Colonial Quarter: A Walk through History
St. Augustine is the crown jewel of Florida’s Historic Coast, and its Spanish Quarter has long been the centerpiece of this charming city’s appeal.
But now there’s even more to explore with the Spanish Quarter’s transformation into the two-acre Colonial Quarter, offering an immersive look at four separate eras of the town’s history: 16th Century First City, 17th Century Spanish Fortified Town, 18th Century British 14th Colony and 18th Century Spanish Garrison Town.
Visitors to the Colonial Quarter can take an interactive journey through each period thanks to living history demonstrations, hands-on activities, vivid storytelling, themed exhibits, period restaurants and more that bring the past to life.
Stroll through a turn-of-the-century village, visit a soldier’s home, watch colonial craftsmen demonstrate their trade, see a musket drill and share these new memories over a pint at an old-world pub.
Dig for 16th-Century Artifacts
Begin your journey of the Colonial Quarter by touring a replica of a late-1500s Spanish ship called a caravel. It’s the sort of sailing ship that would have been built during that time, with a shallow keel for maneuvering through the harbor and sails built for speed. Signs show building plans for the 50-foot vessel, and a cutaway section offers a glimpse into its construction.
Visitors can also examine an on-site archaeological discovery and dig in a nearby area in search of their own buried artifacts, where evidence suggests the area’s earliest forts were located.
A wooden boardwalk called Flags Over St. Augustine is also flanked by all of the flags that have flown over this waterfront city for hundreds of years, from the days of Juan Ponce de Leon to the present.
Climb a 17th-Century Watchtower
The Colonial Quarter’s second quadrant retells the period of St. Augustine history when Spain staked its claim to the growing town. Visitors can climb 35 feet to the top of a 17th-century watchtower and peer out over Castillo de San Marcos and the water, looking for pirates and other ne’er-do-wells.
Back on the ground, kids will enjoy a musket drill demonstration replica 17th-century firearm. The military gunsmith keeps busy maintaining and repairing all of the garrison’s weapons. Nearby you’ll hear the clanging sounds of the blacksmith demonstrating the making of tools, cooking utensils and nails out of old metal using his forge.
When your stomach starts grumbling, head to Taberna del Caballo (Tavern of the Horse) for tapas, flatbreads, sangria and more in an outdoor intimate candlelit restaurant that takes you back to olden times. You can also pop into Bull & Crown Publick House for a drink and dinner, either in the atmospheric pub or on the open air deck.
The service is quick and the quality is superb at the St. Augustine Seafood Company, a fast casual restaurant with a variety of fresh menu items.