St. Augustine has long been a favorite of mine to visit. I can remember visits as a kid to the fort (Castillo de San Marcos) with my mom and having picnics on the sprawling green lawns that surround the fortress and moat. There is something magical about walking down a coquina street that is over 500 years old that struck me as a child on my many trips to The Nation’s Oldest City. The city holds the same appeal and magic that it did on my first trip there 20 years ago.
Of course now as an adult, I am able to enjoy all that the city has to offer by way of food and libation too. Any trip I take to St. Augustine requires a stop at The Columbia Restaurant, an Old City staple since 1983. If you go, please order the 1905 salad and Black Bean Soup. You will thank me for this. There are some wonderful newer restaurants on the scene that have been welcomed discoveries like Spy Sushi, Collage and Bistro de Leon. For great atmosphere, a glorious Port list and a different-from-every-other-bar experience, please check out Stogies Jazz Club. This is a cigar bar, but if smoking isn’t your thing, there is a nice sized courtyard to sit and enjoy. Bonus points for live jazz on the weekends!
When I take a break from eating my way through St. Augustine, I most enjoy wandering the cobblestone and coquina streets to people watch and look for photo opportunities- which are everywhere. Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, Castillo de San Marcos and too many beautiful old churches to name are just blocks from each other. The streets of Old Town St. Augustine are lined with quaint Bed & Breakfasts and more candy makers and bakers than I can resist. The history, food and quirky cross-section of people you’ll find here make St. Augustine the most charming city in the state of Florida!