“My love for you is like a Florida sunset. Orange, coral, pink, and lavender, it exists to warm your heart through the inevitable darkness.” – Jarod Kintz
St. Augustine – A Miniature Europe On American Soil
St. Augustine, FL – There’s a reason why Europe is called the Old Continent. It is the birthplace of the first Western civilizations, and was also the staging point from which millions of settlers embarked on the adventure of finding a new life in the New World. At the same time, Europe is also the home of countless beautiful places, cities and regions that have a stellar reputation of being simply magical. People from around the world flock to this continent every year, but unfortunately, there will always be those who, for some reason, won’t be able see everything it has to offer. If you’re currently residing in the U.S. and are desperate to get your hands on a slice of European charm, you should know that there’s a perfect place to do that….in Florida! It’s called St. Augustine and it is a ridiculously Europe-like tourist destination.
The obvious question is – how come St. Augustine, FL, has so much of Europe in it? Well, it probably has to do something with the fact that it is officially the oldest continuously operated European-established settlement within the contiguous United States. Yup, this small town located in St. Johns County in northeastern Florida with a population of just over 13,700 is the proud owner of this glorious title. In other words, St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who was a Spanish admiral and the first governor of Florida. For over 200 years, St. Augustine (named after San Agustin) served as the capital of Spanish Florida. It ultimately became the major tourist attraction it is today, all thanks to its distinct historical character that still brings in millions of visitors yearly.
Why Is St. Augustine, FL, So Popular?
We’ve said it many times: there really are some pretty darn good-looking small towns across the U.S., but it wouldn’t be too arrogant to claim that St. Augustine easily beats all of them by a mile, mainly because of its unique history and breathtaking scenery. A place that has that charmingly quaint feel, many St. Augustine visitors say that it’s the city’s European flavor, further increased by the beautiful brick-lined streets, that draws them back to this place year after year. Needless to say that, in accordance with the times in which it was built, this incredible small town also boasts hidden courtyards, horse-drawn carriages, centuries-old but preserved buildings and a lot more.
If you happen to be wondering what the best way to experience firsthand the rich multi-cultural heritage of the town would be, it’s safe to say it’s through food. Among other things, St. Augustine is known far and wide for its excellent roster of restaurants that serve countless top-notch dishes that reflect both the town’s history and culture. Additionally, this place is also home to a number of reputable bed and breakfasts, resorts, as well as top-rated hotels. And when you add 42 miles of pristine beaches, live music and theater opportunities, outlet shopping and boutiques and world-class galleries to that, you kind of get why St. Augustine is so much more than a one-trick pony.
Recreation In St. Augustine? You Got It!
Recreationally speaking, the area is virtually brimming with tennis resorts and golf courses. A short, 20-minute drive from the St. Augustine downtown historic district will take you to the homes of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and The Players Association (PGA), which are in Ponte Vedra. Furthermore, boating access by river, sea or Intracoastal waterway is ultra-convenient thanks to the many marinas that dot the area. Simultaneously, that translates to parasailing, surfing, diving, fishing and countless other water sport opportunities that are available for visitors and locals alike.
And finally – the beaches. This place has miles and miles of virtually the right type of beach for everyone. Some beaches allow only pedestrians, and others allow dogs and vehicles. There are also those with only fine and luxurious golden sand, as well as strips of beaches that provide some awesome shelling opportunities. The point is, guys – the list goes on and on. Do you really want to spend the rest of your day reading about why this place is so awesome or do you want to go out there and see for yourself? We thought so.