When you hear Florida, most of the time you think Disney or the Florida Keys. There are many places in Florida that are commercialized and draw so much excitement.
However, I am always excited to find places that are off the beaten path and still have just as much excitement and fun.
Exploring St. Augustine
My family took a trip to Florida and we were so excited to discover one of the most amazing places, St. Augustine. It is exactly four hours and 19 minutes away from Charleston and worth every bit of the drive!
St. Augustine lays claim that it is the oldest city in the United States and proving to give all the history of some of the most interesting things that have happened. If you love history, you love exploring, you love beaches, you love new restaurants, bars, tours, having everything in walking distance and having a vacation where your kids also learn a bit too, then this is absolutely the place for you!
While we were there we made sure to take in all of the sights, sounds, and scares that we could with Old Town Trolley Tours. It started on our first night there as we cruised the streets on the Ghosts & Gravestones Frightseeing Tour which gave us some great history of the city and the people who made it what it had become. I highly recommend the Trolley Tour and jumping on and off of it. Not only does the trolley take you around the city to all of the fun stops, but you learn the history along the way.
The next morning we set off on another adventure with the state reptile of Florida, the American alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis). We made our way to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park via the free shuttle from Old Town Trolley Tours. (Make sure you snag the multiple-day package, right outside of our hotel.)
Once home to the legendary Gomek, the giant saltwater crocodile, the park has alligators from all over the world on display for people to see and read about them along a path that covers the entire park. There was plenty more to see and do than just alligators though. They have a theater where they put on different shows throughout the day as well as a full zip line and ropes course that carries you through the treetops of the park below.
Tip: Look up the feeding schedule and plan your visit around the feedings.
As we made our way across the Bridge of Lions to downtown, we started to look for a place to grab a bite to eat. We passed so many cute restaurants along the water with fancy outdoor tables in front of brightly painted houses until we rode past one that had a porch off of their upstairs level flying Ireland and Guinness flags. Needless to say, my husband was sold! Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House is the perfect place to eat for everyone in the family. Great food, great atmosphere, great service, plus inside, outside, and backyard seating. We had one of our best meals there!
After dinner, you can walk down to Mayday Ice Cream for the best ice cream. Make sure you read the story behind the name, and always ask for sprinkles because they are FREE! You can grab your ice cream and walk around the old streets, stop in some of the shops and get to know the little town.
Being that we are homeschooling, we took every opportunity to learn, stop, and read the different plaques, stop at all of the historic sites, and go into the buildings. We went to the Old Jail, the Oldest Store Museum, and Whetstone Chocolates. Everything we could do, we did it!
Make sure you put Castillo de San Marcos National Monument on your list of places to walk through and spend the day at St. Augustine Beach.
This is a city you could come to and stay for a whole week and not even see all the history and all that it has to offer. We were so impressed by how well the city does at preserving the history and teaching people about it.
This was by far one of my favorite cities. The second we left, I told my husband that we need to come back. There is so much to see and do in this super cute town.
I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone!