After 457 Years Florida’s Historic Coast is a Popular Destination that Continues to Grow

Northeast Florida has long been a destination for visitors to experience the unique history, the beautiful beaches, the fantastic dining and so much more.

September 13, 2022

Download a PDF of this News Release

Contact: Barbara Golden
Phone: 904-669-8142
Email: BGolden@FloridasHistoricCoast.com

St. Augustine, FL (Sept. 7, 2022) - St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida are experiencing great growth in visitor experiences. Northeast Florida has long been a destination for visitors to experience the unique history, the beautiful beaches, the fantastic dining and so much more.

Since the 2020 pandemic shut down, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches quickly bounced back to the business of hosting visitors and continues to thrive. In fact, according to Richard Goldman, CEO of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, the recovery to the tourism industry here is two years ahead the predicted 2024 recovery projection. For fiscal year 2022, hotel occupancy on Florida’s Historic Coast is up 12% and the demand for overnight stays has resulted in a 22% increase in hotel rates.”

This increase in visitors’ results include an increase in businesses and services that serve visitors to the destination. Here are some of the great additions and changes that join in making Florida’s Historic Coast a great place to visit throughout the year.

New hotels and renovated properties are the first place to demonstrate the area’s growth. In 2021 two new hotels opened in historic St. Augustine, the St. Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel and the Homewood Suites. The new Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Historic District is set to open in September 2022 and the long anticipated Hyatt Place Vilano Beach, featuring a classic Florida Vernacular architecture with Art Deco compliments is expected to open in January 2023. The 3-story hotel features 120 guest rooms the long awaited open of Chef Michael Lugo’s restaurant Pesca, and a rooftop bar with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Matanzas Bay and the impressive St. Augustine Skyline.

Winner of the "Hospitality & Entertainment" Award from the Urban Land Institute of North Florida., the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort recently added an additional 42 Oceanview rooms; and The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club just unveiled 64 beautifully renovated luxurious beachfront guest rooms in the Summer House and St. Johns House.

More Great Eats:

St. Augustine’s hottest dining experience is expanding! Asado Life and Lena Asada have been discretely providing pop-up live-fire dining experiences along St. Augustine’s waterfront for years. These experiences have featured some of the area’s most renowned chefs are becoming more available to everyone. Starting in early October, Asado Life will open at a permanent location accessible to the public. Still located along the San Sebastian River in St. Augustine with the shrimp boats and marshes in the background, the new Asado Life Restaurant will feature multiple dining areas, each with seating where guests can watch the action and taste the inspiring flavors of true Argentine-style woodfire cooking at its best.

Nationally known waffle master and artisanal ice cream shop The Dolly Llama recently is opening the chains first Florida location at Ponte Vedra Beach! The shop will open on September 10, offering the same great flavors enjoyed by patrons in California and Nevada. The Dolly Llama, 830 A1A North #16, Ponte Vedra Beach. www.thedollyllamaus.com

New events are helping us celebrate more of the local flavors found on Florida’s Historic Coast.

Also new this fall season Florida’s Historic Coast include the November 4-6, Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife Festival (tickets are now on sale). This exciting weekend celebration will benefit Vilano Beach Main Street and the GTM Reserve, guests will get to savor renowned whiskeys, spirits, wines and beers; indulge in some of the finest cuisine by the best chefs in Northeast Florida; and top it off with a unique opportunity to experience coastal wildlife up-close.

St. Augustine Seafood Music & Art Festival and St. Augustine Wine & Spirits Festival have combined for a fun day of food, fashion, fine wines and more at St. Augustine’s Francis Field on November 5. Not only will festival goers get to experience exceptional local seafood, but there will also be an art fair with dozens of fine arts and crafts, live music featuring. And there will be over 100 wines from 10 countries plus craft beer and craft spirits to sample.

With miles and miles of beautiful pristine areas to explore, the number of businesses offering experiences have that allow visitors to get out and enjoy and learn about the exceptionally healthy environment Northeast Florida enjoys.

The new Dolphin Bay Scenic Shuttle which carries passengers between the Vilano Beach Public Pier and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. Along with the convenience of not driving a car and searching for a parking space, the water shuttle provides lots of opportunities for seeing dolphins, coastal birds in their natural habitats and historical sites like the Castillo de San Marcos.

The St. Johns Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve is all about conservation of rare and endangered species of plants from around the world, as well as natural resources and native plants and animals. This beautiful preserve located along Deep Creek in the rural Hastings, Florida. They will be open to the public in Spring 2023 providing guided tours and programs, as well as classes on plant identification, xeriscaping, landscaping, native plants, water conservation, cold protection techniques, fertilizing (or not), planting, transplanting, potting, and so much more.

Earth Kinship is the area’s newest ecotour company offering the best kayaking, nature education and outdoor experiences. Earth Kinship offers a variety of eco experiences, whether kayaking on pristine waterways, hiking into the wild, forest therapy tours, or art, history and cultural immersion tours, the experiences is designed to be a meaningful adventure for participants.

New entertainment and sports complexes with venues for events and entertainment too.

The St. Augustine Waterworks has become the most sought-after culture event venues in St. Augustine. The now home of the St. Johns Cultural Council, the beautifully restored Waterworks hosts many of the area’s cultural events, including the Gamble Rogers " Live form the Waterworks Concert Series, which celebrates the legendary recording artist Gamble Rogers, whose balladry and storytelling shaped American folk music. The series kicks off with a Gala event in early October and continues throughout the year with monthly performances by some of Florida’s best known folk music performers.

Florida’s Historic Coast is a golf mecca. The PGA Tour is headquartered at Ponte Vedra Beach; THE PLAYERS Championship take place here each year in March at TPC Sawgrass on the world-famous Stadium Course, and there are dozens of championship courses beckoning the most avid golfers to come play. The Ocean Course at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Yards were recognized by Golf Inc. on the list of the best course renovations in 2021. Additional course renovation in the area include the 9-month, $8-million intensive renovation from 27 to 18 holes at St. Johns Golf Club. This 18-hole Clyde Johnston-designed course has just the right amount of challenge for novice and avid golfers alike will reopen this fall sporting new greens and bunkers along with the newly renovated club house.

Pickleball at The Yards is now open too! As part of their overhaul renovation, The Yards added 12 new courts to accommodate the fastest growing sport in America.

There is so much more that comes with the growth of a great destinations. Check out more at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com.

Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra, and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information on events, activities, holiday getaways and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com, become a fan on Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.