St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, Florida
Along the way, you'll discover that some of the best parts of the beaches in St. Augustine, Florida aren't even beaches. Beside roaring waves, creeks and rivers gurgle. Sand dunes rise up and marshes lie low, inviting a marvelous menagerie. Yes, there is much to explore. But it's perfectly acceptable to do nothing but tread barefoot as you create castles - and memories - out of sand.
After all, there is a fairy-tale fascination to this place; it's a fascination you can feel. Old flames have a way of generating new sparks, like candlelight presiding over a repast of contemporary cuisine in a centuries-old setting, or the magic of myriad brilliant bulbs illuminating the town and its heritage. Your imagination ignites at the touch of timeless textures - tabby, coquina and brick. Nearly 450 years later, the Nation's Oldest City inspires its own class of old-Florida charm.
Complimentary to a coastal retreat, the class is casual. Golfers actively indulge in the game on gorgeous greens. They seek inspiration in legends enshrined in a Hall of Fame, and legends-in-the-making who challenge local championship tees. Gracious resorts envelop spa-goers in serene simplicity. Shopping for the antique or the avant-garde invokes whimsy - all within a haven where high life meets low key.
Isn't it time you took a real time-out?
Enjoy a Golf Vacation
The sunny beaches and succulent seafood of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and Vilano Beach are certainly popular draws for visitors to Florida. If one had to pick another reason to spend a lengthy vacation along this stretch of Atlantic shore, the prospect of a great golf game might just be the ticket. It’s no secret that professionals and casual golfers enjoy the lush greens of Northern Florida golf courses, and if you’re the type to plan your trip around eighteen holes St. Augustine is the place for you.
Where are the best courses to play? Here are a few suggestions to “link” you up to a great golfing vacation.
A World of Golf Awaits
Imagine if Disney World had been built specifically to showcase golf…that pretty much describes the World Golf Village in St. Augustine. This is perhaps the largest and most luxurious golf resort in the state, with two par-72 championship courses and an official PGA-recognized golf academy on the premises. When not out on the greens, you can tour the World Golf Hall of Fame or catch a show at the on-site IMAX theater, and for non-golfers on the family there is a full-service spa, swimming pools, and easy access to historic St. Augustine for a day trip.
Play Where the Tiger Prowls
Situated in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach, just north of Old City, you’ll find one of the best known courses in the south: TPC Sawgrass. These greens are home to the annual Players Championship, and when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson aren’t battling for top honors, the public is invited to try their hands, and clubs, at the challenging course. In order to play either of Sawgrass’ two courses, you must be a guest of the Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa or else reserve a tee time two weeks in advance of your visit.
Pack up your clubs and your best golf shoes (no metal spikes for Sawgrass, please), and watch the cool Florida breezes as you prepare to tee off. A golf vacation in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach is perfect any time of year.
A Romantic Guide to St. Augustine
A quiet garden of azaleas, a lazy sunset over the Castillo de San Marcos, a leisurely stroll down the hidden alleyways of the historic district…the idea of a romantic weekend in St. Augustine evokes many desirable images. If work has you down and stressed, and you’re eager for a few days to recharge and renew an intimate relationship with your partner, a getaway to the nation’s oldest city just may be the cure. More affordable than other Florida destinations, St. Augustine provides couples with an endless itinerary of relaxing activities, perfect for celebrating a second honeymoon or anniversary, or simply to celebrate love and life.
What is the best way to enjoy St. Augustine? Here are a few ideas to make your weekend a romantic and memorable experience:
Stay in a Bed and Breakfast! The historic district offers blocks and blocks of B&B inns, each unique in style and amenities. Booking a weekend at a small inn gives you the cozy atmosphere of home and the added exuberance of Florida hospitality. Keep an eye out for couples’ packages and specials offered by the inns, and let your hosts act as concierge for your trip by recommending the best attractions and dining in the area.
Share a Bottle of Wine! Local San Sebastian Winery offers free tours of their facility, complete with a tasting of their latest vintages. Splurge on a few bottles – one for a cozy night at the inn, the other to take home – and take in some lively jazz music at their upstairs wine bar.
Enjoy a Spa Day! The resort area of Ponte Vedra is known for luxury accommodations and amenities. Take a day and be pampered with a full couples’ treatment of massages, facials, and pedicures.
Take a Carriage Ride! Hire a horse-drawn buggy to gently guide you down the historic streets of St. Augustine. A romantic ride makes a perfect prelude to dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants, like 95 Cordova or Columbia Restaurant.
Walk the Beach! The advantage to a weekend in Vilano Beach, Ponte Vedra, or St. Augustine Beach is that the crowds are lighter than one will find further south. This makes the sunsets more intimate and shores peaceful, so you can reconnect with your partner on a leisurely walk in the sand.
For a romantic escape, St. Augustine and the beaches of North Florida provide the luxury of a high-end resort without the high prices. Consider your next weekend away at the heart of this historic and sunny area.
Great Restaurants in Ponte Vedra, Florida
When you think of dining in Northern Florida, thoughts may turn toward the beaches and the multitude of seafood shanties and festively-lighted bars and grills near the shore. If you happen to be cruising down A1A from Jacksonville, you might want to consider stopping in Ponte Vedra Beach for a bite to eat. The proximity to the Atlantic and the year-round temperate weather makes this small town a desired spot for travelers. Next time you’re close, try some of the best dining in the state.
If your party can’t decide between Oriental cuisines or old fashioned comfort food, a trip to the Aqua Grill (950 Sawgrass Village) will appease everybody. This beach favorite offers an eclectic menu of seafood and steak dishes – from Kung Pao surf and turf to Southwestern grilled fresh catch. Have a seat overlooking the water and choose from the mile-long wine list and, if they’re in season, enjoy a delicious stone crab appetizer.
In a similar vein, Lulu’s Waterfront Grille (301 N. Roscoe Boulevard) serves up a mouth-watering array of fresh catch and steaks seasoned with regional spices and citrus (try the strip served with Key lime butter), in addition to a large raw bar with oysters, clams, and shrimp. Come Sunday for their special brunch menu, featuring omelets and other morning favorites like quiche and southern-style French toast.
Craving something tropical? Why not stop by Pusser’s Caribbean Grille off A1A (816 A1A N, Suite 100) for island interpretations of dinner classics. Rum glazed pork, spicy jerk-rubbed ribs, and coconut shrimp are just a few options available to you as you dine on the upper deck overlooking the water. If you’re feeling rather brave, try one of the bar’s famously potent rum drinks!
For a pleasant, casual atmosphere, the Bridge Waterfront Bistro (377 S. Roscoe Boulevard) has a selection of local catch, including fresh Mayport shrimp, and regular dining specials. As the menu changes often, you can visit several times over a lengthy vacation to enjoy delights like Cajun seafood stews or fruit-glazed grouper. Aptly named, the bistro sits right off the Intracoastal Waterway for an enchanting view.
Casual to classy, succulent or spicy, the restaurants of Ponte Vedra Beach are certain to sate your appetite.
Seafood Dining in St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, one of the oldest settlements in the United States, hosts beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and access to some of the freshest catches from the Atlantic Ocean. The next time you take a vacation in Florida, consider stopping by historic St. Augustine for some of the best fine dining seafood restaurants on the East Coast.
With a cozy spot along the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, St. Augustine brings in fresh seafood for its fine dining restaurants during all times of year. No St. Augustine vacation, or Florida vacation for that matter, is complete without eating dinner at one of the great seafood restaurants in St. Augustine.
La Parisienne – This Parisian themed restaurant in St. Augustine features a stylish atmosphere and exquisitely prepared dishes inspired by popular French cuisine. With dishes like Lobster Ravioli and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, expect a top-notch dining experience.
Old City House Restaurant – A community favorite, The Old City House Restaurant, along with its Bed & Breakfast, has won numerous awards from St. Augustine area publications for its quality and service. Originally a stable building for a wealthy 19th century merchant, the Spanish Colonial style restaurant has been serving delicious seafood dishes like Asian Crab Stuffed Salmon, Seafood Curry, and Ma Hi Bermuda for the past 10 years.
95 Cordova Restaurant – With an inventive dining room and a mix of seafood from many different cultures, this restaurant in St. Augustine offers one of the most diverse menus in the city. Along with a seasonal menu, the head chef offers a six-course menu with wine pairings that changes every week. Enjoy seafood favorites like Chilean Sea Bass, Seafood Strudel, and Sesame Seared Sea Scallops.
Raintree Restaurant – The fine dining in this restaurant is complimented by the charming atmosphere of the beautiful 19th century Victorian house it was modified from. Enjoy the summer sun with some succulent seafood like Cajun Bronzed Yellowfin Tuna and Flame Broiled Jumbo Shrimp.
If you are thinking about taking a vacation to St. Augustine or you just want to try some of the finest seafood this on the East Coast, visit the St. Augustine Visitors & Convention Bureau at [www.getaway4florida.com] to get a free map and visitors guide, and let them help you plan the best trip to Florida possible.