Historic District Attractions, Part 1
St. Augustine is known for two main attractions – the most beautiful beach in NE Florida, and the history that goes along with being the oldest city in the nation. Stop by the Visitors Center downtown for a wide variety of brochures, showing all the great things to do.
It’s truly easy to know what you’re going to do at the beach – swim, tan, collect shells, people watch, or even fish. The downtown historic district can be a bit more challenging though. Do you follow the crowds, or do you head off and explore on your own?
If your objective is to just see the main sights of downtown St. Augustine, you’ll be heading to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. It’s a massive fort built right along the bay front. There are daily cannon firings, and other events happening there often. Even if you decide not to go inside, you’ll want to stroll along the bayfront here, as it’s a beautiful spot with frequent visits from dolphins.
You simply can’t visit St. Augustine without stopping at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum – St. Augustine. While the artifacts inside may not be rooted in St. Augustine history, they are incredible nonetheless, and must be seen to be believed. This is also a great place to grab a trolley, as your car will be safe in the Ripleys parking lot while you’re on the train.
There’s the Ponce de Leon’s World Famous Fountain of Youth, the site where the Spanish landed in Florida, searching for eternal youth. Located on Magnolia Street, the most beautiful road in all of St. Augustine. The Fountain of Youth has a restaurant, re-enactments, peacocks, and a surprisingly fun navigators planetarium.
The Mission of Nombre De Dios & La Leche Shrine with The Great Cross will provide you some stunning views, and amazing history. There’s ample free parking here, and most of the Trolley companies stop in here for pick-up and drop-off. Bring some squirrel food, and your camera. This is simply an amazing spot that you do not want to miss.
Speaking of Trolleys, there are plenty of options for getting around. Leave the car or RV at your vacation rental, and get out with the Old Town Trolley Tours of St. Augustine, Ghosts and Gravestones St Augustine, Saint Augustine Ripley’s Red Sightseeing Trains, ECO Ride Taxi, LLC of Saint Augustine, or even rent a scooter or golf cart from Solano Cycle of Saint Augustine or a bike from St Augustine Bike Rentals.
Walking Tours are quite popular, and people seem to really like the Haunted tours in the evening time. There are many paranormal options, from haunted boatrides to the haunted lighthouse. You can ride a hearse or a haunted trolley, or take a haunted boat ride. Tour some cemeteries, and visit famous (for our town) crime scenes.
You will find parking all over town, however, the easiest is for the Parking garage in the middle of the city. It’s at the north end of St. George Street, and right across from Ripleys Believe It or Not. The Parking Garage is also close to Francis Field, where many events happen. Here you’ll find things like the Rhythm and Ribs festival, Art Shows, and Greek Festival.
The city of St. Augustine is small in size, but big on fun. We have nationally touring bands play at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, an Alligator Farm zoological park, plenty of museums, and even more forts – Fort Matanzas on Anastasia Island. Fort Mose is long gone, but the park itself is stunningly beautiful. It gets very quiet at night, but don’t let that fool you, the nightlife is out there.
Each beach is somewhat unique to itself. Summer Haven Beach changes by the day. Crescent Beach is wide and quiet. Butler Beach is more isolated. St. Augustine Beach is the center of activity, a place to see and be seen. Vilano Beach has a bit of everything listed above, and Ponte Vedra Beach is very private.
Be sure to check out our website at https://firstchoicevbr.com/ for great vacation rental homes, condos, and apartments all over St. Johns County!
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