During the 1700 St. Augustine was a walled city and the City Gates were the only way in and the only way out. It was originally built to protect the city. Today the City Gates are located at the entrance to St. George Street, the main walking street in the historic district. There is a wide selection of cafes, ice cream parlors, chocolate stores, restaurants and over 240 shops. There is no entrance fee to the City Gates and St. George Street.
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park was discovered by Ponce de Leon on April 3, 1513. This 15 acre, 500 year old park is centered around the Spring House which contains the original Fountain of Youth spring and the landmark cross. The landmark cross is made of 27 coquina stones and believed to be placed by Ponce de Leon to mark his historical landing. All visitors are invited to drink the rejuvenating waters while listening to a short 20 minute, sit-down presentation.
The mission of Nombre de Dios marks the beginning of Christianity in USA. The first Catholic parish Mass on US soil and was held here. Pedro Menendez de Aviles discovered this site in 1565 and it is today known as the founding site of St. Augustine. He proclaimed the land for Spain and the Church. This was to be a sacred spot where the Spanish settlers would begin devotion to Christianity.
Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest handmade national monument in the continental USA. The fort was built by the Spanish to protect their interests in the New World that later became known as America. Construction started in 1672 and ended in 1695. The fort is made of coquina stones. The unusual consistency of these compressed sea shells is the reason it remains standing to this day. The Monument site consists of 330 years of history and culture in an area of 20.5 acres.
The oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the US is a national treasure that dates back to the early 18th century. It is held together with wooden pegs and handmade nails. Everything in the house is made by hand. The schoolhouse is themed to represent a normal day at school.
The Oldest house museum complex is a national historic landmark which presents a picture of what life looked like over 400 years ago. It is a surviving expression of Spanish, British and American occupation.