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Road trip: St. Augustine, Florida


July 14, 2015

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     St. Augustine is a weird mix of tourist traps, hipsters, history and bizarre creepiness, making it the ideal stop for a road trip. With everything from a historical fort to a freak show inside an old Victorian house, it’s impossible to get bored. It’s a pretty easy three-hour drive — and is totally worth it.

WHERE TO STAY:
The Pirate Haus Inn: A quaint hostel located in Old Town. If you stay here, you’re within walking distance of most of the attractions.
 St. George Inn: This option is pricier, but still located in the heart of Old Town. For a fancier, more resort-like feel, this is your best option.

BREAKFAST:
--The Manatee Café: It’s a short drive from Old Town and very much worth it. Starting at 8:30 a.m., The Manatee serves breakfast all day. It’s relatively healthy and includes vegetarian and vegan options. Top picks: The breakfast burrito or pancakes. 

LUNCH:
--Literally anywhere on St. George Street:
This boulevard has just about anything you could imagine, and every place is worth it. Some highlights include Cruisers Grill, known for their burgers, and Pizza Time (yes, the name is cheesy, but this pizza is life-changing). 

SNACKS:
 --The Hyppo: Popsicles may seem childish, but these are delicious, made from scratch with real fresh fruit.
 --French Fry Heaven: It’s exactly what it sounds like: lots of French fries. The difference between this place and other venues is the assortment of specialty fries you can get.
--Gelato Time: Again, cheesy name but killer product. They have pretty much any type of gelato you could want, but the standout is a blackberry cabernet that tastes just like wine.

DINNER:
--The Floridian:  This place is very popular amongst locals. The menu includes tons of vegan and vegetarian options and the ingredients are local. It’s a great place to sit back and relax after a long day. Top picks:  Cornbread Stack, 'N Grits or the Brisket Posole.

ESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO:
--The Fountain of Youth: This is it — the mysterious place you’ve heard about. It may not actually work, but it’s definitely a fun roadside attraction.
--Wolf’s Mystery Museum: Located in an old Victorian house, this place is not a place for the easily offended or faint of heart. The owner is friendly and willing to share his collection of oddities, displayed for all to see. It’s a cheap attraction that makes for an interesting walkthrough.
--Potter’s Wax Museum: Keeping up with the creepy vibe, Potter’s is a must. This place isn’t intentionally creepy, but it will definitely give you a chill.
--Ripley’s Train Tour: St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. There is history around every corner. Rather than touring it on foot, Ripley’s offers a train ride through the city that shows guests all of the highlights.
--Castillo De San Marcos: You really can’t miss this when driving into St. Augustine. It’s a massive fort from the early days of America and is totally worth touring. Highlights include feeling kind of like Indiana Jones and the fact that sometimes they fire cannons.
--Shopping on St. George Street: If you like shopping, you can’t miss St George. There’s food, clothes, novelties — literally everything. 
--Ghost tour: There are as many ghost tour options in Saint Augustine as there are historical sites. If you’re looking for a low-key, not-so-scary one, try Ghost and Gravestones. For the thrillseekers among you, try Paranormal Investigations inside the Old Jail. The name is a mouthful and it’s very pricey, but a ticket gives you a night of ghost hunting inside one of the most allegedly haunted places in Florida.


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