Florida’s Historic Coast, also known as St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach, is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. Our destination was settled by Spanish explorers in 1565, but it has also been home to many cultures—Native American, Greek, Minorcan, French and British. You’ll find this diversity influences everything from food to architecture, shopping to entertainment and, of course, the many festivals and special events enjoyed year-round by visitors and locals alike.
What is your destination most known for?
Florida’s Historic Coast is best known for St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, the seaside golf resorts at Ponte Vedra Beach, and 42 miles of pristine beaches. Visitors come to St. Augustine for authentic historic experiences and to learn the history of first America. Ponte Vedra is best known as the golf capitol of Florida, home to the PGA Tour and the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass where THE PLAYERS Championship (the 5th major) takes place each spring, and the World Golf Hall of Fame is nearby too. The entire destination is capped off with 42 miles of pristine Atlantic Coast beaches where surfing and wildlife watching are appreciated throughout the year.
During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?
There are plenty of safety precautions in place throughout Florida’s Historic Coast, including mandated face coverings, at indoor venues when 6-10 foot distancing is not possible, and there are wash stations at the entrance to all merchant and restaurant . Fortunately, Florida’s Historic Coast is an outdoor destination where social distancing is a natural occurrence. The coastal has miles of natural waterways that are ideal for paddling and enjoying wildlife viewing. There are several tours that provide great opportunities to view dolphins and birds in their natural habitat, while providing a great education about the local pristine environment. The city of St. Augustine is a charming historic city that is pedestrian friendly and features numerous outdoor attractions like the Colonial Quarter, The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, Fort Mose Historic Site and so many others. The dining scene here is among Florida’s best. The year-round mild climate not only means year-round fresh foods, but incredible outdoor dining venues. There are more than a dozen golf courses in the area with plenty of challenge for the golfer.
What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?
The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Visitors can climb the 219 steps to the top where they are rewarded with panoramic view of the city of St. Augustine’s skyline of Mediterranean and colonial Spanish architecture, the natural marshes of inland waterways and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The Lighthouse celebrates the maritime heritage of our nation’s oldest port city, with exhibits about the shrimping industry, wooden boat building, and the artifacts and treasures recovered by the Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program.
What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?
When visiting our website, www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com, be sure to check out our blog pages that populate in English and Spanish. . This is full of information about the latest news and happenings taking place on Florida’s Historic Coast. And, there is a very important pop-up regarding Healthy Travel to the area which includes a list of all open businesses.
How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?
Our organization has been involved with NATJA for many years. I first learned of NATJA in 2006 when I joined the Communications Team at our VCB in an email from NATJA. We joined then because of the great opportunities to grow awareness of our destination through networking with the quality travel journalist members. Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?
It is approaching one of the most brilliant times of year on Florida’s Historic Coast. Nights of Lights, the celebration that lights the entire city of St. Augustine In tiny white lights through the holiday season will take place November 14, 20202 through January 31, 2021.
In order to comply with CDC safe distancing practices, there will night be a Light Up Night ceremony this year, and many of the traditional Christmas events that take place will be postponed to 2021. The city still intends to shine bright and provide an uplifting site for visitors to see.