Exploring Florida's Historic Coast with Young Children
Traveling with children shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice on doing things you enjoy as well. Florida’s Historic Coast offers visitors the best of both worlds.
There’s so much history in this ancient city, sometimes it’s easy to forget how much fun that can be! But a visit to the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum will snap you out of it. First of all, it’s about pirates, so there’s that. Kids and adults love being escorted by pirate reenactors who fire cannons and lock you up. There’s even a treasure hunt with secret items cleverly hidden from sight. But beyond that, the museum is a treasure trove of authentic private artifacts, collected from shipwrecks around the world. Take your time to look at pottery, bronze mermaid figurine, gold coins and unique treasures that’ll take you back 300 years. There’s even an old Jolly Roger flag! Educational? Yes. Fun? Oh yeah.
And since St. Augustine was a pirate stronghold, with the likes of Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles frequenting the Castillo de San Marcos fort centuries ago, why not make it a pirate evening as well? The Black Raven is at your service with a cruise you will not soon forget. There’s pirate hats and treasure hunts for the kids, while the adults enjoy their favorite libations at the bar and learn some sea shanties. Yaaarh, matey, history can be so much fun.
At A1A Aleworks Restaurant & Taproom can handle a pirate-sized hunger with an extensive menu that offers something for the pickiest of young eaters. Adults can enjoy flights of IPAs and amber ales from local craft breweries while catching a gentle breeze on the veranda overlooking the bayfront. There’s no better place to watch the Bridge of Lions open as boats cruise down the Matanzas.
After a hearty breakfast of fluffy Southern biscuits with homemade jam or sausage gravy at Maple Street Biscuit Company, head for Anastasia Island. Just over the Bridge of Lions adventure awaits! A visit to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is a must for all ages. This lush, tropical oasis is home to all species of alligators and crocodiles, exotic birds, reptiles and monkeys. Be sure to say hello to the Grizzly and Teddy, the Hoffman two-toed sloths. Then take your adventure to new heights on the Crocodile Crossing as you zip line above the crocodiles just under your toes. It’s a scream.
Just down the road a bit on A1A you can’t miss the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. Your kids will definitely want to climb the 219 steps to the top, just to say they did, and you’ll definitely not want to miss the breathtaking view. You can see clearly why it’s a favorite place for selfies. Once downstairs, be sure to stop into the museum, hands-on opportunities for kids and check out the lab where marine archaeologists analyze ancient sailing vessel remains and artifacts that wash up on the shores of our local beaches from time to time.