There is much to see in the oldest city in North America! The mainland of the North American Continent was first sighted by the Spanish explorer and treasure hunter, Don Juan Ponce de Leon on Easter, March 27, 1513. He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, meaning “Land of Flowers.”
Sometime later, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles was named governor of Florida. When Menendez arrived off the coast of Florida, it was August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine – that is how St. Augustine got it’s name.
So, St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusettes – making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American Continent.
The oldest fort in the US is in St. Augustine – you can visit it – a great place full of history. If you visit on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday you can watch as soldiers in period costume, load one of the many cannons at the fort and set it off! Loud but interesting. Also the oldest school house is located in the old part of St. Augustine. As you walk up and down the old narrow streets it is easy to picture Spanish soldiers and their familes living and working in the area. There are quite a few Bed and Breakfast inns and smaller hotels in the Old section if you want to get the real feeling of Old St. Augustine. There are many tours availabel throughout the city. You can ride horse-drawn carriages, visit the old lighthouse, the Fountain of Youth, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, museums, and of course, there’s a multitude of quaint shops, taverns and restaurants sprinkled in among it all!
The beaches around St. Augustine are some of the best in Florida.All in all it’s a great place to visit whether you are a couple, a family or traveling in a group.