Reasons Not to Live in St. Augustine

Anyone who has experienced life in this historic town knows how tough it can be. Having only lived here for a year, I’m still able to see the problems, and believe me there are many.

First of all, there’s just too much history in this old city. Who has time to learn 400+ years of history? Your kids will come home with tales of Ponce De Leon, Pedro Menendez, and Henry Flagler. And they’ll have questions.  Spend enough time in town and you’ll hear so many battle and ghost stories your head will hurt.

The old cobblestone streets, quaint for some, but a big problem for women. New-comers to St. Augustine can be spotted wobbling along the uneven streets in their high heels in the early evening. Later, after they’ve given up, you’ll see them barefoot and carrying their shoes. So unless you’re willing to risk a broken ankle, you’ll have to trade the heels for flip-flops or more-forgiving sandals.

The endless sunshine is blinding at times, particularly when it reflects off of the water. Don’t expect to see anything without squinting, which is a pain when you’re trying to watch your giggling little ones play in the surf.

Distant relatives and long lost friends will suddenly want to pay you a visit. Everyone likes an excuse to travel and you just might be it. Great Aunt Erma on your mother’s side has been reliving her childhood memories of St. Augustine and would love to come back… and get together with you. Nevermind the fact she hasn’t seen you since you were a baby.

After seeing your amazing Facebook photos, former friends and colleagues will decide they too would like to “drop by,”  and oh yeah they’ll be staying with you. But not to worry “I won’t get in your way” they say. “I’ll just do my own thing and occupy myself.” Don’t believe them. It never happens. You’ll spend days playing tour guide and discovering new things about St. Augustine. They’ll probably go back and tell your other friends and then they too will want to visit.

Lets not forget about the traffic- Especially when you’re running late. Inevitably you’ll find yourself stuck behind a horse and carriage. Much different than beltway traffic, for one thing if you honk the horn, rather than getting shot or flicked off as in some cities, the driver will probably slow down even more. You may not think that’s even possible, but it is. And maybe you’re not breathing in exhaust fumes, but trust me there’s still a distinct aroma.

The Bridge of Lions is also a huge problem. I’m not even sure it operates on a regular schedule. The operator must be on “St. Augustine time.” I try to cross only when it isn’t scheduled to be up, but at least half the time, there it is, straight up in the air. Being stuck on there is a nightmare. Who has the time to sit in the bay breeze and watch sailboats pass by?

Eating at home is impossible in this town. There are way too many popular restaurants, many with outdoor seating and remarkable views of the intracoastal… all within walking distance. Their food, I’m convinced, is laced with some addictive additive to keep you coming back. Once you’re hooked, standing over a stove in your own kitchen, especially in the warm weather, is out of the question.

People here are much too relaxed. Just because the sign in the window says open at 10:00, doesn’t mean its true, it could be 10:15 or 10:30, it just depends on the owners mood that day. Meetings and appointments rarely start on time and no one ever seems to care. Its essential to allow buffer time both before and after your appointments and never ever schedule them too close together. Be prepared to spend lots of time chit-chatting and admiring small children and pets that are bound to be present during at least some meetings.

Working at home is especially tough when you’re constantly bombarded with ads and Facebook messages about the continuous parades, festivals, and events happening. Focusing on work is incredibly tough when there’s so much going on (As, I sit on my front porch/office writing this, a Spanish soldier in a 1700’s outfit is driving past – on a segway. Total unnecessary distraction).

So, take my advice and stay where you are, especially if you’re up North. Find ways to appreciate your snow and ice, and bare fall trees. You’ll get much more accomplished, eat more home-cooked meals and best of all, Aunt Erma will never try to visit…

**To those of you who have lost your sense of humor or have trouble recognizing mine (I get it), making St. Augustine my home was the best thing I’ve ever done.  I still can’t believe I actually live here. Makes me want to pinch myself to make sure it’s for real. Most mornings just after sunrise, I drive down the bumpy cobblestone street, drop my daughter at school, then sit on the seawall to drink my coffee as the sun comes up over the Mantanzas Bay. It’s where I do my best thinking. I wouldn’t trade life here for anything and P.S. I really do love my visitors 🙂

Categories: Travel Stories, U.S.Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. Can your favorite cousin come?…..I don’t mind sharing a room/bed with Great Aunt Erma. By the way, who’s Great Aunt Erma? hee hee. Love all the pictures! If I stick my face right up to my computer screen, it’s like I’m there.

  2. WONDERFUL … exactly how I feel about living in St. Augustine, “my paradise!”

  3. St.Augustine best place in the world ❤

  4. I’ve also been here a year, and completely agree!!!

  5. I’ve been in the Army for five years now and I can’t wait to come back to st. augustine in a few months to make it my home again. You’re absolutely right, best place in the world 🙂

  6. Oh boy, when I read the title of this, I was ready to come back at the writer with both barrels loaded. Glad it was tongue in cheek humor. Lived here all of my life, and born here! LOVE MY TOWN!

    • Deane, Glad you read the whole thing first 🙂

      • Tammy, You forgot to mention the most unique issue we deal with all day, everyday. No one uses the few sidewalks we have. Everyone thinks the whole Historical area is pedestrian only. You get funny looks driving on the streets. I laugh at it. And just ride my brake till they notice I am there. NO HORNS in St Augustine. PLEASE. it kills the moment. Let them take their time. No hurry’s here. I always say, It takes us an hour and a half to watch 60 minutes. Love this town.

      • John, that’s always me that gives you the funny looks. I’ve lived here since 1990 with no vehicle, and don’t understand people who live downtown that think a car is necessary. 😉

  7. Haha! Love it!! And it’s all true!!! 🙂

    • Years ago we lived in DeLand and my folks lived in Savannah. When going to Savannah we would pack a lunch and stop by St Augustine, sit on the sea wall and eat our lunch. We loved it. St. Augustine is a beautiul town. My Dad lived there as a boy and played football at the highschool. I have a picture of the team which was posted in your paper back in the 1950s. Of course, my Daddy was born in 1899 so was in school there a long time ago. I live with my children now in NC but we are moving to Florida and hope to visit St. Augustine again. .Enjoyed your negative thoughts about St.Augustine but was glad when i got to the end and found you really love it. . . . Thanks for letting me comment..

  8. I am glad I read it all the way to the end. My first thought was move back from where ever you came from..
    I love the city and actually it is a lot faster now than it used to be. Nice write up and great pictures. Glad you
    are enjoying the quaint town and raising children here. Good luck.

  9. My husband and I moved here in February of this year to be near our Daughter. When your in the 80’s and the last part of your journey here on earth, we couldn’t be happier or feel more blessed than to be here in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida.

  10. Awesome article Tammy. Sounds like all of you have ‘adapted’ quite nicely:-) Take care and best wishes to you and your lovely family.

  11. Absolutely wonderful city–to travel or retire in. Horrible to live and support yourself.

    Try getting a job and going to school and paying rent all at the same time. It’s near impossible.

    Trying asking employers there for fair hours and pay. I was told at one point “I can always find more employees, you can’t always find another job” when I asked my employer of three years for a raise from $7.50 to $8.50.

    Try putting together a local group that helps to feed the homeless.

    Try BEING homeless.

    Try being denied a promotion you are totally qualified for and spent years proving in favor of somebody who has never done the work before, but is family.

    Take a look at the overwhelming cocaine trafficking and use going on.

    Take a look at being a woman who was assaulted in the city and then is blamed.

    Take a look at a woman who wants birth control and is called a slut for asking people if there is anywhere to get such things.

    I lived in St, Augustine from ages 19-26, when I could no longer deal with the depression and misery brought on by the constant reminder that I would never go far there because I was not a St. Augustine native. I worked 16 hour days, seven days a week at one point, and my paychecks only amounted to around $750-900 every two weeks. At one point, I was making $800 a MONTH, and told that I didn’t need a raise, I needed to “manage my money better”. I could not afford to pay rent, pay utilities, pay for groceries and pay for healthcare, and it was made absolutely clear to me that all of that was my fault. I gave up the entirety of my early adulthood to do nothing but work. To me, this would be absolutely acceptable if it had gotten me something. But because I was a young female from out of town, it meant nothing. I was cheap labor to managers and owners. The good people–the ones who were honest and actually cared about their neighbors–always seemed to be struggling. I knew many people that owned restaurants that would help me eat in return for business (I was a tour guide for 7 years, among many other things and could recommend places for tourists to eat) and they were the saving grace of that city. Many exploited workers came together to help each other when they needed it. They were also a saving grace for that city. But the fact that, city wide, more and more people had to practically kill themselves to get by (I almost passed out from heat exhaustion one night during a tour, and when I asked my manager if I could sit out for the next tour, I was handed a bottle of water and told to get back out or I was fired) is a very sad, sad fact, and when many honest and kind hearted business owners are stepped on by cutthroat greedy jerks as a rule, I can’t really say I feel as though St. Augustine is a good city to live in and support yourself.

    • Sorry Sarah. I know St. Augustine can sometimes be a tough place for some to earn a living, but people in many touristy college towns struggle with the same employment issues. My husband commutes to Jax for work and I’m lucky enough to be a photographer, so we love it.

      • But when did this treatment of fellow human beings become acceptable just because the town is pretty?

        I’m not completely disregarding Saint Augustine’s potential. But there used to be a spirit in that town that is no longer there. Most people would say the same about racism in the 1960s–many Southern towns struggle with the same segregation and racial violence. The people of St. Augustine decided that was no longer an excuse. You had young people staging sit-ins, you had the Woolworth sit-in especially and the famous Munson Motor Lodge incident. People stood together finally, deciding that “that’s just the way things are around here” was no longer acceptable. You had the Daughters of the Revolution sitting at the City Gates to stop them from being torn down. You have had people throughout the history of that city that are immortalized in tour stories and historic pictures as heroes and something to be proud of. Now the same attitude that these people had is highly frowned upon and made to look wrong. “Yeah, things are bad, but speaking out against them is worse. Only say good things here.”

        Mr. Leydom brings up a good point. St. Augustine was founded on the blood of the native people, the Timucuans. It was understood that they were not of the proper descent, so they were not human. It seems like Saint Augustine has returned to the same roots. With the amount of work I did for the families of that city, I should be somewhere else at 28 years old rather than working menial jobs in Washington, D.C. because I don’t “have the right experience” and “obviously have no management skills” because, really, who works so much for a company for a total of five years and is never promoted? We’re talking 7 years of my young adult life gone forever. For nothing. And you think this is “just the normal woes of a college town”?

        This is something more. And until the residents of Saint Augustine come together like they used to do, like they did in front of the City Gates, like they did when the coloured students sat at the ‘whites only’ counter of Woolworth’s, and like they did when the coloured and white students jumped in together in the ‘whites only’ pool of Munson Motor Lodge, there will never be a change. As long as the attitude is “just be complacent and accept this”, Saint Augustine will continue to struggle with poverty, homelessness, underemployment, drug addiction and violence.

    • Omg! I have visited st Augustine several times over the past year and was considering moving there which is why I was reading these posts. On my last visit I was only there for a couple of days and I counted 7 different homeless people. I wondered what is it about st Augustine that contributes to this problem? ?? No one had an answer for me. Also I was unable to find out about what resources were available to the homeless there. As I’m in st Augustine now Looking at the job market I’m finding the work I usually do is plentiful and pays $10/hr. As opposed to the $25/hr. I receive in Ga. I also find that I’ll be paying almost twice as much for rent. I’m now reconsidering as your post brings some clarity. Thank you! Good luck in your new town 🙂

      • What it is about St. Augustine that attracts the homeless–and it is late 2017 now and I count every day at least 30 on St. George Street alone–is the money the tourists give them, and the good food they get for free. There isn’t one homeless person I know who doesn’t eat very well at the “feeds” provided by churches 7 days a week, and also at St. Francis House, our homeless shelter. They also make about $300. a day in donations. I really like some of them, others not so much. But that’s life in general, not just with the homeless. I have lived here since 1990, and have watched it go from 3 homeless people in the 90s who everybody knew to the at least 100 we have in town today.

    • If you love it now, just know it was even nicer in the 70’s and 80’s. I lived there then and it is still the place that says “home” in my heart.

      And what you say was true in the 70’s and 80’s as well.

    • The victim stance is super easy to adopt. The victor stance–a lot harder, but worth it. So get off your hands and knees and fight like a berserker. Or not–your choice.

  12. Wow! Such negativity for my home town. I love love love LOVE my city. I’ve traveled to other places and always come back. I was born here, went to college here and now work and live here. This city, yes, has its faults. The tourist scene and the out-of-towners attraction can be annoying but I would never trade my city for any other! I always brag about the history of St Auggie, love to tell the ghost stories (was a ghost tour guide) and boast that the beach is always just around the corner. I can bike or walk around downtown. Have amazing concerts at the amphitheater and see the best fireworks on July 4th standing in the middle of the Bridge of Lions. Not to mention received the a great eduction in both St. John’s public schools and at Flagler College. Call me naïve if you want, but St Augustine is my home and is my favorite city in America!

    • Donna- I dreaded going home from vacation until I moved to St. Augustine (2 1/2 years ago now). I’ve yet to travel anyplace in the world I love as much as our quirky little town. So happy to call it my home 🙂

  13. Saint Augustine is also built in, and on, Timucua Territory. It has been a living community for a thousand years before Spain invaded, plundered, and raped this land.
    It is the home of The International National American Memorial, built on Timucua land, built with the slave labor of native americam backs, arms and hands, gravesite to hundreds of unmarked graves of the Kiowa, Arapahoe, Comanche, Cheyenne, Caddo, Seminole, and Apache.
    Not one word was given, not one thought to the real history of this land.
    This will not stand.

  14. So, why am I just reading this over a year later? I found out about this through a Facebook friend who posted it on her wall. I love your humor and we moved St. Augustine in 2011 and I absolutely love it here. I knew when I first visited that this would be my new home. My husband and I feel so lucky to live here, we too pinch ourselves to see if we are sure we’re really here or if it’s all a dream and we are still up North. I shared this on my Facebook wall and my friends are dying to visit me but they informed me they wouldn’t “get in the way” haha.

  15. Your post has made me totally homesick for St. Augustine. I lived there from age two to 13 and I have never quite found a place that makes me feel at home. I live in Alabama right noe, but I’d love to move back to Florida!

  16. I have lived in Satsuma my whole life which is about 35 miles not even a 1hr ride from St. Augustine. But I can say St. Augustine is my second home! I

  17. I was born in St. Augustine in 1956 at the old Flagler Hospital. I haven’t been there in decades, but (living in Palatka) we used to go there regularly. I sure do miss the place.

  18. I think the history of this town is amazing! Sure, some of it is really sad and it’s wonderful that this town is continuing it’s history in a positive direction. This town has so much to give!!! I’ve raised my family here for 12 years and work at the deaf and blind school. I drive over Lions Bridge every morning to commute to work and always MARVEL at the beauty around me. It cannot be ignored. The visitors we get throughout the year always exclaim at what fun they have here… whether its at the quaint little bar at Conch House or at The Floridian restaurant… everything around here has it’s own charm. I’m very proud to call St. Augustine (Beach) home.

  19. I too grew up in St. Augustine from age 8 to age 19. Have come back to visit over the years, but just last year I was amazed at all the homeless people. Coming off The Bridge of Lions into town, the Bay Front was peppered with the homeless sleeping right there on the concrete benches and also the walk way itself which looks over the water. I have never seen that there in St. Augustine EVER, EVER. The year before that it was not like that. My husband and I always go for a walk along the bay at night. We did not even get out of the car.

    I remembered as a kid I would ride my bike across the Bridge of Lions regularly from my house on Flagler Bvld. on Anastasia Island. My bike had a basket on the front and I would a pillow in there so my toy poodle could ride with me. My best friend did the same thing with her poodle. We went everywhere with those two little poodles and oh how they loved it.

    Those really were amazing days. In my neighborhood I could ride one block up and we had a really cool inlet bay over by The Conch House. There was a lookout post there at the inlet that was still standing and this thing was very old, would guess as old as The Fort downtown. Loved going there, it was so much fun and felt like I had my own beach and castle. Now I know better, but hey I was a kid then. Hay’s Drug Store, would go there almost every day and get a milkshake or a chocolate coke at there lunch counter. Oh, I can’t forget A & W Rootbeer Drive-In (that was on the island near my house). Richard Boone lived a few blocks from me (famous stage and screen star) and the REAL Mr. Clean who had done the commercials before he went cartoon, he also lived in my neighborhood.

    • We homeless, and employed, are many in St Augustine.

    • Anna- My daughter was 8 when we moved here. I wish she could grow up with that same freedom but I’m overprotective of her. Your childhood memories sound wonderful 🙂

    • I’ll bet my left foot to say that the majority of these people aren’t actually homeless. My mother-in-law has seen a family, wearing ratty clothes, with a small child, asking for money on st.George street. Once they thiught nobody was paying attention, they for up and left. My in law followed them out of curiosity and saw them taking off their old clothes, and had much nicer ones underneath. Then, they got into their Mercedes benz and drove off. Another time, my husband saw a boy he went to school with outside with a sign saying he was homeless and out of work, but my husband knew for a fact tht he saw him out and about town with friends, spending money he claimed he never had on drinks at the bars! If they’re really homeless, they’ll be asking for FOOD, not MONEY. As time goes by, you’ll be able to tell the difference. We have a lot of good actors in St.Augustine, so don’t let them fool you.

  20. Having lived in st.Augustine for 12 years now, it’s a love/hate relationship at this point. Love the beauty everywhere, can’t stand a lot of the people in this town, but then again I’ve met my fair share of some truly kind hearted people. But growing up as a teenager, it’s dangerous. There is always something to get into that you shouldn’t be, and then downtown? Plenty of irresponsible adults willing to get your teenager drunk or high. But with that said, I’ve grown a lot because of the things I’ve done and experienced as a young dumb ass in this town. Some things i would change, most things i wouldn’t. It’s a nice town to raise your kids, when you watch them and know where they are, consider stalking your child when they get older, my mom should have. Lol

  21. LOVE THIS! At first when I saw the headline. .I was like WHAT THE HECK???!!! Someone is bashing MYTOWN! Well, I’m gonna go give them a piece of my mind and tell them to move back to chicago or ny or even jacksonville. Your story is great, and right on. Ps: I totally get your humour. . We should hang out! !! Lol. Great write up! !

  22. I lived in St. Augustine for over 20 years before moving to Ocala, Florida. I miss the festivals, the many ethnic groups, the lovely restaurants, the beautiful museums and even the Bridge of Lions. I miss the close proximity to the beach and the various celebrations by so many different groups. How can one not absolutely love the City of St. Augustine. I miss the boating and even the horse-drawn carriages. I miss the Columbia Restaurant and the many visits by dignitaries and even royalty for Days in Spain celebrations. I miss the mixers and the casual life style.

  23. Reblogged this on Whats Up and commented:
    I love this article!! 🙂

  24. sorry to hear of all the “resentment” you have sarah. trust me, when you’ve lived in rural kentucky and experienced the horrible winters, amish overload, meth problems, and everyone around you with an excuse of why they “can’t ” work then ANYWHERE else sounds pretty darn good. hope to see you soon:)

  25. I have never lived in ST Aug. but visited. I am originally form NJ in which some of the highest costs in the country. I was also homless for 11/2 yrs living in a homless camp in Lakewood NJ because of the racism of the orthodox Jewish community against Christians and any non Jews. The camp exists today….for now…
    How did I get out? I did research online for a cheaper place to live. Took a grey hound to Fl and also road a bike and hitchhiked. I lived in an old van i bought for $1200. Moving every 4 hrs to avoid the police. I now own a home in Pt. St Lucie. I work 2 jobs. One fast food one in security. I am a colege drop out and am now debt free except the mortgage. If I can do it you can.
    My advice. Move out of DC immediately. Move to a conservative red state with low/no taxes and lower costs. Drop the liberal politics of “everyone getting together and community this and that b.s”. Move to a less expensive area and work and stay out of debt. Don’t go to college if your in a major that doesn’t make money. Your former retired liberal professors will not put you up on thier couch or feed you. Buy an a senior citizen used big real wheel drive American car. Dress “clean cut”. No tatoees, street wear etc. the cops in general won’t bother you. Take out the rear seats and put in a mattress. Shop at walmart for everything. Move around every 4 hours or so. if you can team up with a buddy. Do it. Take shifts at night for security reasons. Pool and save your money. use non weapon type weapons like hammers, maglights, sock full of change as weapons. Not knives, pepper spray, guns etc. You get busted for that. Avoid cops and shady people. When you have a few grand saved buy a HUD house online. Financing is easier since your steadily employed. The big thing..adopt a “me” mentality and take care of business. Then you can help others and fight for social justice later. But you will soon learn that not perfect, capitalism is the best system.

  26. I live in St.Augustine And I love it here very Much! And just cause it is the oldest city in the world doesnt mean its Horrible! Alot of people love the history of St.augustine! If yoou dont like old places dont move to st.augutine. But I love It here!

  27. Nice article It

  28. Awesome Article I am glad you are liking st.augustines awesome City!

  29. I wanted to move there 20 years ago, and now i am just about ready. Your story brought a tear to my eye because i remember that feeling.

  30. Great window into your tortured soul Tammy. I’m going to put this on my Facebook page for my website Its a site for locals. Info on bands playing and a show with local celebrities. Check it out and keep up the good work.

  31. We love St.Augustine!This was the the best thing that happened for us and our kids.Our kids have gotten the best education ever here too.

  32. Love love love this! This is just so right on point! Thanks for the great Article and sense of humor!

  33. Yep. It is beautiful. It’d be a lot better if people like you would stop bringing your friends here and encouraging this kind of influx of population. Our city isn’t beautiful anymore when it looks like nyc with a backwoods country twist.

  34. Tammy, it was a terif article, well writen, nicely and seductively inviting and absolutley true. It is unfortunate that there are “unhappy with life, down on the world, oh woe is me, negative motivated people” who would pierce the balloon of happiness and contentment most people enjoy. Everybody can’t have the same level of success and pleasure…but that is no reason to castigate the people or circumstances which allow most to love life.

  35. At first I thought the person who wrote this article was dissing St.Augustine. I was about to tell them to go back to which they can’t from, but yes I agree, There aren’t many places like St.Augustine. I’ve lived here on/off (mainly on) for 21 years. Ive moved 3 times already, and I just keep coming back to this place. You don’t leave St.Augustine until St.Augustine is ready to let you leave! Lol.

  36. I had to move away from Saint Augustine to Jacksonville 5 years ago due to sick grandparents. I miss that city way too much. I can’t wait to move back and finally feel like I am back home. I go and visit my sister and best friend as much as I can, but it is never enough. It is by far the best place that I have ever been to. I have in good hopes to return to my home and raise my daughter there.

  37. I was born in St. Augustine, and lived there for over 21 years… I left about 4 months before the end of 2013, and moved over 3,000+ miles away.
    I love and miss my family and friends, but there is no better feeling in the world, than being out of that awful, piss poor excuse of a city.
    People romanticize it so much, yet overlook the horrid and rampant drug problems. The disgusting, backwoods, ignorant, almost inbred mentality of most of the people there. The ever growing rape problems all over, especially downtown, where high school and middle school girls get preyed upon by drunk or high college kids, from right over at Flagler.
    And that’s only a small portion of the laundry list of problems St. Augustine has.
    I love my new home, in Washington state, where I have met some of the nicest people ever, can actually experience seasons!
    No more of my seasonal list being, summer/summer/hurricane/summer.
    Oh no!
    For once, I can experience winter/spring/summer/fall… it’s glorious.
    The mountains are so much better than the depressing flat lands.

    So glad I got out.

  38. I spent four nights here during my three month rendezvous with North America and I found it to be an absolutely brilliant place to chill out and enjoy watching time roll past. The only issue I had was the confusing Greyhound bus situation but… In the end it meant I could grab myself some more of the wonderful cuisine on offer. Best thing I did was hire a bike and float between the islands at my will. A must for anyone in the Florida region!

  39. Tammy, love your post,thankyou.

  40. I love your posting. We just came back from our vacation in St. Augustine. I love everything in that city. I was borned and raised in Cracow, Poland. I really miss my hometown but St. Augustine ” talks to my heart.” It feels like home. Im planning to move from
    Chicago to St. Augustine in 2 years. Im a single mom of 4 years old princess. believe that St. Augustine is my kind of town.

  41. Great, funny article, I loved it! And yes I love St. Augustine, it is like living in a paradise every day, what a beautiful place so rich in history. Once I have visited I had that feeling I belong it here. Amazing place.

  42. I live near St. Augustine and discovered quite by accident that Richard Boone lived,there for a tome. Your blog mentions that you lived near his house. Can you tell me where? I’d like to spot the house . THANK yo,

  43. Thank you! Best observation of St. Augustine I’ve ever read. And I love your sense of humor. Keep writing. You have a real talent.

  44. Thank you! I’m a Florida to Alabama to New Jersey back to Florida transplant now living by the grace of God in St. Augustine. Best observation of St. Augustine I’ve ever read. And I love your sense of humor. Keep writing. You have a real talent.

  45. As a local high school senior who has lived here for virtually my entire life, I can say that this paints a very inaccurate view of the city. This assumes that you live downtown or within a mile radius of it, in the quaint and idyllic part of town, which is very small. Whenever someone takes a picture of the town, it’s almost always of St. George Street, and it’s always tilted to the side so that you can’t see the end of the street. Whenever people think of St. Augustine, that’s the street that comes to mind, stretching from a parking garage on one end to the cathedral on the other in a brief 3 minute walk. In that space is encompassed all of St. Augustine’s charm- beyond that one can find a bit more of downtown before the city devolves into the endless suburbs its actual citizens (read: people other than the couple hundred residents downtown) are all too familiar with.

    St. Augustine is an awful city to actually live in for anyone from children to retirees. Most of the suburbs, which make up nearly all of St. Augustine’s residential communities, are designed without sidewalks or anything vaguely resembling pedestrian friendliness. Along US1 is where the majority of the citizens live (in the Shores and various other neighborhoods), and consists of virtually nothing but strip malls filled with chains. Even along A1A and the beach, the more wealthy side of town, there is little in the way of charm- few restaurants, shops or attractions. Compound this with a total non-existence of public transportation (in a city with a metropolitan area of around 100,000 which in turn is a major suburb of Jacksonville) beyond a dinky bus which is virtually unused. This makes everything inaccessible to anyone too young or too old to drive.

    Actually finding something to do in town is difficult to say the least when it is too hot to go to the beach. There are very few actual attractions in town. There are also few notable restaurants, much to the contrary of what the author of the article said. Apart from the Colombia, which survives due to its status as the only “fancy” restaurant in town as opposed to any merit of its food, nearly every restaurant is a chain.

    One thing that is a definite positive in the town is a high standard of education. As one of the most competitive counties in Florida, a high school education is capable of being a quality one.

    As a teenager, I have managed to avoid the rampant drug problems staining the town, but I’ve certainly seen friends affected by it. Narcotics of any and all kinds are present and readily available for anyone who looks.

    St. Augustine does have some iconic landmarks and an idyllic downtown, but its merit is limited to that. A daytrip for people in Florida, or a waypoint for people driving down to Orlando or Miami. If someone were to soak in the city for a few hours, they might get the impression that it is a city ripe with history or pleasantness. The reality, however, is a town with little to offer in practical livability, ugly, identical strip malls and suburbs, massive racial divisions and poverty, an overbearing police force compared with any other city in Florida except Tallahassee and nice beaches. Don’t ruin the fantasy version of St. Augustine many of you have, be it through visits, photos or nostalgia, by actually living in it.

    • I hope you left town and found a better place to live. If that were even possible. Just a stroll down Water Street, which I do nearly every day, dismisses any negativity about this picture-postcard village that everybody longs to live in. I’ve lived in Mobile, Pensacola, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, and Ireland. Only Ireland trumps St. Augustine, and if their immigration laws weren’t so harsh that’s where I’d be. My second choice in all the world is St. Augustine.

  46. Reblogged this on bottomlineplus and commented:
    Could not be more true!!!

  47. I knew she was kidding (& I have never been there to relay the opposite as true). Somehow I could detect a silly smirk just behind the words as if she was really saying.. ‘ got ya ‘…. The more I read the ”fake” comments the more I liked the place. The slow pace, the horse distinct smell, coffee by the bay…. I have never been there but always wanted to be & now even more so.. lol..! Being from Spain it is the ONLY locality in the US that actually has a Spanish quality to it.. (well I have not be there yet, but I have heard so). I can’t wait to visit to plan my move! ~”Bless the places that still retain the old quality of eons past…. nostalgia at its best”~ ~Many Blessings!

  48. Not sure what anyone would have against St, Augustine. I am a Pensacola native but always loved visiting St. Auggie. We moved to St Augustine in 2001, we lived on the beach, in the burbs and even in 10,000 acres. We moved back to Pensacola in 2012 to take care of my Mother’s estate…it has been 3 long years in Pensacola, just sold the house and guess where we are going to move…BACK TO ST. AUGUSTINE…during my time there I never had any issues with people who used drugs ( I do not socialize with them) I never had problems with anyone with the police dept (I obeyed the law) and the homeless, well, a lot of them are not really homeless and those who are, do not want a home…so rave on, I love St. Augustine and cannot wait to get back home…

  49. Reading raves about St. Augustine makes me want to move even faster! Living in Ohio with our totally bipolar wheather just makes the dream of when next year, I’ll be in beautiful St. Augustine Florida.

  50. I Love St Augustine! My hubby and I will be up there for Halloween; we always stay at Casa De Solana. Absolutely Love the history!
    We are hoping to move up there within 2 years 😄 I’ll just have to find a job and a home to either rent at first then buy.

  51. Best.Article.Ever. We have never regretted making St Augustine our home 2 years ago. And my family never visits! It’s beautiful!! Lol

  52. Love St. Augustine and this gives all the reasons why 🙂

  53. Mama I just love your short story I was there this year and lord do I love the place. I pray someday can move there for good.Wonderful place. Thank you for your story. Have a great day.and God Bless

  54. Recently arrived for a one-month stay and already planning our trip back next year! There are way more interesting things to do in the area than we had expected, and that is even after having had so many people talk-up this city before we arrived. Looking forward to several more weeks of exploring…

  55. looking for someone to give some feed back on some of the developments we are considerng moving into,mostly mission trace,sandy creek,deerfield trace.would also appreciate if you can reccomend an area close to st augustine….thank you so much..

  56. trying to reach someone who lives in st augustine area

  57. Love this article! My husband and I are researching a move to St. Augustine with our two kids. We looked at which gave most of the schools in the area good scores. but I would love to know from another parent what it’s like having kids in school there!

  58. Loved reading this! My husband and I are researching a move to St. Augustine with our 2 kids. gave most schools in the area really good scores, but I’d love to hear from another parent what it’s like having kids in school there. Would you able to share a little of your experiences?

    • My daughter has gone to Cathedral Parish School since our move here. (K-8) We love it there! St Johns county is rated #1 in Florida for its public schools. Sorry don’t have any experience other than the private Catholic school. 😊 If you want to go check it they offer tours and allow the kids to do a shadow day for their grade.

    • Hi Becky,
      I moved here because of the school system. It was a great experience. Saint Johns county schools are good. We never had any problems. My sister is a school counselor here and I know all the hard work and care that the school staff puts in.
      I also sell real estate in the area so if you need more info please let me know.

  59. Love, love, love your sense of humor and the way you entice people to visit St. Augustine. I’ve lived in Flagler County (just down the road) for 58 years and some of the best field trips I ever went on as a child were to St. Augustine. My husband and I still take many trips to St. Augustine to walk St. George Street, go to the Old Fort, and many other attractions…or just ride through the quaint streets and marvel at the lovely old homes. Thanks for this delightful article.

  60. Cute! It reminds me of ‘If you take a mouse to the movies.’

  61. The most wonderful city I have ever visited! Wish I lived there.

  62. Love your article! So glad I came across it. My family is considering a big move to the area (we’re from MA) and I’m curious if your feelings have changed at all since the “honeymoon period” has probably passed! If you are willing to share any advice I’d gladly accept it!! Thanks again for the great article!

  63. Cute article. I know I’m in the minority here, but I really do think St. Augustine is a bit overrated. It is a nice town though!

  64. Saint Augustine is an extremely odd place to live.

    It offers a very weird vibe to people that live here, whether natives or residents of length or short periods of time. Perhaps all that bloodshed of the past engulfs the city in an ambiance of strange, but having lived here for over 10 years and 2 years before that in South Florida, (Palm Beach,) and having lived in 8 different states in over 20 moves in my life, sAIN’t DISGUSTine is the worst overall place I have ever lived. I have tried over and over to make a ‘go’ of it and be patient that it will turn into everything it should and could be despite ebbs and flows in the economy, but it has continued to disappoint on every front of life. Of course living in Florida in general is highly overrated in my opinion and getting worse by the day, there are certainly better places to live within the state. Notably, Saintless Augustine has horrible: Water and Air Quality, Brackish/Ugly Ocean color, Overcrowded and Rude ‘Melting Pot’ of the largest diversity of people Domestic and International (that makes NYC look homogenous), the worst Restaurant quality, prices and customer service in the country, terrible Golf Course options (as the supposed ‘Capital of Golf’), Mediocre Schools (quality and quantity) and overrated social and extracurricular community activities.

    Instead of a friendly ambiance you would expect from the Nation’s Tourist Capital, you will often get ‘smug’ attitudes and ‘lazy’ to non-existent service. As far as an area to support your family, unless you’re in the healthcare or (tourist) service or real estate industries, forget being able to make a decent living for the average person. Commuting to Jacksonville (has it’s own issues, I could write a Book about,) is a major headache as there are still areas of the highway through St. Aug. that are ‘2’ lane (to support and estimated 52 Million visitors a year) that come through the state..Umm, the only area of FL that doesn’t have multi-lanes or an outflow highway (i.e. Florida Turnpike) to relieve traffic woes.

    Finally, (as I could go on an on,) the politics and government workers (i.e. Police/Sheriff) departments are laughable. The ass-backwards politickshuns are unwilling to evolve as necessary to engage the inevitable expansion, (and I am a Conservative that has sat on the county board to promote the betterment of the city for all.) The Crime (theft, sexual predators) is horrendous and will get much worse as all of the Police Departments reside on one side of this widely spread out town and the response times are virtually non-existent. I once saw squatters trying to break in to the vacant home next to me (in prestigious PALENCIA community,) only to call the local Sheriff department and be told that they would not respond unless I saw them yield a weapon. I was also a victim of ID Theft and my Credit Cards comprimised at a local established eatery (DONOVANS), only to be looked at dumbfoundedly by the Sheriff’s receptionist that I asked who to see about. Saint Augustine plain sucks to live in, (just ask any ‘honest’ local,) if you can find one, good luck and lastly, the entire city stinks..It either smells of Oil Buring Forests from development, or manure/swamp from the ‘humid’ fields to the worst stench of Horse Piss downtown…it’s all so bad, that you are forced to live inside with the AC on 24/7 sucking the life out of you..

    Anyone who has written the prior posts of how beautiful this area is (retirees don’t count,) needs to read this post and look at the big picture of ‘everything’ sAIN’t DISGUSTine doesn’t offer that it should. Ten years later, I am desperate to leave this miserable city, that looking back I have wasted so much of my life being caught up in the dilusional allure of a city that is all just smoke and mirrors..

  65. Awesome! Thank you. Will be checking it out.

  66. thank you so much for all the information you gave, i feel like its where i should be.. i would love to move there by simmer of 2017 with my adult daughter and my grand daughter..i worry about a born new yorker and love it, but what you describe seems like a dream..

  67. For those of us born and raise here, we don’t care what time it is, and never have. We’re more focused on how we use the time we have. So when I’m asked “what time is it?”, my answer is always the same. “If you have the time to ask that question, then it’s time to go do something else.”

  68. Me and my wife got engaged and married in Saint Augustine, we have thought about moving there for about a year now after reading your article and sharing it with her we have decided we are going to move there. All the things you pointed out are the reasons why we love the city to know that you have a family being raised there and love it as much as we do we can’t wait to raise our kids there. Thank you!!

  69. Thank you for sharing. It’s my dream to work for myself and live in St. Augustine. For now stuck in the ice

  70. lovely article…thank you tammy…I have lived in st aug for over 30 years and cannot see myself living anywhere else…as to the negatives presented here, the homeless never go without one full meal a day given graciously by various charitable organizations and churches in the evening on bridge street so no children need to fear of hunger on a large scale which is more than many large cities offer…st aug has a wonderful senior protection service in st johns council on aging…working in st aug is a live within your means kind of town but the benefits of being a resident far outweigh the lack of salary…considering we are half way between two largely high crime areas (Jacksonville and Daytona), our crime rate is quite low, just use common sense and timing in your destinations (if you are out partying until the wee hours of the morning, you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation)…the drug use is a problem in all of the states, not just st aug…now for the positives….where else can you feel your soul become alive with the wonders of nature, historical places of interest, museums, music, entertainment, excellent and varied places to dine, the scent of the sea, and gorgeous sun rises and sets, all within walking distance from one another? The Lord watches over st aug and smiles…a calm soul is worth every ounce of gold in the country….people who are willing to live for the soul and not for the gold will do well here….you can’t change st aug but she can change you….I, for one, am willing to put my soul first….and so I stay in st aug and feel blessed each day because of it…

  71. Message to Tammy Harrow: You don’t need to know any particulars about me or where I come from. Just know that I was aghast at Beorh House’s sneering, scorning, vicious hostility toward other bloggers IF they did not portray SA in the ways that she wanted it to look or seem. Or maybe, if their comments did not mirror her own un-examined, lock-step sheeple non-thinking. Every human being, every living being, has a truth to tell, including in this blog. Every experience is valid and has a right to be heard, no more or less.’ I’m a Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling and I hear an illiterate, lacking in grace, tyrannical dictator in BH, someone that I would run a mile in the opposite direction, just to avoid. Everything about her two words: crass and soul-less. Sharing experiences of SA as integral authenticated chapters in our nations earliest history constitutes and paints a genocidal, hoping, dehumanized and yet defiant-to-live humanity–for all to learn from. When folks share their various and diverse SA experiences on this site, it is also another way of “traveling” there. Beorh House’s smug arrogant ignorance is beyond illiterate, ludicrous, and insulting to the vastness of all such genuine human experience. Obviously, this is what she has amputated most, or never had the native capacity for: a capacity to see, to hear, to listen and learn, to appreciate and welcome, to practice graciousness. She makes you look bad!

  72. Yes,all true…..The article didn’t even mention the bugs and very large venomous reptiles we have. Best to stay away!

  73. Hello,do you still love it? My husband will retire in a few years and our daughter graduate high school may or may not come with us depending on the collage she goes.We will be in our upper 40s and have thought about this town.We are looking for a fun safe friendly place 😁 P.S we are now just outside of Washington D.C

  74. Stop complaining, I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Stupid picky things you chose!!!!!!

  75. It is exactly what I am looking for….thank you so much for your blog about St. Augustine. I have been planning my move for about 7 months, after reading your post I ma more confident of my decision to make the leap from NY to sunny, comfy, laid back St. Augustine!! Thank you!!

  76. Every time I get annoyed that the bridge is up, I remind myself how lucky I am that the bridge is up!! I love your outlook!

  77. St Augustine is suffering from the effects of unbridled growth. A level of animosity is palpable.
    Laid back has turned into aggressive driving, being known when you go somewhere has turned into flat looks as though you might be a tourist. Every time I cross a1a it’s an experience in distracted drivers ignoring pedestrian crosswalks.
    It’s too bad.
    St Augustine sucks.

  78. Saint Augustine is now a complete joke. I don’t mean to be insulting, but the truth is the truth. This city was once a charm for Southerners. It was home to people with similar values and heritage. Thanks to local corrupt government, developers have exploited our city and all of St Johns county in general. You would be hard pressed to find a Southerner in St Augustine anymore. The once nearly secluded beach now resembles the Jersey Shore with crowds of obnoxious people and unbearable traffic. Yes, the Yankees have completely ruined St Augustine. Southern hospitality has turned to rage. Even our historic landmarks are being removed to prevent upsetting the liberal progressive new commers. Like many other locals, I am being driven away from this once beautiful town. It is a lie when Northerners claim that their presence is needed or wanted here. It’s too late now. The damage is done. I just want to leave St Augustine and never look back.

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