This past month (June 2015) I was heading to Jacksonville and Tampa for quick work meetings (just 24 hours in each). I had been to Jacksonville before for work, but had never been to St. Augustine about 45 minutes away. I haven’t done the best job of exploring other parts of Florida since moving to Miami. Most of my vacation time and travel I head back to the West Coast or far away than Florida (that’s not meant to imply anything about Florida haha). The place I have most regretted not checking out in Florida is certainly St. Augustine. I love history and architecture and as the oldest continually inhabited city in the continental U.S. you can’t get much more historical than that.
The Jacksonville trip seemed like a great opportunity to see St. Augustine, so I flew up a day early, rented a car, and spent about 27 hours in St. Augustine. I didn’t have a chance to do tons of research before my visit, but I was able to figure out a good itinerary of gluten-free restaurants and sights. Definitely some sights that I didn’t get to (Lightner Museum, Anastasia State Park, San Sebastian Winery, and Fort Mantanzas) for future trips, but loved the places I saw this trip.
I didn’t have much time in Jacksonville to sightsee with work and unfortunately the restaurant options near my hotel downtown weren’t very good. I did however check out a great bakery with gluten-free options that I am including here with all of the St. Augustine stuff.
Restaurants (all have gluten-free specialties, which is why I visited):
- Creative Juices Natural Cafe (Lighthouse Park)– cafe focused on juices and very fresh and organic food. They have a number of gluten-free options, including biscuits and gravy!
- DOLCE Cafe (Old Town)– little cafe just across King Street from the Spanish Quarter in Old Town. All their crepes are gluten-free!
- The Floridian (Spanish Quarter)– one of my favorite restaurants in the state of Florida (so fittingly named). A wide range of gluten-free options. I went for the gluten-free fried Church Picnic Chicken and the corn fritters. Such a delicious meal and gets a huge recommendation from me.
- Mantanzas Innlet Restaurant (25 minutes south of St. Augustine)– a very relaxed, low-key, friendly, local, waterside seafood restaurant (a lot of descriptors there) with a gluten-free menu (one of the owners is celiac). The big winner is gluten-free crab cakes!
- Sweet Theory Baking Company (Jacksonville)– Vegan bakery with a lot of gluten-free options. Worth a visit for gluten-frees and vegans in Jacksonville. Have a Doughmuff (doughnut-muffin) that was incredible!
- Castillo de San Marcos– the fort that protected St. Augustine. This is a MUST if you visit St. Augustine. Tons of history and beautiful views to experience here.
- St. Augustine Distillery– my favorite thing I did besides the Castillo de San Marcos. Very cool tour of a local distillery (with tastings!). Would highly recommend a visit and supporting this local business (that gets most of its ingredients from the state of Florida).
- St. Augustine Lighthouse– a tall zebra striped “pole” towering over St. Augustine. You get some great views, but big warning to those that are afraid of heights! The climb to the top is a bit nerve wracking…
- St. Augustine Photo Blog