Spring has sprung and rain is inevitable. While the weather in Northeast Florida is envied by many with an average of 223 sunny days a year, St. Augustine also gets, on average, fifty-one inches of rainfall per year. Keep those rainy days interesting with a trip to one of these classic spots in St. Augustine that will be sure to entertain and educate you.

St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

AHOY, MATEY! Spend the day at The Pirate Museum and explore owner Pat Croce’s impressive collection of pirate memorabilia. Hunt through more than 800 pirate artifacts and state-of-the-art displays created by the Disney Imagineers. The Pirate Museum is home to the only surviving treasure chest in the world AND one of the only remaining Jolly Roger flags. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop to purchase a little pirate booty of your own to take home. To plan your day at the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, visit www.thepiratemuseum.com.

The Old Jail

In 1891, Henry Flagler commissioned the company that eventually built Alcatraz to construct a jail just north of downtown St. Augustine. To avoid instilling fear in the public and to encourage his friends to invest in the city, Henry Flagler disguised the jail to look like a hotel! The Old Jail provides guests a glimpse into the daily lives of St. Augustine’s most notorious prisoners. Enjoy an interactive experience as costumed actors tell stories of the jail and the prisoners behind bars. Visitors will also have a chance to view the large collection of weapons and artifacts on display. The Old Jail is truly a must-visit in St. Augustine!

St. Augustine Distillery

If a rainy day has you in a drinking mood, stop by St. Augustine Distillery. This family owned and operated establishment is committed to making world-class spirits using the best of Florida’s agriculture. St. Augustine Distillery offers free tours everyday so visitors can learn how they make their spirits from farm to bottle, the differences between each spirit, and, best of all, learn how to make St. Augustine Distillery’s FOUR signature cocktails! No reservation is required for these amazing tours and they are FREE – can’t get much better than that! 

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum

If you haven’t already visited, you have to admit you’ve always been curious about Ripley’s Believe It or Not! From incredible artwork to shrunken heads, your eyes won’t know where to look next. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum was founded by Robert Leroy Ripley to display the amazing artifact collection from his extensive travels. He documented his adventures in his famous comic strip, “Believe It or Not!”. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website

Contact each location for their latest COVID protocols and restrictions.

 
 
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The attraction to World Golf Village is easy to see. From the vibrant communities and the exceptional school district to the golf courses and nearby shopping, there is something for everyone to enjoy. It seems as if new businesses are popping up every day, but most recently there have been a few notable additions to the St. Augustine community that you NEED to check out. 

Pet Paradise: 

Calling all dog and cat parents! Pet Paradise opened a new location on 291 Center Place Way, St Augustine, FL 32095. The Jacksonville based company recently opened five new locations in Northeast Florida. Pet Paradise is equipped to handle all your pet boarding, daycare, grooming or veterinary needs. With multiple boarding options, Pet Paradise has the perfect accommodation for every furry friend. Pet Paradise clients love having access to the live webcam. That’s right! Pet owners can check on their pet any time with their live pet cam. Pet Paradise offers a wide variety of pampering amenities for your pet to enjoy including a dog bone shaped swimming pool, misting stations, and full-service dog grooming spa. Next time your pet needs a vacation, take them to Pet Paradise!

Carnival Sweets:

Travel back in time at Carnival Sweets. This establishment has something to satisfy every kind of sweet tooth. Enjoy classic carnival favorites – without the carnival! You and your family will love exploring Carnival Sweets with their shelves of candy and delicious funnel cakes, gourmet popcorn, and shaved ice. This nostalgic candy shop takes these classics and gives them a modern twist. When you visit consider trying fan favorites: Cotton Candy Burrito, Banana Pudding Popcorn, or the Ice cream stuffed snow cone. A visit to Carnival Sweets is well worth the sugar rush! 

And last, but certainly not least…

Buc-ee’s:

You won’t want to miss this first of its kind in Florida. With more than 52,000 square feet and more than 104 fueling stations, Buc-ee’s has opened its doors in St. Augustine on 200 World Commerce Parkway. The Texas-based travel stop has already created quite the buzz around town as hundreds waited in line for Buc-ee’s grand opening on February 22, 2021. The store is open twenty-four hours a day and offers an array of food, drink, and merchandise. Buc-ee’s has tasty treats ranging from traditional homemade fudge, kolaches, and jerky to snacks that are a little more unusual like pickled quail eggs. Buc-ee’s promises friendly service and the cleanest bathrooms in America.

 
 
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Are you noticing things around St. Augustine seem to be slowly getting back to normal? While the pandemic and precautions are still part of our everyday lives, an overwhelming majority of St. Johns County students are back in school and for most of us that looks like a slight return to normalcy, bus routes in the morning and afternoon, and fewer crowds in our favorite spots. Let’s get out in our great city and safely enjoy the best that St. Augustine has to offer. Grab your bags Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and empty nesters! It’s time to act like a tourist and hit Davidson Realty’s Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine! While it was very difficult for us to narrow it down to just three, our Davidson Realty team focused on a few that aren’t often found on everyone’s list like Leisure Group Travel Magazine and U.S. News & Travel.

St. Augustine Distillery 

As Americans seemed to experience the great hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, one local St. Augustine company stepped up in a big way to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer across the First Coast. The St. Augustine Distillery is located in the historic district of St. Augustine in an old ice plant. Known for their vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey, you can find their labels on the shelves of local liquor stores. But you can also take a free tour of the distillery while also enjoying a sampling of their spirits. The St. Augustine Distillery is operating under CDC guidelines and accommodating tours every 30 minutes with no reservations but on a first-come-first-serve basis. Open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm, St. Augustine Distillery is a place we highly recommend touring and enjoying a cocktail.

Trolley Tours

With a couple to choose from (and we don’t want to single either one out) we highly encourage you to hop aboard one of the trolley tours in this historic St. Augustine area. Even in the hottest of temperatures, the movement along the bank and through the streets of downtown provides a breeze and a little bit of relaxation as you get a St. Augustine History 101 tour and learn about Ponce de Leon and the early settlers. The Trolley Tours are also a great way to navigate some ideal and popular dining spots. Hop on and hop off as you view the beautiful buildings, experience the historic charm, and enjoy the ride. 

Vilano Beach

With so many beautiful choices of sandy beaches in St. Johns County, our Davidson Realty team selected Vilano Beach as one of our favorite places to visit. It’s important to know the history of Vilano Beach to fully appreciate why it’s one of our favorites. The prestige of this beautiful stretch of shoreline dates back to the late 1800s when Henry Flagler would host his millionaire friends at Vilano Beach. A quaint little beach village, Vilano offers some of the area’s most charming restaurants, shopping, and plenty of rentals to enjoy a “staycation” in your own backyard. Vilano Beach offers a casual, laid back atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and some of the best sunset views. Pack up the car because Vilano Beach also allows four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach making it so convenient to spend a day on the sand.

With so many options to choose from that include the Castillo de San Marcos, the Lightner Museum, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and so much more, sometimes it’s fun to tour the road less traveled. We encourage you to tour our Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine, maybe for the first time but likely for a repeat visit, and let us know what you think!

 
 
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How is the Datil pepper like St. Augustine? We are both fairly small and delectably sweet with lots of spicy flavor, and we share a rich First Coast history! 

To celebrate this very special little pepper, the UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County Agricultural Center will host the 12th Annual Datil Pepper Festival this weekend, October 5-6. The event is free for all and parking is free as well.

The festival’s main attraction is the Datil Pepper Cook-Off between local restaurants. Pay just $1 and you can sample each restaurant’s Datil pepper dishes, and then vote for your favorite dish from each category. Awards will be given to restaurants for “People’s Choice” as well as overall winner based on professional judges.

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St. Augustine’s newest residents fit perfectly into our laid back, coastal lifestyle. In fact, they sleep up to 20 hours a day and spend most of their time lounging in trees at their new home in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

Meet Teddy and Grizzly, two mature sloths who moved to the Alligator Farm this summer and made their debut to visitors last week.

The male and female Hoffman’s Two-Toed Sloths were brought to St. Augustine from Busch Gardens in Tampa and spent much of the summer in quarantine to ensure their safe acclimation to their new home. Their Alligator Farm rainforest habitat, which was built just for Teddy and Grizzly, mimics their native environment in Central and South America.

But don’t expect a spectacle on par with the park’s alligator feedings and wildlife shows. Sloths, named for their slow movements and low metabolism, are nocturnal and will likely be sleeping during your visit! Nevertheless, they are easily visible in their new habitat.

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Come enjoy some ragtime and boogie-woogie music with Bob Milne on Sunday, January 27, at 3 p.m. at the historic Grace United Methodist Church. Bob is known for his electric performances as well as charismatic storytelling.

Never heard of Bob? These interesting facts explain why his concert is a must-see!

Bob is a scientific mystery.Bob is a completely self-taught pianist with the unusual ability to mentally “play” up to four symphonies in his head simultaneously. He has even been the subject of study by Penn State University neuroscientists for the last eight years as they try to figure out how he does this!

In fact, his fans often refer to Bob as a “one-man orchestra” and celebrate his ability to make his piano sound like several instruments at once!

Bob’s music genre has a fascinating history.First played in 1895, ragtime originates from jigs and march music played by African American bands. Throughout the 20thcentury, ragtime spread throughout the U.S. and became an American staple. The term is said to originate from the word “ragged,” in reference to ragtime’s syncopated melody (with unexpected and often off-beat rhythms).

Bob has been a “musical ambassador” for the U.S. State Department.Considered by many to be the best ragtime piano player in the world, Bob brings a contagious energy to his playing. The Library of Congress has even deemed Bob as a “national treasure” and he has served as a “musical ambassador” for the U.S. State Department in Japan and Switzerland.

You can learn from Bob himself.In addition to touring, Bob teaches music history at various universities including Florida Atlantic University. For more information about his classes, click here.
Don’t miss this exciting performance! The concert is free (although the church accepts donations) and will take place in its beautiful large sanctuary (first come, first seated).

Grace Methodist Church is located at 8 Carrera Street in historic downtown St. Augustine. If you have any questions, contact the church at 904-829-8272.

 
 
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We never really grow out of our fascination with pirates, and St. Augustine is the best place in the country to imagine the time when plundering buccaneers roamed the high seas. There’s no better time to live the pirate’s life than January 25-27 at the 3rd Annual Old City Pirate Fest!

 

The weekend celebration is full of pirate-themed fun for the entire family in the Old City’s Colonial Quarter. Enjoy lots of food and drink options, live entertainment on two stages, games and prizes for the kids, vendors row with tons of pirate merchandise, and black powder and sword demonstrations. Entertainment includes live music, puppet shows and magic shows each day.

 

Special performers include Dirty James and the Rusty Anchors, Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, Keith Hill, the Forged in Fire Champions and Knife or Death Grand Champion.

 

Be sure to look for The Ancient City Sirens, who will host a Gypsy Encampment throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Getting There:The Colonial Quarter is located at 33 St. George Street. Ticket booths will be located at the main entrance to the Pirate Museum on Avenida Menéndez and the Bull & Crown Publick House at 53 St. George Street.

 

Getting In: A Fest Pass, good for both Saturday and Sunday, is $7 for adults (15-65), $5 for seniors (65+) and $5 for kids (14 & under). Children 3 and under are free. Tickets for the Friday night concert featuring Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers are an additional $10.

 

Here are the event hours for each day:

Friday, January 25: 7 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Saturday, January 26: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 27: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mark your calendar for next weekend to open your imagination and live the pirate’s life! As always, the Old City Pirate Fest is hosted by the St. Augustine Swashbucklers. For more information, visit here.

 
 
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St. Augustine’s signature nautical event, Regatta of Lights, will set sail this Saturday, December 8. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m. and be viewable from anywhere along Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and the Castillo de San Marcos (“the fort”).

 

Find a cozy spot along the bayfront (or grab a seat at a waterfront eatery like Harry’s Seafood or A1A Ale Works) and take in the show of brilliantly festooned boats of every shape and size. Personal fishing boats, yachts, commercial shrimping boats, sailboats—spectators will be treated to a bevy of decorated vessels. Participating boats will make two laps around the bay so don’t worry if you miss the first pass!

 

This is the 38thyear of the annual parade. According to event host St. Augustine Yacht Club, the Regatta of Lights “reflects the maritime roots and rich nautical heritage of St. Augustine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening caps off with awards for best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall (award winners will be posted on St. Augustine Yacht Club’s Facebook page).

 

Regatta of Lights accompanies St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, the award-winning holiday lights display currently illuminating historic downtown. Nights of Lights runs until February 3, 2019.

 

For more information on the Regatta of Lights, call (904) 824-9725 or visit here.

 
 
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Historic St. Augustine’s 25th Annual Nights of Lights kicks off on Saturday, November 17, when the city turns on its 3 million twinkling lights to spread holiday cheer throughout the Oldest City!

Don’t miss Flagler College and the Lightner Museum, which are known for their especially spectacular displays. Lights continue throughout the Plaza de la Constitución, which also features a large Christmas tree.

Saturday’s festivities start with live music at 4 p.m. outside the Lightner Museum, followed by a special performance by the All Star Orchestra in the Plaza de la Constitución at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the big countdown begins to light the tree and all 3 million lights around town. Live music continues until 8 p.m.

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Looking for a fun and meaningful family event this weekend? The 23rd Annual Ancient City Kids Day is coming to Francis Field this Saturday, October 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The popular annual event is free to all and includes games, arts & crafts, giveaways and contests, bounce houses and live entertainment, as well as kid-friendly food and drinks available for purchase.

The event is hosted by EPIC Behavioral Healthcare and includes involvement by more than 40 youth service organizations. While the kids engage in various games and activities, parents can learn about community resources available for families. One Blood will also be holding a blood drive during the event.

T-shirts and goody bags will be handed out to all children who attend (while supplies last).

Live Entertainment Schedule:

11 a.m. Good Puppy (local band made up of kids)

12 p.m. Showtime USA (dance troupe)

1 p.m. Drum Circle with Unk’l Ray Nutter (interactive drumming activity)

2 p.m. 3NMotion (dance troupe)

Francis Field is located at 25 W. Castillo Drive in St. Augustine’s historic district. For more information, please call EPIC at (904) 829-2273 or visit epicbh.org.

 
 
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