Romantic St. Augustine, FL

Guest blogger Allie Olsen of Simply St.Augustine hopes you’ll have one of your most romantic getaways ever in the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida! Before you go, like Simply St. Augustine on facebook and follow on twitter @SimplyStAug

As the sun rose over the glassy Atlantic Ocean, I dug ten polished toes into the cool sand and leaned my head on my hubby’s shoulder. We were celebrating 14 years of marriage with a vacation; waking up to the calm ripple of waves on the seashore felt as familiar as relaxing in my man’s arms.

I’m a Florida girl. I’ve never lived more than 2 hours from the ocean- and since marriage it’s always been within 30 minutes. Chris loves being on the water- so when we chose our anniversary spot, it didn’t take much deliberation. Even though we could go anywhere we dreamed while sweet friends were staying with our six children, we vacationed in our hometown… paradise… St. Augustine, Florida.

We’re lucky to live here. The nation’s oldest city offers everything needed for a romantic getaway: uneven brick streets lined with quaint shops and creative cafes, great beaches and beautiful parks. So I started thinking… what if I only had 24 hours in St. Augustine? How would I spend it?! It was easier than I expected to narrow it down! I hope my “local favorites” inspire you to spend some time in the most romantic, oldest city in the USA!

24 Hours in St. Augustine

Since most of the 19,000,000+ people who live in Florida don’t live in St. Augustine (we only have 13,000 residents), I’ll assume you’re driving here. Take off work a little early, put on your favorite playlist and hit the road. St. Augustine has many Bed & Breakfasts in the historic district (you can check TripAdvisor to pick a good one, I love Bayfront Marin, Bayfront Westcott and Carriage House). If you’re wanting a posh hotel in the center of it all, I vote for the Casa Monica Hotel. It’s the only 4-star hotel in town- valet your car and travel back in time to a slower pace where you stroll, hop on a pedicab or enjoy a carriage ride to get around town.

If you arrive late, no sweat. Cobalt Lounge (in the lobbby) has great live music on the weekends- you can order off the bar menu or the dinner menu. Slip into your bathing suits for an evening swim or put on your walking shoes and hit the town. Two other spots with great late-night ambiance and fantastic food are Michael’s Tasting Room and Tini Martini Bar. You can’t go wrong- each offers live music and delish food.

At the end of the night, settle into your comfy bed and your honey’s arms for a great night’s sleep- you still have a full day to enjoy St. Augustine!

Wake up when you want to Saturday morning… most places serve breakfast late. Stroll across the Plaza de la Constitucion to Kookaburra {who serves up locally roasted coffee} or Casa Maya {for authentic Mayan dishes, not your ordinary breakfast!} for breakfast.

Once, my hubby & I grabbed coffee and pastries then caught a trolley for a 70-minute tour of all the history and attractions. Hop on & off as desired- if you’re new to our city, I suggest riding all the way around while eating breakfast 😉 and then choosing your favorite stops to visit.

The one thing every visitor must do is visit the Castillo de San Marcos. This stone fort was started by the Spanish in the 1600’s and has never been defeated. Displays were updated last month; enjoy learning about hundreds of years of the history of US. Imagine how many sweethearts have strolled across the green toward the Matanzas River and gazed out through the inlet at the ocean… If the weather is nice, relax by the water and look for dolphins and manatees.

Oh, one other thing every visitor must do is stop in Claude’s Chocolates, above. Claude hand-makes each incredible truffle and I’ve never been disappointed! Chris likes milk chocolate and the Sea Salted Caramel, I love dark chocolate like the Spicy Mayan and Earl Grey.

Lunch should be at Cafe Alcazar, below. Located in the {drained} deep end of the world’s largest indoor pool, it is the best lunch spot in town. Portions are generous- you can likely split an order and still leave completely satisfied!!

After lunch, spend the heat of the day wandering through the Lightner Museum- you’ll catch a glimpse of the easy splendor St. Augustine embodied at the turn of the century (1900, that is). The opulence of the former hotel is still breathtaking as is the collection of antiques- from Tiffany stained glass to an Egyptian Mummy. I suggest asking for the children’s scavenger hunt- you’ll see things you would’ve walked right past without it!

You have time to hop back on the trolley and hit another attraction, relax on a boat tour or play a lighthearted game of mini-putt-putt; ask your consierge or the trolley tour guide for directions. Sometimes, though, my hubs & I don’t want our getaways packed with to-do’s. St. Augustine is a great walking town, you’re bound to discover your own favorite shops, architecture and random treats like The Hyppo and Fudgebuckets.

We only have 24 hours… and the timer is ticking! We’ll play “choose your own adventure” and I’ll leave you with two choices for the end of your time away.

Harry’s Seafood Restaurant offers balcony seating with a view of the river or courtyard seating with live music. You may already be familiar with Harry’s- they have restaurants across the state in Lakeland, Ocala, Gainesville and Tallahassee. Their New Orleans inspired menu, great live music & 2 bars keeps the place hopping, so call ahead to get on the wait list.I love their Redfish entree- and please save room for the chocolate bread pudding!

If you’re not ready for dinner yet but are headed South on your drive home, go ahead and hit the road. My favorite beach dive is an hour South of St. Augustine and I want to introduce you to Snack Jacks. You can take A1A all the way down for a relaxing, oceanside drive. Snack Jacks is a few minutes past the Flagler Beach Pier- one of the few restaurants actually on the dunes. We always sit on the picnic tables outside and order the spicy fish tacos or a fish reuben then splash in the water while we wait for dinner. It’s a special spot for me and the hubs, we love the “Old Florida” ambiance of being barefoot on the beach.

As you drive the rest of the way home, you’ll likely be planning your next trip to St. Augustine. You’ll see glimpses of the lighthouse, our expansive beaches, beautiful Mission of Nombre de Dios, fun attractions, arched doors nestled in stucco walls and so much more to entice you back. That’s part of the romance- enjoy discovering your newest old favorite! It’s not busy Orlando or dolled up Savannah… it’s Simply St. Augustine.

About Debi Walter

Face it, marriage is hard work. But when cultivated daily the fruit produced will satisfy for a lifetime. We're here to help with ideas and encouragement along the way. Having been married 36 years and counting, we share what we've learned with practical tips, Biblical Truths, Date night ideas to help you plow your own vineyard for God's glory.
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2 Responses to Romantic St. Augustine, FL

  1. Allie O. says:

    Thanks for letting me share some of my favorites! I sure crammed a lot of great spots in 24 hours- be assured you’d have an amazing time in this kick-back city by choosing only a couple of enticing ideas and spending the rest of the time strolling hand-in-hand cultivating sparks and creating memories. Enjoy relaxing, romantic St. Augustine!

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