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Florida's Historic Coast Leads the Way in Preservation & Protection

Residents and visitors alike are charmed by the historic sites and natural beauty of Florida's Historic Coast. Cresting the Bridge of Lions, you're more likely to feel like you're descending into a Spanish village than a coastal town in Florida. This is thanks to St. Augustine and St. Johns County's incredible dedication to sustainability and preservation.


Castillo de San Marcos Florida
Castillo de San Marcos Florida


Much of St. Augustine was originally built by new residents hailing from Spain, providing the city with a European look. The core of downtown holds many of the earliest buildings that are still in existence. The oldest is the González-Alvarez House, also appropriately named The Oldest House. It was built in 1723 and is a testament to the dedication of St. Augustine's protectors. Many sites, including the González-Alvarez House, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The last count puts St. Augustine's total at 46, with seven distinct neighborhoods under consideration. The St. Augustine Historic District is a Historic Landmark itself. To be considered for the registry, the property must meet certain criteria – how old it is, whether its integrity has been preserved and whether it is significant. Being listed on the register offers these properties certain protections, access to funding and grants for preservation and ensures any repairs or upgrades are sympathetic to the place's original design and intent.



Carriage tours through Historic St. Augustine
Carriage tours through Historic St. Augustine

Keeping Florida's Historic Coast historic is a big job. The city of St. Augustine created a Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) to help with that. Using an extensive library of historic plans and materials as reference, such as original paint pigments from the Spanish colonial period, a board of specialists reviews construction and renovation applications to ensure that the historic integrity of the city's most precious properties is preserved. While many properties perform upgrades to provide the most modern amenities, property owners ensure that the original buildings are never compromised. St. Augustine is one of the few American cities to employ a full-time archaeologist. Not only do they research, investigate, and evaluate potential construction sites, but they also preserve and maintain a large collection of artifacts uncovered throughout the city.


St.Augustine Amphitheatre
St.Augustine Amphitheatre

Even older but just as precious are St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches' natural resources. These lands have been the site of numerous historic moments, and their preservation is just as important. The natural environment of the area boasts over 40 miles of pristine beaches, tens of thousands of acres of maritime hammocks, marshes, oyster beds, and more.


The Beaches' natural resources
The Beaches' natural resources

There are many local efforts to protect the natural habitat. Both the city of St. Augustine and St. Johns County have banned balloon and lantern releases, both posing a significant danger to coastal marine wildlife. They were the first county in Florida to do so. An incredibly active group of volunteers, supported by the county and permitted by the Florida Wildlife Commission, patrol the beaches to locate and mark sea turtles' nests for protection.

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