by Lisa Farese
School is out, and the temperature has heated up. Many of us are enjoying the long, sun-kissed days, which can only mean summer is back. Of course, between vacations and summer camps, this season can get expensive, so we’ve compiled a summer fun guide that will give you plenty of fun things to do as a family, or simply on date night, that won’t cost you a penny. So, grab your flip flops and head out on an adventure this summer!Enjoy Music Amid the Waves at the Music by the Sea Concert Series
Grab your beach chair or blanket and head down to the St. Johns County Pier Park on Wednesday nights. Here you can enjoy the breezy summer nights to the tune of local bands. You can also grab a bite to eat from the featured local restaurant each week or bring your own picnic lunch. Food service starts at 6 p.m., and the concert starts at 7 p.m. New to the series this year are theme nights. July 30th will be Parrot Head Night and Sept. 24th will be Tie Dye Hippie Night. The series will commence for the season after the Sept. 24th concert. For more information, visit http://thecivicassociation.org/music_by_the_sea_summer_concerts.
Find Yourself Saying, “Shhh, No Boat Horns Please” at Movies by the Bay Did we mention your beach chair will come in handy this summer? Ripley’s St. Augustine Attractions and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina are hosting free movie screenings at the downtown Marina each Wednesday and Friday night at 8:30 p.m. for which you will, once again, need your beach chair. Wednesday nights will feature family friendly movies such as The Sandlot and Tangled, and Friday nights will feature classic movies such as Sleepless in Seattle and Fried Green Tomatoes. Movies will run through the week of Aug. 16. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/saintaugustineripleys/posts/456714524406081.
Enjoy Music in the Air at Concerts in the Plaza
Head downtown on Thursday nights for a concert in the Plaza de la Constitución, which is the heart of downtown St. Augustine. These concerts start at 7 p.m., hosting a variety of music, and will take place each week until Labor Day. For more information, visit http://www.staugustinegovernment.com/the-city/featured-stories-archive/CitP14.cfm.
Have a Blast with 4th of July Celebrations
Join in the fun with the 4th of July celebration in downtown St. Augustine, which will begin at 6 p.m. with a performance by the All Star Orchestra. The fireworks display will follow and start at 9:30 p.m. and will be set off near Castillo de San Marcos in the Matanzas Bay. For more information, visit www.FireworksOverTheMatanzas.com.
Can’t get enough fireworks? The World Golf Hall of Fame will also be hosting a community fireworks display, and it will take place on July 3 from 5-10 p.m. at the World Golf Hall of Fame. Additional dinner and a movie packages are also available for a cost. For more information, visit http://www.worldgolfhalloffame.org/visit-the-museum/events/.
Get Upbeat at Uptown Saturday Night
On the last Saturday of each month, head to the San Marco District where you will find antique and art galleries open late amid a festive atmosphere. Here you can enjoy live music and refreshments as you bob in and out of these unique galleries. Sponsored by the San Marco Avenue Merchants Association, the event takes place from 5-9 p.m. each month and spans the stretch from Ripleys to Mission of Nombre de Dios. For more information, visit http://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/listings/view/4008.
Enjoy a Sunset at Vilano Beach Town Center
Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like a sunset. Take in the beautiful sites of the setting sun at the Vilano Pier and also enjoy venders, music, arts, crafts and more at the Sunset Celebration at Vilano Beach Town Center on July 5 from 3 p.m. until dusk. For more information, visit www.vilanobeachfl.com.
Walk Among Art at the First Friday Art Walk
True to its name, St. Augustine’s First Friday Art Walk takes place the first Friday of each month. This is a great opportunity to take a gander at all of the unique artwork St. Augustine has to offer. Complete with refreshments, entertainment and even free rides on the St. Augustine Sightseeing Trains and Old Town Trolley Tours, it’s a fun summer night that won’t break your budget. So what are you waiting for, stroll downtown from 5-9 p.m. the first Friday of the month. For more information, visit www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.org.
Head Out on a Journey with this 450th Commemoration Exhibit
As our nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, so too does our city with the display of the Journey Exhibit. Come see artifacts and documents, AP photos, a video, and even an actual Woolworth’s counter as you step back in time. The exhibit is located downtown at the Visitors Information Center and will be open until July 15. For more information, visit www.journey2014.com.
Go Beyond Books with the St. Johns County
Library Summer Programs
With multiple branches to choose from, there are many summer programs both for adults and children alike this summer. Some of the children’s programs this summer include book clubs, kids Lego brick clubs, summer film festivals, bedtime stories, magic shows, summer gaming programs, yoga classes, art labs, puppet theaters and even sign language classes. So whether you need a day to cool off or simply a rainy day plan, check out what your local library has to offer. For more information; http://www.sjcpls.org/
Find Summer Serenity with a City Wellness Yoga Class
Find your inner peace after a busy day with a yoga class this summer. Bring a friend or go alone for a calming yoga workout on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. for the donation-only class at City Wellness. Located off A1A and 16th Street, you can enjoy a walk on the beach after class. For more information, visit http://citywellnessfl.com/
Go Back to School with Flagler College Tours
Flagler College calls the former Hotel Ponce de Leon home and provides tours of the stunning display of Spanish Renaissance architecture built in 1888. Tours are given at the start of each hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 74 King Street. If you want to pay a small fee, you can also take a tour of the newly renovated solarium, which offers amazing views of the city. For more information, visit www.flagler.edu.
Step Back in Time and Discover Downtown Historical Sites
With history practically everywhere we turn, there’s no better place to take in Florida’s history than right here at home. As St. Johns county residents, we get free admission to boot at many of these sites. Here are a few downtown sites that only require proof of residency: The Oldest House, the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Peña-Peck House, the Father Miguel O’Reilly House Museum and the Mission of Nombre de Dios Museum. Become a tourist without leaving home this summer.
Make a Splash at the St. Johns County Pier
Complete with a beautiful view and a constant ocean breeze, the splash park at the St. Johns County Pier is a great place to take your family for a relaxing and refreshing day. Complete with covered benches and pavilions, you can enjoy a picnic lunch splash side. There’s also an adjacent playground and, of course, the beach just steps away. For more information, visit http://www.co.st-johns.fl.us/Recreation/FishingPier.aspx#.U5pPij9OXug.
Take in a View from Under the Tall Sky
The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach is hosting the Under the Tall Sky Exhibition featuring work from artists Barbara Holmes-Fryefield and Fay Samimi. Stop in weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The exhibit will run until early July. For more information, visit www.ccpvb.org.
Sip Away a Summer Day at the San Sebastian Winery
If you need a break from the beach, head to the edge of downtown for a complimentary tour and tasting at the San Sebastian Winery. These tours and tastings are offered daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday. Here you can discover winemaking, tour the facility and taste test this St. Augustine wine. For more information, visit http://www.sansebastianwinery.com/information.php.
Cool Down at the St. Augustine Distillery
If you seriously need to cool off this summer, the St. Augustine Distillery is the perfect retreat. Formerly a historic power and ice plant in the early 1900’s, the newly opened distillery offers tours and tastings. Located at 112 Riberia Street, tours and tastings take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.staugustinedistillery.com.
Reserve Your Day Outdoors at the GTM Reserve
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Ponte Vedra is a great place to take in the outdoors this summer. With 74,000 acres of conservation land and a mission of educating, the staff at this reserve offer various guided tours. The cost of many of these tours are free once you pay the park admission fee. For more information, visit http://www.gtmnerr.org/.
Get a Bazaar Take on History at the Colonial Quarter
The Colonial Quarter opens its doors on the last Saturday of the month from 6-10 p.m. to passersby who want to peruse arts, crafts, music and even magic in this historic quarter. And don’t forget to climb the tower for a breezy view of downtown. For more information, visit www.thedowntownbazaar.com.
Cruise Back in Time at the Fort Matanzas National Monument
What better way to enjoy a summer day than to head out on a boat ride? Well, you can do just that at the Fort Matanzas National Monument. Catch the ferry across the Matanzas Inlet to the fort, which was built between 1740 and 1742 to protect against enemies heading north from the Matanzas Inlet. Here you can tour the fort and hear about its history, after which the ferry will take you back to shore. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/foma/index.htm.
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