If you think there's not much Colonial American history in Florida, you're wrong.
The British may have settled in Virginia and Massachusetts, eventually dotting the east coast of America with colonies down to Savannah, but Florida was colonized by the Spanish.
The Spanish established Saint Augustine in 1565 by Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles and his men. This city, though it changed hands several times from Spanish to British to Spanish to American, it has remained occupied all these years.
A delightful place to visit, Saint Augustine is like stepping back in time with its rugged Spanish fort beside the sparkling water and sturdy historic buildings.
My family loves to hop in the van and drive two hours to sightsee and shop. We have logged many hours in Saint Augustine. We have also participated in many homeschooling field trips to St. Augustine.
Keep in mind, Saint Augustine is a real town. People live there. Merchants and inn keepers make a living in this historic city. Still, it is like stepping back in time.
Our family's favorite places in Saint Augustine? I'm glad you asked.
We always go to the Fort. Castillo de San Marcos is an old Spanish fort made of stone and mortar, the oldest fort in the continental U.S.A. We meander through the little rooms, take photos by the canons, and enjoy the view of the ocean. We always learn something new from our visit to the fort.
Once we go to the fort, we love to enter the city gate and visit Saint George's Street with its quaint shops, restaurants, and museums. Aviles Street is another favorite.
On St. George's Street near the gate, is the Oldest Schoolhouse Museum. Built in the early 1700s, this little wooden building is a family favorite. They have always loved the schoolroom replica complete with a bad boy in a dunce cap. There is also a colonial kitchen replica.
Next on the list is the Colonial Quarter filled with folks dressed in old-fashioned garb where my kids love to watch the blacksmith forge tools. Or maybe watch a musket demonstration.
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum takes us back into the time that Florida was a territory, as well as early statehood years.
The Spanish Military Hospital Museum gives us a look at medical practices from the Second Spanish Period.
Flagler College with its beautiful architecture and gardens is nice to stroll around. You don't have to be a student to wander the campus.
Finally, the Lightener Museum is filled with beautiful stained glass and crystal, as well as shrunken heads. The grounds are beautiful, too. We love this place!
Oh, one more thing. St. Augustine does Christmas exquisitely with beautiful decorations and lights. It is worth a visit if you are nearby in December.
Of course, there is much more to see. We have always just meandered around, but there are lots of different tours you can take to learn more about this amazing city.
God's world is so beautiful! There is so much to explore! I love to travel and learn so much when I travel. That's why I created the Travel God's World series. With curriculum, unit studies, and a cookbook, you can travel the world right from your family room. To check out our resources below, simply click on the photos below. Our resources are available in print and as E-books. However, don't just travel in your family room and kitchen, make your travel bucket list and get out there to see the world!
God bless you and keep your safe as you travel, wherever you go.