Saint Augustine, FL our European escape right here in the US

So, I haven’t posted on St. Augie yet despite our many trips because, well, it was always our little secret. The European City right here in the US my family has gone to since before I was born, but the cats finally out of the bag. The last few years the city has changed a lot and the crowds are bigger, but it’s still a fantastic vacation spot with something for everyone. 

We are big history buffs. I like the beach for a day or two, but that’s all the relaxation my brain needs. Many beach vacation spots in Florida don’t have much to offer beyond the boardwalk. This is not the case in Saint Augustine. Ponce de Leon landed here in search of the fountain of youth, and with him came the Castillo de San Marcos, Spanish architecture and the charm that makes the city so wonderful. Henry Flagler saw the wonder here too and made it a popular vacation spot in the 1880s and beyond. His beautiful hotels are now part of the Flagler College campus and open for tours. When the littles need to release some energy take them to Swing Park. The park has two sections, one for little kids and one for bigger kids. It also has a great covered area with tables and benches, a nice place to stop and nurse out of the sun.

If you are more into the beaches and nature, you won’t be disappointed either. The beaches have nice white soft sand and good shells can be found by the early bird. Anastasia state park is beautiful, has some secluded beach areas and a light house you can tour. The St. John’s farmers market is held in a lovely park with beach access. Grab some local treats and have a brunch right out on the beach. About an hours drive south in the winter months and you can see manatees up close where they stay in the warmer water until spring comes. 

The kids will have plenty to keep them occupied on rainy or non-beach days. The Ripley’s believe it or not museum has sites of wonder for all ages. The Alligator Farm seems to have more birds than alligators now, but it’s definitely worth visiting. They also have a zip line for older kids and adults. We have not done it, both of us don’t handle heights well. The pirate museum and wax museum are also a good choice for families.

We will hopefully be heading back down there before the springbreakers because we really can’t get enough of this Colonial Spanish city just a 2 HR flight from Chicago.