Midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville lies Florida’s Historic Coast, a celebrated area encompassing historic St. Augustine and golf-centric Ponte Vedra, where dozens of attractions, tours, events and adventure are sure to satisfy all ages this spring. Here are a few activities to take advantage before the summer rates kick in:
- Beach time: Lay out the towels, set up the umbrellas and spend a day among the 40-ft. sand dunes at Ponte Vedra Beach (featured on CNN’s 2015 list of “22 Can’t-Miss U.S. Beaches”) or St. Augustine Beach, a white-sand stunner located on Anastasia Island offering a playground, pavilion, fishing pier, volleyball courts, bait shops, fine restaurants, shopping and more.
- Outdoor fun: Play a round of golf at Ponte Vedra’s highly awarded THE PLAYERS Championship Stadium course and its 17th island green—a bucket list experience for golf aficionados.
- Adventure time: Families are guaranteed to bond while hovering over alligators and crocodiles on the challenging Crocodile Crossing zipline course at St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm and Zoological Park. For a less terrifying thrill, visitors can swim with the dolphins at Marineland Dolphin Adventure or soar over the city in a 1935 “model” Waco biplane.
- Festival time: The blooming spring flowers and green trees signal the start of festival season in Florida’s Historic Coast. The area’s four main events celebrate everything from history and local cuisine to art and music. Upcoming festivals include the Founding of Fort Mose on March 18, which recreates the proclamation extending freedom to Captain Francisco Menendez, his fellow militia men and ex-slaves in 1738; the Rhythm and Ribs Festival, a weekend-long festival held March 31 to April 2 featuring nonstop music and barbeque at St. Augustine’s Francis Field; the Taste of St. Augustine on April 22, which highlights the authentic culinary heritage and culture of the region by showcasing 30 new restaurants and established favorites; and the 9-day Romanza Festivale of the Arts held April 5-14, featuring music, dance, living history events, historical tours, and live theater.
For family-friendly accommodations, book the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa (marriott.com), starting at $189 per night. It features villas with multiple bedrooms, a living room and full kitchen that can be rented for long term, a diverse selection of dining options, a spa and 99 holes of golf courtesy of the adjacent TPC Sawgrass; or the AAA five-diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (pontevedra.com/inn_and_club) offering suites with kitchenettes that are right on the beach, seven oceanfront pools, including a family pool and an adults-only pool, a spa and tennis facilities. For more information, visit floridashistoriccoast.com.