Augustine, but as residents of The Sunshine State the irony of being the oldest anything in Florida wasn’t lost on us. We were keen to find out what else the city held and how being the oldest was holding up today. We’d never been to St Augustine before (other than a quick day trip from Orlando as a kid) and we were totally surprised. It might be one of the most visited cities in Florida and the oldest in America, but it was much more than a tourist town — richer, with layer after layer of interesting depth. In 4 days, we had a great time touring our way through historic sites, boat tours, ancient cemeteries, a winery, an awesome distillery, and OMG, the food! St Augustine has some seriously good restaurants using fresh, local ingredients rich in Florida citrus, produce, and of course seafood. 400 years of history means there are plenty of diverse ethnic cuisines to choose from, peppered (literally) with some good old American southern specialties. We were lucky to be there for the annual Taste of St. Augustine — a great time for foodies to enjoy the tastes and flavors of the city. St Augustine is easily one of our new favorite food destinations in the US. Its fun to explore the charming brick streets and courtyards, quaint shops, historic sites, and al fresco cafes, some with fountains and shade trees with little fairy lights. And bonus — this old city comes with a beach! The salty barrier islands, Inter Coastal Waterway, and beautiful Atlantic Ocean make the perfect backdrop to it all.

Here’s the thing about St Augustine that surprised us the most — it’s not easily pigeonholed into this kind of city, or that kind of place. Maybe that comes with being around for over 400 years… they’ve had a lot of time to get things right. You don’t just visit history here, you feel it… reflected in the many St Augustine attractions, the people, the food, the architecture. In fact, St Augustine is an aesthetic dream with Spanish colonial, Byzantine, Queen Ann, Minorcan, Revival Renaissance, Caribbean, and vernacular design, to name a few. There’s a little something for everyone — and here are our picks for top things to see and do in St Augustine.

Getting to St Augustine

St. Augustine is located on north Florida’s east (Atlantic) coast, just an hour south of Jacksonville. Several exits along I-95 bring you right into the St. Augustine historic district or right to St. Augustine Beach. The city is spread out, with water everywhere you turn between barrier islands and the mainland. The St Augustine historic district is located away from St Augustine Beach, and getting from the beach to the historic district is quite easy. The Bridge of Lions takes you across the Matanzas River to the heart of the historic old town. Once across the bridge you have the choice of turning left on Avenida Menendez to the marina and sight-seeing cruises or right to the Castillo de San Marcos. You can also continue straight ahead on Cathedral Street into the heart of downtown.

TIP: The Bridge of Lions is a draw bridge with openings on the hour and half hour during the day. We were advised to cross the bridge at fifteen minutes before or fifteen minutes after the hour to avoid the bridge opening and the resulting traffic back-up.

TIP: Be sure to pick-up a complimentary St Augustine Sightseeing Map & Guide at your hotel (They can actually be found just about everywhere). This is especially important as parking space is at a premium and the guide shows all the public parking lots as well as restaurants, shops, and attractions.

St Augustine Attractions

Head to the Beach — St Augustine Beach and Anastasia State Park

For an historic city being one of its main attractions, you might think the beaches here are not, but that’s not the case at all. The beaches here are stunning (and we live in Naples, one of Florida’s best beach towns) and St Augustine Beach has to be one of the prettiest beaches in Florida! Located on Anastasia Island, a barrier island off the mainland, St Augustine Beach has a natural feel with a wide beach and lots of good surf and shorebirds. In fact, the beach here is so wide, cars can easily navigate the sand if you know what you’re doing with letting air out of the tires. (March 1-Sept 30, drivers on the beach are required to pay a daily $10 Vehicle Access toll ($5 for handicapped and active military). St Augustine Beach is a relaxed kind of beach town. If that’s what you like, consider staying here instead of in town. You can get up early for the magnificent sunrises, and take advantage of all the beautiful natural scenery St Augustine has to offer.

Anastasia State Park is also here, a fun place to explore and enjoy over 1,600 acres of unspoiled beaches, tidal marshes, maritime hammocks and ancient sand dunes. You’ll see lots of wildlife along the beach, from a canoe or kayak, or on the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail. You can also camp here in one of over a hundred campsites just a short walk from the beach! 300 Anastasia Park Rd., St Augustine

Catch a Show at the St Augustine Amphitheatre

Taste of St Augustine at the St Augustine Amphitheatre

St Augustine’s coolest place to catch a show or event — Big Acts, Small Venue as they say — is also green and easy on the environment. Since 2014, the St Augustine Amphitheatre, aka The Amp, has been aggressively striving to become carbon neutral to lower its impact on the environment and its closest neighbor in particular, Anastasia State Park. Through its conservation initiative, Green Hands, they emphasize conserving natural resources and eliminating non-biodegradable waste. Six filtered water stations have been installed at the venue for refilling reusable water bottles, and you can buy a reusable Nalgene bottle if you forget your own. There’s onsite recycling and a garden with compost bins for processing food waste. We found this out recently during the Taste of St. Augustine event held there, and loved hearing how they’ve eliminated single use plastics, replaced plastic bags with their Green Hands cotton tote bags, use only biodegradable utensils and cups, and LED lighting for energy conservation and low environmental impact. This great event venue just became our new favorite concert venue too! 1340C A1A S, St Augustine Beach

St Augustine ECO Tours

As part of the Florida Birding and PhotoFest, we took a 1.5 hour Dolphin, Birding, and Nature Tour at sunset with St Augustine ECO Tours. We love being on the water and Captain Ben kept our ride on the Matanzas River smooth and comfortable even when crossing the wake from other boats. There was plenty of room for the five of us on the tour to move around and take photos whenever we wanted. We saw plenty of birds for the time of year, mostly around private docks and on sand bars and jetties. The other folks on the tour were more ‘birders’ than we are, and between them and Captain Ben we got a good education.

Some highlights of our tour included seeing six immature bald eagles in a small side inlet (!), dolphins feeding on the turn of the tide, and fabulous views of the Castillo de San Marcos and The Great Cross near the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park against a gorgeous backdrop of the bright orange sunset. All the while we were underway, Captain Ben told us of their rescue efforts of sea turtles and conservation efforts to protect this fragile ecosystem. Along with this particular tour, ECO Tours offers kayaking, sailing, and private tours for special events. This was a great way to spend a couple of hours and St. Augustine ECO Tours does it right. 111 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine

Take a Free Tour of the St Augustine Distillery Company

We’ve taken distillery tours around the world and this is one of the most unique St Augustine tours…plus, it’s free! The story behind this small batch distillery is both fascinating and commendable — fascinating in how the founders managed to pull it all together with the help of 28 other local families who believed in their dream, and commendable, not only for their fine distilled spirits, but in how they’ve kept everything local — from repurposing the building they’re housed in to using all locally sourced ingredients and providers. We truly admire this union of business and community.

The tour here is timed just right, not too short and not too long, running every 30 minutes from 10:30am with the last tour starting at 5:00pm (5:30 on Saturday). Fortunately for us, the summer heat had yet to arrive so the room containing the big stills which get plenty hot on their own was still comfortable. Our guide shared the history of how the distillery got started and entertained the crowd who was interested to learn more about the production of craft spirits. The fermentation/distillation room was interesting with its large stills, and a smaller one for producing gin. Gin gets its own still to avoid flavor contamination of the bourbon from the gin’s botanicals. Besides their small batch craft bourbons they produce pot distilled rum, cane vodka, gin, and a special barrel finished gin.

The end of the tour was of course the most fun — starting in a small room showcasing their awards on the wall, there’s a tasting of their vodka using their Florida Mule mix, rum using their Tropical Tiki mix, and gin using their Grapefruit Hibiscus mix. From here we went up a few steps into the distillery store for a tasting of the stars of the show, the bourbons. First we were served an Old Fashioned using their own mix. After that you can taste whatever you like, but the emphasis is really on the bourbons. We liked that the tour group was small and we weren’t rushed once we got to the store. There’s a lot on display and everything of course is available for purchase. The St Augustine Distillery is well worth a visit. 112 Riberia St, St Augustine, FL

Climb the St Augustine Lighthouse (and Visit the Maritime Museum)

St Augustine Lighthouse

This is another ‘oldest’ claim for St Augustine, in this case the St Augustine Lighthouse it’s the oldest aid to navigation in North America and St Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure. First lit in 1824 it has gone through storms, lightning strikes, fire, and vandalism. No matter where they stand, lighthouses all seem to have their own checkered history and personality, and this one is no exception. We’ve climbed other lighthouses in North Carolina, and this one reminded me of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse inside. There are 219 iron steps to the top, with open windows at different levels giving a sense of the view that is to come. There are also 8 landings along the way that allow you to catch your breath — one even has a bench if you get really winded. Each landing has little snippets of history displayed on the wall, like the old story of Cracker Daniels, son of the light keeper, who fashioned a parachute for his sister’s cat to drop it off the top of the lighthouse. Ha! — good thing we left our cats at home. As the story goes, the cat survived but went missing for several weeks after the event. There’s also a painted hand on the wall of each landing pointing the way and indicating how many steps you’ve climbed and how many you have yet to go.

Be sure to allow enough time to visit the museum. The guided tours are free with your admission and are held on the hour between 11am and 4pm each day. You’ll also learn how the artifacts from historic shipwrecks are preserved which adds to the history lesson of the lighthouse. The 1876 Keepers’ House has been beautifully restored after having been destroyed by fire. The Heritage Boatworks has talented modern day craftsmen building wooden boats by hand as they were in the 19th century. There’s also a small building in which researchers and archaeologists are working to preserve and catalog artifacts recovered by the museum. Admission fee, but free if you’re under 44”. 81 Lighthouse Avenue, St Augustine Beach

Visit the Tolomato, Huguenot, and National Cemeteries

Old cemeteries are always fascinating… so many questions like who lived in a place and when, what epitaph is written as their final farewell, and are there descendants still around? We always make time to visit these places and these three St Augustine cemeteries have incredible stories to tell:

  • Tolomato Cemetery - This cemetery was in use from the 18th century until 1884 and holds the remains of about 1000 individuals in only one acre. Started as a Franciscan mission in 1777, there are graves representing every nationality of settlers and residents of St. Augustine during that time period including soldiers of both the North and South from the Civil War. Open to the public on the third Saturday of each month, but photos are still possible over the surrounding stone wall or through the gate. 14 Cordova St, St Augustine

  • Huguenot Cemetery - First used in 1821 to bury those who died from yellow fever, the cemetery was later dedicated specifically for the city’s Protestant members. This small one-half acre site is located near the Old City Gate in a very busy area. There are some pretty elaborate grave markers and tombs here that can be photographed by walking around the low stone wall. The cemetery is open the 3rd Saturday of each month from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. A1A Orange St, St Augustine

  • St Augustine National Cemetery - Originally part of a Franciscan monastery, this is the most accessible of the historic cemeteries. Like other national cemeteries it is dedicated to deceased members of our armed forces but is now closed to new burials. Most interesting here is the Dade Monument. The three coquina stone pyramids were built in 1842 as a dedication to the end of the Florida Indian Wars. They mark the vaults that contain the remains of 1,486 soldiers who died in the war. This cemetery is fairly large, covering almost one and a half acres. It’s open daily from 8am to 5pm. 104 Marine St, St Augustine

Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

Don’t be fooled that this is just a visit to a fountain or well. The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park is a 15-acre themed park with historic preservations, archaeological finds, living history recreations, a barbecue cafe, picnic area, canon and small arms demonstrations, and the crowing of resident peacocks who wander the property at will. During our visit love was in the air and the peacocks were strutting their stuff with displays of that beautiful fan of feathers. And of course the reason most folks go is to visit the springhouse containing the ‘Fountain’, though we thought the rest of the grounds were more interesting. And yes, we drank from the Fountain of Youth, but so far we have no significant changes to report. Maybe we should have kept drinking!

Tour the grounds and the boardwalk through the marshes out back. There are docents who explain the history of either the exhibit or what they are about to demonstrate, like the canon firing. There are also docents in the Springhouse to explain how the Fountain of Youth came to be. It’s easy to spend a couple of hours here. Admission fee, kids under 5 are free. 11 Magnolia Avenue, St Augustine

Castillo de San Marcos

You can’t miss this imposing National Monument right on the western shore of Matanzas Bay at the north end of Avenida Menendez. Completed in 1695, the Castillo de San Marcos the only surviving 17th century military structure in the country and the oldest masonry fortress in the United States. Although the entire site covers 20.5 acres, we were in between tour times and spent an hour touring the main fortress on our own reading about the history as we went.

Between wearing heavy clothing and sometimes armor in the summer heat, and the periodic shelling from the British from across Matanzas Bay, life here had to be miserable. Small museums arelocated in the rooms around the central Plaza de Armas that chronicle the different periods in the history of the fort. The upper level is a lot wider than you’d imagine and there are a few watch towers and well preserved artillery pieces, both mortars and different sizes of canons. It’s interesting to see how clear the dates and place of manufacture appear on the artillery. We recommend a visit here, especially early in the morning or at sunset. Admission fee. 1 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine

Tour Historic Flagler College

The historic Flagler College is a 4 year liberal arts college established in 1968. This is another ‘you can’t miss it’ with its bright colors and incredible architecture. It was fun to walk around this small college campus especially to see the centerpiece of the college, the Hotel Ponce de Leon, a National Historic Landmark that is now part of the college. Built by Henry Flagler the building dates to 1888 and it is spectacular. You can either go on a tour or explore the campus and building on your own. 74 King St, St Augustine

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park isn’t exactly petting zoo — there are alligators here big enough to have starred in a Jurassic Park movie. Lots of them! There’s at least one example of each of the scientifically recognized 24 crocodile species in the park, so if you love reptiles, this is your crocodilian nirvana. Outside of the Everglades (where the American alligator and American Crocodile coexist), there are animals here that most of us will never have the chance to see in the wild. We know some of you may object to keeping animals in captivity, but many of these species are either threatened or endangered in what’s left of their natural range due to habitat destruction and poaching. Well run conservation and research facilities have as their objective a Species Survival Plan that hopefully will have some effect on the sustainability and conservation of these species that have been so negatively impacted worldwide. And that’s always a good thing.

But there are more than just reptiles here. The park is also home to small mammals and an assortment of birds, large and small. And when it comes to birds we were treated to a bonus. It was nesting time when we visited (in the spring) for the birds that call Florida home. We can’t even begin to tell you how many birds were nesting in the trees surrounding a huge pond filled with alligators. The gators are the reason they nest here since critters like raccoons that would otherwise prey on the eggs and the chicks don’t exist here. Great egrets, snowy egrets, several species of herons, wood storks, and roseate spoonbills were all well represented either incubating eggs or being accosted by their ever-hungry and demanding chicks. It was noisy to say the least, but so fascinating as well.

If you or your kids love zip-lining, you’ll find it here — something you don’t see at every eco-park. Two zip line courses run through the 7 acres that give an aerial view of the alligator ponds, lots of birds, and even the red-ruffed lemurs (don’t worry, the zip line doesn’t go over the alligators). The Nile River course which lasts about 90 minutes is a bit higher and more challenging than the Sepik River course which lasts around 45 minutes. Lots of kids seem to be having a blast zipping through the trees. We were especially impressed with the emphasis here on education and conservation. Admission fee. 999 Anastasia Boulevard, St Augustine Beach

San Sebastian Winery

San Sebastian Winery is located in one of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway Buildings — historic in its own right — just a few blocks from the St. Augustine historic district. The winery was started in 1996 and we were impressed with what they’ve done in so short a time when compared to the long history of California and Oregon wineries. If you’ve toured other wineries you know the only things that change are the varietals, and how well they make wine. We’ve toured wineries around the world but had never tasted wines made using Muscadine grapes until now. These grapes do very well in the heat of the American south. The tour here is free and we thought that the number of tastings was very good. So how was the wine? Overall, though we didn’t love everything, there were some outstanding wines here — it’s easy to see why they’ve won so many awards. Be sure and check out ‘The Cellar Upstairs’. On certain nights (check their website or call) live jazz or blues bands perform. There’s indoor/outdoor seating, a nice menu of appetizers and sandwiches, a good beer selection, and of course San Sebastian wines. Free tours. 157 King Street, St Augustine

Where to Eat in St Augustine

The Floridian

Like most popular tourist destinations, there’s a ton of great choices when it comes to places to eat in St Augustine, and we suggest starting with The Floridian. If you can, grab a seat outside in the cozy, umbrella’d courtyard. We started with Company’s Coming!, a plate of fried green tomatoes and fried dill pickle spears with house pickled veggies, a tub of pimento cheese, and a herbed buttermilk sauce for dipping. Yum! There’s plenty on this dish for two to share and it was so good. Our main entrees were the Cornbread Panzanella Salad with shrimp topped with blackened salmon. Panzanella is an Italian favorite in our home but the use of the toasted sweet cornbread gave it a whole new twist. And the F.G.T. B.L.T. (Fried Green Tomatoes, Bacon jam, Lettuce, on Toasted African bread) was ah-mazing! This was an excellent lunch in a casual and comfortable setting along with excellent service. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. We can’t wait to go back. 72 Spanish Street, St Augustine

Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House

Meehan’s is three restaurants in one. Along with Meehan’s Irish Pub, there’s The Backyard Island Cafe & Tropical Bar, and Johnny’s Famous Fish House & Oyster Bar. We had dinner at the Pub, one of the St. Augustine restaurants on the way overlooking the Bay. Our table on the second floor outside deck had a great view of the waterfront and Castillo. The fun thing here is that you can order from the Pub menu and combine selections from the Oyster Bar, too which we did. If you like Irish food then definitely eat here and ask for the homemade Irish Cream. We had the Bangers and Mash and possibly the best Rueben Sandwich we ever ate. One of the best St Augustine restaurants on the water with great food, great service in a casual pub atmosphere.

We also stopped for lunch the next day at The Backyard for some refreshments and something light to eat. We loved the Key West island vibe going on here in the tiki hut bar, so we ordered their conch fritters and marinated Datil pepper shrimp — a perfect late afternoon nosh. This was a fun place to stop in the heat of the day and looks even cuter at night with the market lights on. Loved it here! 20 Avenida Menendez, St Augustine

The Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles

Maybe our favorite St. Augustine taste sensation! We first tried a Strawberry-Basil pop at the Taste of St Augustine, and hit up The Hyppo again after dinner at Meehan’s (The Hyppo is right behind it). What they have here is not your average ice cream or ice pops. They’re all natural gourmet flavored fruit popsicles made in combo with herbs and spices that don’t sound like they go together, but do. Flavors like Strawberry basil, Blackberry clove, Datil coconut, and Watermelon hibiscus are just a few of the flavors that not only work together but are absolutely delectable. Don’t worry if you’re lactose intolerant, they’ve got you covered with a very good variety of dairy free popsicles. So many flavors, so little time. 48 Charlotte Street, St Augustine

La Herencia Cafe

Gaujiro at La Herencia Cafe

We love Cuban-American cuisine so this recommended stop was perfect for breakfast. Located on the quaint and narrow Aviles Street (the Oldest Street in America), this small cafe was easy to find in the historic district just off of King Street. We sat at one of the two outside umbrella tables so we could tourist watch on a beautiful morning. There were plenty of Cuban influenced breakfast dishes and sandwiches to choose from but we went for the Gaujiro (omelet topped with slow-roasted pork, black beans and pico de gallo) and the Tropical omelet with sweet plantains. Both were excellent and we washed it all down with authentic Cafe Cubano. Be sure to order tostones (twice-fried plantains) and Tres leches, a traditional moist and sweet cake. 4 Aviles Street, St Augustine

Catch 27

This restaurant was recommended to us for the best seafood in town by a number of folks. The seating in the outside courtyard is gorgeous especially as we were there in the evening. Our Trio appetizer (Pico de gallo, guacamole, and datil pepper pimento cheese fondue served with fried corn tortilla chips) was very good. Our entrees, the blackened fish of the day (Flounder) with cheese grits, and Shrimp tacos with garlic aioli were both very good as well. A very good and popular place so be sure to call ahead for a reservation. 40 Charlotte Street, St Augustine

The Ice Plant

We stopped at The Ice Plant after our late afternoon tour of the St Augustine Distillery, right downstairs. If you catch the last tour or two, head upstairs for a creative craft cocktail which they do oh so well. Seriously, a good cocktail is a thing of beauty, and their craft-tenders take the requisite time to create a good one. Even the ice they use is just right — choose from shaved, 1” rock, 2” rock, long rock, sphere, or pebbled — or let them decide which is best. I tried the girly Lolita No. 2 (vodka, passion fruit, creme de noyaux, lemon and bitters) - no idea what the creme de noyaux was but the cocktail was sublime. Angelo’s Florida Straight Old Fashioned (St Augustine Florida Straight bourbon, sugar, bitters, and orange peel) was classic and downright well-mannered. Maybe most impressive was the whisper of fresh citrus spray she skillfully floated over both, mine with lemon, and his with orange. A well crafted cocktail, in St. Augustine… a very good thing! 110 Riberia Street St Augustine

Relámpago Coffee Lab

Relampago Coffee Shop, St Augustine Historic District

Attention coffee lovers. We happened onto this place while searching for a good cup of coffee (OK, so it’s right next door to The Floridan) but they roast their own coffee beans and make great coffee! They call themselves a lab since they’re always experimenting with coffee to give them new and enjoyable dimensions. Sounds right. If you’re a coffee lover, try the V60 Pour Over. It just might be the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have. And the macchiato was just as good. Now if only they were open past 5pm. 74 Spanish Street, St Augustine

Maple Street Biscuit Company

Fresh, natural, and homemade is the motto here and boy do they mean it. Biscuits are made fresh all day and served with southern favorites like collard greens, sausage gravy and fried chicken. Fresh squeezed orange juice and an open coffee bar with the house blend are a plus. We had The Squawking Goat, a flaky biscuit with a fried medallion of goat cheese and fried chicken breast slathered with the house made pepper jelly. Order this! We also tried The Five and Dime, a flaky biscuit with fried chicken breast, smoked bacon, a fried egg, and the house made sausage gravy that has just a hint of heat, and a side of fried green tomatoes. Order this too! Just remember the name of the street you grew up on so they can shout out when your order is ready. 39 Cordova Street, St Augustine

Santiago’s Kitchen at Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort

Santiago’s Kitchen, located at the Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort on St Augustine Beach is a casual eatery fashioned after Santiago, the old man immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Grab a seat at the expansive bar and order up a fun and unique craft cocktail like the No Shirt, No Shoes made with Stoli Crushed Pineapple, fresh melon, and their own infused Rosemary syrup. The menu is fresh and varied, and the empanadas were scrumptious. But it was their poke bowls that really caught our eye. Without a doubt our favorite part of dinner was the beautiful Tuna Poke bowl. I mean, how pretty is that? There’s also a relaxing outdoor terrace to enjoy a cocktail or coffee after lunch or dinner. 860 A1A Beach Blvd, St Augustine Beach

Baitong Thai & Sushi Restaurant

Have you ever made a quick trip for take-out only to find it’s some of the best food you’ve ever had? Such was the case at Baitong Thai & Sushi Restaurant. After a relaxing sunset eco tour with Captain Ben, we drove back to our hotel at lightning speed with just minutes to spare before the start of Game of Thrones (come on, there’s only a few episodes left in the whole series!). I had called ahead to place an order, only to discover — during the Battle of Winterfell — that we were chowing down on some really great Thai food! We’d ordered two entrees and an appetizer of Shrimp Shumai which was a delicious starter. Our Shrimp Pad Thai was better than most we’ve ever had anywhere, as was the Drunken Noodles with Chicken. On our next visit to St. Augustine Beach, we’ll plan on sampling much more of their menu. 3915 A1A S, St Augustine, FL

Where to Stay in St Augustine

Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort, St Augustine Beach

There are plenty of great places to stay in St Augustine, both in the historic downtown and at the beach.

We stayed at the Guy Harvey Oceanfront Resort, a small hotel just steps from the beautiful beach. The kids will love the huge pool and you can relax with a cocktail at the poolside Tiki Bar. The rooms are casual and feature large colorful original artwork by their namesake artist Guy Harvey. Not only do his paintings adorn the hotel, but his childhood upbringing in Jamaica has clearly influenced the surroundings and on-site eatery Santiago’s Kitchen as well, with soothing reggae music and delicious Floribbean-style food setting a laid-back vibe. If you’re looking for a laid-back beach getaway, the Guy Harvey Resort might be just what you’re looking for. 860 A1A Beach Blvd, St Augustine Beach

NOTE: At the time of this writing (May 2019), the resort was undergoing changes and renovations. Be sure and ask ahead of time about the renovated condition of your room.

Now that we’ve had a small taste of what St. Augustine has to offer, it’s an easy decision to do a return visit. There is so much yet to explore and we want to check out more of the beautiful coastal area at Anastasia State Park. Our afternoon at the Amphitheater enjoying the Taste of St. Augustine whet our appetite for more of the eclectic food scene and St. Augustine has so much more for us to try. There’s a hip European vibe going on in St. Augustine. It’s part of its charm and one of the reasons we’ll return.

Thanks to St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach CVB for arranging our stay and hosting us in #FloridasHistoricCoast. All opinions and stories are ours alone based on firsthand experience.