No matter what your reason for your visit to St. Augustine, a romantic getaway or a relaxing FL vacation, you’ll find the history of the city fascinating.
Your first stop should be finding an historic place to stay. Check out St. Augustine’s Historic Inns. Each one of our inns has history that your innkeeper can impart to you. You’ll love the cozy atmosphere and the personal touches that you get from a Bed and Breakfast Inn versus a hotel or rental unit.
So, you’re interested in history, we’ve got that for you. We’ll help you find your way and learn our history in fun ways.
Let’s start at the beginning. Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513. He named what he thought was an island, La Florida because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida. Okay, we don’t have anything that dates back to that time here in St. Augustine. While we do not know the exact location of Ponce de Leon’s landing, historical documents record that on April 2, 1513, his expedition’s navigator logged the ship’s position as 30 degrees 8 minutes. This is just south of current day Ponte Vedra Beach with is just north of St. Augustine. The following day Ponce and his crew came ashore and founded La Florida for Spain. So.. we’ll say that he landed close to St. Augustine.
It wasn’t until 1562, when France decided to issue a challenge for control of the new continent. When King Phillip II of Spain found out about this he was furious. He ordered his Admiral, Pedro Menendez de Aviles to remove the French Huguenots from his land.
Pedro Menendez saw our coastline on August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine de Hippo. That is how we got our name. Pedro landed close to where the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is located now. Be sure to visit the archaeological digs that are going on there now.
Also visit the Mission de Nombre de Dios This is where Pedro Menendez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of his expedition.
St. Augustine endured fires by the British and pirates and so we have nothing left that dates back to 1565, but we do have some wonderful historic buildings, museums and artifacts to show you. Just FYI, you can’t see all of this in one day. Many people visit St. Augustine and think that they’ll be able to take it all in in just a few hours. We suggest that you visit for at least a few days to start with and we know that you’ll be back soon, so that you can see even more. Check with your innkeeper for special discounts for Historic Inn Guests for many of the attractions and tours listed.
Some of the places that you need to see are listed here. Be sure to use the services of one of our many licensed tour guides to help you find even more about our city. We’ll list some of the different tours and companies to help you there as well.
Castillo de San Marcos – Our Fort. Learn the military history of our city by visiting the fort. Take one of the free guided tours while you visit.
The Colonial Quarter – Learn about the lives of the people of St. Augustine in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
The Oldest House Museum Complex – The house dates back to the early 1700s and is a National Historic Landmark.
St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum – Pirates invaded St. Augustine a number of times. Learn about these pirates and more.
Fort Matanzas – Located near the Matanzas inlet, this was the “backdoor” stronghold for St. Augustine.
St. Augustine National Cemetery – Near the southern end of the cemetery is the Dade Pyramids, overlooked by most visitors, these pyramids are named for Major Francis Dade and his “last command.”
Museums to visit:
- Father O’Reilly House Museum – 32 Aviles Street
- Ximenz–Fatio House Museum – 20 Aviles Street
- Lightner Museum – 75 King Street
- Oldest House Museum Complex – 14 St. Francis Street
- Spanish Military Hospital Museum – 3 Aviles Street
- St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum – 81 Lighthouse Ave
- Pirate & Treasure Museum – 12 Castillo Dr
- Villa Zorayda Museum – 83 King Street
- St. Augustine Gold Tours – Small electric tour bus. – 904-325-0547
- Old Town Trolleys – 888-910-8687
- Ripley’s Sightseeing Trains – 904-829-6545
- St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours – 904-392-7137
- St Augustine City Walks – 904-825-0087
- The Tasting Tours – 904-325-3911
- St Augustine Bike Rentals – Bike & Segway Tours 904-547-2074
We know that we’ve only scratched the surface here for you, but it’s a great beginning. Be sure to check with your innkeeper for more information and special discounts from many tour companies just for Historic Inn Guests.