This relaxing Northeast Florida destination includes St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States featuring more than 60 historic sites and attractions, informative tours and experiences that tell the story of First America; Ponte Vedra Beach, home to the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship, world-class tennis facilities, more than a dozen championship golf courses, and luxurious seaside resorts; miles of scenic drives and rural adventures; and 42 miles of beautiful pristine Atlantic Coast that offer year-round fun in a seaside paradise. Here are some hot topics for you to consider:
Live music has returned to Florida’s Historic Coast and visitors can catch their favorite musicians at some 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 Donna the Buffalo, Acoustic Alchemy and many more. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is and award-winning outdoor concert venue adjacent to Anastasia State Park where featured performers include Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Head and The Heart, Buddy Guy Farewell Tour, Paper Cutt, 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.
And, September is when Florida’s Historic Coast celebrates its inspiring music scene during the month-long Sing Out Loud Festival. Showcasing hundreds of local singers, songwriters, and musicians, the Local Showcase offers an incredible array of genres, from indie rock to bluegrass, hip hop to country, comedy to spoken word. This series of free concerts, hosted at more than a dozen venues allowing everyone to immerse themselves in Florida's vibrant musical landscape. Starting from September 8, 2023, these shows will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until October 1. A detailed schedule is available at www.SingOutLoudFestival.com.
During Black History month, in partnership with the Friends of Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Johns County Cultural Events Division produces the Annual Fort Mose Jazz and Blues Festival which features some the genre’s greatest performing artists of today. The 2023 Festival featured Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, Rhiannan Giddens and many others.
Preserving and Sustaining the Important History and Natural Environment on Florida’s Historic Coast:
Visitors to St. Augustine often exclaim: “This looks just like Spain” or “It’s like being in Europe.” That’s no surprise because much of the Oldest City was built by Spaniards and was literally part of Spain for nearly 300 years! The challenge has been to sustain that original architectural look while meeting the needs and expectations of 21st century visitors and residents.
Step outside the oldest city experiences the Northeast Florida natural environment that has always been a source of inspiration and pride for residents of Florida’s Historic Coast. More than 40 miles of pristine beaches, tens of thousands of acres of verdant salt marsh, the shadowed quiet of maritime hammocks, plus the myriad species that call this special place home have created a natural world worthy of special care both today and for generations to come.
Click here to learn more about the ways that Historic St. Augustine preserves and protects are architectural and archeological treasures. And to learn more about the opportunities for our visitors to learn about and to aid in the protection of the pristine outdoors on Florida’s Historic Coast, visit our page about Sustaining and Exploring our Natural Beauty.
Wellness and Healthful
For centuries Florida’s Historic Coast has been a place for rejuvenation. From the fable of Ponce de Leon seeking the Fountain of Youth in 1513 to Oil and Railroad Tycoon, Henry Flagler building luxurious hotels in the late 19th century for wealthy Northerners to come relax and rejuvenate. For today’s modern travelers - we have Spas! Some of the best…. in St. Augustine or at Ponte Vedra Beach, you can tap into luxury and relaxation at a number of our renowned resort spas, The Casa Monica Resort & Spa, The Hammock Beach Resort, the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, and the AAA Five-Diamond awarded Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Each offers exceptional signature Spa services that are engulf guests with rejuvenation and relaxation.
There are also a number of day spas that offer some of the latest trends in health, focusing on holistic health and alternative approaches to wellbeing. The Salt Spa St. Augustine guests can relax and breathe easy in zero gravity chairs in the salt cave, unwind from the stresses of life by reaching a pure state in the salt tank, or enjoy any one of the other alternative therapy services offered. The recently opened St. Augustine’s Essential Energy Spa & Mystical Center
creates wellness for all through regenerative self-healing modalities, workshops, enlightenment, and community building practices. And at Well Woman 360 Spa, the program is all about providing women with all the resources they need to maintain a healthful balance through massage therapy, facial and skin treatments, maternity and childbirth education and so much more. They even have childcare available.
The Pilates Yoga Loft is home to many different styles of yoga and Pilates classes and holistic wellness services including Reiki, Acupuncture, stretch sessions and more. From beginners to advanced levels, the Loft offers both Pilates mat & Pilates reformer classes along with a multitude of yoga styles and Aerial yoga. Visitors can participate in classes offered in their studio or outdoors on Vilano Beach or on the lawn at the Ximenez-Fatio House. After the visit, they can continue virtually once they return home.
Staying healthy while on vacation can be a real challenge. Here are some great ways to stay fit during a visit to Florida’s Historic Coast. Get in on 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 St. Augustine from the air with St. Augustine Parasail; make it a SUP Saturday with Kayak St. Augustine paddle board lessons; get your swing at the new Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach where personalized instruction programs are featured. 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.
Unique Outdoor Experiences
The nature on Florida’s Historic Coast is a story unto itself. This part of North Florida has successfully stayed under the radar of big development, allowing for a great deal of conservation and preservation. One unique experience can be found at Guana Lake at the GTM Research Reserve, where an amazing glow from the bioluminescence light created by billions of comb jellies is visible each month during the new moon phase. The experience of paddling through the nighttime waters to see this mystical display is available through Geotrippin Adventures at Ponte Vedra Beach.
That is not the only wildlife encounter found here. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, founded in 1893, is one of Florida’s oldest attractions and features all 24 species of crocodilian in the world. In the spring the Alligator Farm’s lagoon becomes the nesting grounds for hundreds of wading birds; roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets, wood storks, and more. The Alligators below protect the birds and their nests from natural predators (raccoons, snakes, possum, etc.). This spectacular nesting experience is unlike anything you have ever seen. And, you can see it from above too at Crocodile Crossing, the Alligator Farm’s intense ropes and zipline course that takes participants over the park. Imagine zipping above a pond filled with gators or crocs. Not for the faint of heart.
A Romantic Retreat!
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.
- A carriage ride through the historic streets of old St. Augustine.
- 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
Florida’s Historic Coast is home to thousands of passionate people. People that love where 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 unique dining experience dining experience with one of the many eateries, restaurants or cafes that pride themselves on presenting the best of our culinary heritage. The food tells a story!
- 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. Then take you catch to one of the area’s hook and cook seafood restaurants to really reap your reward.
- 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 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 TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse are local golf fans that have lived and played local golf and know the best golf stories.
Where to Stay!
There are many ways experience the varied lodging options on Florida’s Historic Coast. In recent years great hotels like the Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown, Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Vilano, Homewood Suites by Hilton St. Augustine San Sebastian, and Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Resort have opened providing comfortable lodging and access to attractions, the beaches and more much easier for visitors to access. And there are more to come.
In Historic St. Augustine there are myriad choices of lodging to choose from. Elegant hotels and Inns like The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens or the historic Casa Monica Resort & Spa, or one of the more than 25 luxury Bed & Breakfast Inns, or the selection of the legacy options, There is truly something here for everyone.
All along the coast, resorts and hotels, as well as a grand selection of vacation rentals are available. The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club recently unveiled 64 beautifully renovated luxurious beachfront guest and added a Croquet Lawn and Bocce Court for guests to enjoy.
Opening in the fall 2023, the Hyatt Place Vilano Beach, has a spectacular Art Deco design and rooftop dining that will provide 120 seaside guest rooms. The hotel will also feature what is anticipated to be one of the area’s finest dining experiences, Pesca Vilano providing coastal cuisine by Michael’s. In addition to providing dining to the hotel’s guests and community as well as catered hotel events, Pesca offers fine dining and rooftop culinary experiences with a one-of-a-kind view of St. Augustine’s skyline, the Matanzas Bay, St. Augustine Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean.
On beautiful St. Augustine Beach, the AAA Four Diamond rated Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort
recently completed an expansion to accommodate the demand for this upscale resort that provides unique guest experiences, diverse culinary options and spectacular ocean views.
In St. Augustine, Homewood Suites by Hilton St. Augustine with its 117 guest rooms recently opened, providing guests with impressive views of the San Sebastian River, and an easy walk to some of the best eateries and attractions like the Whetstone Chocolate Tasting Tours, the San Sebastian Winery and St. Augustine Distillery.
In the heart of St. Augustine’s Historic District, the Renaissance Historic Downtown St. Augustine Hotel
opened in early 2022. This fantastic hotel is designed to replicate the historic San Marco Hotel that sat on the same spot during the Gilded Age.
And just across the Bridge of Lions on Anastasia Boulevard, The Local – St. Augustine is a very trendy lodging option. This 1940’s style roadside motel that has been updated to reflect a mid-century look but modernized to feature amenities like keyless entry, an Instagram wall, rental bikes and more. This property has been recognized as one of the best on multiple social media outlets. @TheLocal
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Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach, and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information, call 1.800.653.2489 or go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com and www.viajaStAugustine.com.
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