“Our shores have been a place of discovery for over 441 years.” – City of St.Augustine
This past July my best friend Katelyn and I went to St. Augustine on a day trip to celebrate her birthday. Having grown up together and only being a year apart, Katelyn and I are as close as sisters (without the usual fighting and bickering associated with siblings). That being said, birthdays are a big part of our friendship – every birthday memory I have includes her in it. That’s why I wanted to make our trip to St. Augustine the best it could be!
The last time I had been to St. Augustine was in the fourth grade, so I was a little unsure on how we should spend our time there. Usually when I plan a trip, I consult Southern Living Magazine; instead I recruited the help of my friend Saneh who is a St. Augustine native. She was able to give me the scoop on some great places to visit. The following includes her list of musts while visiting St. Augustine:
- The Hyppo for popsicles
- The Floridian for lunch
- Castillo de San Marco
- St. George Street
- The Lighthouse (over the Bridge of Lions)
- Columbia or A1A for dinner
Needless to say, Katelyn and I completed 4 out of the 6 (and a little bit more) during our time. Our first stop was to the information center where we both started to hoard pamphlets and maps like they were going out of style. After talking with some very helpful attendants, we made our way to St. George Street for sightseeing and shopping. We then made our way to the beautiful Lightner Museum (originally the Alcazar Hotel built by Henry Flagler) and the Alcazar Café where the space was originally the hotel’s indoor swimming pool.
Next, Kate and I made our way to The Columbia (Florida’s Oldest Restaurant) for a fabulous lunch complete with their Tango Mango Daiquiri, The Original Cuban Sandwich and some tapas. And to celebrate Kate’s birthday, we had the flan whose recipe dates back to 1935.
We ended our trip with a visit to The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, which was built in 1871. The lighthouse is 165 feet above sea level with 219 steps to the top. I have a slight fear of heights so the entire time I focused my energy on not looking down while Katelyn captured some great pictures. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking.
If you’re planning a trip to St. Augustine, I recommend visiting the Old City site for events and tours. However, if you’re into spontaneity, I still recommend stopping by the information center!