St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and comes chock-full of interesting history! The campground we stayed at, Pellicer Creek Campground, was a short 20-minute drive from the city. Our friends Pati and Saydi drove up from Melbourne Beach and spent the afternoon with us exploring St. Augustine, Florida, eating some yummy vegan food, checking out Castillo de San Marcos Fort, and taking a haunted tour of the St. Augustine lighthouse.
Castillo de San Marcos Fort
Our first stop was the Castillo de San Marcos Fort, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and was built over a hundred years before the United States was even a country. When we first walked up, we were ushered around to the front of the fort because they were about to set off a huge cannon- which was LOUD! We arrived just in time to see the whole spectacle, which was exciting. We then used our National Park pass to get free entrance for all 4 of us into the fort. We spent some time reading about the history, how the fort changed hands between the Spanish, British, the Confederacy, and finally back to the United States. We also learned about the unfortunate period where the fort was used as a military prison to incarcerate Native Americans. At the top of the fort, you get a very cool view of the city and surrounding waterways.
We had worked up a bit of an appetite and headed over to Mojo’s Tacos for some burritos. We ordered GIANT burritos with tofu, tempeh, rice, beans, guacamole, and some amazing spicy “special” sauce that they make in-house. (Pro tip: make sure to ask for the vegan sauce, as the original has dairy in it). We also tried kombucha for the first time, they had a couple flavors on-tap, and it turns out that we’re huge fans! We now drink kombucha almost every single day.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
In the evening, we arrived at the St. Augustine lighthouse for the “Dark of the Moon” haunted tour. The tour takes place at night and the tour guide takes the group through the lighthouse keepers house and tells you about all the spooky activity that goes on there. The story goes that the keeper’s children liked to play on a railway cart that was used to haul building materials from the water. They would take rides in the cart, but one day the brake system failed and the cart hurled itself into the water, trapping the children inside. A worker managed to save one of them, but the rest drowned. Today, those spirits play tricks on people at the lighthouse, like tying their shoelaces together and messing with the glow sticks that tour guests wear. There’s also a lighthouse keeper’s wife who haunts the actual lighthouse, which was featured on the show Ghost Hunters. After touring the house and walking up the 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse, the tour guides let us all run free to explore on our own in the dark. We had rented an EMF meter that detects energy and a group of us picked up some activity near a rocking chair inside the house, which was cool. Some people were taking photos and also captured some orbs near that same chair. Overall, we had so much fun on our ghost hunting adventure. We wish we would have toured the old jail as well, as we heard it is also very haunted. Next time we’re in town, we’ll have to check that out too!