Visitors to St. Augustine, Florida know that the oldest city in the country is definitely designed to accommodate foot traffic. Each year, thousands of visitors trek up and down historic St. George Street in the Old City to take in the Spanish architecture of civilizations past and to browse the many unique shops and points of interest. St. Augustine blends the noble culture of the past with a kitschy contemporary style that continues to attract people from all over the world. All that walking in the warm Florida sun, however, makes a person hungry!

With budgets tight these days, one must wonder if a Florida vacation is affordable. Indeed, St. Augustine offers many lodging options for travelers unable to shell out big bucks for a week at a tropical resort, and boasts a beautiful beach in addition to her historical attractions. Restaurants, too, are plentiful and provide a balanced taste of the city. What’s more, you can eat well here without emptying your wallet.

As locals might tell you, no trip to St. Augustine is complete without a stop for lunch at the Spanish Bakery in the Old City. For nearly three decades the Adelsperger family has baked up thousands of mouth-watering bread rolls and loaves, and ladled out an incredible picadillo style chili to anyone hungry for homemade Spanish cooking. Tucked behind the Whetstone candy shop, the Spanish Bakery is housed in a simple building near their active bakery, and are able to keep prices low so the whole family can enjoy lunch. Just get there early, the bakery only serves from 11 to 3.

In the mood for something spicy and unique? Just a short walk away from Whetstone’s is the Florida Cracker Café, a favorite among locals and tourists alike. It’s not unusual to walk down St. George Street and see the outdoor patio bursting with people, enjoying a lunch of fried gator tail or a slice of tart key lime pie. The café also regularly schedules live music and offers coupons on their website so you save a bit of money on your trip.

If you’re jonesing for Florida seafood but aren’t able to spend too much, St. Augustine has an “oasis” for budget-restrained visitors: the Oasis Restaurant. Situated on A1A near the beaches and historical districts, the Oasis is famous for its fish sandwiches and delicious conch fritters. In season, the raw bar is open with fresh oysters and clams and shrimp, and as you enjoy lunch or dinner on the deck you’ll truly get a feel for the beach lifestyle.

For great meals at great prices, St. Augustine provides a number of flavorful dishes guaranteed to tempt the palate without teasing the bank account.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance travel writer specializing in articles on St. Augustine restaurants and the Outer Banks.

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