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St. Augustine, Florida

I’m in a city where wandering is encouraged and time meant to be savored. It’s a historic powerhouse of a destination where local events not only shaped its history but an entire country’s. It’s a city of firsts… and also what’s next! With an unexpected food scene that is immersive and thoroughly enjoyed. And speaking of joy, with protected wetlands, estuaries, and miles of beautiful beaches to explore, there’s a lot to sink your (shark) teeth into. Come with me as I explore America’s oldest city – St. Augustine, Florida.


St. Augustine Eco Tours

One of the best ways to see St. Augustine? On the water! Zach McKenna founded St. Augustine Eco Tours so that he could take visitors onto the water and introduce them to Northern Florida’s unique ecosystem. While they offer tours by boat and kayak, I’ve opted for the sailing option. Together we set sail on a 27’ foot Stiletto catamaran to Julia’s Island as McKenna points out all the different animals that call this area home. 


Julia’s Island is protected land and home to three unique species of birds: the Least Terns, Wilson’s Plovers, and American Oystercatchers.


St. Augustine ECO Tours
11 Avenida Menendez
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Castillo de San Marcos

When it comes to notable landmarks in St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos is a must-see. Located along Matanzas Bay, it’s the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and was built between 1672 and 1695 when Florida was under Spanish rule. I chatted with park ranger Jill Leverett about the fort’s nearly four centuries of history. One interesting story was learning how 1,500 soldiers and civilians were able to live within the castle’s walls for 51 days back in 1702. 


Castillo de San Marcos is only one of two fortifications in the world made of coquina. This type of sedimentary rock is created when different particles on ocean floors accumulate over time. Think of it as a fort made of seashells!


Castillo San Marcos
1 S Castillo Dr
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Flagler College

When it comes to the most beautiful colleges in the world, I like to think Flagler College can compete with some of the oldest campuses around. Why? Well, because it originally started out as the opulent Ponce de León Hotel. In the late 1800s, Henry Flagler, a Gilded Age industrialist and entrepreneur set his sights on Florida after falling in love with its sunny climate. His goal was to make it the new vacation destination. (Spoiler: he was successful!) The best way to start? Building one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. He built Ponce de León Hotel in a Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style and hired some of the most famous names to construct the interiors. Any guesses who those men were?


Luckily, you don’t need to be a prospective student to visit Flagler College. They offer tours for any visitors to St. Augustine. Check here for more information.

Learn more:

Flagler College
74 King St
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Llama Restaurant

With Llama Restaurant, Chef Marcel Vizcarra seeks to bring his home country of Peru to St. Augustine’s incredible culinary scene. Trained at LeCordon Bleu in Lima, Vizcarra came to the U.S. and worked in kitchens along the Palm Coast before opening up Llama in 2016. With the help of his mom in the kitchen, he adds just a touch of experimentation to traditional Peruvian dishes to create a truly adventurous menu. 


Traveling with vegetarians? Don’t worry, you can still dine at Llama Restaurant. They have an entirely separate menu with plenty of options, so no one feels like they’re missing out.


Llama Restaurant
415 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080

“Where We Stand” Exhibit

During my visit, I joined fine art photographer Lenny Foster at the County Administration Building to check out his exhibit called Where We Stand. Each photograph features shoes in various historic locations around St. Augustine. Foster says he was inspired by his move and subsequent discovery of Lincolnville, the first incorporated community for freed slaves. From that discovery, he began to learn more about St. Augustine’s extensive and largely unrecognized African American history, which he wanted to tell in his photos. 


While the “Where We Stand” exhibit is no longer running at the County Administration Building, you can check out Lenny’s work at his Gallery One Forty Four.


Lenny Foster’s Gallery One Forty Four
144 King St
St. Augustine, FL 32084

GTM Research Reserve

You can’t go to the Florida coast without going to the beach! I joined Chris and Rob Taylor, founders of the original LGBTQ family travel blog, 2TravelDads, and their sons to explore the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, or GTM Research Reserve for short. Stretching almost 77,000 acres, the reserve focuses on protecting the surrounding ecosystem and educating visitors about the area’s natural biodiversity. While every St. Augustine beach has its own unique feature, GTM’s might just be the coolest in my book. Any guesses about what we found?

Did you know?

GTM Research Reserve is one of 29 of its kind in the United States.


Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
505 Guana River Rd #6527
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

Urban Asado

Some countries have barbecues, and some countries have asados. Asados are popular in South America, especially Argentina, where Urban Asado founder Nick Carrera’s father is from. Growing up around these unique events all his life, he always knew when he had his own place one day, normal BBQ grills wouldn’t cut it. Learning to make asado grills himself, he later created a business out of his garage with his wife, Christie. Grillmaking soon turned into pop-ups and demonstrations, which then turned into weekly celebrations that brought together chefs from the community who would prepare their own specialties. These 3-hour asados are full of mouthwatering food, inventive cocktails, and, most importantly, good company.  

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Book Your Own Experience

Newly opened, Asado Life is a further expansion of these weekly celebrations. Check here for their upcoming Live Fire Grilling Experiences.


Urban Asado
150 Riberia St
Unit C
St. Augustine, FL 32084


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