I would say that the oldest city in America deserves a visit.  We certainly enjoyed visiting this city!  The city had a lot of great restaurants, beaches, good views, and good sightseeing.  It has a fort and in less than 1.5 hrs driving, you can be in a beautiful national park.  It was a great visit and I highly recommend it!

Since it’s north Florida, it wasn’t hot in November, but it certainly was pleasant.  It was my favorite type of weather… the “perfect date” weather.  Anyone else see Miss Congeniality?  If not, here’s my lame pop culture reference:

Stan Fields: Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.

Cheryl “Rhode Island”: That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.

When planning for this trip, I definitely used some of Emily Keen’s tips!  She takes amazing photographs of St. Augustine, and ever since I saw them on Instagram, I couldn’t wait to visit this city!  Check out some of her tips here: A detailed guide to the St. Augustine Beach Area.

So what did we do?

First off, we stayed at this amazing Airbnb.  It was on Anastasia Island, and it came equipped with bikes and locks, plus all the beach equipment we might need!  We loved biking around the island, to the water, to the pier at St. Augustine, to the lighthouse and to get ice cream!  It was perfect for us.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

The lighthouse is fascinating. The admittance cost was a little steep, I thought, $13 a person.  But it was a beautiful view from up high, and there was a whole museum to tour.  We saw artifacts from a wreckage, as well as other nautical items.  There are trails around with lots of vegetation.  It’s definitive worth a visit.

St. Augustine Distillery

Do not miss this place if you are a whiskey, rum, gin or vodka lover.  They have all of it.  Plus, the tours and cocktail tastings are free!  The distillery is in an old ice plant, and they really did a wonderful job with the renovation.  They also give back to the community have work with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in low-income areas.  This is one of the only places outside of Kentucky to have permission to distill bourbon.  It was really good too!  We also went to the restaurant and enjoyed some apps and cocktails during happy hour.  The mixologists are very good, and they all come with their own equipment.  It was really cool!

Ocala National Forest

Only an hour and a half drive to this beautiful part of Florida.  Blue-green waters, animals and gorgeous trees!  It costs $10 to enter each recreation area.  They are not connected, so be aware that for each one your visiting, you’re paying!

Juniper Springs Recreation Area: Hiking trail

There is a difficult canoe trek here, if your’e interested, but it took about 5 hours and we weren’t ready to commit to that much.  We did the hiking trail around so we could see the beautiful springs.

The springs bubble up from the bottom and you can see everything.  There is a roped off area for swimming, it was a tad too chilly for us when we were there, but I would love to go back in the summer for a dip.  The colors in the water are almost unbelievable.  You have to see it in person!

Alexander Springs Recreation Area: Canoeing

We went for an amazing canoe ride that took us about 2 hours round-trip.  It was only $16 to rent. We saw tons of turtles, birds and alligators!  There was no one else here with us, so we floated through the lily pads and enjoyed the perfect weather, serenity and colors of the water.

Biking

We biked around Old Town (which was only 15 min. from our Airbnb).  And we biked to the pier which was only a few miles down.  It was the perfect way to see St. Augustine.  Old Town was very kitschy, but still old and interesting!  We stopped by a few recommendations from Emily: Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar and The Hyppo for gourmet popsicles.  Both were great recommendations!

Castillo de San Marcos

You have to see the fort if you’re visiting this town.  It’s enormous and offers great views of the town.  The history of the missions that came through there were interesting to me.  This is part of the National Park network, so don’t forget your National Parks pass when you go!

St. Augustine Beach

To see amazing photographs of this beach and get more recommendations, again, read Emily’s post!  We visited here a few times, but it was very windy and chilly, so not the weather to go swimming.  But the beach was beautiful.

Caps on the Water

This was the most amazing place to see the sunset in St. Augustine.  The restaurant is right on the water, and has those gorgeous trees with Spanish Moss.  The restaurant has a little pier you can walk out and just be on the water.  The food was great, but the location was superb!

I would definitely visit this town again, I was in love with the trees and the beautiful old-feel of the town.  Have you been to St. Augustine?

Nina Thomas

Travel lover and writer

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2 comments

  • Emily Keen December 4, 2017 on 9:19 AM Reply

    Thanks so much for the shoutout, Nina! I’m so happy you all had a great time. What a great idea to head to Ocala NF! Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Juniper Springs. After seeing what a fabulous time you all had there, I def. want to go!

    • Nina Thomas Emily Keen December 4, 2017 on 12:18 PM Reply

      I really loved Juniper Springs. It was one of the highlights! Thanks for your food recommendations. I really loved the gourmet Popsicles!