As the oldest continually occupied city settled by Europeans in the United States, St. Augustine would have to do a whole lot more than cater to package travelers and tour buses to lose any of its inherent charm. Walking through the narrow streets of the Old Town  area is to see a place that’s remarkably well-preserved in some aspects, and the dregs of tourist claptrap in others.
That blend is what makes St. Augustine so fascinating; the city hasn’t been trapped in amber, and with 400-year-old residences abutting beer bars, gorgeous churches within sight of taco stands and wax museums, you can begin to imagine a sort of alternate-universe Florida . While it’s not as thoroughly charming as Charleston  or as laid-back as Savannah , of all the colonial sites on the East Coast, St. Augustine is the most intriguing.
The St. Augustine and St. Johns County Airport (SGJ, 4900 U.S. Hwy. 1, North, St. Augustine, 904/209-0090, www.staugustineairport.com ) is a general aviation facility open only to private planes and charter flights. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX, 2400 Yankee Clipper Dr., Jacksonville, 904/741-4902, www.jia.aero ) has the largest range of commercial airline service, although good deals can occasionally be found on flights into Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB, 700 Catalina Dr., Daytona Beach, 386/248-8069, www.flydaytonafirst.com ).
The sights of St. Augustine’s Old Town  area are mostly only accessible on foot, and parking is fairly easy to come by near this part of town. Old Town Trolley Tours (167 San Marco Ave., 904/829-3800, www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine , $21 adults, $8 children 4–12, children under 4 free) run every 15–20 minutes and have on-off privileges for three days, and Ripley’s Sightseeing Trains (170 San Marco Ave., 904/824-1606, $20.99 adults, $7.99 children for “history by day” trains; $26 adults, $13 for children 6–12 for “ghosts by night” trains) will take you through the Old Town area as well as nearby sights in central St. Augustine.