For our second day in Florida we decided to take a side trip to St. Augustine, a historic town about forty minutes from Jacksonville. It’s a charming riverside town with Spanish style architecture and a laid back atmosphere.
The CastilloDe San Marcos is the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States. It was the final replacement for the wooden forts (there had been nine of them) which the Spanish used to protect both their land interests and their ships returning to Spain. Given the number of school parties that were visiting that day we decided to make do with a walk around the outside.
Also, the oldest wooden school house in the USA.
And it claims to be the oldest Catholic parish in the USA (though so do others!)
The main street is St George, a narrow thoroughfare lined with small stores and restaurants.
We chose the Florida Cracker Café for lunch where I had Fried Gator tails, my first sampling of alligator. It was surprisingly tender though I couldn’t decide whether it tasted more like chicken or fish.
Overall, the town is a tourist magnet and even on the day we visited - a weekday during school term - finding a parking spot was not easy.
Once there, for those who don’t want to walk, St Augustine offers the usual tourist options of horse-drawn carriages and trolley cars, but it’s not a particularly big place and pedestrian friendly, so walking is a pleasure.
Verdict: an enjoyable half day excursion.