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March 22, 2021


St. Augustine – Explore Florida’s Historic Coast

by Todd Sturm
St. Augusitne's dramatic skyline. Photo courtesy of

When looking for a coastal holiday along America’s diverse Atlantic seaboard, the destination choices are endless. Warm and sunny beach holidays are among the most sought after and Florida, America’s Sunshine State is a place that offers this in abundance. There is one Florida city though that can claim the particular distinction – St. Augustine.

Atlantic surf and beautiful beaches are only part of this city’s charm as it also happens to be America’s oldest city of European settlement still to be occupied. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine comes with fascinating glimpses into America’s rich history that illuminate the struggles of colonial powers in America.

Castillo de San Marcos

The impressive and historic Castillo de San Marcos Fort still stands guard over St. Augustine today. It’s hard to imagine that this historic city once held such significant strategic importance. An outpost created to maintain and strengthen Spanish power in the New World, its military relevance to the Spanish would continue up to the time of the American Revolution in the 1770’s.

Castillo de San Marcos - St. Augustine, Florida

Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine, Florida

The Castillo de San Marcos, built in the late 1600’s is the oldest masonry fort in the U.S. With its four distinctive bastions jutting out at each corner this impressive military post was instrumental in both protecting St. Augustine as well as preventing the British from gaining a foothold in Florida.

The fort was besieged twice in its history. The first in 1702 when during a two-month siege by the British, over a thousand residents and soldiers took refuge in the fort. Only when the Spanish fleet from Havana arrived did the siege end. The second British attempt was in 1740 and lasted 27 days. For this reason a second fort, Fort Matanzas was built which would protect the southern inlet leading to St. Augustine and Castillo de San Marcos.

Click for image gallery…


Fort Matanzas

Fort Matanzas - Image courtesy St. Augustine

Fort Matanzas – Image courtesy St. Augustine

Built between 1740 and 1742, Fort Matanzas was to further enhance the security of St. Augustine by maintaining control of Matanzas inlet, a strategic waterway leading to Castillo de San Marcos and the city. Standing strong after hundreds of years the fort still looks imposing as it guards the banks of the Matanzas River. Its high stone walls, thirty-foot tower and sentry box immediately convey a military era gone by. Both of these historically significant forts are part of the National Park System and are open for daily tours.

St. Augustine – Downtown

Ponce de Leon Hotel, St Augustine

Ponce de Leon Hotel, St Augustine

The lovely downtown area of St. Augustine is quaint and inviting and Spanish architectural influences remain today. The St. Augustine City Hall and Lightner Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel, was built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style and is particularly stunning. The museum houses a wonderful collection celebrating America’s 19th century gilded age. The Ponce de Leon Hall, built in 1888 and now part of the campus of Flagler College is part of the historic downtown district and another wonderful example of Spanish Renaissance style architecture.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Not to be missed is the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. The lighthouse was built in 1874 and is still operational today with a “behind the scenes tour” that offers a great 140-foot high view of the area from atop the lighthouse. With the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the Lighthouse Museum seeks to preserve the maritime history of the area and offers many interesting exhibits.

St. Augustine offers both old-world charm and outdoor recreational fun that the whole family will enjoy. There are so many interesting things to see and do that it’s hard to fit it all in. From the quaint streets of Old Town with its shops and cafes to national park sights and historic buildings to sun and surf, this has got to be one of the most amazing places on the Florida coast.

Aviation Goodies online merchandise store

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anonymous
    Jun 7 2013

    Good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!


  2. Amy W
    Nov 7 2013

    My name is Amy and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about St. Augustine to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at amy(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!


  3. Please don’t forget the walking tour run by the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society!



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