The oldest city in North America fits snugly in a confluence of salt-water waterways from the north, south and west, and is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier islands on the east. There are many ways to explore the salt water waterways and estuaries snaking through tidal salt marshes, conservation areas, state parks, and aquatic preserves which protect the unique, fragile ecosystem of “Old Florida.” On the Atlantic Ocean side, long stretches of white sandy beaches offer choices for everyone.
Quaint St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, has a lot going on – historic sites, remarkable architecture, old world charm, gorgeous nature preserves teeming with wildlife, beautiful beaches, diverse restaurant choices, and a booming craft beverage scene. Here’s how to experience it all in 2 days:
Understanding the layered history of tiny, quaint St. Augustine can be challenging because most of the early American history we learn in school focuses on the original 13 British colonies. Historically, what makes early St. Augustine and the larger Florida territory so intriguing is the strong influence of Spain which first discovered, laid claim to, and settled in the area. To make the most of a St. Augustine visit, here are some things to know…
This small, old-fashioned city with an ancient feel was founded over 450 years ago. Settled by Spaniards in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest, permanently occupied European settlement in America. While the Spanish influence is felt throughout the Old City, it was not always under Spanish rule. St. Augustine’s strategic location made it a target for occupation by force or treaty, which happened three times before it became part of the U.S. in 1821. In the 1880s, a take-over of a different kind happened. It became a fabulous Gilded Age resort town created by Standard Oil and railroad magnate Henry Flagler. St. Augustine is a historic gem with many popular sites and museums to visit, rain or shine.
Prepare to meet ghostly criminals hanged at the gallows in the Old Jail. Hear the trapdoor spring open and the rope snap tight as another apparition is set loose to prowl the yard. Feel the hair stand up on your neck as an icy-cold breath whispers a graveyard message in your face. The Paranormal Seekers are your guides at the Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida. Halloween tours are forming now.