Summer officially begins today (June 21), but my boys and I have already enjoyed our first vacation. Last weekend, we piled family and friends into the mini van and drove to St. Augustine to shoot our next video. And I have to tell you, we loved our visit to the oldest city in the U.S.
We stayed in the heart of the historic downtown area at the beautiful Casa Monica Hotel, which was built in 1888 and restored in 1999. The location was ideal for walking and exploring. I definitely missed not having a kitchen but the location - and the fact that it's a AAA Four Diamond resort - more than made up for it. And there is a trolley stop right outside the hotel (loved that).
The Lightner Museum was next door and I’ve always heard to be there at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. because they wind up the music boxes. What an experience! But the kids really loved the treasure hunt. Upon entry, they were given a paper with clues and they had to search and fill in the answers. It was fun for everyone, and they were so proud when they finished.
The Old Town Trolley was a great way to get our bearings of the city. We rode it everywhere including to the Fountain of Youth, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and Castillo de San Marcos. Since you can get on and off at any of their stops, it made our adventures really easy and we didn’t have to worry about parking.
One of our favorite places was Marineland. It’s right on the Atlantic and the views were stunning – and having a dolphin encounter was pretty darn amazing too. This place is loaded with history all on its own. It was built in 1938! The most economical adventure we had was taking a ferry boat to Fort Matanzas. It was completely free! This fort guarded the ‘backdoor’ to St. Augustine, on the Matanzas Inlet. We learned so much from the Spanish soldiers stationed here (actors in period costumes).
Our final stop for the video was the Old Florida Museum. If you have kids, you simply cannot visit St. Augustine without stopping here. We learned how to dip candles, we made necklaces out of seashells – it was completely hands-on fun that we all enjoyed. I had to drag the kids out of here.
The video should be up in just a few weeks. I can’t wait for you to see how much fun you can have learning about history with your children. If you need more tips about things to see and do, or where to stay in St. Augustine, write me. I’d love to help you plan your family’s adventure in the oldest city in the nation.