St. Au­gus­tine & Ponte Ve­dra: Re­dis­cover Florida’s His­toric Coast

2017 Travel Guide to Florida - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY KEVIN FRITZ

This is where Amer­ica was first set­tled. Nes­tled on the Sun­shine State’s strik­ing north­east­ern shore, fit­tingly dubbed Florida’s His­toric Coast, St. Au­gus­tine and Ponte Ve­dra en­chant visi­tors with 42 miles of un­spoiled nat­u­ral beaches, world-class golf and his­toric charm.

DO

The beau­ti­ful shore­line shim­mers with white quartz sand, beck­on­ing all in­ter­ested in shelling, surf­ing, sand­cas­tle build­ing or re­lax­ation. Take a dip, throw in a line or en­joy water sports with the en­tire fam­ily.

Off the beach, there are more than a dozen cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses and the World Golf Hall of Fame. If you’re in town May 9–14, watch pros tee off at THE PLAY­ERS Cham­pi­onship in Ponte Ve­dra Beach.

Shop­pers must ex­plore the small bou­tiques and art gal­leries along St. Ge­orge Street in the His­toric Dis­trict of St. Au­gus­tine. Or, search for bar­gains at the area’s two out­let malls—St. Au­gus­tine Out­lets and St. Au­gus­tine Pre­mium Out­lets.

SEE

Visit more than 60 his­toric sites and at­trac­tions in St. Au­gus­tine where old-world charm abounds from na­tional mon­u­ments and ar­chi­tec­turally rich churches. Ex­plore the Castillo de San Mar­cos, the St. Au­gus­tine Light­house and Mar­itime Mu­seum, and the Colo­nial Quar­ter. At­tempt to re­verse your age at The Foun­tain of Youth Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Park. The more in­trepid can spot ev­ery species of crocodil­ian in the world at the Al­li­ga­tor Farm and Zoo­log­i­cal Park.

Ex­pe­ri­ence life in the 15th through 17th cen­turies at his­tor­i­cal re-en­act­ments, the most pop­u­lar be­ing that of Pe­dro Menén­dez de Avilés’s land­ing at St. Au­gus­tine on Founder’s Day in Septem­ber.

EAT AND PLAY

More than 95 restau­rants serve fresh seafood and lo­cally sourced pro­duce, and food and wine fes­ti­vals are sched­uled through­out the year.

Tour the St. Au­gus­tine Dis­tillery, pro­duc­ing small hand­crafted batches of whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and bour­bon us­ing lo­cal ingredients. Or sam­ple your way through the Whet­stone Cho­co­late Fac­tory and the San Se­bas­tian Win­ery.

Live mu­sic em­anates nightly from tav­erns, bistros, bars and restau­rants in the St. Au­gus­tine His­toric Dis­trict. The night scene heats up May through Septem­ber with free evening con­certs held down­town and at the St. Au­gus­tine Beach Pier.

TOP: Cycling on Anas­ta­sia State Park Beach.

CEN­TER: Tour­ing Castillo de San Mar­cos in St. Au­gus­tine.

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