Even as a Florida native, I never grow old of St. Augustine. The community has a charm that draws people in past superficial weekend trips. Here are the overlooked, hidden gems that you shouldn’t miss.
Skip the chain store coffee stop because St. Augustine’s local coffee shops are all uniquely charming, and a different one can be found on almost every street. Locals suggest Kookaburra Coffee shop. It is a smaller shop where the baristas get to know their community. The Kookaburra is an ‘Aussie American espresso bar’ serving up pies and sweets that you can smell as soon as you walk by on the street. This tiny shop has a modern look to it, with simplistic colors and details that make it a perfect spot to work or have a coffee date with a friend.
Another great spot is Crucial Coffee Cafe. Housed in a renovated blacksmith shop, the interior is artsy and when you step outside, it feels like a mini forest complete with dense foliage and plenty of tables. Don’t pass up Crucial Coffee’s baked goods. I recommend getting the hash Benedict and a couple of mimosas while you sit in the outdoor garden area and people watch.
Crave Food Truck
Crave Food Truck is a popular local lunch spot serving up paleo friendly and healthy foods. This isn’t your typical food truck; they serve up extremely healthy wraps, salads, freshly blended smoothies and bowls. The owners, Andrés and Renee, are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet, welcoming you with a big smile when you walk up to the window. They aim to get to know you and make recommendations based on what they know you like on the menu. The outside tables are next to a marina, giving you a breathtaking view while you enjoy lunch.
Harry’s grill is the place to go for fresh seafood and a calm ambience. The outdoor patio is decorated with hung street lights, stone walks, and a wonderfully kept garden area perfect for a date night. Inside is just as charming, with friendly staff. If you want a night to remember, ask to be seated on the balcony on the second floor. You will be treated to an overlook of the bay and bridge. To round out the entire experience, musicians play live some nights.
Pearl of the Sea Luxury Bed & Breakfast
The name speaks for itself. The bed and breakfast is a lovely weekend getaway for the stressed and tired. This breathtaking BNB’s rooms are individually themed around 10 different countries, including the Spanish room, which is the one I had the privilege of staying in. Downstairs, you can find the therapy spa and restaurant where personal 3 course breakfasts are prepared right when you wake in the morning. Water front views with breathtaking sunsets top everything off. Take a stroll down their dock to the little boathouse, it’s a nice place to read and maybe catch a few passing manatee or kayakers.
Valanio beach is one of my favorite beaches in Florida. Just north of downtown and across the bridge, it’s the beach all the locals go to. The beach is lined with rocky points and inclined shores, making them unlike any other beaches in Florida. The crowds aren’t bad, and the sand is perfect beach sand that you didn’t know you were missing out on.