There’s a whole lot of Florida to explore, and luckily for Ridge Landing residents, our central location in the sunshine state makes flying out to any destination in the state a cinch. All kinds of tropical getaways and historical destinations await you and your aircraft to touchdown. One of the locally loved places to sightsee in Florida is the historically charming city of St. Augustine.
Playing an integral part in America’s history, St. Augustine was the place Juan Ponce de Leon of Spain first landed when he discovered Florida in 1513, making this city the oldest in America. Fast-forward a few hundred years, and this town on the northeastern coast of Florida remains a beautiful piece of history overflowing with interesting sights and things to do for visitors from all over the world.
As a Ridge Landing Airpark resident, you’re incredibly lucky to be able to hop into your aircraft and fly 153 statute miles to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport, which is nestled just a few miles from downtown St. Augustine, a simple cab ride is all the stands between you and the below seven best things to do while you’re visiting this city. Many of the historical attractions can be found as part of hop-off trolley tours, so it might be worth it to look into those as well.
1. Castillo de San Marcos
To get a good dose of U.S. and Florida history, you’ve got to take a little tour of Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the nation. Check out the cannon and take pictures overlooking the water; if you’re lucky, there might be a reenactment going on! The fort is open everyday of the year besides Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and the usual hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
2. St. Augustine Distillery Company
Take a break from the information overload and take a free tour of this impressive distillery that sources its goods only from local farmers. At St. Augustine Distillery Company, you’ll taste premium, small batch gin, whiskey, and vodka, and word on the street is that this stuff is real good. History runs deep with this establishment, too — it’s housed in the oldest FP&L Ice Plant in Florida.
3. St. Augustine Wild Reserve
Big Cats are some of the most fascinating animals out there, and St. Augustine Wild Reserve takes care of many of these rescued animals. Visitors of all ages are fans of this tour, probably because gazing at lions and tigers never gets old. It’s recommended to check the website before you go, because tours only happen two to three times a week.
4. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
When you’re visiting a cool coastal town like St. Augustine, it’s almost mandatory that you check out the maritime scene. The St. Augustine Lighthouse offers great views and is well worth the 250-step trip to the top. You can also explore the well-kept grounds and check out the exhibit on underwater archeology.
5. Mission of Nombre de Dios
For some quiet respite and a little lesson on more American history, you’ll enjoy the Mission of Nombre de Dios grounds. Offering a nice walking experience, a stunning cemetery, and gorgeous religious statues, the Mission is a great place to go to step away from the city. Check the website for tour hours before visiting.
6. St. George Street
If you’ve never been to St. Augustine before, you should take a walk down St. George Street for quintessential souvenir shopping. It is an all-pedestrian street, so you can pop in and out of the bars and restaurants with no problem at all. And don’t worry — there’s plenty of history.
7. Ghost Tour
You can spend endless amounts of time visiting the countless historic monuments and museums, but if you fancy something a bit more adventurous, consider one of the ghost tours that navigate the city at night. Some are “jumpy,” while others focus more on factually accurate storytelling, like the Secrets of St. Augustine Ghost Tours. It’s up to you how spooked you want to be!
What about you? What’s your favorite activity in Saint Augustine?