Ponte Vedra, Florida
Sights to see & things to do
Over a half-century before the
Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, St. Augustine boasted the oldest
permanent settlement in North America. Juan Ponce de León put St.
Augustine 'on the map' so to speak when he came ashore in 1513 in
search of the elusive Fountain of Youth and named his discovery Pascua
French colonists arrived in 1562 to
establish a short-lived settlement at the mouth of the St. Johns
River and lay claim to the new land for France. Returning Spanish
conquerors closely followed, launching their own colony and building
a fortress at St. Augustine in 1565 before wiping out the French and
re-establishing Spain's claim to Florida.
de San Marcos
Within a day's drive of
most cruise passengers residing in nearby southeastern states, St.
Augustine and Ponte Vedra are south of Jacksonville and easily
accessible by either Interstate Highway I-95 or the more scenic
Highway A1A. For flyers, Jacksonville International Airport is
served by national and regional airlines offering flights to and
from most major U.S. cities and is only forty-five minutes north of
St. Augustine, a half-hour drive from Ponte Vedra, and fifteen
minutes from the Jacksonville cruise port at Dames Point.
Sights to see
& things to do in St. Augustine
History, culture, outdoor
adventures, and beaches—all are highlights of the St. Augustine
area. Well suited for family fun are a host of stimulating and
educational activities to enjoy pre- or post-cruise.
oldest wooden schoolhouse
Downtown St. Augustine is a living
history museum, complete with the oldest wooden school house in the
United States and a Colonial Spanish Quarter where docents in period
dress remain in character as residents in the 1740s
city-within-a-city as they chat with visitors about how they spent
Getting around to sites of interest
is easy on one of the narrated Old Town Trolley Tours or Sightseeing
Trains. Hop off and on along the seven mile ride to tour attractions
such as the Fountain of Youth archaeological park, where a sip from
the ancient spring is offered and foundations and artifacts of the
original colony can be viewed; the original Ripley's Believe It or
Not! Museum, located in an 1887 Moorish Revival style mansion filled
with oddities and interactive exhibits; the city gates and Castillo
de San Marcos, the Spanish fortress that so effectively guarded the
town; and Flagler College, built as the Ponce de Leon Hotel, a
winter retreat for wealthy northeasterners, by railroad tycoon and
hotel baron Henry Flagler.
Across the Bridge of Lions and a
short drive from downtown, Anastasia Island's beaches are ideal for
sunning and swimming. On the way to the beach, stop at the St.
Augustine Lighthouse to tour the maritime museum and grounds. A
climb up the 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse rewards hardy
visitors with a fantastic view (followed by a 219-step climb back
alligator, appearing for the world as if carved of white
No one can leave Florida without at
least seeing an alligator and a walk through the St. Augustine
Alligator Farm Zoological Park is far preferable to encountering one
by chance. From rare albino alligators and huge turtles to
crocodiles, monkeys, and exotic birds, there's a lot of wildlife to
observe, along with hourly shows to delight children and adults
No one wants to leave St.
Augustine, which accounts for the many current residents who are
descendants of the original families and... the ghosts! For a
surreal experience, take a twilight tour of early burial grounds or
join "pirates" for a haunting cruise on a romantic
Where to stay in
Spread throughout downtown
St. Augustine, intimate boutique hotels and historic bed and
breakfast establishments are within walking distance of restaurants,
shops, and sightseeing attractions. With more than 7,000 guest rooms
available in St. Augustine and the surrounding area, there are
accommodations suitable for every taste and budget.
17th hole of the Stadium Course at Sawgrass
Sights to see
& things to do in Ponte Vedra
Golf is more than a
four-letter word in chic Ponte Vedra. World-class golf courses,
tennis facilities, and spas draw the sybarite and sports-minded
alike. Beyond the dunes there are uncrowded beaches and beach clubs
with facilities designed for family pleasure.
World Golf Village anchors Ponte
Vedra and provides golfers with a myriad of challenges—the
"Slammer and Squire" par-72 championship course and the
"King and Bear" course designed by legends of the game,
Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. You aren't a player? Take lessons
at the PGA Tour Golf Academy. Also within the "village,"
even non-golfers can appreciate the World Golf Hall of Fame with its
historic and interactive exhibits. For the less sporty, an IMAX®
theater features entertaining and educational films suitable for all
Where to stay in
Golf devotees know they can only play the TPC Stadium Course
(site of The Players Championship) if they are members or a guest at
Sawgrass Marriott, but there are many more reasons to check in than
golf... the spa, children's program, tennis courts with four
different surfaces, and private Beach Cabana. Restaurants and
lounges round out the total resort facilities.
in grace, charm, and tradition, the five-Diamond AAA Ponte Vedra Inn
& Club has offered a full menu of resort features to
discriminating guests since 1928. Two seaside 18-hole golf courses,
the Racquet Club, children's program, and a state-of-the-art 8,000
square foot fitness center and 10,000 square foot spa make Ponte
Vedra Inn & Club the complete family resort destination.
For even more privacy, condos,
villas, and beach houses are seasonally available for rent in Ponte
Vedra and at World Golf Village.
Where to eat
gourmet, ethnic... food doesn't have to be haute or expensive
to be good! It's difficult to get a bad meal in the St.
Augustine/Ponte Vedra area, particularly if your preference is
seafood. Judge for yourself if A1A Ale Works is deserving of its
reputation as one of Florida's best microbreweries and dine on the
balcony overlooking the Bridge of Lions. Or, for a romantic evening
of fine dining, 95 Cordova Restaurant in the Casa Monica Hotel
recreates the POSH atmosphere of Victorian-era Florida resorts.
That... While there are
numerous antique and specialty shops to poke around in downtown,
bargain hunters will find outlet mall nirvana just off the I-95
exits to St. Augustine. Those in the know reveal that the PGA Tour
Shop in the Jacksonville International Airport has favorable prices,
with World Golf Village a close second.
© St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Convention
& Visitors Bureau
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