Spring is near and we are all definitely welcoming change! This is the time to head south for a weekend before the summer heat hits. Are you ready to step into the past and practically another world? Just a 3.5 hour drive, southeast of Bulloch County, is a city known as our “Nation’s Oldest.” Taking you on a historic journey, St. Augustine story spans centuries of history that owes its heritage to the Spanish and English, Native Americans and African-Americans.
Founded in September 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain and Florida’s first governor, St. Augustine is the longest continually inhabited European-founded city in the United States. For over 200 years the city served as the capital of Spanish Florida and was designated the capital of British East Florida when the colony was established in 1763.
If history is your thing, there is plenty in this beautiful and preserved Florida coastal city.
When you visit the Castillo de San Marcos, the fort that defended Florida and the Atlantic trade route for the Spanish, you will be walking through the oldest masonry fort and the best-preserved example of a Spanish colonial fortification in the continental United States.
Another American Treasure is the Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum & Gardens. Established in the late 1700s, this homestead was owned by Juan Genopoly. It reflects the homestead life of Minorcan Settlers. This piece of history has been certified by the U.S. Department of the Interior as “possessing exceptional historic and architectural interest.”
Just walking through the Historic Downtown will take you by buildings dating back to the 1700s. It is home to the beautiful bayfront with panoramic views of the Matanzas Bay. The walkable downtown area offers museums, places to stay in areas such as the neighborhood of Lincolnville. Stop at the St. Augustine Distillery or one of the cafes for lunch. There are a variety of hotels and rentals, however, the area is known for the unique bed and breakfasts.
Would you rather camp for the weekend? Across the bay lies Anastasia State Park — 1,600 acres of unspoiled beach and tidal marshes. There are 139 campsites available not far from the beach. Bring your bikes and fishing poles if you want to spend a day experience the beauty of this park.
If you need something a little more fun for the kids, visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Just the location of the attraction is a part of history. Housed in the formal Castle Warden Hotel, the building itself is eccentric and known to be haunted.
Tours, food, history, and mystery, St. Augustine is a perfect weekend getaway. Sometimes we forget that a “world away” is closer than we think!