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St Augustine - Florida Palm Coast - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Days Out

As an aside to the Joys of Orlando and its theme parks take a trip back to colonial times into Americas recent history.

St Augustine is a short distance along Florida's Palm coast about a 3 hour drive from Orlando. The USA's oldest colonial town colonised by the Spanish in 1565 it is the oldest enduring settlement in the USA. Vestiges of this period are apparent in the town today in the form of the town plan originally laid out in the 16th century by the Spanish governor . The small Spanish style houses with their balconies feature throughout this lovely town along with traditional Floridian homes.

The feature of the town is the famous Castillo de San Marco a 17th century castle built from cochina which is basically crushed sea shells but well worth a tour. For visitors like ourselves with 2 kids the tour of the town by the small train that winds through the streets with a very knowledgeable guide at the wheel was a must. Visiting all points of interest this jump on jump off tour was ideal and your tickets last for 3 days!

Walking in the town is a real pleasure with its narrow streets and myriad of small shops its a real tourists dream. The tour of the old gaol with its costumed guides is a must do as it takes you back to the days when hanging was the norm and you can see the old gallows still in working order. So the kids will behave or its into the "birdcage" still hanging outside the gaol.

St Augustine is the home of the famous Flagler College this was converted from one of 3 hotels built by Henry Flagler a railroad millionaire and patron of the town. Formerly the hotel Ponce de Leon this was adapted to a seat of learning in 1971and embraces 1700 students. His 2nd hotel the Alcazar houses the Lightner Museum and the third Casa Monica is THE place to stay in St Augustine following refurbishment in 1999.

For us yet to win the lottery there is an abundance of small hotels and guesthouses throughout the town.6 miles to the north of St Augustine is the new World Golf Resort with its 2 championship courses, Renaissance hotel and also condos you can rent by the night. We chose the latter and for a very reasonable tariff had a 2 bed apartment with kitchen, lounge and balcony overlooking the course.

This is also the home of the newly constructed World Golf Hall of Fame and PGA Academy so for golfers worldwide this is heaven. This is due to be opened officially in Nov 2004 when the worlds greatest golfers will be inducted. Over 2 million visitors visit this unique part of Florida lured by the sense of discovering a unique part of American history and we will certainly go back.

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