St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city, and as such is filled with a wonderful variety of historic sights and interesting history. One of the top attractions in the city is the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. The Castillo de San Marcos also just so happens to be located within easy walking distance of our St. Augustine Bed and Breakfast. In fact, the entire Old Town historic area of downtown St. Augustine is just a short walk from our Inn, making our location the perfect place to base your stay.
There’s no need to hassle with parking in downtown St. Augustine, and, what’s more, we offer free access to the beach through our Beach Cottage as well. You really do get the best of both worlds when staying with us at the St. Francis Inn boutique hotel, while also enjoying our extensive list of amenities and the best hospitality around. Treat yourself to something special this summer, and book a room at our St. Augustine hotel today!
A Remarkable History at the Castillo de San Marcos
The first European settlement in the city that later became known as St. Augustine was built in 1565 by Spanish colonists, making it the oldest permanent and continuously occupied European settlement in North America. Among the many structures built during the time is the Castillo de San Marcos, which stood as a stark reminder of the power of the Spanish Empire at that time. Construction on the Castillo de San Marcos began in 1672, which makes the structure more than 300 years old, and the oldest military structure of its kind in the country.
The Castillo de San Marcos is actually one of only 2 structures constructed from coquina, which is a rare form of limestone. The other structure is actually just south of us, at the Fort Matanzas National Monument. Coquina was the only type of stone available on the Florida coast at that time, and it was found to be a remarkably strong structure capable of withstanding the cannons that were popular during this period of history. It’s one of the many factors that has led to the Fortress’ long-standing survivability over the course of history.
Once you’ve made your way to the Castillo de San Marcos, there’s a lot to explore! From there, feel free to walk around the fort’s casements, taking in the historic exhibits along the way. There’s even a self-guided tour you can download on your phone which will help you navigate the fort and understand the deep historic and cultural underpinnings of this area. The Fort’s theater room also plays several short videos about the area, which is a great way to get a historic overview of the Castillo de San Marcos.
From the gun deck at the Castillo de San Marcos, you’ll enjoy an incredible view of the city, and there’s a large green park-like area that’s perfect for a picnic. Throughout the fort, you’ll also find rangers and volunteers in period dress who are happy to answer your questions, and share stories on the life and experiences of the colonists who once lived here. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there are often historic weapon demonstrations, though you’ll want to check in advance before you go if you’re intent on seeing this.
The Best Lodging Near Historic Downtown St. Augustine
There are quite a few choices for lodging near downtown St. Augustine, but none of them offer the same extensive list of amenities or services as the St. Francis Inn. Downtown St. Augustine is about a 15-minute walk from the St. Francis Inn, and there’s ample parking here onsite. Once you park the car you’ll no longer have to worry about parking in the crowded downtown core of Old Town, as we’re one of the most walkable hotels in the area. Follow the narrow brick-paved streets from the Inn, and they’ll lead you to a wide variety of restaurants, museums, galleries, historic sites, and shopping.
Our location is only one part of the story. The service and amenities of our St. Augustine hotel are second to none. Your stay always includes a delicious breakfast and evening happy hour, along with free drinks and snacks throughout the day. Beyond just spoiling you with treats, we also offer free beach access to the St. Augustine Beach, complimentary bikes to get around town, complimentary access to a local fitness center and the St. Augustine Lighthouse, and so much more. Experience the difference this summer, and book your room at our St. Augustine hotel today!