The Florida road trip that started in Daytona Beach continued on to St. Augustine. Known as the Historical Coast, there are stories to be told in every corner of this town. As we drove through, Kellen spotted Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and an old stone fort. Those two things alone were enough to sell him on St. Augustine, but there was even more to discover. We started out on the Old Town Trolley Tour.

old town trolley

The Old Town Trolley Tour is a Hop On, Hop Off guided tour of the town. The guide shares stories about the founders of the area, as well as history around many buildings in town. As the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine has some very interesting beginnings. At night you can board a Ghost Tour with them as well, but my son was not agreeable to that idea. You can also take Red Train Tours, Walking Tours and even Scenic Boat Tours in St. Augustine. If you want to ride in style, flag down a horse and buggy and get a ride around town.

horse and buggy

The tour showed us the old jail, the Spanish Quarter, the oldest wooden school house and even the oldest resident of St. Augustine, the “Old Senator” Live Oak tree, that is 600 years old! We took a ride through the area that is home to the Fountain of Youth too.

fountain of youth

When we reached the Castillo de San Marcos, we took our time to explore the oldest masonry fort in the Continental US. The fort was constructed in 1672 to act as protection from pirate attacks. In the years since then, the fort has changed hands and purposes many times. Today it sits as a tourist attraction and for a boy who loves history it is the place to go.

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Part of the fort
bunks
Soldier’s sleeping quarters
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Soldier heading up to the lookout
canons
Canons at the ready!

The Pirate and Treasure Museum is another great find in St. Augustine. Kids can shoot a real canon, pick up a gold bar and watch a show about Blackbeard. From there, head over to Potter’s Wax Museum to see over 150 wax figures. We finished our tour with a stop at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Inside we found all kinds of weird and wonderful things, including a giant tarantula that gave me heart palpitations! Kellen was very excited to find this old movie machine. He saw one just like it on his favourite television show, Murdoch Mysteries, so he had to give it a try.

ripleys1

On our last day in St. Augustine, we visited the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Here we saw different types and sizes of alligators. We learned the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, watched feeding time for the alligators and saw more birds than we have ever seen in one place before in our lives.

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During our stay at the Beacher’s Lodge, we learned of another exciting thing happening nearby. Right off of our balcony there was a beautiful beach, and on this beach were turtle nests. Of course you can’t touch turtle nests, and the likelihood of seeing any hatchlings is slim, but the knowledge that they were there was pretty cool. We were told to keep our curtains closed or lights off so that we didn’t confuse any hatchlings into following our lights instead of the light of the moon.

beach

We finished our road trip by circling back to Daytona Beach before catching a flight home. Kellen was armed with all kinds of new information to share with his friends, and I’m looking at the calendar to figure out when we can return to the area.

Come back tomorrow to learn about some of the dining options in Daytona Beach and St. Augustine.

22 Replies to “Florida Road Tripping Part 2: (Not so) Hidden Gems in St. Augustine”

  1. I have been to mexico during turtle hatching season and to watch them is truly amazing

  2. I have never been to Florida before! one of the thing I would love to do with hubby. I love being able to see the history of a place. It makes it that much more of an experience

  3. I’ve never been to Florida before, gators scare me, are they literally all over?

    1. I go to Florida a lot, and I’ve only ever seen one gator in the wild, and it was in a private area near Kennedy Space Center where they told us we would probably see one.

  4. Would love to visit this area at some point. Sounds like you & Kellen had a great trip.

  5. I would have loved to see the turtles nesting, from a respectable distance of course. Must be so cool

  6. It has been 25 years since I have been there I dream of going back!! So many sites to see 🙂

  7. I have never been there before but the photos are amazing,so much to see and do.

  8. Have always wanted to see Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! That movie machine is so cool! Historical things like this are so fun with the family.

  9. Wow it sounds like so much fun. I love how the Pirate and Treasure Museum has so many interactive activities for the kids, like being able to shoot a real canon and to pick up a gold bar! That sounds like quite the experience.

  10. wow this must have been such an exciting adventure .I would love to visit there sometime.

  11. I loved Florida when we visited many years ago. We didn’t visit St Augustine and it certainly appears like we missed out big time there.

  12. We love touring cities is different ways and the The Old Town Trolley Tour sounds right up our alley.

  13. Now that summer is approaching (all right, we haven’t even had spring) it is time to start thinking of these sorts of trips.

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