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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Thank you City of St. Augustine for being a great host to my family and I!


Another Annual End/Beginning of the year trip came to an end, and this one is by far one of the best trips we have taken in Florida!


It wasn't the usual of hitting the beach or being in a sea of long lines at amusement parks.  No, this trip was much more than that.  A vacation that was educational, but still having fun at the same time.



I started these annual trips back in 2012 because I felt like due to my previous job of always working I wasn't spending enough quality time with my family.


As an appreciation for a job well done for each year, my employer gave their employees time off from Christmas to New Years, plus a hefty holiday bonus.  So I used my time off and part of my holiday cash on a trip to Florida each year to make up time lost with my family.  It's like giving my family the gift of experience, something that they'll always remember and cherish.


I've wanted to visit St. Augustine for over a year now.  Something about the oldest city in the U.S. kept calling me to come and explore it.  Maybe, because we drove through it during our road trip back home from Orlando?  But whatever made me want to go, I'm glad that St. Augustine came down as our choice to have our vacation.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


According to Google, St. Augustine is a city on the northeast coast of Florida. It lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S. and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture as well as Atlantic Ocean beaches like sandy St. Augustine Beach and tranquil Crescent Beach.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Florida's Historic Coast has captured attention worldwide with recognition by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure, TripAdvisor, USA Today, and other Top National publications.


There is something for everyone in St. Augustine, like exploring the culture, arts, eateries, beaches, entertainment, and more.   Never a dull moment in this charming city along the historic coast.


Our itinerary was full of activities to do.  So much to do and so little time, plus, unfortunately, due to the unseasonably cold weather, we had to limit our outside activities to indoor to keep warm.


I must have brought the cold with me from Georgia.  😄


Check out all that we did in St. Augustine, Florida:



Day 1


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


We rang in the New Year St. Augustine style by checking out their Nights of Lights in the Historic District.  Every year, millions of twinkling lights cover the cityscape of St. Augustine from November 18, 2017, and continuing nightly through January 31, 2018.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Such a beautiful display of glowing lights in the night, making St. Augustine come to life during the after hours.  It's like stepping into a  Winter Wonderland!  My girls were wide-eyed seeing the gorgeous display.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Also, we walked the brick-lined streets checking out the different shops and restaurants.  The Spanish Colonial architecture of the buildings made me feel like I was walking the streets of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, also the French District in New Orleans.  But St. Augustine Historic District has that vibe of romance that is captivating.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Due to the frigid weather, we couldn't wait until the countdown to midnight to watch the fireworks over the bay, so we headed back to our hotel that was located 20 minutes away in the World Golf Village, created by the PGA Tour.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com



Day 2

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum


The temperature was dropping daily, so indoor activities are what we did.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


The first attraction we visited was Ripley's Believe It or Not.  This oddities museum is my family and me's favorite, we been to the one in Myrtle Beach and Gatlinburg, but the one in St. Augustine is the best by far.  It had a creepiness factored to it, maybe because it's in an old building that was built back in 1887.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Do you want to know a cool fact?

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

This museum used to be a hotel/castle that Ripley himself frequently visited.  Ripley died in 1949, and his estate purchased the property in December 1950, making this museum the first permanent Ripley's museum.  No wonder I like this one the best!  Each museum has different artifacts, so none of them are the same.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


After learning about the unbelievable oddities Ripley discovered in the world, we braved the cold and took a stroll around the Historic District during the daytime.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Every corner you're stepping into history; there is a story to tell on every street.  Such a magical place of stepping back in time living old authentic history.



Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

St. Augustine is a Foodie's paradise with year-round fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and spicy dishes with cultural influences of 450 years of history- Spanish, Greek, Minorcan, British, and French.  Definitely hits your taste buds.


Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


It was hard for us to choose where to have our first dining experience in St. Augustine, but thanks to one of my followers on Instagram she suggested us to eat at Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille that overlooks the bayfront at the Historic District.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Harry's serves up authentic New Orleans bold flavors and unique ingredients of their specialties of New Orlean-style shrimp, shrimp etouffee and much more.


Thank goodness we went because everything on our plates was delicious, down to the last bite!  My main dish was the Shrimp and Chicken Creole, and wow, it had my whole family sampling my food, it was that good.  Made me want to return to this restaurant for 2nds.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum


We ended our 2nd day taking a journey back in time several centuries ago during the piracy era at St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


This museum features the world's most extensive collection of pirate artifacts and interactive exhibits.  Inside, my family and I went on a treasure hunt to find different artifacts on a map the museum gave us.  And guess what!  We found them all and was rewarded pirate's booty!

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Day 3


Castillo de San Marcos


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Temperature still dropping, but at this point, I didn't care, I had to visit Castillo de San Marcos.



Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S.  It was built (1672-1695) to protect the town and the treasure fleets on their way home from Spain.  It features daily demonstrations of Spanish military life, including musket and cannon firing.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


The craftsmanship to build this fort centuries ago is outstanding and is holding up quite well.  Each room in the fort shared facts about what the rooms were used for.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com



Back in the Historic District, we also visited The Oldest Wooden School House Museum and Gardens.  We got to sit with schoolmaster and pupils to see what school life was like in the 1700s during the 1st Spanish period.  The schoolhouse is more than 200 years old and made of red cedar and cypress.  During the end of the tour, the girls graduated and were handed diplomas.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Potter's Wax Museum


Just a couple of blocks away, we stopped in the Potter's Wax Museum, the first wax museum in the U.S.  (I had no clue this was the first!)

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


More than 160 lifelike figures inside with authentic wax statues from the original 1949 collection- fascinating examples of traditional methods of wax sculpting.  Each wax figure took over 400 hours to create using real human hair, piece by piece, and human prosthetics.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


I was amazed how well done these wax figures are, so surreal that it looks like they are alive staring right at you.  Creepy!  Wax figures consents of famous Hollywood celebrities, professional all-star athletes, and political figures.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com



A1A Burrito Works Taco Shop



Another eaterie spot we ate at in the Historic District was the A1A Burrito Works Taco Shop.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


We wanted a cheap eat, but still, a tasty meal and this Taco Shop didn't disappoint.   Fresh ingredients, made to order food right in front of you.  I had Taco Shop's chicken nachos, and it was satisfying.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

The atmosphere has a laid back colorful beach vibe, with friendly, helpful employees.  The shop is small, so on busy days, it'll be hard to sit and eat in there.   But still, it's a must-visit taco spot while in St. Augustine.



Day 4

World Golf Hall of Fame


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Our trip was ending, but first, before we took the 6-hour road trip back home, we visited the World of Golf Hall of Fame.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

This museum is a shrine to the game's greatest players, the World Golf Hall of Fame features 600 years of golf history, incredible memorabilia, and demonstrations.  Outdoors, visitors can visit the Walk of Champions.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com




I'm not a follower of golf, so a lot of information inside the museum I didn't know.  But, it was good to learn how golf got started and how it grew to what it is today.

Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com

This museum is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.


We hated that our trip ended so quickly, we still had a lot more things to do and see, over a months worth!


We for sure need to go back during the warmer months to experience more outdoor activities, especially the beaches.  Also, I would like to visit the famous Flagler College and Lightner Museum.


Exploring Florida's Historic Coast: St. Augustine  via  www.productreviewmom.com


St. Augustine helped me reconnect with my family forgetting about our busy lives back at home.  This unforgettable trip will be one of our newest family destinations we will revisit again and again.


Plan your next trip to St. Augustine, Florida today!  I guarantee you this hidden treasure will be your families favorite vacation destination!


Check out Clips I Did on Instastories





Have you ever taken a trip to St. Augustine, Florida?

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1 comment

  1. Wow! Lots of history in that city. You have great pictures too. It felt like I was right there. Glad you guys had a good time despite the cold weather.

    ReplyDelete