Did you know that America’s oldest town is located in the Sunshine State? That’s right, the small city of St. Augustine, Florida holds the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuously inhabited European settlement.
The History of St. Augustine
Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St. Augustine has a long and storied history. In its early years, the city was a key cog in the Spanish empire’s New World holdings. It changed hands several times over the years, passing from Spanish to British to American control. Today, it is a thriving tourist destination, boasting beautiful beaches, a plethora of historical sites, and ample opportunity for outdoor recreation.
What to See and Do in St. Augustine
There is no shortage of things to see and do in St. Augustine. The city’s many historical sites include the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish fort; the Colonial Quarter, a living history museum; and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the state’s oldest Catholic church. Other popular attractions include Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a museum dedicated to oddities; and Pirate & Treasure Museum, which explores the city’s pirate history.
Time to Visit America’s Oldest Town
Whether you’re interested in history, beaches, or just want to explore a new part of Florida, St. Augustine is definitely worth a visit. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head on down to America’s oldest town!
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Bonus: 10 Facts About America’s Oldest Town
- St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
- The city is located in Northeast Florida on the Atlantic coast and is the county seat of St. Johns County.
- The population of St. Augustine is approximately 14,500 people.
- The city is a popular tourist destination, with over 4 – 6 million visitors each year.
- St. Augustine is home to several historic landmarks, including the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States; the Mission of Nombre de Dios, the site of the first Catholic Mass in America; and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where Visitors can see the remains of a 16th-century Spanish settlement.
- Other popular attractions include Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, and Fort Matanzas National Monument.
- The climate in St. Augustine is subtropical, with average temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer.
- Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage to St. Augustine in 2016. The economy of St. Augustine is largely based on tourism, with over 60% of jobs being related to the tourism industry.
- Major annual events in St. Augustine include the Nights of Lights celebration, which features over 3 million lights displayed throughout the city; Mardi Gras, which features a parade and festivities; and the Festival of Art & Crafts