The oldest city in the United States is not afraid to wear its history on its sleeve. Today, St. Augustine is a charismatic mishmash of cobbled streets, sun-bleached beaches and terracotta rooftops, with a distinctly Mediterranean feel to it. Hotels in St. Augustine are just as charming: ranging from rustic, red-roofed inns to sleek, chic hotels. Whatever your taste and budget, there’s sure to be something to suit your needs in St. Augustine.
With more than 42 miles of golden sands, the only headache you’ll have on your vacation is deciding which Pensacola beach to pick. While most are family-friendly, Mickler's Landing Beachfront Park is one of the best. It boasts a wide range of facilities, including picnic tables, barbeque pits and beach wheelchairs. Regular lifeguard patrols and shallow waters make this a popular spot for families with young children.
However, if you’re looking for peace and privacy, Vilano Beach is the place to go. With a suddenly-sloping shoreline, it provides outstanding conditions for surfers and skim-boarders, but may not be suitable for younger swimmers. Head towards the south end of the beach and you’ll find Porpoise Point, which is the perfect place to watch the sun slip over the horizon.
Wondering where to stay in St. Augustine? You’ll find lots of hotels are within easy access to the best beaches and attractions.
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is Florida’s oldest continuous attraction. The park is just a short drive from many hotels in St. Augustine, making it an easy way to spend a day. This unique wildlife center has species of crocodile, gator, gharial and caiman, as well as plenty to keep the family entertained. The park has recently welcomed Komodo dragons, monkeys and birds to its family, too.
Over 300 years old, the San Marcos National Monument towers over St. Augustine’s skyline. The structure was built from coquina; a spongy limestone formed from coral reef waste and broken seashells. While this might not sound enough to repel invaders, experts have found that coquina was able to absorb the force of cannonballs without being destroyed. Guided tours of the Castillo are available and are recommended to those who want an interactive insight into St. Augustine’s past.
St. Augustine started life as a port town, popular with traders and merchants. Continuing that tradition, you’ll find that most of the hotels in St Augustine are close to stores or markets.
San Marco Avenue is the place to go shopping for antiques. St. Augustine is home to some of the world’s best antique stores and markets, the majority of which can be found on San Marco Avenue. Here you’ll find small antique stores rubbing shoulders with vast warehouses, each offering everything from 20th-century curios to rare artefacts.
If you prefer the facilities and amenities offered by a contemporary shopping mall, make your way to the crossroads at Interstate 95 and State Route 16. Here, you’ll find the St Augustine Premium Outlets mall, which is packed with big-brand names and boutique stores. If you intend to spend the day flexing your bargain-hunting muscles, there’s also a superb food court.
Whether you’re travelling with your family or stealing some time away with your partner in one of the luxury St. Augustine hotels, you’ll find that the city offers some excellent places to eat. Couples should head for the aptly-named Sunset Grille to enjoy superb seafood and stunning sunsets. Cap’s on the Water offers a similar romantic ambience, with excellent food and beautiful views of the harbor.
Those vacationing with children should make for Barnacle Bill’s, which offers family-friendly menus and relaxed surroundings. For authentic Southern cuisine that all the family will enjoy, the Saltwater Cowboys restaurant ticks all the right boxes.