The first Spanish settlement in the area was founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral and colonial governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in the location of the present day city of St. Augustine, Florida. The district of St. Augustine was formed in the late 1700s and has since grown to encompass a large area of northeast Florida. Its geography is generally bounded by the St. Johns River to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Intracoastal Waterway to the north and the city of Jacksonville to the south. It includes the historic Downtown (the oldest part of the city and its core) as well as the suburbs of Anastasia Island, St. Augustine Beach, and St. Johns County.
Saint Augustine is located in the northeast corner of Florida in the Saint Johns County district. The county is part of the Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka Metropolitan Statistical Area and is primarily made up of the cities of Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine Beach, Fruit Cove and Hastings.
There are several ways to get to Saint Augustine from Florida, depending on your location and the mode of transportation you choose. The most popular way to get to Saint Augustine from Florida is to drive. The city is just over an hour away from Jacksonville and about two and a half hours from Tampa.
Another option is to take a bus. Greyhound offers direct buses from a variety of Florida cities to Saint Augustine.
You can also fly to Saint Augustine from many Florida airports, including Jacksonville International, Tampa International, and Miami International. An additional option is to take the Amtrak Auto Train from Sanford, Florida.
Finally, if you have access to a boat, there are several marinas in Saint Augustine to moor your vessel.
1. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument: Built in 1672, this Spanish fort was the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. It is the site of some of the earliest battles and sieges, and is now a popular tourist destination.
2. The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park: This 15-acre park is where Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was said to have come ashore in 1513 and declared Florida as the first European-established settlement in the country. Visitors can explore the archaeological and historical exhibits, take a glass-bottom boat tour, and more.
3. Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse: Built in 1716, this is the oldest surviving educational building in the United States. It was rebuilt in 2014 and open to the public for tours.
4. Fort Mose Historic State Park: This first free black settlement in what is now the United States was established in 1738 to provide refuge to African slaves seeking safety from from the British colonies. Now a state park, visitors can take a guided tour of the original fort and learn about the history of this settlement.
5.Lightner Museum: This was once the luxurious Alcazar Hotel, opened in 1888. Now a museum, it houses an impressive collection of art and antiques.
6. Flagler College: This private college was originally established as Florida’s first college in 1868. It is now a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful neo-Gothic Revival architecture.
7. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum: Built in 1874, this iconic lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can also explore the museum, which houses a variety of maritime artifacts and historical items.
1. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument: This Spanish colonial fort is the oldest masonry fort in the U.S. Built in 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos offers visitors a look into the city’s Spanish history and its role in the Civil War.
2. Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park: This archaeological park is located in the heart of St. Augustine and is home to the iconic Fountain of Youth. Here, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the park, learn about the city’s history and history of the Timucan Indians.
3. St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum: The lighthouse is the city’s most iconic landmark, standing since 1874. The museum houses historic compasses and maps, and visitors can climb the restored lighthouse for a panoramic view of the city.
4. Flagler College: This impressive building is a must-see in St. Augustine. Built in 1888 by Henry Flagler, this former hotel is now the home to Flagler College and has some of the most beautiful architecture the city has to offer.
5. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park: This popular family attraction is home to more than 2,000 alligators and crocodiles, plus a variety of other animals, such as Komodo dragons, primates, and birds.
6. Old Town Trolley Tours of St. Augustine: Take a tour of the city with a knowledgeable tour guide aboard a historical trolley. Learn about the city’s rich history as you ride around and make stops at some of St. Augustine’s top attractions.
7. St. Augustine Amphitheater: Enjoy an evening concert or show at this open-air amphitheater located near downtown St. Augustine. This venue hosts a variety of entertainment, including live music, performing arts, film screenings, and more.
8. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum: This museum is a popular destination for both kids and adults. Featuring a two story-ship exposed to the elements, interactive games, and artifacts, this museum is a must for any pirate-lover.
1. Castillo de San Marcos: This fort was built in 1672 as a defense point and stands as the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Enjoy exploring the history of Spanish-colonial Florida as you explore the grounds and take part in a guided tour of the building!
2. Fountain of Youth Archeological Park: Head to the spot where explorer Ponce de Leon first made landfall in 1513 and step back in time to learn the stories of his court and the local Tocobaga tribe. Take a self-guided tour around the park, visit replicas of Tocobaga dwellings, and learn about the utilization of local resources.
3. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Old City from the top of this 1824 rebuilding of an earlier lighthouse, then pay a visit to the adjacent vessel museum to learn about life on the northeastern Florida coast.
4. Potter’s Wax Museum: Take a stroll around Potter’s Wax Museum and see dozens of historical and modern figures and settings recreated in wax. Child-friendly exhibits make it a delight to visit!
5. St. Augustine Distillery Tours: Visit the only distillery in town and check out their collection of carefully crafted liquors. Take a tour and have a tasting of your favorite pick!
6. Old Town Trolley Tours: Zip around the city on an old-fashioned trolley and take a guided tour that provides insight into St. Augustine’s colonial, naval, and cultural history.
7. Old City Walking Tours: Explore two centuries of fascinating history in St Augustine’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods with a mix of folklore, architecture and fun.
8. The Spanish Military Hospital Museum: Put yourself in the shoes of St. Augustine’s colonial inhabitants and explore over two centuries of local history in the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.
9. Anastasia State Park: Relax and enjoy miles of stunning beaches and nature trails while visiting this beautiful park. Participate in ranger-led programs, hit the water to go kayaking or fishing, or just take a stroll in the sand and enjoy the ocean air.
10. Farmers’ Markets: Shop for fresh, locally grown produce, arts and crafts, and other local products at the lively farmer’s markets in St. Augustine. Daytime markets are held downtown on Saturdays, and evening markets are held at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds every Wednesday.