I remember a time several years ago when my husband and I were visiting New York City and we had to stop someone to ask for directions. Someone else passed by and sneered at us with an exaggerated eye roll, “GO HOME, TOURISTS!” Nevermind that tourism is one of your city’s major industries. I’m sure that due to your superior sense of direction you’ve never needed to ask anyone for help. Eye roll. I’m SURE no one in St. Augustine would ever be so rude, but there are still some folks who get annoyed at the constant flow of tourists through our beautiful city. Not only do I NOT find them the least bit annoying, I love them! Here are just a few reasons why:
1) Downtown always has a fun vacation vibe.
I love that no matter what day or time you drive in downtown St. Augustine, there are people walking around in an anticipatory, companionable state of mind. Vacation vibe! That carefree mood of, what are we going to see next? Let’s check this place out! And, who cares what time it is, why don’t we stop here for a drink or a gourmet popsicle? Speaking of stopping to have a drink, I love that you’ll find people doing so in outdoor restaurants pretty much any day of the week. It may be my Monday, but I’ll take a moment to vicariously enjoy your happy hour.
2) I love seeing people experience what I love about the city.
From Ponce de Leon to Henry Flagler, St. Augustine is busting at the seams with fascinating history. Tourists who come to St. Augustine know this, it’s part of why they’re here! I love seeing people actively listening on tours and stopping to read the historical marker signs. All of this history comes with a backdrop of palm trees, passing boats and the beautiful St. Augustine Lighthouse! I want to say to them, “Take more pictures! It’s so awesome, isn’t it?!”
3) Great shops and restaurants.
When you live in a tourist town, fantastic dining and shopping often come with the territory. From uptown to downtown, St. Augustine is chock full of locally owned shops and restaurants that are worth travelling from afar to try. And we get to go there whenever we want! In this town, you truly have everything you need to shop and dine locally, instead of from major chains. Shopping local here is a true win-win for you and your community.
4) It’s fun to be a tourist in your own city.
Whether you’re having a staycation or just looking for something to do, playing tourist is always a fun activity for locals. We’re so lucky to live in a city where there are museums, tours, landmarks, parks and attractions for all age groups and at all price points. We drive by many of these places on a regular basis, but chances are there are some you’ve never visited. In St. Augustine it’s nearly impossible to say there is nothing to do on any given day.
5) History, Culture, Beauty, Beaches, with a healthy dose of Quirkiness.
Some tourist towns have a beach. Others have history. How cool is it that our town has both; along with beautiful architecture, awesome weather, and Pirates walking the street in full costume?? This historic town does not take itself too seriously and loves to have fun. It’s a recipe for a great vacation, but also a fantastic place to live. This is why I, when asked for directions, happily oblige with a smile. I love it here and I hope they do too.
About the Author
Amanda LaConte is a former banking professional turned stay-at-home-mom, and a Writer for the local lifestyle magazine and website, St. Augustine Social. Amanda is a devoted Christian, wife and mother of two awesome and hilarious kiddos. She’s a Florida native who loves travelling just as much as being home. While Amanda is a University of Florida grad, she married a Florida State Seminole, so football season is both exciting and probably a bit confusing for the LaConte children. Amanda stays busy helping others achieve their health goals as an It Works distributor, writing, reading, and trying to teach two little people to be kind, happy and successful human beings.