Guide

Explore St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and Florida’s Historic Coast

In 1513, when explorer Ponce de Leon landed near St. Augustine and claimed La Florida for the King of Spain, he encountered indigenous people—the Timucua—who had already inhabited the area for more than five hundred years. Today, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European city in America and an important place to experience America’s cultural beginnings, including that of the Timucua. Home to two national monuments, the nation’s oldest port, and the first free African American settlement in North America, St. Augustine boasts five centuries of stunning architecture, ranging from Spanish Colonial homes to Gilded Age palaces featuring the world’s largest collection of Tiffany stained glass. Today, you can enjoy a vibrant arts and culinary scene surrounded by these beautifully preserved buildings and gorgeous cultural landscapes.

  1. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

    America begins here. Built by the Spanish in St. Augustine to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and interprets more than 450 years of cultural intersections.

  2. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    The Lightner Museum

    An iconic building in the heart of America’s oldest city. An extraordinary museum collection, beautiful, curious, and intriguing. Occupying the former Hotel Alcazar, a Gilded Age resort hotel commissioned by railroad magnate Henry Flagler, the Lightner Museum offers an immersive experience of art, architecture, history and design.

  3. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

    The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is a private, nonprofit museum dedicated to its mission “to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation's Oldest Port…." The Lighthouse, constructed in 1874, stands 165 feet above sea level, overlooking the Matanzas Bay and the Atlantic Ocean from Anastasia Island. Visitors can climb its 219 steps for a spectacular view of the city and ocean.

  4. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center

    The rich history of the Black experience in St. Augustine, Florida is also the history of the Black experience in America. In 1866, free men and women birthed Lincolnville: a community that found itself at the crossroads of history. Through exhibits and stories told from a local, intimate perspective, the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center chronicles 450 years of the winding road that is the black journey. Come and experience the journey for yourself.

  5. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Ximenez Fatio House Museum

    Welcome to 1800s St. Augustine! The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum has fascinating stories to tell about a little-known period in Florida history. Each room of this elegant, three-story home constructed in 1798 is meticulously interpreted to bring the past to life in a visual and entertaining way. Best of all, through ongoing research and archaeological discoveries, our story continues to unfold.

  6. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Fort Matanzas National Monument

    Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves the fortified coquina watchtower, completed in 1742, which defended the southern approach to the Spanish military settlement of St. Augustine. It also protects approximately 300 acres of Florida coastal environment containing dunes, marsh, maritime forest, and associated flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species.

  7. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Hotel Ponce de Leon – Flagler College

    The Hotel Ponce de Leon, completed in 1888, was an exclusive resort built by millionaire developer and Standard oil co-founder Henry Flagler. The hotel was designed in the Spanish Renaissance style as the first major project of the New York architecture firm Carrere and Hastings, which would go on to gain world renown. The hotel was the first of its kind constructed entirely of poured concrete, using the local coquina stone as aggregate. The hotel was one of the first buildings in the country wired for electricity, with the power being supplied by generators installed by Flagler's friend, Thomas Edison. It contains the world’s largest stationary collection of Tiffany stained glass. The original building and grounds of the hotel are today a part of Flagler College and are open during regularly scheduled tours.

  8. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Gonzalez – Alvarez House

    A National Historic Landmark, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial dwelling in St. Augustine. While evidence exists that the Gonzalez-Alvarez House site had been occupied since the 1600s, the present house dates to the early 1700s. Construction began on the house around 1723 and it reached its final form in 1790. The house exhibits both Spanish and British colonial architectural details and styles. A visit to the house reveals a record of life in St. Augustine over 400 years – through the Spanish, British, and American occupations of St. Augustine. The “Oldest House” Museum is operated by the St. Augustine Historical Society.

  9. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

    The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is home to the first Catholic parish in what is now the United States of America. Founded on September 8, 1565, the present church building dates from its construction in the 1790's. Visitors to the Cathedral can see the church restored to look as it did in the late 1700s. Most of the Baroque façade is original to that period. Inside, beautiful oil paintings that are copies of those located in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel are on display, along with Victorian stained glass windows and marble altars.

  10. Photo By: St. Johns Cultural Council

    Fort Mose Historic State Park

    More than 250 years ago, enslaved Africans risked their lives to escape English plantations in Carolina and find freedom among the Spanish living at St. Augustine. In 1738 the Spanish governor established the fortified town, Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, to become the first legally sanctioned free Black settlement in the present-day United States.

Ready to visit Florida’s Historic Coast? Plan your trip at historiccoastculture.com. For additional information about Florida's Historic Coast, email info@historiccoastculture.com.

Sponsored by the St. Johns Cultural Council.

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