St. Augustine, located just 30 minutes south of Jacksonville, is the nation's oldest city, but also one of Florida’s most charming travel destinations. There’s so much to do in St. Augustine and much of it is walkable. You’ll find both tourists and locals strolling St. George’s Street, the cities historic district lined with cobblestone streets, quaint cafes, and offbeat artisan shops. You’ll certainly feel like you’ve been transported back to early Spanish times, especially if you spend an afternoon sitting outside at one of the Spanish cafes.
Be sure to schedule in some of St. Augustine’s historical attractions in between your culinary adventure and eclectic shopping. St Augustine’s top historical attraction include:
Castillo de San Marcos is one of the iconic historic structures of North Florida, constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. You can listen to park ranger talks, enjoy the green park surrounding the fort, and watch reenactments and weapons demonstrations in period costume.
Fort Matanzas guarded St. Augustine’s waterway as the conflict between European nations raged. The ferry ride across to Fort Matanzas gives visitors a chance to enjoy the natural scenery that surrounds the Matanzas River, and possibly spot a dolphin.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts and interactive exhibits.
Built in 1887, the Lightner Museum features costumes, furnishings and other artifacts from 19th century daily life.
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is the original site of the nation’s oldest city. Located on 15 beautiful waterfront acres, you can see the real Spanish watchtower, the Menendez 1565 settlement field, and a 600-foot founders riverwalk.
Oldest House Museum is Florida’s oldest Spanish colonial dwelling and a National Historic Landmark.
Old Florida Museum is St. Augustine's only hands-on, interactive history museum. Guests can experience life in this time period through the tools, weapons, and homes featured in the museum. Hour-long educational programs on Timucuan natives, Colonial Spanish Florida, early Florida pioneers, and archeology are also available.
Fort Mose Historic State Park is the first free African settlement in North America and a premier site on the Florida Black Heritage trail. This farming community's free status precedes such landmarks in American history as the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation by over a century. Established for African American freedmen, Fort Mose and its militia became the northern defense post for St. Augustine.
St. Augustine is a very walkable city. For a true historical perspective of the city, ride in one of the old horse-drawn country carriages. During the holidays, St. Augustine comes alive with the Night of Lights. In 2011 and 2012, National Geographic selected St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights as one of the ten best holiday lighting displays in the world, featuring millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere.