2018 Summer Vacation Ideas for St. Augustine, FloridaBest known for being the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States, St. Augustine, Florida will satisfy all ranges of travelers. Conveniently nestled near the Atlantic Ocean, this quaint city has a wide variety of activities for families, couples looking for a getaway and those individuals seeking a little bit of adventure. Diverse museums and forts, interesting eateries and cafes and plenty of places to stay make St. Augustine a prime vacation location for any traveler. When you’re just steps away from history and a few miles from the beach, you are certain to find the perfect itinerary for your traveling needs.
Families: St. Augustine is a bustling city with a lot to see and do for families. This tourist-friendly town offers a variety of places to stay and things to do for those with little kids, teenagers and beyond. Arguably the best part of a vacation for any kid is the hotel pool. The DoubleTree by Hilton, located in the St. Augustine Historic District, will instantly satisfy your little swimmers with a saltwater pool. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant onsite with a kid’s menu, and family packages include breakfast for all. After you’ve traveled and rested, an Old Town Trolley can pick you up from your hotel and usher you and your family around this historic town. Children and adults alike will marvel at the wonders of the Castillo de San Marcos, located in the heart of the city. Tour the fort, view cannon firings and take a stroll along the bayfront. Families will also enjoy Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, a bizarre “odditorium” with more than 800 family-friendly exhibits and interactive wonders to behold. After touring the city, grab a seat at Mojo Old City BBQ. With outdoor seating and a lengthy kid’s menu with large portions, families will enjoy the atmosphere and close proximity to nearby attractions. If you’re coming back to your hotel from the beach, Mellow Mushroom offers a laid-back atmosphere that will appeal to tired parents and hungry little ones. St. Augustine is a historical haven that all members of the family will enjoy!
Adventurers: With miles of coastline, waterways and trails throughout the city, St. Augustine will appease any adventurer any time of the year. Warm Floridian weather allows for a lot more play in the water and on land. Those looking to stay a little closer to nature may consider camping at the KOA Campground on Anastasia Island, just minutes from St. Augustine Beach. Old Town Trolley offers a Beach Bus shuttle service that picks up from the Campground daily if you’re looking to explore the city during your stay. Kick off your St. Augustine adventure with a flyboarding (water jetpack attached to a jet ski) tour with Extreme Water Adventures. If you’re looking for something more solo, Kayak St. Augustine offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Once you have your rental, launch from Lighthouse Park and enjoy a paddle through the Intracoastal Waterway. You may spot a dolphin or two on your adventure! Next, take an exciting zip line ride over crocodiles at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. After a full day of fun, enjoy some tacos at Osprey Tacos and a locally brewed lager at Old Coast Ales near the Bridge of Lions. Though two separate entities, these establishments are conveniently adjoined and make for a perfect combination of food and beverage for those who want to avoid larger restaurants. For some of the best live music in downtown St. Augustine, consider dining at Prohibition Kitchen. This restaurant offers a 1920s Prohibition Era theme with handcrafted drinks and an impressive draft beer selection, not to mention the delicious menu, which utilizes local ingredients.
Couples: It really is no surprise that St. Augustine is a leading destination for weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways for love-struck couples. The beautiful historic buildings and winding waterways make a perfect backdrop for your romantic vacation. The Bayfront Marin House, aptly named for its convenient location overlooking the water, is a quaint but lovely bed and breakfast that seems made for couples. Patrons are spoiled with a Southern-style breakfast daily, and homemade margaritas on select nights during the summer. After a lazy morning in your intricately-decorated suite, take your significant other on a tour of the San Sebastian Winery or the St. Augustine Distillery (or both!). Each offers free samples alongside fascinating tours of the facilities. Take a Romantic Sunset tour with The Schooner Freedom and get a one-of-a-kind view of historic St. Augustine from the water. This two-hour sail allows for an intimate evening for couples as they relax, enjoy a drink and search for dolphins on the horizon. When it’s time to find that perfect, romantic spot to eat, St. Augustine offers plenty of options for any appetite. Just north of the city lies the Reef Restaurant, perfectly placed on the beach and boasts exquisite fresh seafood, and delicious drinks and desserts. Or, enjoy expertly crafted cocktails and farm-to-table cuisine at the Ice Plant, which offers a modern vibe amidst a historic setting inside – you guessed it – an old ice factory. For added romanticism, visit the city during the historic holiday Nights of Lights display (November through January) and impress your significant other with dazzling lights that cover buildings, trees and everything in between.
Hidden Gems/Local Favorites: While St. Augustine welcomes thousands of tourists weekly, the locals know where the best restaurants, hotels and gems lie throughout the city. Make yourself at home at one of St. Augustine’s most interesting hotels, The Collector Inn. This landmark dates back to the 1790s and offers patrons a relaxing stay while immersing them in history. Once you’re settled, begin your day by enjoying a truly Southern-style breakfast in historic Lincolnville at the Blue Hen Café, or pick up a cold brew coffee from Kookaburra downtown. If you’re in town on a Saturday, visit the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s weekly Farmers Market and enjoy local food, drink and craft vendors. Venture south of the city to Fort Matanzas and enjoy a short ferry ride on your way to view this lesser-known, but fascinating structure built in the mid-1700s. Enjoy a premier local theater production at Limelight Theater, a local jewel that is loved by residents of the old city. If you’re craving more of an outdoor adventure, visit the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve and soak up the atmosphere of the tranquil beaches and marshland. You may even spot an alligator or gopher tortoise on your hike. Afterwards, eat like a local and shuck a bucket of oysters at Aunt Kate’s Restaurant on the Tolomato River. If you’re downtown, dine at one of the most locally-adored eateries, The Floridian. With its deep South-inspired menu and eclectic décor, visitors will leave full, happy and feeling like a local!
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