Florida Road Trip Part 2: Ponte Vedre and St. Augustine

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St. AugustineAfter traversing the snowy mountain of the Virginias and spending a couple of days in the genteel south of Savannah, we finally crossed the border of the sunshine state known as Florida.  As our car wheels rolled across the state line we noticed that the temperature was sitting at 68 degrees.

We bet each other if it would reach 70 degrees before we reached Jacksonville. It did, for about two minutes! That was the last of the 70’s we would see for the next few days.  In fact one day I even wore my winter coat!.  We left Michigan for this?

Ponte Vedra, best known for the Player’s Golf Tournament held at the Marriot Sawgrass Resort was our home base for the next few days.  From Ponte Vedra we looked over the Resort, The Jax Beach pier and St Augustine.

Marriott Sawgrass Resort

SawgrassAt Jax Beach pier we were fortunate enough to see a pair of pelicans up close. If pelicans could lick their lips in anticipation of a tasty morsel these two were.  They were waiting patiently for the fishermen to toss them their leftovers.

PelicansThis pier stretches 1300 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, offering spectacular views of the beach, surging waves, and the life in the ocean.

Jax Beach Pier

SurfersThe only caveat of this experience was the fact that they charge a $1.00 spectator fee.  During our travels in Florida this was the only pier to charge.

After our time on the pier came to a close we decided to have a drink at Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant.  They have a wonderful patio area in the Penthouse Restaurant that offers an entirely different perspective than the pier, but as equally as enjoyable.

What can be said about St. Augustine?  Everyone recommended that we visit and we are so glad we did.  It is a city with something for everyone, from the so-called tourist traps, to a nature lover’s paradise, to museums, a fort and a historical area to name just a few.

St. AugustineSince we were only going to spend a day here we decided that our priorities were the Lightner Museum, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the older section of the town.

The Lightner Museum was commissioned in 1867 by Henry Flager to be built as a luxurious hotel, known as as the Hotel Alcazar.  In the 1940’s it was purchased by Chicago publisher, Otto Leightner to house his extensive collection of art and artifacts, in what was the turkish baths, spa and the three story ballroom of the hotel.  

Lightner MuseumThe Alcazar Hotel also housed the first ever indoor pool, that has now been converted into a restaurant.  I could not help but be amazed at the enormity of the pool area.  This is truly a building that was well worth the time we spent here.

Alcazar HotelThe Castillo de San Marcos is a Spanish style fort, built to protect Spain’s interest.  So well constructed that it was never defeated in battle, and still stands today, looking much the same as it did centuries ago.

FortThe volunteers do a great job of recreating the life of a Spanish soldier, even shooting off a cannon.

Castillo FortThe Old Town area of St Augustine is a charming area with cobblestone streets and store of every persuasion.  The oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country sits here.

As our time ended in Ponte Vedra our next adventure took us to Blue Springs State Park and Universal Studios.

Photo Credits: Randy Heath

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Disclosure: This was a trip we took on our own dime. Nothing was provided. We just wanted to share our experiences with others.

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  1. Lifejackets and Immersion Survival Suit UseMany deaths in cold
    water occur after an frigid rigid ice chest inadvertent fall overboard.

  2. Looks nice! I would love to visit!

  3. My husband and I love to visit St. Augustine, Florida because if offers so many fun and interesting activities for any age to do from horse drawn carriages to cute little red trams and of course a bit of shoe leather when you just want to walk about. There is so much history here and a great place to take the kids for education and fun.

  4. Christina Kelbel says:

    Does not look like a trip I would enjoy, thanks for sharing.

  5. Looks gorgeous! Would love to visit!

  6. St Augustine looks beautiful i would love to travel there

  7. heather hayes panjon says:

    Great Pictures, Looks like a Colonial City !:)

  8. Daniella says:

    Thank you for the fantastic suggestions! My husband and I have driven down to FL a few times and it’s nice to add a few unexpected things to the “to-do-next-time” list!

  9. Looks great! I would love to visit someday

  10. Sandy VanHoey says:

    So much in common. I was born & raised in Michigan but now live near Savannah. Love visiting Florida and appreciate your photos. I haven’t been to St. Augestine

  11. Harmony B says:

    It amazes me that there such beautiful places here in the states that I would love to see. Thanks for the great photos

  12. My parents live in Florida half the year. Though I’ve visited, I haven’t yet really explored much of the state. Something I’d really like to do some day.

  13. Jennifer Marie says:

    I would love to see the Castillo de San Marcos!

  14. This looks like so much fun…I have to visit someday!

  15. Go in spring, when it’s warm but dry.

  16. I haven’t been to St. Augustine in decades. Maybe it’s time for a trip.

  17. St Augustine is a very beautiful and historic location, were Ghost Hunter fans so found a couple places there we checked out.

  18. Betty Baez says:

    Beautiful pictures! I wish we would’ve stopped there on our Florida trip last month

  19. My family loved our trip to St. Augustine. We spent several days there and thought about extending out stay- that’s how much we enjoyed it. We were enjoying our last day until we got pulled over in a speed trap. Who knew that the exit for attraction we were visiting pulled out right into a school zone? My husband was so mad- the fine was triple than we’d ever paid for a speeding ticket (not that we make it a habit to knowlingly speed). After that we decided that St. Augustine had gotten enough of our tourist dollars. :( An unhappy ending to an otherwise wonderful trip.

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