NOTE: As of March 23, there is no public parking at any of our county’s beaches. Retail stores, state parks, and museums have been closed. We will keep this post live, as these will be great suggestions for quiet getaways when everything returns to normal.
In the meantime, you can see a list of restaurants that are delivering food here:
If you’re thinking about visiting St. Augustine, and looking for some activities that will keep you off the beaten path and keep you a safe six feet from other visitors, here are our suggestions:
Hit the beach. Salt air…plenty of distance between you and everyone else…PLUS the sound of the waves to help you relax. Don’t forget…stress makes you more vulnerable to all kinds of health issues. If you want to get some Vitamin Sea, ask to borrow chairs, beach towels, and an umbrella. There are 42 miles of beach in our county—ask any one of us for our favorites.
Paddle board. Want to feel more centered and balanced? Try paddle boarding with our friend Jeffrey Batton of Latitude 29 on Vilano Beach. Never paddled before? He specializes in newbies. Call him at 954.681.2447.
Take a walk. It’s the best way to see our streets and appreciate all the architectural details in our city. Try walking through Lincolnville, a collection of Victorian homes, all on quiet, tree-lined streets. Or walk over the Bridge of Lions—and watch the drawbridge go up and down at least once. You’ll get a great view of the city from the middle of the bridge.
Lincolnville Museum. St. Augustine was an important part of the Civil Rights movement, and there were lots of leaders living here (you’ll find the Civil Rights Trail throughout the city as well—the museum has a map). The museum is located at 102 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, about a 25-minute walk.
Hiking. Just when you thought Florida had no hills, Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka is here to show you otherwise. Located about 30 miles from St. Augustine, the park has ravines, a suspension bridge, and stone patios and steps through the landscaping. The trails are of a moderate difficulty.
Nature Trails. Washington Oaks is a 35-minute drive down scenic A1A. It includes 425 acres of coastal beauty, as well as lovely rose gardens, water features, and a gazebo. My favorite part? When you’re walking on the nature trail and suddenly it opens up to a beach—with a quiet bench to enjoy the lapping water. Call first to check hours. www.washingtonoaks.org.
Go Fish. If you have a pole, take it with you to Washington Oaks. If you need one, pick one up from www.staugustinemarinainc.com at the Vilano Beach Pier. The pier is a great place to fish, or watch the daily sunset.
Listen to Fish. Call EcoTours and ask them about their private tours. Captain Zach will show you birds, give you history, and let you listen to the underwater fish “conversations”. The boat is right at the City Marina, which is less than a block from the inn.
Have a picnic. If you’d like to spend a lot of time outdoors, consider having a picnic lunch delivered to you. Hillary Lake owns Jax Beach Baskets, and she will drop off a bag filled with delicious, homemade items. You can see the full menu at www.jaxbeachbaskets.com . Please note: Hillary makes the salads and sandwich condiments from scratch, and she requires orders to be placed by 7:00pm the night before delivery.
Take a bike ride. You’ll love the charming houses around Maria Sanchez Lake. Borrow one of our bikes and helmets and zip on over. Don’t leave ‘til you see houses with tree trunks instead of porch pillars.
Salt Spa. Have you been to the salt spa on Riberia Street? Even if you don’t have time for a massage or a float in their sensory deprivation tank, make time to sit in their salt cave. Spa owner Beata Kosakowska is from Poland, where her dad was a doctor who used salt therapy to treat patients. He used western medicine too, but he always tried to start with salt therapy. If you haven’t been to a salt cave, it’s exactly what it sounds like—a room filled with loose salt on the floor, and salt slabs covering the walls and ceiling. A fountain is trickling, and calming music is playing as you sit in a reclining chair and breathe in the purifying salt. There’s no humidity in the cave, and just reclining there for a bit—breathing deeply—is a great way to recharge your batteries.
Visit the military cemetery at the Army Barracks. True story: I had a very stressful time about 12 months ago, when I was overwhelmed and anxious. Like, heart racing and tears anxious. I took a little walk and saw the cemetery (it’s just down Marine Street). I walked up and down a few rows of tombstones then sat down to cry. In a few minutes, I picked myself up and realized I was the luckiest person in the whole place. After all, I was the only person above ground, and any one of the people buried under the markers would give the world to have my little problems. It was a good moment to get my perspective back, and think about everything I have to be grateful for. If that sounds appealing to you, it’s only about 3 blocks away.
If you’re hunkering down at home, be safe. If you’re hankering to hunker in a place on the water, give us a call. Many of our suites at the beach have full kitchens (including the Royal Palm, the Oceanview Cottage, the Lagoon Cottage, and the Atlantic Suite), and the others all have mini fridges and microwaves. We have two suites downtown with full kitchens—our Marine Street Apartment, and our new Jose Simeon Suite.
Together, we will all get through this.