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Things They Don’t Tell You About St. Augustine

This article is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove Project

One of the top tourist destinations the United States has to offer, St. Augustine appeals to travelers from all over the world. With a historical character and colonial charm straight from the pages of a storybook, people flock here to experience America’s oldest town.

With a diverse range of highly publicized attractions and activities, travelers may think a visit to St. Augustine is a fairly straight forward affair. Although, what most don’t realize is that there are in fact many attractions that lie well off the beaten path, and many local secrets you don’t discover until you arrive.

These are some of the things they don’t tell you about St. Augustine.

You Can Drive Onto the Beach

With a world-class coastline, one of the main draws of St. Augustine is her beach on Anastasia Island. What many people don’t know, however, is that you can actually drive your vehicle onto the sand.

You can drive onto the beach.

Incredibly fun, and not as reckless as it sounds, this is a unique way to spend your time in St. Augustine, turning your day into a 4WD adventure with access to more exclusive parts of the beach that would otherwise call for a decent trek.

Just seven dollars will buy you vehicle access for the day.

Cheap Accommodation is Possible

Traveling off-peak during the months of September to mid-November means that cheap hotel deals are available all over St. Augustine, it’s just a matter of booking in!

Cheap St. Augustine hotels can be easily found throughout both the historic city center and near the beach. As the city is so compact, the majority of budget hotels are all still within a short walk from the main attractions.

Cheap accommodation is absolutely possible.

For those who can’t travel off-peak, try to avoid traveling on the weekends — this is a popular vacation spot for Florida locals so accommodation prices hit highs come Friday.

They Have a Second Fort

Visitors tend to think of Castillo de San Marcos when they plan a visit to St. Augustine, and few know that the city is home to a second must-see fort.

A national monument located just 15 minutes south of the city, Fort Matanzas is a fantastic site off the beaten path with an incredible history equally as fascinating as that of Castillo de San Marcos.

Never used in battle, this was instead a Spanish outpost which guarded the inlet from international attacks. There was a French massacre here approximately 500 years ago.

Fort Matanzas. Photo CC by Eccentric Scholar

What they don’t tell you is that your entrance to Castillo de San Marcos also covers entry to Fort Matanzas.

The Perfect Base for Day Trips

When traveling to St. Augustine, visitors hit the city and don’t think to venture further out. Though the accessibility of budget accommodation and close proximity to some of Florida’s best destinations means this is a great base to discover more of Florida.

Orlando, Jacksonville, Daytona, and Flagler beach are all close by. With car rental lots conveniently located throughout the city picking up and returning a car is easy.

Now You Know St. Augustine

Now that you know the things they don’t tell you about St. Augustine, you’re all ready to book your trip!

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Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Featured Photo Credit: Mike

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