So you have a few days of vacation coming, and are looking to spend some time in sunny St. Augustine. If this is your first time in the Old City, you definitely want to make the most of it. St. Augustine, though not as sprawling as neighboring Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, offers so many options for recreation and relaxation. Between the beach, the historic sites, and other points of interests, you might wonder if you’ll get to do everything while you’re here!
For a well-rounded St. Augustine vacation, there are few stops you must make. After spending a day on our beautiful, pristine beaches, here are some of the top attractions in North Florida, perfect for families and couples to enjoy. Bring a camera to preserve memories of a wonderful trip.
Castillo de San Marcos – Perhaps the most iconic structure in the city, the “Castle of Saint Mark” is actually the country’s oldest masonry fort, built in the late 1600s by Spanish settlers to protect the city from British sieges. The stone turrets on each corner of the fort give the building a castle-like appearance, and an aerial view reveals the fort’s star shape. The Castillo is perhaps the first stop on most St. Augustine itineraries and is popular with school tours.
Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche – Just a short distance from the oldest fort is arguably the nation’s oldest Catholic shrine. The grounds of the mission of the “name of God” were consecrated in 1565. Here visitors can enjoy the lush scenery and visit the miniature shrines. A two-hundred-foot tall steel cross stands near where the original cross of the mission was planted.
The Old Jail Museum – A popular spot for school tours, the museum preserves the city’s original penitentiary and sheriff’s office. Reenactments of life in the old jail lend an eerie yet fascinating atmosphere to the experience.
Alligator Farm Zoological Park – It just wouldn’t be a St. Augustine vacation unless you spotted at least one alligator. Rather than risk searching for one in the wild, we suggest coming to the Alligator Farm, where you’ll find over twenty species of crocodilian, in addition to a variety of reptiles, birds, and exotic mammals. Be sure to say hello to Maximo, a fifteen-foot alligator weighing half a ton!
San Sebastian Winery – Florida makes wine? You bet! In fact, it is believed the first wine in America was made right here in northern Florida, and San Sebastian carries on the tradition of using regionally grown muscadine grapes to produce a variety of sweet wines. Enjoy the free tour, video, and tasting of available vintages and be sure to take a few bottles home to savor.
From history to mystery, alligators and wine, St. Augustine offers the chance to view many of the country’s “firsts”. Why not add these attractions to your vacation plans for an unforgettable trip.