Tuesday 20th February 2018,

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St. Augustine Florida Has Great Excitment for Vacationers

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St. Augustine Florida Has Great Excitment for Vacationers

The beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine stands against a blue sky welcoming vacationers to the sunshine state.

TRAVEL & TOURISM

From music festivals to art galleries, museums and historic attractions,  St. Augustine, Florida combines old and new traditions that will delight vacationers to this beautiful city.

BY ARTCENTRON

ST AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA— With the boom in the economy and the few dollars expected to come to folks as a result of the new tax bill, travel and tourism experts are predicting a blissful vacation season for 2018. For those already planning their trips, St. Augustine, Florida must be on the list. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, St. Augustine is considered by many as the Nation’s Oldest City because of its standing as the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the United States.

Located on the Atlantic Ocean between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, St. Augustine is a great place to visit year-round.  With historical charm, hundreds of family-friendly tourist attractions, miles of white, sandy beaches and an eclectic array of locally owned boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, craft cocktail bars and plenty of live music, there is so much to enjoy.

For those who are still researching their vacation destinations, here are 13 Essential Experiences to guide your choice of St. Augustine Florida.

Image: Visitors leisurely walk through St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida on a beautiful sunny afternoon

On a beautiful sunny day, visitors walk through St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida, visiting ice cream stores and bars

#1 The Sound of Music Quickly making a name for itself as a top music destination in the Southeast, vacationers can find singer-songwriters, street buskers and nationally touring acts every night of the week in the Ancient City. Check out the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, a state-of-the-art performing arts venue that seats nearly 4,100 audience members is the place for great performances. It brings in big names like Jack Johnson, REO Speedwagon and My Morning Jacket. Smaller venues around town to be on the lookout for include The Original Café Eleven, Sarbez!, Odd Birds Bar, Shanghai Nobby’s and Colonial Oak Music Park.

#2 Craft Brews & Spirits From pale ales and small-batch vodka to port-finished bourbon and coconut porter, St. Augustine’s craft beer and distillery scene has been growing leaps and bounds over the past five years. The St. Augustine Distillery, housed in a renovated ice manufacturing plant from the turn-of-the-century, for artisanal vodka, gin, rum and bourbon is a must visit for vacationers in St. Augustine. For beer lovers, the half-dozen or so craft breweries in town including Dog Rose Brewing Co., Ancient City Brewing, Bog Brewing Company and Old Coast Ales will be satisfying.

#3 Celebrate Red, White and Blue For more than two decades, St. Augustine has been putting on a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate the Fourth of July in style. With thousands of fireworks lighting up the night sky over the waters of Matanzas Bay, revelers line the streets to catch a glimpse of the city’s famous historic bayfront lit up in red, white and blue. In 2018, the Oldest City’s July 4th celebration falls on a Wednesday with festivities set for 6 pm to 10 pm at the Plaza de la Constitución and surrounding areas. From 6 pm to 8 pm, The All-Star Orchestra performs big band and swing music along with patriotic favorites for a free concert open to the public.

#4 Historic Lodging  For those on vacation  wondering where to stay, there is no shortage of beautiful inns, hotels and bed and breakfasts dotting the landscape of St. Augustine’s downtown. Built in 1865, The Kenwood Inn on Marine Street is an ideal locale for your stay in the Nation’s Oldest City. Individually decorated guest room’s feature rich, hardwood floors, four-poster and antique beds for a mix of Old Florida elegance with a hint of the tropics.

#5 Celebrity Friends – Have you ever dreamed of being in the same room as notable personalities like George Washington, Elvis and Annie Oakley? Lucky for you, Potter’s Wax Museum, located on Orange Street in downtown St. Augustine, features more than 160 wax figures of famous and infamous people including actors, athletes and politicians. Touted as the first established wax museum in America, Potter’s has been delighting visitors to the Oldest City for more than 50 years. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.

#6 Sightseeing Tours With so much to see and do in St. Augustine, a hop-on, hop-off Old Town Trolley Sightseeing Tour is a great way to take in hundreds of sights for the entire family. This fun, fully narrated tour takes vacationers to dozens of stops including the Old Jail, Colonial Quarter, St. George Street, Villa Zorayda Museum, Lightner Museum, San Sebastian Winery and other points of interest. Vacationers will also get to see the Castillo de San Marcos Fort that guarded the city against foreign invaders, and is the oldest European fort of its kind still standing.

#7 Head to the Movies For the 8th year in a row, the Saint Augustine Film Festival (SAFF) will descend upon the Nation’s Oldest City for a four-day, intimate film festival held January 18 through January 21. Movies will be held at various venues including Lewis Auditorium, Koger-Gamache Theater (located inside Flagler College’s Ringhaver Student Center) and the Corazon Cinema and Café. According to the festival’s website, this year’s lineup will focus on foreign and independent films including movies such as Waiting For You, Serious Laundry and The Earth Is Flat.

#8 Shop ‘Til You Drop St. Augustine boasts hundreds of small locally owned shops with one-of-a-kind items you won’t be able to find at home. Dozens of art galleries dot the cityscape featuring local artists creating everything from glass wind chimes to metal art. Tour an artisan chocolate-maker or pick up a few cases of vino from the San Sebastian Winery, located on King Street, which has been producing award-winning Florida wines for decades.

#9 Rest & Relaxation Erected in 1888 and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Hotels of America, the Casa Monica Resort & Spa is the perfect spot for rest and relaxation while taking in all that beautiful downtown St. Augustine has to offer. Located on Cordova Street across from Flagler College, Casa Monica blends Moroccan-inspired décor with modern conveniences and the brand new, full-service Poseidon Spa.

#10 Historic Attractions With a colorful history dating back to 1565, St. Augustine has no shortage of historic attractions bringing fun for the entire family. The Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States is the best place to begin your journey. Located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay, the Castillo de San Marcos offers daily tours for vacationers. There’s also the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Oldest House, Oldest Wooden School House, Colonial Quarter, Tolomato Cemetery and the Old Drug Store to name just a few.

#11 Live Music & Barbecue Easily one of the most popular annual events in St. Augustine, Rhythm & Ribs Festival features award-winning barbecue, live music and family-friendly activities. The two-day festival will be held April 6 through April 8, 2018 at Francis Field. Chow down on wings, ribs and plenty of sides from Camp 31 BBQ out of Alabama, Carolina Rib King from Spartanburg, South Carolina and Desperado’s BBQ based in Ohio. Some of the musical performances include Grimes Alley, Go Get Gone, and Corbitt Clampitt Experience among many others.

#12 Turn Back Time With guest books dating back to 1868, Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is the oldest attraction in Florida. It’s also chock-full of history. Located in the area first explored by Juan Ponce de León in 1513 and settled by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565, Fountain of Youth boasts 15 waterfront acres filled with lush gardens and nearly 30 beautiful peafowl that strut their stuff for visitors. But it’s the Spring of Eternal Hope that’s been flowing for centuries and said to hold the powers of eternal youth.

#13 Historic Churches There are nearly a dozen beautiful houses of worship that have played a significant role in the Ancient City’s history. Established by various denominations, vacationers can enjoy the city’s diverse religious heritage as they tour landmarks such as Memorial Presbyterian Church, a Venetian Renaissance-style church built by Henry Flagler in 1889 to honor the life of his late daughter, Jenny. There’s also Grace United Methodist Church, also built by Flagler, and Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the oldest Catholic house of worship in the city.

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