Confession: I suffer from a severe case of wanderlust. (Did you know the word has a German origin?! Quite relevant to me… ha!)
I am constantly searching for ways to travel as much as possible while balancing the rest of my life (read: career, wellness, marriage, dog lol). Fortunately for me, I live in Central Florida and the area is a treasure trove of adventure. But although I’ve lived here for a long, long time, I feel that I haven’t been the best at exploring near home. I’m making it my mission to change that.
While St. Augustine wasn’t *technically* a new destination for me, I had lots to discover – sorry fourth-grade field trip. My friend Shanira and I wanted a quick and affordable getaway, so we booked it two hours north to Florida’s Historic Coast.
We stayed in the historic district – walking distance from the Old City – and winged it the rest of the time. No-agenda trips can be the most fun sometimes. We decided to take the city by bicycled and rode over to the most obvious attraction, Castillo San Marcos – the oldest fort in the continental US. (Only Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, PR, is older!)
So yeah, I’d visited the fort before – during the aforementioned fourth-grade field trip – but I wanted to see if I remembered everything. My first thought about the fort after not having seen it in nearly two decades :O was that it look way smaller than I remembered. But one thing that was almost exactly the same as I remembered was how loud the artillery demonstration’s canon launch was. Castillo San Marcos is a neat stop if you appreciate historic landmarks. There is a special feeling about being somewhere where SO much history has occurred. But believe it or not, a bigger history lesson was learned later in the trip.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse was on our Cannot-Miss List. No, I didn’t go here during my fourth grade field trip, so I was pretty excited to check out a lighthouse for the first time – at least as long as I can remember! The lighthouse was built in the late 1500s and is still active today. I like to push the limits so of course I wasn’t going to settle for solely admiring the lighthouse from a distance – I was ready to climb to the top! So what if I had to climb 219 steps to reach the top of the tower? By this time, my friend swore that I was forcing her to exercise on our trip with all our bicycling and then tower climbing. I promise it wasn’t intentional. ;P
After we caught our breath, the lighthouse was a thrilling experience! I’ve found I have a knack for admiring places from their highest points, so I thoroughly enjoyed the great view of St. Augustine. Even though it was so windy I was scared to drop my phone, which is why I only took one photo from the deck.
We had some time to kill in the evening – after dinner and before Rousey v. Holm – so we consulted TripAdvisor for recommendations on what to do. Ghost Tours have always seemed too spooky to me but hey, we were feeling adventurous and decided to book a walking tour in the Old City. Dion of the Secrets of St. Augustine Ghost Tours was a spectacular guide and a terrific storyteller. I think I learned more about St. Augustine’s spooky history while on this tour than I ever had elsewhere. I have to admit it was pretty darn creepy… especially when Dion said, “If you see it, it’s real.” I won’t say more since I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I highly recommend this tour!
After the tour, we hung out at a standing-room-only Buffalo Wild Wings to catch the Rousey v. Holm fight. I won’t say more about this either since I don’t think I have to.
After Ronda’s devastating L, we were crushed … so we drowned our sorrows in coffee and Nutella! Les Petits Pleasures is the cutest French Cafe and their Nutella + Banana Crepes are delicious! Would definitely come back
We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do but we’re lucky we don’t live too far away! A tour at the St. Augustine Wild Reserve is definitely on my list!
Have you been to St. Augustine? What’s your favorite thing to do? Let me know in the comments below!