St. Augustine, on the northeastern Atlantic coast of Florida, makes for a unique and interesting place to retire, especially if you’re fond of history and Spanish architecture. It’s the country’s oldest city, and rich in nature, culture, and art. You’ll have easy access to the beach and a lot to keep you busy.
If you want to spend your retirement in Florida but also want some more unique ways to spend your later years, consider St. Augustine. There’s a growing community of active adults, plenty of recreational opportunities, and a historic and eclectic vibe that runs through this remarkable city.
History in St. Augustine
Spanish explorers arrived in St. Augustine in 1565, making it the oldest community to be continuously inhabited by European settlers in the United States. After restoration efforts throughout the later part of the 20th century, the city is a modern but authentic version of its former colonial self.
The most famous monument is the Castillo de San Marcos, a fortified wall facing the sea that was built to protect the city against invaders. You’ll see the original city gate, watch the waves crash against the impressive masonry work of the fortress, and explore early America’s history of wars and invasions.
Other historic points of interest include the Nombre de Dios Mission and Shrine, where you can attend mass or visit the museum celebrating the first Christian church in America.
At Fort Mose Historic State Park, you can visit the first settlement of freed slaves. Musket-firing shows are also a weekly activity, and there’s a boardwalk to the water as well as nature trails perfect for wildlife viewing. In the Colonial Quarter, a living museum, it’s possible to experience what life was like centuries ago.
St. Augustine’s Art and Culture
Retiring in St. Augustine means having access to some of the best art, music, and theater in Florida. Dozens of art galleries can be found on Anastasia Street and King Street downtown. Nightlife includes breweries, walking tours, and wine clubs. Auggie’s Draft Room is popular with locals for its 24 self-serving beer taps, and The Cellar Upstairs at the San Sebastian Winery has a large wine list and lots of live jazz and blues music.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is both a place of worship as well as a museum. The beauty and the art in the church are unlike what you’ll find in any other church in America, and along the basilica walls, you’ll learn the story of St. Augustine and follow the history of Catholicism in Florida and the U.S.
The World Golf Hall of Fame is also in St. Augustine, which includes a museum and an IMAX Theater. This Hall of Fame is unique among other professional sports in that both men and women are celebrated.
Exploring St. Augustine’s Nature
If you’re going to retire in St. Augustine, get your annual pass to the Florida State Park system because you’ll want to make frequent trips to Anastasia State Park. Here, you’ll find gorgeous white sand beaches, interesting tidal marshes, and protected sand dunes. Visitors can camp, swim, fish, or go for a hike along the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail. Expect to see some of Florida’s most famous birds, including spoonbills, osprey, and bald eagles.
The St. John’s Fishing Pier is one of the best places to catch black drums, a saltwater fish. The pier also hosts festivals, concerts, and performances. Stokes Landing Conservation Area is a popular and serene place for biking, hiking, fishing, and spotting wildlife.
55+ Communities in St. Augustine
Low $300s – High $300s
The Villages of Seloy offers buyers options like new or resale townhomes that include a sunroom and an eat-in kitchen. The community’s clubhouse features a fitness center, a library, and a computer room. The outdoor pool is a popular place for parties and social events. The community is a cozy and intimate environment, with only 240 proposed homes, giving new residents a great opportunity to get to know their neighbors.
High $200s – Low $400s
Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes is a 200-home community offering attached and single-family residences. Buyers can choose a home that has between two and five bedrooms and two to three bathrooms. Pulte Homes is developing this 55+ community, and when it’s done it will include a clubhouse, pickleball courts, a kayak launch, a dog park, and a resort-style pool that faces the lake.
Low $300s – Low $400s
Another new St. Augustine community is Freedom at San Salito, a desirable community with only 96 single-family homes. New homes can be purchased in four models. An amenity center is coming soon and will include a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and an outdoor fireplace.