When you stay at a historic inn in the nation’s oldest city, such as St. Francis Inn or The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens you’re already starting off in another time, another era. These historic inns each have their own ambiance and story, but they all share a common love of old fashioned hospitality and graciousness, which usually means an amazing breakfast in a courtyard, on a balcony or a wraparound porch. Be sure to take advantage of their Nights of Lights packages if you visit between November and January.
Now, imagine a stroll outside that can transport you back about 450 years. A walk along the Matanzas bayfront will lead you to the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the U.S., built by the Spanish out of local coquina in the 17th century where you can enjoy the stunning views overlooking the bay from the grounds. Better yet, you can also see it from a kayak as you paddle along the historic waterfront with St. Augustine Eco Tours. Your trip will take you through marshlands to the site of the Pedro Menendez landing and first mass, now home to the Giant Cross at Mission Nombre de Dios.
Florida’s Historic Coast enjoys mild weather that makes being in the outdoors a breeze year-round, especially if you like dining al fresco. Stop by the Island Beach Grill and enjoy a picnic at Anastasia State Park. After spending a fun-filled day on St. Augustine Beach, prepare for a leisurely sunset cruise on Schooner Freedom, a 76-foot tall ship offering stunning views of the ancient city from the water. If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, dining on fresh local-caught seafood at O.C. White’s Seafood & Spirits under twinkling lights will delight. How do you top that? How does some live music and a glass of wine in a secret garden sound? A short walk to Casa de Vino 57 on Treasury Street is as charming as it gets.