Exploring St. Augustine, FL
Updated February 2017: We now live together and have visited countless times, so this had to reflect all our favorite spots. ;)
Long distance relationships can be challenging at times, but also very rewarding. This year, my boyfriend and I made a pact to plan an adventure every weekend we can, this way we always have something to look forward to.
Since Stephen lives in Jacksonville, we decided to take a day trip to St. Augustine last Saturday. Luckily the weather was incredible and we had a blast. Although we didn't hit everything suggested, I received some great recommendations from friends, so here's a little gallery of what we did and places we plan to hit next time we go.
+ Stay at a Bed & Breakfast
St. Augustine had sooo many options to choose from, but we landed on the Bayfront Westcott House! It was incredible. Such a homey environment with the comfiest rooms, a full size tub (!!), the nicest staff and an amazing breakfast. I felt like I was at home.
+ Anastasia State Park
Although there is an $8 parking fee since it's a state park, the beach was beautiful. Dang, Florida winters are tough. ;) We plan on coming back to camp at this site one weekend!
+ St. Augustine Distillery
A local gem, this ice plant-turned-Distillery was a great experience! We took their free tour and learned about how vodka, bourbon and gin was made. The best part about the distillery is that all of their crops are from a local farmer (who you might see pictured on their vodka bottles) and they're constantly creating more jobs for their community. Neat story, plus you get to sample cocktails at the end. Major plus.
+ San Sebastian Winery
With a cute rooftop restaurant, this winery has a short free tour where you can try 7 of the San Sebastian wines. We bought a bottle, of course.
+ The Historic District: Eat & Explore
Walking around the historic district of St. Augustine was similar to our Savannah trip, but definitely has a different vibe. As an original Spanish settlement, the architecture was stunning and felt more condensed and quaint as opposed to Savannah.
We ate at an amazing small tapas restaurant called Sangria's and were able to overlook the hustle and bustle of the tourist street below.
On our second visit, we went to The Floridian for lunch and it was AMAZING. Farm fresh food, an outdoor patio (and options for the gluten-free and vegetarians) the name alone drew me in. A must stop if you want to eat a little more locally.
+ Lightner Museum & Flagler College
Flagler College has a beautiful campus, and you can't miss it while you're in the district. The Lightner Museum is right across the street. Take a stroll through it to view beautiful courtyards and the museum tour to see Victorian-era artifacts, instruments and more.
+ Eat Like a Champion
Since I clearly can't cover every food spot I've hit up in St. Augustine, let's just say you need to try them all. After sampling food from the best sit down restraunts listed above + The Columbia, Sangrias, Casa Mesa (I could go on), don't miss DESSERT below:
I usually crave smoothies, but since I'm still a kid at heart I will always love popsicles. Don't miss Hyppo Popsicles for delicious gourmet flavors that melt in your mouth.
Another gem, Cousteau's is a waffle and milkshake bar. (!!!) Such a neat idea and one of a kind. A must see.
Whew that was a lot! Can you do it in one trip? (Us neither, it took 3 edits to make this post.)
But overall the drive from Jax to St. Augustine is so short and makes for a great day or weekend trip! And if you're coming from further away, make this an extra-long weekend to remember.
Did we miss any good places? Let me know in the comments!