As a student traveler, I don’t have all the free time and availability to go globetrotting anytime I want! But weekends are the perfect opportunity to explore local and amazing places, whether they be typical vacation destinations or charming small towns. St. Augustine, Florida is quite the mix of both! I had two days to get the most out of St. Augustine and see all I wanted to see, so read ahead for my adventure and recommendations for a weekend in St. Augustine!
This post is also extra special because I made a VIDEO of my fun time!! Yes, it’s my first vlog and I’m so excited to be entering a new creative medium besides my blogging and photography. I’m not sure if I’ll be a regular vlogger/videographer but I am definitely hoping to create more videos to showcase my adventures! Check it out!:
St. Augustine might sound like it’s not as known but it is actually a big tourist destination for something you probably all know I love at this point – history! In my opinion, history is what makes us want to travel and see beautiful places – we transport ourselves to different time periods and ponder the thought of who walked this castle, who strolled this street, and – in St. Augustine’s case – who built this fort!
Castello de San Marcos
That’s right, the most famous attraction you’ll want to see is the Castello de San Marcos and it’s the first thing I would put on my St. Augustine bucket list – heck, it’s even worth a United States bucket list! This fort began to be built in 1672, 107 years after St. Augustine was founded. You can walk all around the fort for an inexpensive admission price that is good for 7 days! It’s situated right on the water, up close and personal to the Atlantic Ocean which made for spectacular views. I happened to arrive just as a cannon and musket demonstration was going to be done, so that was a very cool aspect of the fort that I think anybody should try and see! (Watch my video to see the actual demonstration!!)
All around the fort,
there are cannons and displays set up so that you can get a peek into how the fort was used and what it was like way back when!
St. George Street
What’s amazing to think when walking the quaint historic district is that you’re strolling along boulevards that made up the first settlement of people in the United States. That’s right, I said the FIRST EVER! How amazing is that! St. George Street is the main hub of activity in the historic area of St. Augustine. It is basically a walking street lined with anything you could think of – restaurants, small business shops, historical sites, chocolate shops, and more! My partner in crime, Kyle, and I stayed around St. George Street for most of the trip because it is central to everything.
Flagler College & The Lightner Museum
If you are looking for traditional Florida architecture, then you should absolutely make it to Flagler College. It’s another piece of Florida history that makes for a beautiful setting to take in. Henry Flagler, a big businessman in the late 1800s, commissioned the building of the Ponce De Leon Hotel that now houses Flagler College! I loved taking photographs around the building and seeing the illustrious and detailed lobby! If I had more time, I would have loved to do a formal tour there.
The Lightner Museum is just across the street from Flagler College, housed in the Hotel Alcazar building. It contains relics of the American Gilded Age, around the time the Ponce De Leon Hotel was built. I did not actually go inside the museum, again for time’s sake, but the courtyard of this building was stunning! There were also corners of it that, again, completely embodied the look of Floridian architecture. I adored watching the koi fish swimming in the pond and spending time in the peaceful atmosphere.
For those of you out there looking to get to St. Augustine, but also want to see some of my other favorite cities along Florida and the East Coast to make your trip worthwhile, check out Contiki! I was browsing all of their trips and came across this Eastern Discovery USA Tour that has great reviews and hits some of my favorite spots on the East Coast! There’s a link below for more information!
There are so many food places to choose from in Historic St. Augustine that you could probably pick any establishment and have a good meal! I don’t have specific recommendations since I obviously did not get to try out every restaurant in St. Augustine, BUT I will say that I would recommend any of the places I tried!
Prohibition Kitchen — If you are looking for a fun and vintage vibe in a restaurant, then Prohibition Kitchen is a great option! This restaurant definitely gets an A+ on the atmosphere. The waiter took awhile to get to our table, but the rest of the service was fine and the food was also super delicious! I had a great burger.
Snack Shack — If you’re looking for a snack for in between meal times, I would definitely recommend the Snack Shack. St. Augustine has lots of cafes and dessert places, but the Snack Shack was one of the only establishments I saw that had snack-able items like pretzels, fries, chips, etc. It is a small hole-in-the-wall type place but served me an amazing pretzel that I still can’t get over!
Taberna del Caballo — Kyle and I went here for dinner and I completely enjoyed the experience. I ordered the Mozzarella Flatbread, which was so delicious and felt like a healthier and lighter meal, which is always a positive for me when I am traveling. There was also live music and great service. It was pretty dark in the restaurant, but I still enjoyed the mood and the experience!
Kilwin’s — Kilwin’s is Kilwin’s anywhere so I’m sure I don’t have to explain how wonderful my Cookie Dough Ice Cream was. But, I still want to point out that it is amazing and it totally satisfied my travel/vacation dessert cravings!
Crucial Coffee Cafe — I did not get a coffee from this quirky little shop, but Kyle did and he loved it! What I loved was how adorably unique this coffee shop was. It had the look of a run-down shack next to a tiny courtyard with overgrown plants. The whole aesthetic was so fun to look at!
St. Augustine Tips
- Parking is sometimes limited. The easiest way to park is at the Visitor Center parking garage, but it will cost you $15 for the day. There’s metered parking around the downtown area, but that is more limited if you’re in St. Augustine on popular tourist days!
- If you’re looking to go to St. Augustine Beach to see the water, give yourself a bit of time because you can’t see the ocean from the road!
- Know that everything in the historic district is very close to each other – St. George Street, Castello de San Marcos, and Flagler College included! Other attractions that are famous in St. Augustine were not as convenient to get to since Kyle and I had limited time in the weekend, so I would add an extra day or two to go to things like the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the Archaeological Park, and the famous Alligator Farm!
- I stayed at a La Quinta Inn, which was a very nice hotel for an overnight stay. There are tons of other hotels close to the historic area as well, but I would check Airbnb first because those really central hotels get very expensive!
Sign up here for $40 in travel credit with Airbnb!!: www.airbnb.com/c/michelas3039
Sometimes when we travel, we try to pack in so many things that we forget to relax and take our time to enjoy what we are seeing. I felt like when exploring Historic St. Augustine, there was an atmosphere of relaxation and enjoyment. Every attraction was close together and allowed for a visitor to have a visceral experience with history, which I genuinely loved. Forty-eight hours may not seem like much, but it was the perfect amount of time to get to know St. Augustine and come up with what else I want to see when I visit in the future!
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