Known as The Ancient City, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the contiguous United States. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is brimming with historic landmarks while also embracing some unique attractions that will keep all visitors entertained throughout their time in this remarkable city.
Castillo de San Marcos. Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest and largest masonry fortress in the continental US. Built by the Spanish to protect against raids by pirates, it was ceded to the British and, in 1821, was purchased by the United States and was in use until 1899. Today, you can see parts of the original wall, participate in re-enactments and demonstrations of colonial life and enjoy the views of Matanzas Bay.
Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. No trip to St. Augustine would be complete without a visit to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park! While it capitalizes on the story of Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth, this park is the site of the original city of St. Augustine. Here, you can drink from the artisanal well, visit the Native Timucua Village of Seloy to learn how the local Native Americans lived, and explore the surrounding 15-acre waterfront park.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Florida is known for its alligators, so a stop at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is a must. Located on Anastasia Island, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is one of Florida's longest continuously running attractions, having first opened in 1893. It is the only crocodile farm in the world to have all 23 species of crocodilians recognized by biologists. It also includes other exotic reptiles, birds and animals. For a bit of fun, try the zip line over Crocodile Crossing.
Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. Originally built in 1798 by a Spanish merchant, the Ximenez House became “Miss Fatio’s” boarding house and was the place to stay during Florida’s first tourism boom from the 1830s through the 1850s. Each room has been meticulously restored to reflect these early visitors and their stories. If you are visiting over a weekend, plan to take part in the “Heist at the Museum”, a 90-minute adventure built around the premise that a rare 17th-century relic has been stolen and participants need to figure out who stole it, what they stashed it in and in which room it can be found (think life-size Clue game).
Colonial Quarter. Located in downtown St. Augustine, the Colonial Quarter is a living museum that walks you through three centuries of Spanish and British colonial occupation from its early beginnings in the 16th century as a trading port to becoming a fortified city and then through its beginnings as the 14th British colony in the 18th century. Immerse yourself in each time period with the live demonstrations, historic tours and authentic tastes of each period.
Lightner Museum. The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Hotel Alcazar in downtown St. Augustine. Built in 1888, it was the winter retreat for the wealthy during the Gilded Age of the 1890s. At the time, its amenities included the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, sulfur baths, casinos, a bowling alley and much more. The museum offers a glimpse into Victorian life, including a science and industry room, a music room, and a vast array of costumes, furnishings and glass works.
Fort Matanzas National Monument. Fort Matanzas was built in 1742 to defend St. Augustine from British attack. Today, you can explore the original fort and the surrounding 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands that protect the coast from hurricanes and other storms.
There is much more to see and do in St. Augustine and Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help you plan your trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to get started.
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