St. Augustine, Florida is a popular tourist spot, partially because it is the oldest city in the United States and also because it is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The downtown area is full of charming pedestrian streets and historic buildings. Many guests plan to spend a week in the city, divided between exploring museums and landmarks in the Old Town and sunning at the beach. St. Augustine is so rich in tourist attractions that it would be difficult to see them all in less than a month’s time. There are plenty of shops for browsing and restaurants for dining. Guests may want to stay at an historic hotel with antiques and remnants of the days when the Spanish first settled in the area. College students sometimes flock to St. Augustine during March or April to enjoy the beach during their Spring Break.
One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest structure in the city that was built in 1672. There are rooms to explore, a gun deck, and a large courtyard. The Authentic Old Jail is another historic tourist spot that was built in 1891. Tourists can take a guided tour through the jail and Sherriff’s quarters. Nighttime tours are also available. Those who want to learn about the history of Fort Menendez at Old Florida Museum have a chance to explore the old Spanish settlement that was built next to the Village of Seloy, where the Native American tribe Timucua lived. History buffs will also want to see Fort Matanzas National Monument that was built in 1742 to defend the city from British attack. Visitors take a ferry ride to the monument that is now located in a national park.
The St. Photios National Shrine is located on Historic St. George Street. This religious shrine was built in 1768 and was dedicated to the first Greek colony that came to America. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is a place where guests can read and hear about amazing things that have happened to people and animals, such as a woman who lived for 44 years with a thermometer in her lung. There are also ghost tours through a certified haunted building that is an old hospital for those who are brave enough to enter. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is the place where visitors can see 23 species of alligators, as well as many other animals, such as boa constrictors to toucans.
Those who come to St. Augustine primarily for the seacoast attractions also have many things to see and do. There are scenic cruises in large cruise ships, in speedboats, or small private crafts that take visitors around the waterways in the area. There is also a large pirate ship, complete with sword fighting lessons for children, fireworks, and a pirate crew that performs in daily shows. Guests also have the chance to parasail from 1,000 feet up in the sky for a unique view of the city.
Both the coastal area and the Historic Downtown area have many choices of restaurants for dining, including Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and American cuisine. The Old Town Wine Cellar on St. George Street is adjacent to a casual dining restaurant, and guests can move to the wine cellar after dinner for wine tasting. The Sunset Grille is rated as one of the best places to eat in St. Augustine. Located on Anastasia Island, it has great ocean views and casual American food. The Spanish Bakery in the Old City bakes homemade bread and offers lunch each day. Adults will enjoy Sangrias Tapas and Piano Bar in the historic area of the city, and they may sit inside for live music or outside on the balcony. There are many more attractions and restaurants to experience in St. Augustine.