The City of St Augustine was originally founded in 1565 but the area was first explored by Ponce De Leon in 1513. The city is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in continental United States. The city has seen a fort on site since 1565 but many have been destroyed through attack by opposing forces. The current Fort which dominates the city entrance and the Matazas Bay – the bay of Dolphins as named by the French has seen many attempts and was never actually conquered.
The City was developed in the late 1800’s by Henry Flagler, and much of the larger architecture is the surviving work of Henry Flagler. Flagler bought the railways to Florida to bring guests to his hotels in the sunnier and more temperate climate of Florida winters – the original Snow Birds perhaps. His flagship St Augustine hotel The Ponce De Leon
is now the stunning Flagler College with much of its features still original including the Tiffany Glass windows. The Alcazar Hotel (now the fantastic Lightner Musem) and a number of churches were built by Flagler as well as the only hospital between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, the Alicia hospital was renamed the Flagler hospital in 1905.
There is a wealth of history from pirate times which is facinating for kids of all ages through to the current fort, ghost tours, and the early 20th century times of the Flagler era, the musems and through to the WWII Naval training and coast guard eras. The oldest wooden schoolhouse
is a popular attraction and sits at the north end of what is probably the most concentrated area of attractions on George Street. This street is a must walk through as it boasts a range of historic attractions as well as some interesting shops to browse around. A range of bars and restaurants line and back onto the street so you will not go short for some refreshments.
Trolly tours run throughout St Augustine and as well as being a handy hop on hop off service they also give a guided tour of the city and provide a fantastic insight into what is there and what is where so you can plan what you may want to investigate further.
St Augustine is not only about history and there are many other things to do in and around St Augustine. From Chocolate manufacturers to Wine tasting and of course an option to buy either is on the cards and well worth a visit. In the evening the bars, restaurants and coffee houses provide your night time entertainment or why not partake in a night time Ghost Tour starting from the Oldest Pharmacy up off the north end of George Street.
St Augustine is great day out, probably two. So it is a great idea to make the time to visit here and see the more historic side of Florida.