Gay St. Augustine
Founded way back in 1565, this city of 12,000 on The First Coast is the oldest continuously occupied city – and the oldest port – in the continental United States. The region, to quote its visitors bureau, blends exotic Spanish architecture with the spirituality of Native American cultures and the African pride of Fort Mose, the nation’s first community of freed slaves. Today, it’s home to happening beaches, great fishing, national monuments and historic buildings, as well as great restaurants.
Gay St. Augustine also has tons of art galleries in its Winery, Old Town, Uptown, St. George and Anastasia Island areas. There are too many to even begin to list. When visiting, stop in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, where you can hike past salt marshes and oyster beds to dunes leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
There are hotels and bed-and-breakfasts in St. Augustine and in nearby Jacksonville, which sits about 40 miles north on Route 95.