2 Days in St. Augustine, Florida
Happy New Year Ya’ll! Since I can’t seem to finish any kind of series of blog posts (thanks baby girl!), we’re jumping out of the Middle East series to recap the family trip we came home from in November. I figured it’s time to get my writing juices flowing again!
As we were looking into places to explore for the few weeks we had taken off in October, we initially had wanted to go to Antigua, Guatemala. Since Rueka’s passport wasn’t going to be here in time, we started looking at other places somewhat further away to scratch the itch of getting out of Reno. One day soon we’d still love to get to Guatemala but we really enjoyed the places we chose to explore.
We decided to head to warmer weather in the Southeast United States. On the list was St. Augustine, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina. Although we’ve been to Florida before, St. Augustine was new as well as both Georgia and South Carolina.
So we flew into Jacksonville and rented a car and headed the half hour to St. Augustine. We may have ended up with a mini van, Kenny’s choice 😂, and it was actually incredible. There may be a mini van in our future! Anyways, here’s a couple of things we did and places we really enjoyed eating and drinking at in case you ever find yourself in St. Augustine.
We stayed across the bridge at a little motel that I will not even link here because I know there are better places to stay. I booked things about a month out so everything relatively cheap was already sold out. However, I really did like the area. We stayed across the Lion’s Bridge away from the “tourist area” but we were just a 5 minutes drive to everything we wanted to do. We had two full days in St. Augustine which was the perfect amount of time in our opinion to see everything.
St. Augustine gave us some serious Columbian vibes, it was almost like we stepped back into Old Town Cartagena. It also happens to be the oldest town in the entire US, dating back to 1565! It has some really cool history mixed in with island vibes and sunshine!
I’m so glad we started in St. Augustine. This area really kickstarted us into relaxation mode. We had no plans and just got to chill while we were here!
What we did
Day 1 we just explored around the Old Town area and got acquainted with the town. We actually didn’t have too much on our agenda for St. Augustine. I had heard it was a relaxing, beach town with some cool history so I figured we could just spontaneously see what it had to offer. We didn’t totally make it inside to all the places that most tourists do. Honestly, we’ve seen enough churches and museums that we didn’t really feel like we had to get our fix here. The major thing we wanted to do was the fort so everything else came as a bonus.
We had some walks around the Old Town checking out the shops, although we’re not very big on taking a ton home per se. Usually we go for the smaller souvenirs if any, so you generally won’t see us “shopping” much while on vacation. Even still, we enjoyed eating and drinking around the Old Town area!
The most interesting and fun thing to do around here though is checking out all the historic buildings. Almost every wall has a plaque that tells the date of construction and what the building was used for. Some of them even still have the coquina (seashell) exterior that was used in the early days of construction in the city!
And of course, I can’t pass up a look at a cemetery so I popped in to a couple to check out the headstones. We didn’t get to do one, but there is a plethora of tours to do in Old Town, during the day or at night. Had we had a little more time we probably would have tried for one to learn even more about the city. We always recommend a walking tour of some kind in a new place, it’s the best way to get the in depth scoop! Here’s a couple we followed that are self guided and here are some spooky and historic ones to check out.
I will note – parking is atrocious if you aren’t staying the Old Town area. There’s a paid parking lot right in front of the fort and also a parking garage not far that was an all day fee of $15 or $20. Theres’s also some street parking near the bridge, which is were we mostly parked and paid per hour.
Although we didn’t do the full tour of the Lightner Museum, we did walk into the bottom level to see the Cafe Alcazar. The cafe is housed in what used to be the world’s largest indoor swimming pool (at its time!). The host of the restaurant was the sweetest and took a few minutes to show us around and tell us some of the history of the building. Honestly, I felt like we saw what we “needed” to see in this building, although it seems like there might be a few interesting pieces to see in the museum. Had it not been our last day when we visited here, we might have tried to come back for lunch at the cafe. By all accounts, it is quite good.
When you search anything about St. Augustine I’m sure you’ll see a lot about the man behind much of its development, Henry Flagler. You can tour some rooms of Flagler College for a fee, although we didn’t feel the need to check them out. We walked the grounds a bit as class was getting out and enjoyed the shade that the campus provided. I’m sure there’s some cool history here but we just weren’t super interested in seeing more.
Like I said, the Fort was the only true thing we had planned while in St. Augustine. We finally made it to the fort on day 2 of St. Augustine. It cost $15 per person to check out the oldest masonry fort in the continental US! We had a good time just exploring the different areas of the fort and learning some of the history from a time so long ago. It was the perfect weather for visiting the fort, thanks fall time in Florida!
We ventured out of the main area of St. Augustine to find the ocean, although we never really made it into a beach day. The day we found St. John’s we also found a farmer’s market happening and sat close to the water. I guess we didn’t feel like really cleaning sand out of our shoes so we didn’t venture onto the real beach area. The coastal area did feel like a different vibe though and we had our coffee and breakfast here. Had we planned a little better I think we would have made a whole day trip to the beach because there was an ample area to enjoy the waves. Definitely worth taking a half day to see.
Where we ate + drank
The night we drove in we had to find something that was open past 9pm since we weren’t in our 24 hour town anymore. That is always the hardest part of traveling for us!
Mellow Mushroom – This little pizza joint was close to our hotel room and offered a good za to get us through the jet lag.
A1A Brewery + Restaurant – Nice view of the water and Old Town, especially on the balcony. Wasn’t the best service, but in this day and age – we all know what were getting when it comes to restaurants recovering from Covid.
Mojo’s Tacos – Taco joint within walking distance of our hotel. Big portions and very sweet staff!
Mojo BBQ – Yummy BBQ joint in Old Town, they had a killer happy hour and very cheap dinner menu! We definitely recommend the sweet potatoes and BBQ platter!
Kookaburra Beachside + Downtown – Cute Australian coffee shop. We tried two locations in St. Augustine, mainly for their mini pot pies, although the iced coffee didn’t disappoint.
City Perks Coffee – Stopped in here while we were walking around St. George Street and actually ended up walking out with a frozen cocktail. It’s a cute coffee shop mixed with a wine shop and little bar area. Highly recommend grabbing a bev and hitting the street!
The Southeast coastline might have turned Kenny and I both into Sour drinkers. Every sour we ordered on this trip was smooth and flavorful and delicious! Here’s a few of our favorite watering holes to try out yourself.
Dog Rose Brewing – Really fun little brewery with a couple shuffleboards to play on and a stage for live music.
B.O.G. Brewing – We loved this cute little place! Grabbed a few Octoberfest brews and hung on the patio out back. There’s also a permanent food truck in case you get hungry!
Old Coast Ales – This was on our side of the bridge of St. Augustine. A cute little brewery with a hefty list of beers. They also have live music a couple times a week and a taco ship next door!
St. Augustine Distillery – This was a fun little activity to take up some of our down time. The distillery actually offers a free tour and tastings throughout. There was a couple rooms set up that you could self guide yourself, learning about their distilling process of spirits. We ended up buying a bottle of their bourbon and it was a fun reminder of St. Augustine for the rest of our trip.
We loved Florida! Everything felt so normal, like pre-2020! The weather doesn’t hurt either. We just might be back sometime soon to take our tiny girl to DisneyWorld. Happy Travels friends. Hope you are all safe and healthy! We’ll see ya again for Savannah.
Happy Travels friends. Hope you are all safe and healthy! We’ll see ya again for Savannah. And maybe for Jordan. and then Israel after that! One day I’ll blog all the things I want to – one day when I have all the time in the world again. Til then I’ll be enjoying my time spent with this baby girl.