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Place Category: Beach Towns
One of Florida’s most visited city is the old but equally beautiful city of St. Augustine. This city is officially the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. The city is part of the Jacksonville Metropolitan area and is frequented by history and beach lovers most time of the year.
Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the city in 1565, he was also the first governor of Florida at that time. He named the area San Agustin since his fleet first sighted land during the feast of St. Augustine. Because of its history, it is not surprising that the city and its surrounding environs are home to numerous structure that has historical significance. With more than 5 centuries of history, St. Augustine is no rookie when it comes to conquests, wars, and struggles. In 1965, the city celebrated its 400th founding anniversary. It continuously works with the State of Florida to restore, preserve, and maintain many important sites and architecture.
Geographically, it is not surprising that the Spanish colonizers choose the area. The city is covered by barrier islands, providing excellent protection against possible oncoming enemies. In one of these islands, the Anatasia Island, are magnificent forts built to guard the city against possible invasion.
Attractions in St. Augustine
• Spanish Military Hospital Museum – This museum will bring you back to the Spanish colonial days. You will have the opportunity to discover colonial Spanish day’s medicine and apothecary techniques.
• Villa Zorayda Museum – this Villa is home to numerous antiquities. The architecture of the villa itself is modeled after the Moorish Alhambra Palace in Spain, that was created in the 16th century. The villa was built in 1883 it was then the winter residence of Franklin Smith. Today, it houses important artifacts and items that survived through time.
• St. Augustine Scenic Cruise – This scenic cruise offers visitors a unique view of the city since it was first operated by the Usinas in the 1900’s. Imagine cruising down the Matanzas River while relaxing to the view of the city.
• Ximenez Fatio House Museum – In 1798, this was built as a merchant’s home, as well as, a place for his business. Using the typical way to construct buildings during that time this building is built with coquina stones. The museum today is a reflection of what it has been over the years since it was first built.
• St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum – Another most visited place in the city is the lighthouse. Although located on Anastasia Island, it is still principally part of the city. The lighthouse used to be a watchtower with signal flags used to alert the residents of the settlement during the Spanish era. It was later converted into a lighthouse.
• Colonial Quarter – enjoy a captivating journey through history with this unique attraction. You can travel back in time as you move from one area to another.
• St. Augustine Alligator Farms – Check out some off the biggest predators this is home to more than 24 species of crocodiles. You can also see other wildlife including lemurs, toucans, and Komodo dragons.
• Spanish Forts – Located in the nearby Anastasia Island are the centuries-old Spanish forts – Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monument. Both are strategically built to guard the city of St. Augustine from possible invaders.
• Explore the Beaches – There is a reason why this city is well loved by its residents, aside from the rich history, it also has excellent beaches where you can relax and enjoy the fresh Atlantic breeze. You can easily drive to two islands connected by bridges, either find tranquillity at the Vilano Beach or enjoy your time at the beaches in Anastasia Island.
How To Get There
Driving to St. Augustine is easy. Coming from the North, take I-95, exit onto SR 16 (exit # 318). Here you can turn east towards the downtown area. From the south, take I-95 and exit onto SR 16 (exit # 318) and go East towards the downtown area.