Hidden Gems in St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra Beach

Uncover perfectly preserved natural landscapes, unique historical and cultural experiences, and amazing eateries among St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach’s lesser-known locales.

July 21, 2015
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Consider adding one of these under-the-radar attractions and activities to your Florida vacation itinerary.

Hiking Trails at GTM Research Reserve

Ponte Vedra’s Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve teems with natural treasures, including quiet beaches, unspoiled freshwater marshland and habitats of the area’s beloved creatures. Start your adventure at the Environmental Education Center, then set out on one of five hiking trails, where you’ll spot alligators, armadillos, tortoises and more.

Dark Side of the Moon Tour at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

A must for those fascinated by the paranormal, this ghostly tour tells the story of Florida’s first lighthouse and the paranormal experiences of previous guests and staff, and allows guests to climb the lighthouse’s 219 steps for a nighttime view of the area. The lighthouse and museum also leads daytime tours, including behind-the-scenes, archeological and sunset excursions.

Have A Pint at Meehan’s Irish Pub

After a visit to Castillo de San Marcos, head to Meehan’s Irish Pub. Cold beer, friendly bartenders, live music and delicious pub grub make this the perfect place in St. Augustine to get in touch with your Irish side.

The Guides at the Pirate & Treasure Museum

While investigating the more than 800 artifacts and displays at the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is delightful on your own, the attraction’s enthusiastic guides offer an enhanced experience. Costume-clad experts engage visitors with buccaneer history and hands-on activities, including knot tying, cannon firing and hoisting the Jolly Roger flag.

The Architecture of Florida’s Oldest Catholic Parish

Upon landing in Florida in 1565, Father Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of Pedro Menendez’s expedition to found the settlement of St. Augustine, celebrated a Catholic Mass and established the first Catholic parish in North America. St. Augustine’s Cathedral Basilica is now home to the first Catholic parish. While the church has been renovated several times to remedy damage from fires, the building has always maintained the characteristics of a Spanish mission. Admire the striking murals, intricately painted wooden beams and detailed stained-glass windows.

Camping at Anastasia Island State Park

Pitch a tent in this Florida State Park to take advantage of all the 1,600-acre maritime sanctuary has to offer, including 4 miles of seashell-strewn beaches, a nature trail that winds through ancient sand dunes, and access to paddleboarding, kayaking and fishing. Featuring 139 sites with full hook-ups and primitive camping sites available, Anastasia Island’s campground is just a short walk from the beach.

Breathtaking Panoramas at 619 Ocean View

Located at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, 619 Ocean View lives up to its namesake. Reserve an outdoor table at the waterfront restaurant to watch ocean waves slip up and down the shores of Ponte Vedra Beach while you feast on dishes like duck confit flatbread, focaccia-crusted snapper and Maine lobster tail.

Find more things to do in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra here.

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St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches