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Great Getaways: St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra

Whether you're looking for a golf getaway or a Florida family vacation, we've rounded up our favorite affordable adventures in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra that should be on your radar.

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Board a free ferry to Fort Mantanzas National Monument, once the site of a horrific massacre during Florida's early conflicts between the French and the Spanish.

Fort Matanzas National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

nps.gov

Built in 1889 by Henry Flagler as a memorial to his daughter following her untimely death due to childbirth complications, Memorial Presbyterian Church is Florida's oldest Presbyterian Church. Free guided tours are offered Monday thru Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday services are also open to the public.

12 Most Beautiful Churches in America

budgettravel.com

One of the oldest cemeteries in America's oldest city, the Mission of Nombre de Dios is where Pedro Menéndez de Avilés first landed in 1565 and proclaimed the new land for Spain. The Our Lady of Le Leche Shrine was the first Shrine to the Virgin Mary in the U.S.

Worked up an appetite golfing or sightseeing all day? Check out Murray Bros. Caddyshack, a restaurant owned by actor Bill Murray and his five brothers.

Definitely a must-see for the history and beautiful views from the top. Tickets are $9.75 for adults and $7.75 for seniors and children ages 12 and under.

You'll take a late night trolley ride around town with stops at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Grounds and get to explore the Old Jail at night on a tour led by an actor in traditional prison garb who tells stories of the jail's former inhabitants. (While it is a fun chance to hear some creepy legends and ghost stories, the tour may not be appropriate for children under age 13).

Home to one of the largest collections of authentic pirate artifacts in the world, the museum features one of only two original Jolly Roger flags in existence, Captain Thomas Tew's treasure chest, an official journal of Captain Kidd's final voyage, and one of the world's oldest wanted posters from the 1696 search for Captain Henry Every.

For an in-depth look at what everyday life was like in 16th to 18th century St. Augustine, check out the Colonial Quarter, a living history museum featuring traditional musket demonstrations, a working blacksmith shop, and the chance to climb a 17th century watchtower for panoramic views of the city. Tickets cost $10.99 for adults and $4.99 for children ages 5-12.

Colonial Quarter | Experience Centuries of St. Augustine

colonialquarter.com

Get to know Old St. Augustine with a trip to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Explore the fort and view colonial era weapon and cannon firing demonstrations. The best part: adults pay $7 while children under age 15 get in free, and your ticket is valid for up to seven consecutive days.

As if an entire zoological park full of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, pythons, lemurs, and exotic birds wasn't cool enough, just wait til you try zip lining over them. Crocodile Crossing at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm & Zoological Park gives you two options—the 45-minute short course or the 90-minute long course—with each offering an extensive aerial obstacle course and several opportunities to zip line over the wildlife enclosures.

If watching The Players Championship this weekend has you itching to hit the greens, you can still visit the course in Ponte Vedra and its massive clubhouse year-round, or start planning for next year's visit to this surprisingly affordable tournament held in early May.

THE PLAYERS Championship Tickets

pgatour.com

The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort offers rooms from $159 a night—check the website for specials for Florida Villages residents, military members, firefighters, and law enforcement officers where rates start at $109 a night, as well as Stay & Play packages for from $259 a night for two golfers.

Renaissance World Golf Village Resort | St. Augustine Hotels

worldgolfrenaissance.com

The World Golf Hall of Fame also features a replica of the Swilcan Burn Bridge from the Old Course at St. Andrews, displays of the Hall of Fame Members Locker Room with more than 2,000 personal items from all your favorite players, and a large collection of memorabilia dedicated to golf lover Bob Hope.

World Golf | World Golf Hall of Fame

worldgolfhalloffame.org