ST AUGUSTINE MAY BE called the “Ancient City” but you’ll find no dull gray here. America’s oldest city is bustling with the vibrant colors, sounds and tastes of a place in its prime. Past is present in the brick-lined streets winding between centuries-old buildings, many with Spanish colonial and Moorish influence. Horse-drawn carriages and hidden courtyards create a quaint European essence.
The trolley offers a convenient way to explore the city’s attractions. Climb the 219 steps of the St. Augustine Lighthouse for a spectacular view, then visit the Old Jail which looks much as it did 130 years ago, but without the unsavory inhabitants.
The sights of Gilded-Age hotels and stately castles blend seamlessly with the roar of cannon fire from Castillo de San Marcos, a fort that has rebuffed pirates and British soldiers for three centuries. The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum spins tales of the 1586 buccaneer raid led by Sir Francis Drake, who burned the city to the ground, and of Captain Kidd, the pirate who was hung twice because his noose snapped the first time.
Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar, a pint-sized spot with a gallon-calorie menu, is the perfect sight-seeing rest stop. Try Think Calypso, a Key Lime pie in a milkshake or the Air Kentucky, a hand-spun butter pecan shake with maple syrup, candied pecans and bourbon whipped cream. If you’re feeling especially undernourished, the 22 extra toppings include candied bacon.
Don’t leave downtown without visiting St. Augustine’s thriving specialty and antiques stores, or boutiques tucked into converted Victorian homes. Local art and handmade crafts can be found in the art galleries on Aviles Street, the nation’s oldest street.
WHERE TO DOCK
Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor
This facility offers a fully protected 260-slip marina on Camachee Island, just two miles from St. Augustine’s historic district. The secluded harbor is packed with restaurants, shops and water excursions.
Conch House Marina Resort
On Salt Run just off the ICW, this complex has 200 slips, a restaurant, ship’s store and pool in a Caribbean-style resort setting.
Marker 8 Hotel & Marina
Just steps away from the historic district, this quaint 24-slip marina can accommodate yachts up to 103 feet, and the hotel offers 26 elegant rooms. The beautiful location hosts gardens, a cantilevered boardwalk and a new relaxing “poolscape.”
Rivers Edge Marina
Located west of downtown, this 95-slip marina is a long-time family-owned and operated facility. Enjoy delicious meals at on-site restaurants such as Hurricane Patty’s and Tammy’s Comfort Food.
St. Augustine Municipal Marina
Centrally located in the historic district, the marina has 115 slips for vessels up to 200 feet with fuel, picnic area and gated security.
WHERE TO DINE
African Love Kitchen
For a change of taste, seek out authentic Tanzanian sambusas or savory dishes like lamb curry and mango chicken from this food truck found at farmer’s markets and events.
The Prohibition Kitchen
Get a taste of the 1920s with sublime drinks, a great menu and live music in this spacious, retro-chic pub.
This local favorite for more than 30 years presents fresh seafood, award-winning chowders and spectacular beach sunsets.
This bustling pub’s handcrafted cocktails and good food have earned it Folio’s “best bar” award for eight consecutive years.