St. Augustine, founded by the Spanish in 1565 a half a century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States. Known as the “Ancient City,” St. Augustine has over 450 years of history and culture to share with your group. The destination boasts a plethora of historical sites and living history museums. However, it is most known for the Castillo de San Marcos Spanish Fort which serves as an outstanding reminder of the might of the early Spanish empire in the New World. If you and your group crave history, St. Augustine will bring history and your classroom to life!
Our St. Augustine Historical Tour has many options from which you can choose including the following:
Castillo de San Marcos Spanish Fort
Though its construction started in 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos’ history embodies the struggle and contest of the entire colonial era as well as the foundations of American identity. A stronghold of the largest empire ever created, the Castillo was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. Though caught in the whirlwinds of colonial warfare and intrigue, it was never defeated in battle. Its scarred walls still stand witness to over 330 years of history and culture. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Flagler College (formerly the Ponce de Leon Hotel)
In 1882, Henry Flagler, New York entrepreneur/cofounder of Standard Oil, became interested in the historic city of St. Augustine and its potential as a winter resort. Flagler’s subsequent development of transportation and resort facilities in St. Augustine culminated with the development of Flagler’s Hotel Ponce de León. Flagler chose the Spanish Renaissance Revival style so that the hotel’s design would compliment its historic surroundings. Retained to decorate the interior of the hotel, Louis C. Tiffany used stained glass, mosaics and terra cotta relief on the walls and ceilings and commissioned several grand murals. The popularity of “the Ponce” and its style strongly influenced the architecture of southern Florida for the next fifty years. In 1967, the hotel closed and was sold to Flagler College. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church
Another legacy of the Flagler Era (circa 1887-1913) of St. Augustine history, the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church offers a classic example of the Venetian Renaissance style. The building, designed by nationally renowned architects Thomas Hastings and John M. Carrere, was built by hotel entrepreneur Henry Flagler in memory of his daughter, Jennie Louise, who died at sea en route to St. Augustine in 1889. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Fountain of Youth
The legend of the Fountain of Youth became prominent in the 16th century, when it became attached to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. According to an apocryphal story that features a combination of New World and Eurasian elements, Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to what is now Florida in 1513. He discovered the Fountain of Youth, not far from where the Castillo de San Marcos Spanish Fort now stands. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Ft. Matanzas National Monument
Built of coquina by the Spanish from 1740-42 to protect the southern approach to St. Augustine, Fort Matanzas was proclaimed a national monument in 1924, along with its sister structure, the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
Oldest Wooden School House
Located near the City Gates, The Old School House is a surviving expression of another time. Built in 1716, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain, it was constructed of red cedar and cypress and put together with wooden pegs and handmade nails. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is on the north end of Anastasia Island, within the current city limits of St. Augustine, Florida. The tower, built in 1874, is now a museum. Some say it is the most haunted lighthouse in the U.S. St. Augustine was the site of the first lighthouse established in Florida by the new, territorial, American Government in 1824. According to some archival records and maps, this “official” American lighthouse was placed on the site of an earlier watchtower built by the Spanish as early as the late 16th century. Photo Courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB.
For additional experiences including attractions, dining, shopping, etc., in St. Augustine, click here: Destinations: St. Augustine
The team at Kaleidoscope Adventures can customize a complete historical St. Augustine travel package catered to your needs and curriculum. We will assist you with hotel accommodations, transportation, attraction tickets, meals, sightseeing, shopping, and special events plus more.