Published: Dec 28 2018
Situated on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine is a beautiful oceanfront city with the distinction of being the oldest European settlement in the country. Its history and culture paired with its exquisite beaches and water adventure opportunities make it a particularly attractive vacation destination for boaters. During their stay, boaters can enjoy taking in the sights of the city, a myriad of activities on the water, and the comforts of a variety of local marinas.
As the oldest existing European-established settlement in the United States, St. Augustine is a Floridian city that is rich in cultural and historic significance. It is also one of the preferred boating playgrounds on the Eastern Seaboard. Founded by the Spanish in 1565, St. Augustine has a past that is just as colorful as its varied architecture and its natural wonders of sand, water, and mangrove forests. This popular East Coast vacation destination can offer visiting boaters a plethora of sights and activities both on land and at sea, as well as some excellent marinas in which to keep their craft.
Since St. Augustine was created over 500 years ago, it is a city steeped in story. It has seen conquistadors, pirates, the ravages of the Civil War, as well as the fabulously wealthy at play during its time as one of the most popular winter resorts in the country during the 19th century. Today, St. Augustine remains one of the most desired Floridian locales for both average travelers and boaters alike.
Physical examples of St. Augustine’s fascinating past still exist today, and some of them can even be visited. While still a part of Spain’s territories, the Spanish built two forts (Castillo de San Marcos in the 1600s and Fort Matanzas in the 1700s), both of which can still be toured by the public. For a truly unique experience, boaters will want to spend an afternoon ashore touring the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, which marks the site of the original settlement as well as boasts Ponce’s Spring of Eternal Hope and a reproduction of a Timucua village.
For a look at St. Augustine’s past brought to life, boaters can tour the 2-acre Colonial Quarter, which offer a series of “living museums” that portray life as it was in the city during the 1740s. Fort Mose State Park is a lovely spot for picnicking and kayaking, but also served as one of the first sites of the Underground Railroad and was the first settlement created by free African-Americans. There are many other interesting museums in this “Ancient City,” such as the Lightner Museum, which lives in what was the old Alcazar Hotel. The building dates back to 1889, and houses some incredible exhibits that range from stained glass and crystal to mummies and shrunken heads. Other museums include the Villa Zorayda Museum (once an extravagant home during the Gilded Age), the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, as well as Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.
Want to spend as much time as you can under the gorgeous Florida sun as you can? Tour St. Augustine’s many outdoor offerings, such as the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve, or Anastasia State Park, which is only five miles from the city and features 1,600 acres of dunes, marshes, mangrove forests, and beaches to explore. After a morning of boating and a day of museums or other outside adventures, boaters can return in the evening to catch a show at the St. Augustine Amphitheater or tour the Old City District from the comfort of a trolley train or horse-drawn carriage. ample the wares of many restaurants, bars, or shops before heading back to the marina for some rest before beginning a new day of exploration.
With its proximity to both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic, it is no wonder that St. Augustine is able to offer a diverse selection of water activities for boaters to try during their stay in the city. Some of the possibilities for watery fun in St. Augustine include:
During their stay in St. Augustine, boaters with crafts of their own (or those who have plans to charter one) will undoubtedly find a suitable marina or two in the area where they can keep their boat and enjoy some excellent amenities. A few popular options for marinas in St. Augustine include:
Camchee Cove Yacht Harbor
Conch House Marina
Hidden Harbor Marina
St. Augustine Municipal Marina
St. Augustine today is as incredible and diverse as its past. Its architecture and museums, parks and entertainment make it popular with visitors from all over the world, but boaters will have the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful aspects of the city that those who stay ashore will miss. Whether their passion is powerboats, sailing, water sports, or fishing, boaters are sure to enjoy the many delights of St. Augustine.