Founded in 1565, St. Augustine, Florida is America’s oldest city. Rich with history and culture, it’s nearly impossible to see all that the city has to offer. There is something for everyone to enjoy in this Atlantic coastal town. We spent three days there and barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do. I’ll share a few highlights from places we visited and places we skipped.
1. Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth
This is a place we probably should have gone. After all, this is the spot. The attraction was described as an archeological park and to be honest, that turned me off. But I would have loved to have sipped (okay, gulped vast quantities) from the Fountain of Youth. Apparently you can drink from the legendary fountain, though I’ve heard it tastes pretty bad.
We did take this tour. It was gimmicky, but interesting to see inside the jail and realize that the warden’s family lived about 6 feet from the prisoners. Two doors and a narrow hallway separated them. I wondered how noisy it was and how much those children heard when they played in their rooms or slept at night?
We also saw the gallows where a few prisoners were hung.
This old Spanish fort reminded me of forts we saw in Puerto Rico. Although you can go inside and learn more about its history, we only walked around the outside at night.
4. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
What I loved about this lighthouse was it’s setting. It’s near the coast, of course, but there are walking paths around it that are so overgrown with tropical Floridian plants that as you’re walking through the paths you can’t even see the lighthouse. This picture of the light keeper’s house gives you a glimpse of the landscape.
5. The Oldest Store Museum
We didn’t visit this site, but thought about it. They boast a Snake Oil salesman demonstration. We saw one at the Old West Festival in Ohio and enjoyed it. We’ll add this to the list for our next visit.
Other attractions we didn’t have time for:
– The Oldest Wooden School House
– San Sebastian Winery
– St. Augustine Alligator Farm
– Spanish Military Hospital Museum
– Pirate & Treasure Museum
– Potter’s Wax Museum
– Lightner Museum
– The Gonzalez-Alvarez Oldest House Museum Complex
– Fort Menendez
– Villa Zorayda Museum
Etc., etc. There was simply too much to do in three days. If/when we go back, we’ll grab our Hyppo pops and see some of the sites we missed.
Which attraction(s) would you have seen first?
I went to St. Augustine over 20 years ago. I HAD to take a sip of the bottled water from the fountain. Sady, I still look and FEEL 45. Go figure.
That’s what I was afraid of. 😦
Oh I have been there! I just loved ambling down the old street and seeing the historic part of the town and the fort. In one of my bathrooms here I have a photo of that black and white lighthouse! I was there for about 3 hours, but I WAS there ! Thanks for the memory!
It’s such a beautiful town, isn’t it? I love all the Spanish influence and the shops and fort.so pretty!
If I had to pick America’s oldest city, that would not be on my list at all. Pretty cool. I like the swirls on the lighthouse !
I know. Usually I’d think of someplace like Boston or Roanoke, but nope. We forget about all the Spanish explorers. Or at least, I do.
Nice looking place, if a bit ‘touristy’. I guess families would totally love it.
Touristy, yes. And yet, you can avoid that aspect without much trouble. Lots for families to do and I think a lot of women take a ‘girls’ weekend’ to the area. It’s touristy, but in a relaxing way.
What a great trip you had, it’s such a wonderful place! ♥♥♥ ;^)
With my bucket list getting lengthier, that fountain does sound worth a try 🙂
I think I need some kind of written guarantee that it would work. 😉
Definitely would not have pegged Florida to have the oldest city in America! (does that make me a snob for thinking that?) Though gimmicky, I’m always a sucker for anything that calls itself “the oldest” of something so I probably would’ve headed for the oldest school wooden house. The lighthouse looks fantastic! Still have yet to see a real one in person but for now, I’ll live vicariously through your photos. 🙂
I wouldn’t have thought this about Florida, either. Maybe because it’s not one of the 13 original colonies?
Here’s a little more detail on their claim:
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish established at St. Augustine this nation’s first enduring settlement.
So wow.. a kid’s room with a view of the gallows? (No – I’m exaggerating there aren’t I – but close to the cells.) That would be a life growing up.
I did not know there was an actual fountain of youth. Learnt something!
Luckily, they didn’t use the gallows very often. Regardless, it would be a strange upbringing.
Love your latest poll, by the way. 🙂
I would have made a beeline to The fountain of youth to ‘gulp’ as much water as I could!
I don’t think it would be out of line to bring buckets to carry home, would it? 🙂