St. Augustine almost always happens to be a Florida destination that requires a special day trip from another destination. The lure of the old city is strong, it only takes reading about it or looking at a few photos to decide that it’s worth a visit. To really see all of St. Augustine and enjoy its charm and beauty, an entire weekend would be the best option, but if all you can squeeze into your plans is a day, its still worth the effort of driving up to and cramming as much as possible into a day.
See the best of what St. Augustine has to offer in a day, and then start planning your next trip to town where you can fit in all the rest.
Castillo de San Marcos
The oldest stone built, permanent fort in the United States is at the top of the list when in St. Augustine. This fort is the reason behind the establishment of the city and its probably the best preserved military fort you will ever get the chance to see. Not only is the fort huge, but its fortifications are unique, drawbridges aren’t that common in the United States and here you will get to see two. The fort is self guided, so take the time to explore the grounds, which are huge, and stop in to view the exhibits dealing with the history and building of the fort. Part of the fun is talking to the living history characters that regale guests with descriptions of their duties and all the work that goes into keeping their appearance and weaponry looking and working at its best.
From the fort, head out to the Colonial Quarter, where you can step back in time to see what Old St. Augustine would’ve looked and sounded like. A town plaza is surrounded by period businesses, workshops and restaurants that give you a taste of everyday life because the people that are working there, try to live it. Watch as a blacksmith uses skills and techniques passed down for hundreds of years, enjoy a drink in a real period pub and snack on tapas that people living here would have had back home in Old Spain. Guided tours are available with admission, but its also fun to just wander around and watch things as they are happening. You can spend as much as two to three hours here and still want to come back for more.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is one of the more popular pirate collections in the country, appealing to the entertainment factor in us all. Not only is the history and lore surrounding the pirate life covered, but the adventure is played up to get adults and children excited about topic. Whether it’s the daring of the pirate’s life that you are interested in or the pop culture surrounding pirates and the recent movies featuring them, there is something exciting here to see. Captain Kidd’s journal is on display, and his own words are used to describe the pirate’s life. See what a real treasure chest looks like and some of the treasure that was worth all that fighting.
Dinner at The Floridian
Before hitting the road to make it home for bed, have dinner at The Floridian, located in the Historic District of town. Serving local food and catch that is prepared simply and in a way that has been done in the area for years, the menu is always changing to feature the best of what is in season. It gets better because the wine list and craft beers are sourced from local establishments as well, making it one of the very few places that features down home, Florida cuisine.