Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Visiting St. Augustine
If you are looking for something different, something of the real Florida a two hour drive north will bring you to the wonderful town of St Augustine.
Take a scenic drive north on the coastal route of A1A or the inland route along I4 AND 195 and two hours later you will arrive at St Augustine. Follow the directions for the historic district and the delights will unfold.
Founded in 1565 it is the oldest continually occupied settlement of European origin in the USA. Handed back to the USA in 1821 the town you see now was actually created by Henry Flagler as a holiday resort for wealthy Americans. There were three main hotels all constructed by his company in the late 1880's, they are now put to other uses.
The Spanish quarter and its layout is largely the same as the original layout from way back in the late sixteenth century under the direction of the then governor Mendez de Lanzo.
Unfortunately the town apart from some 36 buildings which still stand today and the Castillo de San Marcos was destroyed by the British in 1702.
Many of the buildings have been restored to show how the Spanish soldiers and their families lived in days gone by.
Today the Spanish quarter is almost a working museum with costumes from a bygone age the order of the day. You will find museums, bars and eating places as well as shops of all shapes and sizes. The range of items sold just too large to mention.
Apart from exploring this part of the town you can also take a boat trip and get a closer look at the Bridge of lions in the centre of town as well as the Castillo de san Marco or for the really brave why not take a 2hr walking ghost tour around the town. Its doubtful whether any ghosts will be seen but a good tale is told by the guide.
Having explored the Spanish quarter there is still many things to see and do. Explore Flagler College, an educational establishment now but one of the original hotels built by Henry Flagler or take a look at Lightener college, another of Flagler's hotels but now home to a Victorian village, natural history exhibits and much more.
So having checked out the history, what else is there to explore? Check out Ripley's 'Believe it or Not' museum or a waxworks. There is also a marine land, one of the very first in the USA and in the late 1950's it was actually the number one attraction in Florida.
Once you have covered all of this your thirst will take you to St Augustine's own brewery and bar or the San Sebastian winery on the edge of the town centre.
If all else fails you can always try some of the 42 miles of golden beaches which make up this part of Florida.
Many people spend a full holiday here but for those of us centred in Orlando and its attractions a day in this super town is a refreshing change.
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Page added on: 18 January 2005
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