Vilano Beach is less than a 5 minute drive to Historic St. Augustine!
Jacksonville Airport is less than an hour away, St. Augustine Airport is 10 minutes away.
Orlando and Disney World is a two hour drive.
St. Augustine is a city on the northeast coast of Florida. It lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S., and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture as well as Atlantic Ocean beaches like sandy St. Augustine Beach and tranquil Crescent Beach. Anastasia State Park is a protected wildlife sanctuary. The Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress with views of the St. Augustine Inlet.
St. Augustine’s rich heritage makes the city and its surroundings a unique getaway for visitors. Founded in September 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain, St. Augustine is the longest continually inhabited European-founded city in the United States – more commonly called the “Nation’s Oldest City.” Visit St. Augustine and dive into more than four centuries of history that owes much to the Spanish and English, to Greeks and Native Americans and African Americans. Stroll the narrow lanes, enter the many museums, visit landmarks such as Castillo de San Marcos, Ponce de Leon’s “Fountain of Youth,” and the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse. St. Augustine – a place for history buffs and everyone else.
St. Augustine’s attractions bring to life the history, adventure, and romance of the Nation’s Oldest City. There are more than 60 attractions in St. Augustine that explore the rich four and a half century history of the Nation’s Oldest City, each in its own unique way. For the modern adventurer, there are dozens of other activities to fill your time with as well, from art galleries to golf, from surfing to IMAX movies.
By day, you can explore the city’s rich history, spend the day shopping, or enjoy some time outdoors while surfing, fishing, or playing a round of golf. History-minded visitors can explore destinations like these:
Castillo de San Marcos
Throughout its history, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument has been closely intertwined with the city and the neighboring structures which served as the city’s outer defenses – Fort Mose to the north and Fort Matanzas to the south. The Castillo and the town serve as outstanding reminders of the might of the early Spanish empire in the New World. Given the architectural details, it’s hardly surprising that Castillo de San Marcos actually took 23 years to build (from 1672 to 1695). Numerous historic events have taken place within the walls of this ancient stalwart including the imprisonment of Seminole tribe leader Chief Osceola after he was captured in 1837. Fabricated of coquina, a virtually indestructible limestone comprised of broken sea shells and coral, the walls of the fortress remained impenetrable through 300 years of enemy shelling and pounding by violent storms.
Built from 1740-1742, Fort Matanzas represents a well-preserved masonry watchtower fort built by the Spanish. By providing a perch to observe enemy vessels approaching from the south, the fort played a strategic role in warning St. Augustine of potential enemy advancements from the south via the Matanzas River.
Celebrating 40 years of providing educational excellence, Flagler College offers 26 majors and 30 minors in selected studies emphasizing liberal arts, education, and business. Located in what was once Henry Flagler’s first St. Augustine hotel, the Ponce de Leon, the college operates tours for both visitors and prospective students. Jaws will drop at the sight of such incredible architecture which has been painstakingly preserved through the years. The campus grounds are equally impressive with their rows of towering palms and well-kept gardens. With the purchase of the Florida East Coast Railway building west of town (now converted into dormitories and offices), the new student center on Sevilla Street, and expansions of the art building and galleries, Flagler College is continually expanding both its presence in town and opportunities for its students.
History buffs will adore the many museums in the area. The Lightner Museum is among the most unique, featuring an intriguing array of items, from shrunken heads and mummies to stunning collections of stained glass and crystal. When it opened its doors in 1889, Henry Flagler’s Alcazar Hotel delighted guests with its gigantic indoor pool and retractable roof, casino, spa, and movie theater. O.C. Lightner jumped at the opportunity to live in the hotel when it became available for purchase and house his unique collections here.
Shops around the historic district offer everything from souvenirs to antiques, arts and crafts to clothing. St. Augustine is also the ideal location for soaking up the sun along our 43 miles of pristine beaches or on the emerald expanse of a grassy golf course. Stroll the sandy seashore, lay out by the pool or head into the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little deep sea fishing. Whatever your interests are, nature is at its best in St. Augustine.
By night, visitors can enjoy a casual stroll or a carriage ride through the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine, but beware of the spirits that sometimes lurk in the shadows. While The Ancient City can be an ideal spot for romance, it’s also got a history that never sleeps. If candlelight dinners and window-shopping on St. George Street aren’t your thing, you may want to try a ghost tour through the narrow alleys and haunted buildings like the Old Jail.