If you are looking for a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the East Coast, then Florida’s Historic coast may be the place for you. The area is less than two hours away from most major Florida cities, including Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and Orlando. Savannah, Georgia, and Florida’s capitol, Tallahassee, are less than four hours from St Augustine and Ponte Vedra’s beaches.
Visiting Florida on a twentieth century road trip would normally include at least a one-day side trip through the beautiful and historic city of St. Augustine, but today there are more than enough activities and sights to justify a much longer stay. Between resorts along the wide beaches of St. Augustine Beach to a hotel in the heart of the nation’s oldest city, travelers today have great options for a long 2021 family vacation.
Getting To St. Augustine
Arriving by Car
St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra are easily accessible from the north and south by Interstate 95, U.S. Highway 1, and scenic Florida Highway A1A. Our visitors from the West are served by Interstate 10, while Interstate 4 and Interstate 75 connect the area to Central and Southwest Florida.
Arriving by Air
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is approximately 50 minutes north of St. Augustine and 30 minutes from Ponte Vedra. This three-concourse airport is served by national and regional airlines that connect Florida’s Historic Coast to most major U.S. cities.
Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) is approximately 50 minutes to the south of St. Augustine and provides service to more than 150 destinations worldwide.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is approximately 90 minutes to the south of St. Augustine and provides service to 135 destinations worldwide.
United States Oldest City
St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the United States, the city was founded in 1565 and lies along the St. Augustine River. This national landmark is rich with history and one of Florida’s must visit attractions for entertainment, dining, golfing, hospitality, and leisure. St. Augustine’s coastal Florida location provides the city with a mostly warm and sunny climate, with daily thundershowers that are typical in summer months. Today numerous tours are available for visiting travelers, from food and wine tours, pub crawls, history tours, ghost tours, pirate tours, pedicabs, and horse and carriage trips through the city.
The Pirate and Treasure Museum is home to the world’s only authentic pirate treasure chest. Along historic St. George Street the buildings are made to look just as they did in the late 1500s. The Colonial Quarter is an interactive history attraction with authentic replicas from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, and is home to history guides for the city.
Tours of the Historic City
The Tasting Tours, in St. Augustine, offer Tripadvisor top rated food and wine tours. The tours include delicious food and wine pairings, normally with patio dining when available. Their guides are knowledgeable of the city and its history, and quiet often expose guests to restaurants with atmospheric settings and terrific ambience.
Important historic landmarks in the city are Castillo de San Marcos and Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Castillo de San Marcos is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay and is one of the most popular St. Augustine attractions. Located at 11 Magnolia Avenue, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15-acre park along Hospital Creek. Located in the park is an artesian well, which is supposedly the fabled Fountain of Youth. Additional at the park is The Timucuan village of Seloy, which has been partially reconstructed. There is also a planetarium, a Spanish lookout tower, a gift shop, and a cafe.
One of the most photographed sites in St. Augustine is The Lightner Museum and the historic Hotel Alcazar on King Street in downtown Saint Augustine. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the hotel was built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style. On the first floor is a Victorian village, the Victorian Science and Industry Room, and a music room filled with instruments. The second floor, is devoted to glass, including Tiffany-stained glass, while the third floor contains furniture, paintings, and sculptures.
World Golf Hall of Fame
Located at 1 World Golf Place at the World Golf Village northwest of Saint Augustine, the 35,000 square foot museum has an impressive permanent collection as well as temporary changing exhibits. The World Golf Hall of Fame is a museum celebrating the history of the game and the legacies of its 160 members through artifacts, personal memorabilia, photography, video, and interactive exhibits. Walk among legends, take aim at the Challenge Hole, and play over 165 courses on a simulator – all included with admission. Guests who visit the museum, can also play a round of golf on the 18-hole course, and view an IMAZ film.
Ponce De Leon Hotel and Flagler College
The Ponce De Leon Hotel, now the centerpiece of Flagler College was originally constructed in 1888 and viewed by many as the most extravagant hotel of the era. Constructed by Standard Oil co-founder and railroad tycoon Henry M. Flagler, the magnificent building is filled with delightful architectural details. Since Flagler College’s acquisition of the hotel in 1968, only college students live within these walls. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Lyndon Johnson all stayed there.
St. Augustine A Great Family Vacation Destination
It had probably been a while, but after your getaway, to St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach, viewing acres of natural reserves and forests, hiking 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse or ziplining over crocodiles. It was time well spent, walking some of the 42 miles of white quartz sand beaches along the Florida coast. And you will be making plans to go back again and on your next visit there will be new culinary experiences, tours, and golf courses to experience. Remember watching the sunset from a deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway or sitting under a canopy of stars in an outdoor secret garden, feeling like you were in another world. That short drive to St. Augustine transported you back some 450 years.