St. Augustine, Fla. (July 20, 2022) – With more than 455 Years of history, there are hundreds of ways to experience the storied past of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches and we are finding more new ways to share the experiences of yesterday and today.
The City of St. Augustine boasts more than 25 intimate bed & breakfast inns and historic boutique hotels with both a variety and wide range of options. Two new hotels opened this past year: the Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown, which was built to replicate the historic San Sebastian Hotel of the 1800s, but with all the modern amenities; and, the Homewood Suites by Hilton, which is located on the banks of the San Sebastian River overlooking the San Sebastian Winery.
Boutique hotels and inns have gone techie! Guy Harvey Resort St. Augustine Beach is the latest lodging property in the area to offer contact-free guest services and mobile keys ensuring safe and secure on-site experiences. Recognized by USA TODAY 10Best as the #1 Roadside Motel in the U.S., at The Local Inn, checking in is anything but vintage at this mid-century 21-room inn located near Anastasia State Park and historic downtown St. Augustine. It is all digital, even the bicycles. The Bayfront Marin House B&B, was also recognized by Tripadvisor with a Travelers’ Choice Award, and was among the first to achieve this digital trend with their in-room digital concierge “Angie,” programmed with information about Bayfront Marin House and important area information. Plus, “Angie” can send a message to the front desk.
Recently recognized by Travel & Leisure Magazine as one of best resort hotels in Florida, The Collector Luxury Inn and Gardens is now offering private lessons to guests to learn the art of craft cocktails. Also, with every two-night stay booking The Collector provides guests a $25 gas card to help fuel their St. Augustine adventure.
Fun times can be had by the sea at the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort, one of the few Embassy Suites Resorts in the chain, which recently completed a new wing which added more than 40 rooms to the resort.
New hotels set to open in the months ahead include the Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Historic and the Hyatt Place Resort on Vilano Beach.
There are now more magical ways to learn and explore!
A fantastic new water shuttle service, Dolphin Bay Scenic Water Shuttle, provides daily shuttle services across the beautiful Matanzas Bay between St. Augustine Municipal Marina and Vilano Beach. The shuttle provides visitors with a scenic trip across the bay while learning more about the area’s natural environment and historic culture from the water, without having to worry about traffic and parking.
Enjoy a Magic Hideaway experience featuring brilliant magic and mind reading experiences in a boutique showroom at the magnificent Casa Monica Resort & Spa. Indulge in a complimentary cocktail in the opulent Cobalt Lounge before being ushered into the Magic Hideaway, where the award-winning Master Magician Bill Abbott will host an intimate performance of sleight of hand and mysterious wonders.
This summer visitors to the oldest city will be able to enjoy participating in a magnificent architectural tour with Genteel & Bard walking tours. St. Augustine’s newest tour will provide participants with a sophisticated guided walk-through history, focusing on the architectural beauty and the stories behind some of the area’s most significantly important buildings. The guides on these intimate tours wear a microphone so you can hear loud and clear through your complimentary souvenir earbuds allowing participants plenty of personal space.
And there is more magic: Take a nighttime kayak adventure that showcases a natural phenomenon, bioluminescence created by billions of jelly combs and dinoflagellates in the night-time waters of Guana Lake. The local outfitter GeoTrippin Adventure Company now offers an exclusive nighttime paddle on the protected lake where paddlers can experience this fascinating show on select dates throughout the year.
Sports facilities here are growing too!
As home to the PGA Tour, TPC Sawgrass, host to The PLAYERS Championship and the World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine l Ponte Vedra Beach has often been referred to as the golf mecca. The latest news in golf is that The PXG Women’s Match Play Championship, an event on the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, returns to the World Golf Village October 30-November 6. The ATP Tour is also headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, as well as dozens of impeccable tennis resorts and facilities. In addition, the area’s 42 miles of Atlantic coastline is ideal for surfing, and the sport fishing is plentiful.
Now America’s fastest growing sport, pickleball is also taking the sports stage on Florida’s Historic Coast. To accommodate this easy to learn and a fun competitive sport, courts all over the area are adapting to accommodate play and competitions. The Yards at Ponte Vedra Beach is a one-of-a-kind sports complex for golf, tennis and more, with an emphasis on pickleball as evidenced by facility upgrades and the recent construction of an entirely new pickleball complex.
All is well on Florida’s Historic Coast.
Great retreats and pampering moments help keep your getaway to St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches refreshing and renewing. The spas at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort, the Casa Monica Resort & Spa and several of the day spas in the area have provided rejuvenating experiences for visitors. Now there are even more opportunities for visitors to experience a healthful retreat. The Bayfront Marin House Inn St. Augustine offers summertime guests a new Wellness Retreat Package where at check-in the refreshing begins with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to prepare for the in-room couples massage. A collection of crafted luxurious body creams, soaps and candles from local St. Augustine Soap Company are included.
There are dozens of ways for visitors to keep health and fitness on their itinerary too. Guests at the Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resorts can enjoy morning yoga beachside. In downtown St. Augustine, The Pilates Yoga Loft offers a variety of classes and holistic services. Pilates Mat classes, several yoga disciplines for all ages, including Restorative, Yin, Vinyasa Hatha and more. They even specialize in Aerial yoga and plan SUP Yoga outings.
There are new flavorful experiences too!
I Scream, you scream, we all want some ice cream. Walk the streets of St. Augustine and you can find lots of tasty cool treats. Tedi’s Ice Cream, which has been a favorite on St. George Street since the 1960s, along with modern treats like Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, the eclectic Peace Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches on Aviles Street, Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar and Mayday Handcrafted Ice Cream on Hypolito Street – each offers yummy hand-crafted cool tastes. Mayday Handcrafted Ice Creams, named in honor of some innovative Americans who served our country in World War II, will open their ninth Mayday location (Midtown) on July 21 at 1765 Tree Blvd. in St. Augustine. The new store will serve up their classic ice cream flavors with a modern twist.
There are great new food tour offerings here, too. Each is amazing and deliver on taste, stories and experiences that will tease you into wanting more. The St. Augustine Experiences Tours, recently recognized by Tripadvisor as the Best Food Tour in the World!, has added two new tours: The St. Augustine Historic Tour, focusing on history and architecture, and the new Dining at Twilight, an evening culinary experience that blends wine, food, and history to create an incredible evening on the town. And The Tasting Tours, a recipient of Tripadvisor’s 2022 Travelers’ Choice awards, has also added some really fun themed tours including the Shiver Me Timbers Swashbuckling Cocktail Tour and the St. Augustine Sangria Stroll.
We have new ways to explore spirits too!
St. Augustine has a well known reputation for being home to supernatural spirits. In recent years, the city is more widely now for sipping Spirits.
s a founding partners of DestinationDistillery.com, a new national distillery trail app, St. Augustine Distillery and City Gate Spirits are the first stops of the Florida Distillery Trail. This makes perfect sense since St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation and St. Augustine Distillery, ranked the #1 Whiskey tour in the U.S., was the first in Florida to legally distill Bourbon. The new trail is a tourism initiative created by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). “While we take great pride in making our award-winning spirits, we are equally committed to making sure our guests enjoy them safely,” said Philip McDaniel, CEO of St. Augustine Distillery and member of DISCUS. “Together, members of DISCUS can create and grow strong partnerships between local agriculture, craft distilling and responsible tourism experience. St. Augustine Distillery is proud to be a leader in this initiative.”
This fall, Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife comes to Vilano Beach November 4-6, 2022. Great spirits and wine tastings are artfully combined with inspired cuisine from some of the South’s best chefs and local culinary superstars, with a chance to safely experience coastal wildlife up close. The weekend’s events will raise funds and awareness for Vilano Beach Main Street and the GTM Reserve’s research and education programs. Experts will be on-hand to showcase fun, interactive programs with coastal wildlife, from sea turtles to alligators.
Getting here in 2022 is a little easier too
Florida’s Historic Coast remains an easy access drive destination. And, there is also great air service available via Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), approximately 50 minutes north of St. Augustine and 30 minutes from Ponte Vedra, and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) approximately 50 minutes to the south. Both airports are served by all major airline carriers.
New non-stop service with Breeze Airways between Jacksonville and eight cities across the U.S. recently started in May and June.
In addition, Elite Airways offers service between Newark Liberty Airport and Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. The nonstop jet flights operate with arrivals to St. Augustine on Monday and Thursday, and departures on Tuesday and Friday. Non-stop flights are also offered between Portland, Maine and Northeast Florida Regional Airport with arrivals to St. Augustine on Saturday and departures on Sunday.