St. Augustine Florida is an incredibly romantic destination for couples. Hold hands as you explore the narrow, cobblestone streets of the city founded 450 years ago. You'll find yourself soon falling in love with the tiny city by the bay. Brimming with cozy inns, horse-drawn carriages, and significant architecture, there's much to love. Surprisingly, you may forget altogether that there's a beach a few miles to the east. Tours are available of Flagler University — Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan
Although this tiny city was also held by the British and the French, 100 years of Spanish rule defined St. Augustine's look. From Moorish architecture to street names like Avenida Menendez and Cordova, Spanish influence is everywhere. (Visit the scenic but off-the-beaten-path Mission Nombre de Dios to see a tiny but beautiful chapel which represents this period). Chapel at Mission Nombre de Dios — Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan
A horse-drawn carriage ride is a terrific way to kick off your trip. Not only do you get to snuggle together, but the historic tales you'll hear from your driver will bring this charming city to life and fire your desire to explore. Horse-drawn carriage tours are romantic, informative — Photo courtesy of D.J. Henson
Another great way to get oriented is to climb the steps of the St. Augustine lighthouse for a panoramic view of the entire area. You'll quickly see why St. Augustine was a coveted destination by explorers from four countries. St. Augustine lighthouse — Photo courtesy of D.J. Henson
The city's most elaborate hotel is Casa Monica. Built in 1888, this four-star property is worth a visit for lunch or shopping, even if your budget doesn't allow a stay. Casa Monica lies across the street from Flagler College, the grand campus which Henry Flagler originally built as a winter hotel destination for affluent New Englanders seeking warmer temps. Casa Monica Hotel — Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan
These fortunate few traveled by Flagler's train to the city deemed a paradise by their friend, one of America's wealthiest industrialists. In fact, he helped make that moniker so, and across the oak-shaded blocks of historic downtown, you'll find amazingly beautiful architecture for which he was responsible (with the help of hundreds of European craftsmen and artisans). Flagler's Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine — Photo courtesy of D.J. Henson
There are many wonderful lodging choices in the city, including the quiet and historic St. Francis Inn; the Casablanca Inn (with its sexy Tini Martini Bar); and the Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront. Each has its own charm and all are blessed with charming interiors and plenty of privacy.
Lovers should head to Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille, to enjoy an evening dining under the stars while listening to live music and dining on delicious Cajun appetizers and entrees. Another fun night out for couples is Rhett's Piano Bar and Brasserie. The live music is often quite good at O.C. White's, near the marina, and Milltop Tavern is a relaxing place to have a drink, outside on the upper deck. Evening strolls always hold pleasant surprises . . . and beautiful views. Santa Maria Restaurant at Night — Photo courtesy of D.J. Henson
But there is no finer evening than dinner for two at Bistro de Leon. The delightful French couple who opened this bistro are doing everything right. Plan on a long and leisurely meal; it will surely be the highlight of your St. Augustine stay.
For another lasting memory, unwind aboard the Victory III, on a sunset cruise offered by Scenic Cruises of St. Augustine. Seeing the silhouette of Flagler's beautiful city against a fiery sky is a moment truly worthy of a kiss. St. Augustine at Sunset — Photo courtesy of D.J. Henson