After coming off an RV high from our Atlanta trip, we decided our next adventure would be to St. Augustine, Florida – a city that many friends (and total strangers) have told us we would absolutely love. St. Augustine is revered as the oldest city in the United States, with history dating back to 1565. Common attractions include the St. Augustine Beach, St. George Street, the Castillo de San Marcos fort, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, and its walkability and charm.
We set out on Friday after work to stay overnight at a Walmart right outside of town. Bright and early Saturday morning we drove to the Visitor’s Center parking lot that is reserved for RV/trailers only – how amazing is that?! After getting Chewy harnessed up we biked through town and checked out the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Castillo de San Marcos.
Unfortunately, only Service Dogs were allowed in the Castillo de San Marcos fort. However, since we arrived on a special day with free admission we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and take turns going inside while the other stayed outside with Chewy to eat lunch. With a beautiful view of the fort and sailboats in the marina it was hard to be upset with the situation.
After lunch we found a place to lock up our bikes and walked through St. George Street and the Old City. I’m so bummed we didn’t allot more time to spend on St. George Street because it could take a couple days of exploring on its own! Honestly, all of downtown St. Augustine is charming. Streets are lined with shops selling fun collectibles, clothes, and antiques – all sprinkled with the town’s history.
In an effort to make the most of our afternoon we booked a tour with Red Train Trolley Tours (the cheapest trolley option AND the only trolley that allows dogs on board!) and spent about 90 minutes being carted around the city learning about Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, the Fountain of Youth, and the city’s not-so-bright history of being established through the slaughter and slavery of Native Americans. I was glad that our guide gave us the full picture of the city’s history and not just information regarding the popular tourist attractions.
At this point all 3 of us were pooped. We biked back to the van, turned the generator on for some AC, had a snack, and decided dinner would be best had if someone else made it, lol. Carbs must have been on Tony’s mind because when I asked him what he wanted for dinner he blurted “ITALIAN!” without hesitation. We were in luck because, when visiting a pet store earlier in the day, the owner gave me a coupon to Pizzalley’s Chianti Room and let me know dogs were allowed on the patio! So we packed up again and biked to Pizzalley’s where we enjoyed a really fabulous dinner and dessert – just what we needed to end our long day.
Sunday morning we woke up again in the Walmart parking lot (the Visitor Center lot is for day-use only) and headed out bright-and-early to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Because we arrived right when they opened there was plenty of room to park our van in the free marina parking lot across the street. With no crowds we toured the Keeper’s home, absorbed lots of history, then hiked up 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse and enjoyed an amazing view all within about an hours time.
Our last stop on our way home was the St. Augustine beach – of course. We parked the van at the Crescent Beach Parking Lot and walked over the boardwalk to discover a really beautiful beach. St. Augustine beaches are wide and deep, plenty of room for everyone to have their own space. Chewy had some snacks and napped a majority of the time while Tony and I played beach games. Within a couple of hours it was time to head home, but not before promising each other we would be back to visit again soon.
Thanks for reading!
*Notable places we didn’t get to visit were the St. Augustine Distillery (not necessarily for us, but if we had family or friends in tow), the famed Chocolate Factory, the St. Augustine Wild Reserve for rescued exotic animals, and Anastasia State Park.