St. Augustine, Florida.
The Ancient city of St. Augustine gets the distinction as being the oldest European settlement in america. It was established by the Spanish because they ventured north from their exploration and conquistador actions in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southlands. How old is ancient St. Augustine? St. Augustine dates from before Jamestown 42 years, and the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock 55 years, having been first settled in 1565, after other Spanish settlements in Florida failed over the previous period of decades. That year was essential since the French had setup an outpost in Florida just one before then, and they found themselves evicted and driven out by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Preliminary wooden forts and surrounding settlements had been destroyed by Sir Francis Drake prior to the passing of one hundred years, and again afterwards by vicious pirates. But after the new rock fort was built, it offered strength, and endured, despite changing hands several times after numerous sieges. St. Augustine sits on the northeast coastline of Florida, about 25 miles southeast of Jacksonville, but north of the Daytona Beach region.
Today, St. Augustine, Florida, is definitely a mixture of the older Spanish heritage, coupled with a Florida seaside vacation resort originated by Henry Flagler following the Civil War. It is combined with the feeling of a university city built around Flagler University which dominates the skyline of the older historic district with its unique architectural stylings. Maps from the mid way point of the 1700s exhibit the historical Spanish district to really have the same layout as you will see today. The historic downtown area includes a touristy look to it, filled with a wax museum, however the pedestrian zones in the Spanish area have all the quaint shops and eating places, and the wonderful Florida site makes it have a very good touristy feel to it. Go and revel in the atmosphere.
The nicest and most pricey resort in St. Augustine, with 138 rooms, would be the Casa Monica Hotel situated on 95 Cordova St. It has the best location nestled in the center of the old historical district. Costs in the Spring range between $200-$500 per day. Another nice property there is actually the Hilton St. Augustine Historical Bayfront. Located near to the visitors center off Avenida Menendez. Spring costs range from $180-$320 per day, and midsummer rates are somewhat cheaper, with winter rates being somewhat higher. You’ll also discover a Hampton Inn, a Best Western Spanish Quarter nearby with good family prices. Other popular hotels are the St. George Inn, Clarion Casa Del Mar, Vacation Inn, and Times Inn at St. Augustine Seaside. Keep in mind the seaside is merely a couple of minutes drive from the historical district, and even though it is nice in to wander around the streets at night, consider remaining by the ocean side as well. It’s lovely.
The “castle” of San Marcos is very much an old, stone Spanish fort, built on a spot in which a dozen wooden forts had stood in prior decades. Its structure was started in the past around 1600, and was finished in 1695, rendering it the oldest masonry structure in america and the very last existing fort from the 1600s that is still standing.
So check out the ancient city. You will love every day of it.