Solvitur ambulando. It is a Latin phrase with a simple meaning: "It is solved by walking."
There is nothing quite as easy, relaxing, and underrated as a nice walk. St. Augustine is an pleasant coastal town filled with many attractions, museums, restaurants and shopping districts. Its architecture and scenery are astounding, and visitors boast of the European feel of its city streets. The surrounding geography including forests with palms trees and hanging spanish moss, and sandy beaches with rolling waves. There's something about a calm, scenic walk in St. Augustine that carries more value in it than any other diversion could.
If you're looking for a charming and picturesque stroll, than these are some amazing places to check out.
Saint Augustine Beach
The St. Johns County Pier on St. Augustine Beach
Some people spend their whole lives inland, never setting eyes on a beach, and even fewer see the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors come to Florida just to experience the ocean. It's a wonderful sight to behold, especially at Anastasia Island. You won't be overwhelmed by unbearable crowds common at beaches close to large urban areas. St. Augustine Beach is set apart. Long stretches of sandy dunes, the fishing pier, and rocky ocean walls characterize this seaside spot. You'll find an array of seashells and marine life. Best of all, if you haven't seen a Florida sunrise, this is the place to watch it. Plus, you'll see other walkers! Dog-walkers, power-walkers, joggers and runners. You'll see people from every walk of life gather to the strip of seaside beauty that is St. Augustine Beach.
Walking the beach is free, though there is a nominal fee if you choose to go into Anastasia State Park or park on the beach.
Mission Nombre de Dios
The statue of St. Francis in the grounds of the Mission Nombre de Dios
The Mission Nombre de Dios grounds are believed to be the landing site of Menendez, where Christianity first came to America. The site carries much historical and spiritual wealth for those seeking it, but even for those not, the beauty of the site brings a feeling of peace and serenity. Many comment on the charm of this gilded patch of nature close to the city. Ancient trees curl over the water's edge, providing comforting shade. The wetlands extend out, touching the horizon. The Great Cross, golden and majestic, towers over the skyline. In the wooded area, you'll find a candle-lit chapel covered in vines. It pays tribute to Our Lady of La Leche, who was revered by Catholic natives as an intercessory icon of fertility. Cement walkways weave through an old cemetery - ground that is considered sacred. Despite this, death is not the overpowering feeling of this picturesque trail, but rather, the beauty of life.
Walking the Mission grounds is free, but donations are appreciated and are used to maintain the grounds.
The Matanzas River at sunrise, viewed from the walk along the bayfront.
It's hard to pick a time of the day when the bayfront is most picturesque. It always seems to carry an unbeatable view with it. Even when the weather is dreary or unpleasant, the force of the waves in the bay is an incredible thing to behold. Sunrise, sunset, nighttime and noon - walking the bayfront wall is incredible. It's empowering when you climb the steps onto the bayfront wall, and stand lifted up against the cityscape, overlooking the water - a flock of sailboats, the Renaissance inspired Bridge of Lions, the Castillo, the island, and the lighthouse all in view. It stretches from the headquarters for the Florida National Guard, up north to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Whether it's the glowing sunrise or the reflection of city lights off the water at night, there's never a dull sight when walking the bayfront.
Walking the Bayfront is free, so long as you find parking.
St. George Street, Aviles Street, and Historic Downtown
Walking around downtown St. Augustine, you'll find our 'sky-scrapers' are church domes and historical spires. Our city noise is the sound of horse hoofs and trolley bells. Fast food means getting home-cooked baked goods from a local counter. We don't have potted-plants, but a city built around plants, and St. George Street is where the hustle, bustle, and beauty of downtown converge. Crossing over Cathedral Place and King Street, you'll see the town square with its towering oaks. Further, into the shopping district towards Hypolita, you'll see palm trees shading businesses, and strip malls filled with a multitude of shops selling clothing, wines, cigars, housewares, books, and souvenirs. The energy of St. George Street, the sights, all make for an invigorating walk. If you want to enjoy the street without the crowds, consider strolling St. George Street at sunrise. A walk around downtown St. Augustine is the way a walk around town should be - easy to navigate, underwhelmed by the city buildings, and pleasing to the eye.
Walking St. George Street is free, so long as you find parking. The cover photo is a detail of the Governor's House and Museum, found along St. George Street as one meanders the Historic District.
Aviles Street has undergone an amazing transformation over the past few years especially with the ever-growing popularity of the First Friday Artwalk. Walkthrough art galleries displaying the incredible genius of local artists. International restaurants and wine bars with comfortable outdoor seating are popular spots for people-watching because of the amount of foot traffic that goes through this district. Antique shops stand with cluttered windows displaying treasures of the past, tucked behind vines. Further down, you'll see Victorian-style bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) coated with exotic flowers common in Florida - orange blossoms, azaleas, lilies, and irises. Aviles Street is a page pulled from the loveliest towns in Europe. Treading cobblestone roads and grazing coquina walls will have you feeling like you've walked into another country.
Walking around Aviles Street is free, so long as you find parking.
Just a few blocks south of the center of St. Augustine's Historic Downtown, the Lincolnville neighborhood offers a quiet walk, on tree-lined streets.
The neighborhood of Lincolnville spans 45 blocks on the southwest peninsula of the "nation's oldest city." Established by freedmen after the American Civil War, it was designated as an historic district in 1991 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Homes in the district range from charming bungalows to imposing Victorians, to newly built modern homes that bow to Lincolnville's past.
This eclectic neighborhood of homes, businesses, churches, parks, and museums, includes a self-guided walking tour highlighting the homes of many of those who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement here in St. Augustine.
St. Augustine is truly a walkable city — from the Uptown District north of St. George Street, to the Robert B. Hayling Park at the end of Riberia Street in Lincolnville — visitors and locals have found that there are blocks and blocks, of streets with views, lovely homes, and historic markers. When you add the 42 miles of beaches and the city, county, and state parks, you'll find that there are a plethora of reasons to practice Solvitur ambulando in America's Oldest City.