Spanish Delights and Serious Sun in St. Augustine

Posted August 18, 2009 by Jamie Moore

FL-StAugustine-42milesofbeaches-DEF Hidden down St. Augustine's alleyways and along brick-lined streets are delightful boutiques and scrumptious food reflecting the heritage of this old Spanish colony. Offbeat stores and art galleries tempt both serious shoppers and bargain hunters. Don't resist the lure of a local diner's spicy treats before spending the afternoon on a stretch of St. Augustine's 42 miles of sandy beach.

Downtown St. Augustine: Shoppers of every persuasion and budget will love St. Augustine's downtown. In the Colonial Spanish Quarter living history museum, blacksmiths, leatherworkers, and cobblers ply their trade and sell their wares: leather pouches, beeswax candles, and iron wall hooks. Aviles Street beckons art lovers to see modern-day artisans create exquisite pottery and beautiful watercolors. And San Marco Street—with more than 18 antique stores stuffed with collectibles—satisfies even the most discriminating antique hunters.

O'Steen's Restaurant: You'll need lots of time and not many dollars to enjoy this nondescript diner. There's almost always a line of rumbling stomachs wanting to dig into the legendary fried shrimp and spicy Minorcan clam chowder here. Locals recommend dipping the shrimp in O'Steen's datil sauce (a sweet and spicy sauce made with Spanish datil peppers), choosing hush puppies for your side dish, and washing it all down with hot sweet tea. Cash only.

St. Augustine's beaches: There are so many things to do on St. Augustine's 42-mile strand it would take an extended stay to experience them all. Start with swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, kitesurfing, or windsurfing. You can also visit a Spanish fort built in 1672; check out an alligator farm; or spot giant sea turtles, northern right whales, and countless species of birds. Exhausted? Grab a lounge chair and watch the sun set slowly over the Atlantic.

To search for flights and compare prices to Jacksonville, which is home to St. Augustine’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau)

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