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    Vacation in St. Augustine
    by Caitlin Moore

    Recognized as the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine has had plenty of time to perfect the art of impressing visitors with its charm and natural beauty. From a fascinating historic district to miles of immaculate beaches, this noteworthy city along Florida's northeast coast makes for an intriguing and relaxing place to spend your next vacation.

    Being that it's known as the "Ancient City," St. Augustine has lots of reminders of days gone by. In particular, several forts signify the once-powerful influence of the Spanish empire and accompanying museums tell their stories in minute detail. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is probably the most impressive of the existing structures due to its double drawbridge entrance and the fact that it's made from a virtually indestructible limestone mixture made from broken seashells and coral.

    A watchtower called Fort Matanzas and the Lightner museum are also fascinating tourist attractions, so be prepared to end your vacation a bit more knowledgeable than when you began. As you amble through the cobblestone streets and soak in the Renaissance architecture, you'll smile at the notion that you've discovered the most painless way to increase your historical smarts.

    Continuing the theme of self-improvement, be sure to stay in shape by spending some time playing tennis or golf where they were meant to be enjoyed. A mild summer day complete with gentle breezes and uninterrupted sunshine will provide the ideal conditions for your most exhilarating game ever, so save some time to engage in the sport of your choice during your St. Augustine visit.

    Of course, you won't want to skimp on beach time, either. The presence of several marinas make slipping into the surf for a speedboat or jet ski ride a no-brainer, and the seaside businesses are ready to help you embrace the water sport of your choice. From surfing to snorkeling, diving to parasailing, you'll be well-equipped to return to your favorite hobby or try something daring for the first time.

    Shoppers will delight in the eclectic shops in the old district of St. Augustine, and bargain-hunters will want to head a few miles out of town to the outlet mall. Basically, there is no shortage of opportunities to bring home a bagful of souvenirs or to stumble across the antique piece you've been looking for to complete your living room set.

    Once the sun begins to set, don't worry about the town disappearing behind closed doors. You would be well-advised to find a place to dine that faces the sunset, as nothing inspires romance and relaxation like watching the sky erupt in color before it fades gently into night. Perk up your ears as you finish dessert, because it's likely that you'll hear live music coming from all directions. Follow the sounds of your favorite melody and sit down for a nightcap. Listening to the sweet sounds of jazz, country, folk, or whatever strikes your fancy will pave the way to an amazing night's sleep, just you wait.

    This brings us to the issue of lodging. There are plenty of hotels in this area, but for a different sort of experience consider renting a vacation property that would provide bountiful amenities along with ample breathing room. Sitting in your private hot tub as the full moon rises, fixing yourself a cup of coffee to be enjoyed after a peaceful slumber, and heading out the back door for some low-tide shelling are just a few things that vacation rentals will bring about.

    Many conveniently located villas and homes will ensure that you are able to come and go as you please without even having to drive. Walk to a museum, festival, or a handful of shops and then return to your well-equipped kitchen for a light lunch. Head to the beach for a while, and then hit the showers before returning to town for a leisurely night of dining and dancing.

    Forgetful travel companions won't be chastised for having to go back to the house for that tube of sunscreen, and nap-takers can excuse themselves for a couple of hours without affecting everyone else's schedule. If you've never stayed in a vacation rental before, you're in for a pleasant surprise, as all the cloudy spots that marred your otherwise enjoyable previous vacation will be nowhere to be found this time around.

    If this sounds like the way to make your trip to Florida a success, then go online to pick out the St. Augustine Vacation Rental that most appeals to you, your family, and your budget. Be assured, there's something that will satisfy them all.

    About the Author
    HomeAway.com is a great place to visit as you plan your next vacation.

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