Flagler College is one of the main destinations to visit in St. Augustine. On your Segway tour you will learn more about this amazing college from its beginning as the Hotel Ponce de Leon. Henry Flagler was influenced by the Spanish Renaissance architecture and it shows in every aspect of the building. Visiting Flagler College will transport you back in time and let you experience a building of pure ethereal beauty.
If you are looking for the best place to see Victorian era art, artifacts, and other historical treasures look no further than the Lightner Museum. The Lightner Museum holds an astounding amount of artifacts so you get not just a glimpse but an amazing view of what it was like to live back in the Gilded Age in the 19th century. Browse through this impressive collection all while being enchanted by the Spanish Renaissance style architecture which was designed by the same architects who designed the New York Public Library and the U.S. Senate office building.
Mission Nombre de Dios
The Mission Nombre de Dios is the oldest mission in the entire United States of America. It was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles after the area of St. Augustine was established. On the 400th anniversary of the mission the Great Cross was erected which stands at 208 feet tall! The Mission Nombre de Dios is a serene and beautiful location to tour. The combination of lush gardens and ancient statues creates the feeling of peace for everyone who visits.
Public Market Place
The Public Market Place is a one of the fantastic attractions found in the central downtown area. The market place was a crucial part of the town’s original layout. The grid layout for the city and the central plaza had to adhere to King Phillip II’s royal decree of 1598. As history progressed the market place attracted many tourists who referred to it as the Old Slavers Market. During the Civil Rights movement it was the location for many local demonstrations, including presentations from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Public Market Place has been the center of the city and of the historical influences that has occurred in St. Augustine for many years. Today it is home to many local artists, food vendors, and events for all to enjoy.
Fountain of Youth
Many have heard of the mystical healing powers that come from drinking the water at the Fountain of Youth, but there are many other interesting things to be experience there. The location of the archeological park is actually the same place where the Spanish explorers first came ashore. The park features many buildings that would have been made by the first explorers. However, they were not the first people there. The park also features buildings and other relics from the native Timucuan tribe that resided in the area for over 3,000 years before the arrival of the Spanish. There are so many amazing features of the park that it will keep you and the family entertained for your whole trip.
St. George Street is a widely known destination which features a variety of clothing stores, restaurants, and galleries. Standing at the northern entrance to St. George Street are the City Gates. These gates have been standing and protecting the city of St. Augustine since 1808. They may look like they were made out of stone but they are actually constructed out of coquina. At one point the gates were the only entrance into the city, and they were the first line of defence against any attack. A trip to St. Augustine is not complete without seeing this memorable landmark and thinking of how it has protected its residents for hundreds of years.
The Oldest Schoolhouse is a historical and local treasure. It first appears in tax records in 1716 and was first built as a home but later a second floor was added to make space for the one room classroom. When you tour the building you can hear about what a typical day was like in the co-ed class and view books that were actually used during the children’s schooling. Because it was first a house there is also a separate kitchen that can be explored and a historic garden is housed out back. The garden is home to a pecan tree that has been growing for an estimated 250 years! There are many opportunities to see how a school was run back in the 18th century and you might be surprised at what has remained the same.
St. Augustine Bayfront
One of the best views can be found on the St. Augustine Bayfront. No matter what time of day you go you will get a heart-stopping display. The bayfront gives you a one of a kind view of the Bridge of Lions which connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island. When you stop by the bayfront and look across the water the feeling is indescribable. The wind picks up the enticing sea smell and the sun is reflecting on the water; it feels like the world has stopped,even if it is only for a couple seconds. All along the bayfront you can also interact with St. Augustine’s famous horse-drawn carriages. The cheerful and entertaining carriage drivers are full of hilarious and insightful stories that everyone can enjoy.
Castillo de San Marco
In most conversations about St. Augustine you will probably hear someone mention the Castillo de San Marco. This is no surprise as it is not only one of the largest attractions in St. Augustine but it is also bursting with history. The Castillo took 23 years to build and was finally finished in 1695. It has withstood multiple enemy attacks and is the oldest standing European fort in the United States. Just walking around the premises you get an idea of what it might be like to live during the time it was built. It is also set on the intracoastal and the view is magical at any time of day. Cannon firings, weapon displays, and other historical re-enactments are also displayed periodically during the week and at certain times of the year.