St. Augustine sits on the coast of Northeast Florida, about an hour south of Jacksonville and an hour north of Daytona Beach. A lovely old town, first settled in the mid 1560s, St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the country. Today, there are several fascinating historic sites in St. Augustine, including Florida’s oldest house and the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the state.
You’ll want to make yourself at home at one of the fine St. Augustine Florida bed and breakfasts while you take advantage of all there is to do and see in this part of Northeast Florida. Visit the Colonial Spanish Quarter and the museum there that reveals the fascinating history of the Spanish in Florida. The Castillo de San Marcos is an impressive fortress built to define and defend the Spanish presence in the new world; it is the only 17th century fortress and the oldest masonry fort in the country. The Tower at Fort Matanzas was built to protect the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine from the British, but its name reaches back to the origins of St. Augustine and the time when the French Huguenots tried to settle the area. Fascinating.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th Century, the Timucua people flourished throughout the area. Regretfully, after falling victim to illness from the Europeans, losing their lives in battle, and being absorbed by the Seminole Tribe, today there are no Timucua left. Several of the historic sites discuss the Timucua and feature exhibits on their culture and way of life.
The interesting history of St. Augustine includes much more than you might think. Fort Mose is the site of the first free community of ex-slaves, founded in 1738. The citizens of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (or Fort Mose) came from the north along the original Underground Railroad. They were allowed to stay in Fort Mose so long as they joined the Catholic Church and swore allegiance to the King of Spain. A trip to the National Historic Landmark at Fort Mose may change the way you look at American History.
Of course, summer in St. Augustine should not just focus on history; plenty of time should be allowed for lazing on the beach, visiting Old Town, and enjoying summer evenings and outdoor concerts. Your St. Augustine bed and breakfast innkeepers are a great source of information about their home town, so be sure to ask them about their favorite spots and activities.