Last month I took a trip to Saint Augustine, not only the oldest city in Florida, but also the oldest city in the entire country.
There is so much to see and do that you really need a week to see it all, that being said, I got to see and experience a lot in just a weekend. Here are some recommendations.
The History of Saint Augustine
In the early 1500’s, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon came ashore near what is present day Saint Augustine claiming Florida for the Spanish crown. The city itself was founded in the year 1565 as a Spanish settlement and would endure much upheaval in the next century. Frequent attacks by pirates, battles with Native Americans and numerous wars and battles between various colonial powers saw the city in frequent turmoil.
One constant that has stood the test of time in the city is the fort, the Castillo de San Marcos. Through sacking and burning and war the fort still stands.
The fort hosts daily reenactments and cannon firings that are certainly worth checking out if you enjoy history.
There simply is too much in the way of history to cover in one blog. The brick streets, the graveyards with headstones dating back hundreds of years, the old structures – you have to go see it for yourself to get a grasp of this city’s past.
Where to Eat
Saint Augustine has some simply incredible food. Here are some of my recommendations for local eateries that are must stops.
1. Harry’s Seafood:
I’ve eaten a lot of fish in my day, Harry’s brings a unique Cajun flavor to the party that you simply can’t find anywhere else. With indoor seating upstairs and down as well as outdoor dining options this place is always busy, but it’s worth the wait. I recommend the Louisiana Fondeaux as an app (below right) and the crab crusted redfish as an entre (below left). French baked scallops are delicious as well (also below left).
Another seafood restaurant, but it’s a bit different than Harry’s. The Saint Augustine Fish Camp offers some of the freshest fish in town providing a contemporary seafood dining experience in an on-the-water setting.
Easy, cheap and casual, here you’ll find great burgers and shakes as well as excellent service.
Dining upstairs and down as well as plenty of outdoor tables, you’ll enjoy fantastic Mexican fare and delicious drinks. I recommend the chimichanga, pollo enchiladas and of course a margherita!
The fishing in St. Augustine is awesome! The marsh is pristine and full of trout, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and flounder. Certain times of the year there is also a great tarpon fishery as well. Offshore you will find snappers and a variety of pelagics such as cobia and billfish.
I fished with Captain Todd Derringer aboard his Egret poling skiff. We had an early morning low tide as can be seen by the massive oyster bars which were exposed. While the water was cloudy, we could see tons of fish pushing as well as mullet milling around. I was luckily able to feed one fish!
I have to give a shout out to Matt at Old City Fly Shop, a super cool dude who helped my find the right bug in my box for this beautiful St. Augustine red. Definitely go check out his shop, you won’t be disappointed!
There is so much to do and see in Saint Augustine, you really need a full week there! I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention these other great spots as well!
The chocolate tour at Whetstone Chocolates
The Basilica – This Catholic Church is stunningly beautiful and something that you should definitely make the time to see.
Give Saint Augustine a try, this historic city is an amazing place that you’re sure to love as much as I did.
Until next time, tight lines.