Ponce de León Inlet Lighthouse, located about 1 1/2 hours south of St. Augustine, is a great place to visit to start a day trip. The lighthouse grounds encompass several houses while the museum shows the significance of the place and the building. In addition to information about the lighthouse, the museum has exhibits about motorcycles, cars, and the Daytona 500. (Did you know that Harley and Davidson worked with Evanrude to build their first motorcycles?!?) Even though this trip was just my husband and me, we observed many children happily exploring the grounds and encouraging their parents to climb all 200 steps to reach the top of this tallest lighthouse in Florida.
We had plans to visit the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park next as we worked our way back to St. Augustine, but the cold drizzle put a damper, quite literally, on things! Instead, we continued to Daytona Beach to drive by the Daytona International Speedway. Since we are not race fans we didn’t stop, but at least I know where it is if we decide to go back.
We continued along the scenic route 1 and A1A to Flagler beach. Wine tasting beckoned us so we stopped at Flagler Winery. Based on reviews, we decided on glasses of their frozen, slushy wines. We enjoyed sitting by a window, snacking on a fantastic cheese board with piping hot, crusty bread, and watching the waves. There were seats outside so customers could feel the sea breeze in their hair while enjoying the experience, but the cold rain prevented us from doing so.
Our last stop on the way back to St. Augustine was Fort Matanzas National Monument, 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL 32080 which is part of the National Park system. (If you are over 60, make sure you invest in a National Park pass. We now get in free which saves a lot of money!)
Our next planned stop was Fort Mantazas which was built by the Spanish in 1742 to protect a rear attack on St. Augustine. The ferry to the island included an added perk of seeing dolphins leaping all around the boat. The park rangers were, of course, very entertaining and informative and even made the comment that they were used to being upstaged by the playful dolphins. We were given time to explore Fort Mantazas before catching the return ferry, hiking the 0.5-mile nature walk, and getting back in the car for the 30-minute drive to our hotel in St. Augustine.
And then more fun in St. Augustine!