"What would I do in a zombie apocalypse?" St. Augustine has the answer to that question.
WARNING: The opinions expressed in this article are purely paranoid and hypothetical, as are most discussions on the imminent zombie apocalypse. But at visitstaugustine.com, along with providing the ultimate guide for things to do, restaurants to visit, and places to stay, we want to make sure vacationers know where to go should a national zombie epidemic suddenly break out during vacation.
The Walking Dead has reminded us to start planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse! Yay! Lucky for us, St. Augustine is a goldmine of places to bunk up when the brain-eating virus that Apple is injecting into the iPhone gets loose and infects the masses.
1. Castillo de San Marcos.
The Castillo de San Marcos is a top-notch zombie bunker. It has never fallen to enemy fire, it has a sweet drawbridge and the perfect structural design for placing snipers at each corner to defend against the zombie populace. Plus, it's already equipped with several cannons that can rip through a whole army of zombies. However, it is the Castillo, which means it's everyone's obvious first choice. You're probably going to have to accept that trampling some people to death just to get in there might be a necessity. And once you're there, you better be ready to bunk up for a few weeks before the army comes. That means having plenty of food, supplies, entertainment, and a zombie apocalypse love interest that you're only mildly into because they're definitely going to end up being killed by zombies anyway. As long as you're fully outfitted, you can sit back and enjoy impenetrable protection from brain eating hordes and post-apocalyptic murder gangs.
2. The Hotel Ponce de Leon
It's not even the zombie apocalypse and the Ponce de Leon Hotel already looks like its in the zombie apocalypse. I mean look at that gate ... what are they trying to protect this place from? This old hotel looks like it dropped straight out of a Fallout game. It's one of the first poured concrete structures in America, designed to hold up against hurricanes and tropical storms (and zombies). The only downside to the Ponce is that there are so many openings in this building. You'll be admiring a Tiffany stained-glass window in the dining hall for about ten pretty seconds before someone comes crashing through it to devour you. And it'll probably be Henry Flagler, since his zombie house is just a few blocks away at Memorial Presbyterian. Do yourself a favor and plan for an early check-out.
3. The Lighthouse
If you've ever played Left 4 Dead, then you know that sometimes the best thing you can do in a game is pick one, solitary location with a small entrance and no exit, stock up on health and ammo, and just bunk up and let the zombies come pouring in to kill you. The Lighthouse will allow you to defend against zombies while also giving you a great outlook for spotting rescue helicopters and boats. Plus, it's 219 steps up. No zombie is going to have the energy for that. Just make sure you raise the Bridge of Lions on your way over.
4. The Black Raven
Why worry about finding fuel and blowing out a tire when rolling over zombie bodies when you could sail away in a pirate ship? If the zombie apocalypse starts, we already know it's going to be because of our country — after all, the Taco Bell breakfast menu was just introduced this year. So the best place you could be is in a vehicle capable of leaving this wasteland in the dust. If one of these babies could make it across the Atlantic in the 1500s, then it definitely has a fighting chance today. Although zombies can swim, they definitely don't prefer it. Their skin is falling off enough as it is; the last thing they want is pruny fingers.
5. Lightner Museum
The Lightner is definitely where someone would go if their ultimate goal was to become some sort of Duke of St. Augustine, just like the Governor of Woodbury from Walking Dead. All those decadent artifacts and luxury items make for one awesome compound. Just pull up a throne and boom! You're the king of the castle, ready to bring back the age of barbaric civilizations by hosting your own gladiator zombie tournaments for your prisoners in the old indoor pool.
6. Whetstone Chocolate Factory
Even in the Zombie Apocalypse, you can't lose sight of the simple things like chocolate. Carl taught us that when he very disgustingly ate an entire tub of chocolate pudding (Just ... stay in the house, Carl). During any apocalypse it's important to find an outlet for your stress—a way to cope with a life which is constantly in survival mode. The best outlet for that is chocolate. So obviously, another premium spot to sit and wait for the Army and CDC to come save you would be the Whetstone Chocolate Factory, where not only do you have chocolate, but also the means to produce more chocolate. Plus, with control over chocolate production, you have a limitless supply of goods to trade with mercenaries and gangs passing through. A few bags of chocolate could be the difference between life and death.
7. The Beach
Have you ever seen a movie with zombies on a beach (besides Zombie Beach of course)? No. They're just not into it. For whatever reason, whether it's sand, sun, surf, or a strong aversion to fun, zombies don't hang out at the beach. My advice when the national alarms start sounding: grab your surfboard, some sand castle molds, a cooler of beer from Ancient City Brewing, and just go to the beach. I don't know how or why, but you'll make it.
8. The Alligator Farm
Most people wonder why birds hang out in the Alligator Farm's trees. Well, it's because birds and alligators aren't really natural enemies. If anything, the birds feel safer around the alligators because alligators can't climb trees. However, alligators regularly eat things that try to climb trees. Despite appearances, being above a moat filled with alligators is probably the best defense against swamp zombies, which BY THE WAY, are the most horrifying species of zombie there is. There will be plenty of fodder to keep your guard gators alive for a long time (long, as in about 25 years at the least). Just stick to the zip lines, let them do the work, and hope that eating zombies won't make your alligators turn into zombie alligators. Unless, of course, zombie alligators are an even stronger defense than regular alligators.
9. The Old Jail
If the Walking Dead taught us anything, it's that the prison was probably the most effective defense. In St. Augustine, The Old Jail still has some of its most valuable zombie-defense features. However, the jail has been renovated, so you may have to build additional fortifications. My advice: get there early and start preparing. If you are quick you can probably ride out the storm here.
Not Just a Pretty Vacation Spot
St. Augustine takes pride in being the kind of perfect getaway where you can relax and forget about your troubles. Fortunately, that holds true even during a zombie apocalypse, so you don't have to stay home or cancel your existing trip should the worst happen. And all of the above locations are open regularly if you want to take a scouting trip pre-crisis. Hopefully you wont need to hide from the undead hordes, but if you do, you know where St. Augustine locals will be hiding.
There are plenty of places in St. Augustine to grab a bite on your way to safety.
A1A Ale Works: This bayfront restaurant is in close proximity to the Black Raven and the Castillo de San Marcos if you need to hide quickly.
Cafe Alcazar: This dining establishment inside The Lightner has many places to hide for a private meal during even the worst-case scenarios.
Sunset Grille: Located on Anastasia Island, this beach-front eatery is close to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Alligator Farm.
As Content Editor for VisitStAugustine.com, Alex writes and edits everything from articles to business profiles to events. She likes manatees, orange juice, and getting into a hot car on a scorchingly hot Florida summer day after being in AC for hours.