Down With The Ship In St. Augustine
It is inaccurate to call St. Augustine, Florida as America’s oldest city. Native American mound cities in the Upper Midwest and the Anasazi Pueblo cities of southwestern Colorado predate St. Augustine by several hundred years, as do Mexico City and the ancient Mayan city of Tikal further so
As you might expect, there is a lot in this region for the history buff, from the ruins of the initial fort to the old town neighborhoods with colonial Spanish architecture and several museums. With an abundance of picturesque, historic romantic travel inns, you and your family will have no problem setting up a cozy base of operations for your St. Augustine holiday exercusion.
It was essentially 1513 when explorer Ponce de Leon, then governor of what is now Puerto Rico, landed in the expanse, claiming it for King Ferdinand of Castile and Queen Isabella of Aragon as Spain was not an officially unified kingdom until 1516. Contrary to widely held myth, he was not searching for a “Fountain of Youth” but more material commodities such as gold, slaves and land. It was decades before a permanent community could be established.
Once you and your family are happily ensconced in one of St. Augustine’s fine bed and breakfasts or beach vacations, you will find enough activities and experiences to last a lifetime ranging from outdoor sports and educational trips to sheer entertainment and fun. Get started by seeing some of the area as the original inhabitants and early Spanish explorers saw it with St. Augustine Eco Tours, rated the number one experience among tourists. Traveling by kayak, you will see salt marshes and wetlands and may even encounter wild dolphins at play. And even though it’s vacation time, you can keep the kids learning with Sheriff’s Historical Tours, which takes you through 350 years of St. Augustine’s history. Another piece of St. Augustine history worth seeing is El Castillo de San Marcos, an early Spanish military installation dating from the late 1600s.
Of course, the history of St. Augustine, like so many places in the region, is intimately tied to the Golden Age of the Pirates of the Caribbean who frequently made forays up the Florida coast. Kids of all ages will want to climb aboard the Black Raven for a taste of shipboard life on a 17th-Century privateer.
Budding herpetologists will look forward to discovering the last living relations of the earliest dinosaurs up-close and personal at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm which contains much more than just alligators. This is merely a small illustration of what awaits you and your family in this fascinating town filled with sunshine the majority of the year.
Wesley Mathews is part of the travel team at FindVacationRentals.com and FindBedandBreakfast.com. These directories provide detailed information on beach rentals and things to do.