With history, heritage and beaches attracting travelers to St. Augustine | Ponte Vedra, find out what makes Florida’s Historic Coast so popular.
Florida is where the sun always shines, making its beaches the most sought after in the country. Florida’s Historic Coast is an ideal destination to visit throughout the year and the charm of the destination is undeniable. In addition to its sandy shores, there is a lot of history and heritage to be discovered here. With its treasure trove of architectural landmarks and attractions including forts, museums, hotels and mansions, St. Augustine | Ponte Vedra has everything to be a premier group travel destination.
Castillo de San Marcos
The imposing Castillo de San Marcos, dating back to the 17th century, is the oldest and largest masonry fort in the country. A declared National Monument, it ranks as one of the most visited historic monuments in St. Augustine. Constructed of 400,000 blocks of stone that were cut and set by hand, this Spanish-style fort has a grand entrance, drawbridge and bastions that ensconce many rooms with exhibits detailing its history.
Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum and Gardens
Go back in time and experience colonial school life at the Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum and Gardens. Built for the Genoply family in 1716, visitors can tour the house and see replica exhibits that include copies of old textbooks and school supplies.
Built in 1887, the Spanish Renaissance-style building that was once the prominent and lavish Ponce de Leon hotel is now a part of Flagler College, a private four-year liberal and fine arts college. A National Historic Landmark, visitors can take a Flagler Legacy Tour and see the opulence of the interiors that once hosted dignitaries, royalty and celebrities.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
For the best views of the historic St. Augustine downtown and its surrounding coastline, 219 steps take you to the top of the 165-foot St. Augustine Lighthouse. There is also a Maritime Museum here with displays of historic artifacts related to the rich maritime legacy of the area.
World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum offers a comprehensive insight in to golf. With interactive displays, memorabilia, artifacts, photographs and audio-video presentations showcasing both the game and its greatest legends, you can go on the ultimate golfing journey. Visitors can also play over 165 courses on a simulator.
Along the Matanzas Inlet, Fort Matanzas was built by the Spanish in 1742 to guard the southern entrance of St. Augustine after a slew of attacks by the British. Uniquely constructed of a natural mixture of crushed shells and cement known as coquina, the fort is accessible by a free ferry service. At the fort, visitors can see live demonstrations depicting its history.
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
The 15-acre Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a historic archeological site that offers a glimpse into the lives of the first Spanish settlers who came to St. Augustine in the 1565. With recreations of Spanish and Timucuan buildings and historical reenactments, visitors will also enjoy other attractions at the park like the Founders Riverwalk and Observation Tower.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
A National Historic Landmark, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine boasts of Spanish and Neoclassical-style architecture with a bell tower, gables and a clay-tiled roof. The oldest Catholic church in St. Augustine, the interiors boast of elaborate murals and stained-glass windows. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the church and pick up religious items from the gift shop.
Located within the historic Hotel Alcazar building, Lightner Museum houses an impressive collection of antiques from the Victorian-era and American Gilded Age. The three-storied museum has displays of science and industry objects, costumes and musical instruments along with Native American artifacts. There is also a striking assortment of cut glass and stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany along with art and sculpture by famous artists like Paul Trouillebert and Albert Bierstad.
With so many historical facets to explore, make St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches your next group travel destination.