St Augustine, Florida is famous for its family-friendly, sandy white beach areas. However, there are alternative places to go besides the beach for a more in-depth travel experience. Here are five things to do in St Augustine that will let you learn more about the historic sites and culture of the city.
Fort Matanzas National Museum - Travel about 15 miles south of St Augustine, and you can see a 1742 Spanish fort. You can explore the gun deck to see the cannons that fired upon British invaders, wander through the soldier’s and officers’ living quarters, peek at the black powder magazine, and climb the observation deck and tower.
Castillo De San Marcos National Monument - As the only remaining fort from the 17th century on the continent, this fortress is what remains of the original wall that protected the city of St Augustine. It commemorates the many colonial battles that took place among European nations over land in America. At the monument you can watch daily historical reenactments, learn about the time period from actors in costume, or journey on your own through the fort.
Lightner Museum - When the Hotel Alcazar in downtown St Augustine closed, Chicago publisher Otto Lightner bought it and filled it with his private collection of 19th century art and antiques. You can see examples of ornate furniture and cabinetry from the period, sculptures, paintings and glass work. This is certainly one of the best places to go if you are into Victorian history.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum - This museum is probably one of the most offbeat things to do in St Augustine. Historically based on Port Royal, Jamaica from 300 years ago, the museum was constructed with authentic-looking streets and a tavern. You can travel through the decks of a pirate ship and view hundreds of artifacts and interactive exhibits, such as centuries-old treasure chests, pirate flags, diaries and more.
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park - One of the most legendary historic sites in American history, this archaeological park marks the actual place where the colonization of Florida began in 1565. You can drink the famous spring water or experience the life of natives in the Timucua Indian Village of over 4,000 years ago. At the planetarium, you can see the stars as they were aligned when the Spanish explorers used them to travel to the place they named Florida.