Florida’s Historic Coast includes St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, Ponte Vedra Beach, home to the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship, world-class tennis facilities, more than a dozen championship golf courses, and 42 miles of beautiful pristine Atlantic Coast that offer year-round fun in a seaside paradise.
This Northeast Florida destination is full of fun-filled experiences and promises unexpected adventures and stories to tell. Here are some great ideas for your next editorial adventure.
Florida’s Historic Coast is home to thousands of passionate people. People that love where they, they work and play. And they love sharing it. It shows in the food, entertainment, tours, attractions, and the many outdoor activities. Here are some great ways to interact and learn from the locals.
- We’ve got flavors as diverse as the melting pot of people who founded and settled St. Augustine, and modern enough to satisfy today’s adventurous palate. Start with a dining experience with one of the St. Augustine Independent Restaurants that pride themselves on presenting the best of our culinary culture.
- The living history tours at the Colonial Quarter, Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Mose Historic State Park or the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park are led by interpretive staff really know their colonial Spanish history and love sharing it, too.
- On the area’s bountiful waterways, local fishing guides have been fishing these waters all their lives and they will get you right on the day’s catch.
- Touring on the waterways with a local guide that knows the nature of things around here is not only fun but entertaining. Sailing, Pirate ships, Pontoon Boats, Cruisin’ Tikis, kayaks and parasails- We’ve got them, and great people running them to make the experience even more fun.
- Did you know that Northeast Florida is Golf Mecca? The World Golf Hall of Fame, the PGA Tour Headquarters and TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course where THE PLAYERS Championship is played each year are all located on Florida’s Historic Coast. There are dozens of PGA touring pros that live in the area. And the docents and story tellers at the World Golf Hall of Fame and at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse are local golf fans that have lived and played local golf and know the best golf stories.
There are Florida’s Historic Coast adventure stories galore to tell. These “must conquer” adventures would make it onto any adventurous sole’s dream list.
- Hover over alligators and crocodiles on the challenging Crocodile Crossing zip line course at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park. Or enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the beautiful St. Augustine Aquarium grounds and the surrounding wild Florida at the new Zip Stream Castaway Canopy Adventures.
- Swim with dolphins at Marineland Dolphin Adventure or snorkel among reef fish and rays at the St. Augustine Aquarium
- Kayak the ocean and rivers through “real Florida” with professional guides from Anastasia Water Sports, Kayak St. Augustine, St. Augustine Eco Tours or Ripple Effect Ecotours.
- Learn to surf from the pros at the PIT Surf Shop.
- Reel in the big one on one of several deep sea charter fishing boats
- Climb 219 stairs to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
- Take an Airboat, hydro-bike, paddleboard or kayak adventure along the back waters of the St. Johns River with Sea Serpent Tours
Live music has returned to Florida’s Historic Coast and visitors can catch their favorite musicians at two of North Florida’s most unique and popular concert venues. The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is a small concert venue that is ideal for intimate concert sessions hosting performers such as John Myall, Los Lobos, Shawn Colvin, Pablo Cruise, the Florida Chamber Music Project and many more. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is the largest outdoor concert hall between Atlanta and Miami, and this summer will host performers like The Aaron Neville Duo, Cody Johnson, Justin Moore & Tracey Lawrence, and Buddy Guy as well as many other of today’s great performers. The Colonial Oak Music Park in Downtown St. Augustine provides a venue for up and coming local artists in a relaxed outdoor atmosphere where visitors can walk right in and enjoy free performances while.
Visitors can enjoy more performing arts with the EMMA Concert Association, which opens its season each fall, as well as the First Coast Opera and free summer concerts at the beach, Concerts by the Sea and historic downtown area, Concerts in the Plaza.
Staying here has never been more comfortable. Health protocols are in place and wide-open spaces abound. There are many ways to safely experience the new additions on Florida’s Historic Coast starting with some new hotels set to come online in 2021, and renovations at well-established lodgings.
In September 2020, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club unveiled the historic Ocean House and Peyton House, offering 41 new oceanfront guest rooms and suites.
Vilano Beach is a hot spot for touristic development on Florida’s Historic Coast. The new and improved Hampton Inn & Suites on Vilano Beach is currently undergoing an interior renovation with the expected completion date of March 2021. In addition to the Hampton Inn renovations, there are two new hotels scheduled to open in Spring 2021. The Holiday Inn Express Vilano Beach is scheduled to open with 50 rooms in early Spring and the Hyatt Place with an additional 120 rooms is scheduled to open on Vilano Beach in mid-2021.
On beautiful St. Augustine Beach, the AAA Four Diamond rated Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort is currently undergoing an expansion that is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2021. This upscale resort that provides unique guest experiences, diverse culinary options and spectacular ocean views will be adding 42 ocean view suites, bringing the overall suite count to 217. The resort is also adding an outdoor dining room and additional deck space at the pool.
In St. Augustine, the new Homewood Suites by Hilton St. Augustine sets on the banks of the San Sebastian River and will feature 117 guest rooms when it opens in Spring 2021.
In the heart of St. Augustine’s Historic District, the Renaissance Historic Downtown St. Augustine Hotel scheduled to open in Spring 2021. This fantastic hotel is designed to replicate the historic San Marco Hotel that sat on the same spot during the Gilded Age. The new hotel will feature 89 guest rooms, distinct event spaces, world-class dining, traditional Southern hospitality and modern amenities.
In an average year, nearly 300 weddings take place each month on Florida’s Historic Coast. Some of the most unique wedding venues include Lightner Museum, San Sebastian Winery, The Treasury on the Plaza, Marineland Dolphin Adventure, aboard The Schooner Freedom, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, the Villa Zorayda, The Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass or one of the many of the quaint Bed & Breakfast Inns and several other unique venues found in the area.
Weddings and vow renewals are not the only romance going on around here. Here are some other romantic attitudes that set the stage for love.
The area’s 42 miles of beaches are the perfect place to watch the sun rise and create one’s own love story.
- A bike ride on a quiet beach with gulls laughing and dolphin jumping in the surf
- The coquina sand of Ponte Vedra Beach makes for a stunning sunset stroll
- Watch the sun rise from your own private oceanfront balcony at the luxurious Ponte Vedra Inn & Club or the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra.
Inspiring architecture and historic scenery set the stage for true amore. Here are a few spots that set the mood.
- A stroll along the Bayfront in St. Augustine at dusk
- The panoramic view from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
- The abundance of year-round outdoor dining in real Florida settings
- A private carriage ride through the historic streets of St. Augustine
Staying healthy while on vacation can be a real challenge. On Florida’s Historic Coast there are dozens of golf courses, miles of beaches and trails, and plenty of unique activities that keep visitors fit while having have fun when they vacation here. Here are some fitting ideas:
Get in of Golf Fitness with Great Golf Deals on Florida’s Historic Coast; participate in daily yoga, spin and golf fitness classes at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa or enjoy a beach yoga session at the Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort; explore new heights at St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Crocodile Crossing zip Line adventure; make it a SUP Saturday with Kayak St. Augustine paddle board lessons; get your swing on at the PGA TOUR Academy at World Golf Village in St. Augustine or at the new Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach - each offers personalized instruction programs. Many of the hotels and inns offer bicycles to their guests for touring the historic area and beach rides. For cyclists looking for a workout, there are a number of trails and challenging rides at Ponte Vedra Beach. And there are plenty of popular Runs taking place throughout the year.
January: Matanzas 5K & Fun Run
March: Spud Run – Half Marathon, 5K and Cabbage Crawl
July: Bridge of Lions 5KOctober: Pink up the Pace 5K
September: Endless Summer Run/Walk
November: St. Augustine Half Marathon
Florida’s Historic Coast has miles of stunning oceanfront, the perfect playground for surfing, swimming and playing in the sun. Include a family beach and waterfront experience with nature programs at a state park or take an eco-tour to learn more about the coastal estuaries.
FUN FOR THE KIDS
Kids enjoy living history, especially when it includes hands-on experiences. Kids Krew guided tours takes little ones on a guided tour where they become one of the pirate crew, look through a real spy glass in search of soldiers, learn how to use a compass and more. Attractions like the Colonial Quarter, Castillo de San Marcos, the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum each offer exciting interactive experiences where kids see and feel how our history happened. One of the newest ways to edu-tain kids is with a visit to the St. Augustine Aquarium to feed the sharks and rays or perhaps learn to snorkel in the tank filled with Florida reef fish and rays.