When I see tourists visit these attractions, I am reminded to be grateful to live in such a beautiful town rich in history and culture.
By Jess Jeffrey
When I first moved to the sunshine state, I had no idea what it would actually be like to experience Florida during the summer months. For some people, I imagine that would involve days at the beach watching your skin evolve various shades of bronze. For me, that meant avoiding the sweltering heat and afternoon thunderstorms from the comfort of my air-conditioned home until the sun set and it was cool enough to go outside.
I find St. Augustine is the most beautiful when the weather cools down, so here are my favorite tourist attractions in St. Augustine that I still love to visit as a local:
St. George Street
Are you a fan of shopping and vintage aesthetics? If so, St. George street hits both of these checkpoints. Take a stroll down this pedestrian-only street and check out the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse as well as different boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Both ends of the street are flanked by Kilwins, so it’s definitely hard to resist a sweet treat while exploring the area. The best part? Once you’re downtown, you can get everywhere by walking!
St. Augustine Lighthouse
I’ve always been a fan of gaining a high vantage point, so it was no surprise that I fell in love with the view the first time I visited the Lighthouse. This is the only place in town that provides a credible workout while also allowing you to see the whole town at once! From the peaceful Atlantic coastline to the streets of the Historic downtown district, you can see it all from the top of the Lighthouse. If you’re daring and want to add some spice to your experience, ask your tour guide for some ghost stories!
Castillo de San Marco
Perhaps the most memorable landmark in St. Augustine, what we locals call The Fort has stood by our city since it was first erected in 1695 in an attempt to protect the Spanish foothold against British and pirate invaders. Fun fact: this interesting structure is built from coquina stone which can protect the integrity of the fortress by absorbing cannonballs in battle!
The Castillo de San Marco might be my favorite historical site in town to visit both during the day and at night. Taking a tour provides a fascinating insight into the history of our town, and it’s also a beautiful spot to sit at night and watch the bayfront.
Nights of Lights
To end with my favorite attraction, every year from mid-November to late January, local organizations work together to adorn the Ancient City with gorgeous Christmas lights that are lit at one Night of Lights celebration. Throughout the streets of historic St. Augustine, as well as the bayfront and Plaza de la Constitución, twinkling lights line the trees and rooftops, providing the atmosphere with a magical aroma. Taking a stroll through the streets with a cup of hot chocolate from Kookaburra is a great way to spend an evening in St. Augustine.
The more you search, the more there is to do in the Ancient City. When I see tourists visit these attractions, I am reminded to be grateful to live in such a beautiful town rich in history and culture. There is something for everyone in St. Augustine, so I highly recommend bringing your friends or family on the trip of a lifetime.