Welcome to St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra, Florida—America’s Cultural VIP! This Very Important Place is where America’s iconic culture began. In 1513—more than 100 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock—Spanish explorer Ponce de León landed in St. Augustine and claimed La Florida for the King of Spain. Five centuries later, St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra remain the most important place for groups to experience America’s cultural beginnings and enjoy a diverse and vibrant arts and culinary scene.
Where else can one step inside America’s longest-standing masonry fort, wade into the waters of the nation’s oldest port, or touch the soil of the first free African American settlement in North America? Imagine taking your group shopping on the oldest street in America, just like generations of Spanish, British, French, Greek, Menorcan and many others have done for more than 450 years. Plan a visit to the place where the Catholic Church made its American debut and see an 18th century Greek Orthodox Shrine.
Mission Nombre De Dios
St. Augustine was the preferred vacation destination for the rich and famous of the Gilded Age, thanks to the vision of one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs. As a result, you can now schedule tours to see a stunning array of late 19th-century art and architecture, including the world’s largest, stationary collection of Tiffany stained glass.
Tiffany stained glass window
Visitors are fascinated by St. Augustine’s pivotal role in the passage of America’s Civil Rights Act. Walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and Andrew Young on the ACCORD Freedom Trail and see all 31 sites. Spend time at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, which houses some of the nation’s oldest birth and marriage records from early Black settlers and learn the story of nearby Fort Mose, the location of America’s first legal free Black settlement.
Foot Soldiers Monument
For a festive tour, plan to visit during Thanksgiving, Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day, when St. Augustine celebrates its important role as the first place in America to celebrate all three of these popular holidays. The Nights of Lights event kicks off in November and blankets the Ancient City in millions of tiny white lights, while the annual Celtic Festival celebrates all things Irish.
Throughout the year, visitors enjoy a thriving music scene when local, regional and national acts perform in dozens of music venues, including St. Augustine’s internationally renowned amphitheater. There’s so much more to share about the important people and places that truly make St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra America’s Cultural VIP.
Getting here is easy. Take a direct flight to the Jacksonville International Airport, which is less than an hour away. Parking for motor coaches and buses is conveniently located in St. Augustine’s Historic Downtown. Nearby there are accommodations to fit every taste and budget from historic inns and chain hotels to luxury oceanfront resorts. We promise to treat your group like VIPs as you make your way through this Very Important Place.
For more information:
Christina Parrish Stone, Executive Director
St. Johns Cultural Council