St. Augustine is famous for being the oldest occupied city in the United States. The old city still stands with its cobbled stone streets, houses that are hundreds of years old and the famous Castillo de San Marcos, the fort built by the Spanish colonialists starting in 1672. The attractions at the heart of the city are fascinating and fun to wander through, but just ousude the city are more treasures: beautiful natural beaches, wildlife preserves and outdoor sporting areas. Here are some places to put on your itinerary when visiting the Ancient City.
The 72-foot schooner Freedom is St. Augustine's only tall ship and departs daily from the City Marina for day tours, sunset cruises and moonlit sails. Prices range from $45/adults and $35/children for daytime family cruises to $60/adult for specialty cruises.
The $5-per-vehicle admission gets you access to the formal gardens and to the spectacular coquina beach just across the street. On the riverside, a formal rose garden lies within a few hundred feet of a scenic stretch of the river where you can cast a fishing line or roam along the bank.
One of the country's first zoos houses all 23 species of crocodilians. The shaded park features raised wooden boardwalks through exhibits of exotic birds, monkeys and humongous alligators and crocodiles. Zipline through the trees over gator-infested waters. A playground, gift shop and restaurant are on site.
Choose the kind of wildlife experience you want with private guides via motorboat, sailboat or kayak. Excursions focus on the inland waters surrounding St. Augustine for optimal viewing of birds and animals in their native environment. Prices from $40/adult to $275 for special excursions.
The first Easter Mass in the New World was held at the mission in 1565. Masses are still held at the site along the bay. The walking tour of the Mission grounds includes the Mission plaque, Father Lopez statue, Our Lady of La Leche Shrine and many more historical markers. Free admission.