The 2014 HAPS Conference in Jacksonville, Florida runs May 24-May 28, ending (officially) Wednesday with the last workshops. However, the incredible adventure is not over.
We always plan an optional Thursday adventure for those able to stick around and interested in continuing the incredible vibe. This year, we’ll be visiting the city of St. Augustine – a breathtaking location with so much to see and do. I asked Lourdes, our annual conference coordinator for some details.
Buses will depart from the Hyatt Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. and then depart from St. Augustine at 5:00 p.m. With a transit time of 35 minutes each way, that gives you an entire day to explore the oldest city in the nation. You need to register and pay an additional charge, so – if you haven’t yet – DO IT! It’ll be a blast. A word of advice; have a water bottle and sunscreen with you. A camera is a must, as well.
Some suggestions for the day include:
1. A stroll down George Street to show and eat. I recommend lunch at the Columbia Restaurant. Call to make reservations, as it gets busy at lunch. Make sure you get the house sangria and the 1905 salad with your meal. You won’t be disappointed (if you cannot get into the Columbia, there are lots of great eateries around St. Augustine).
2. A tour of the Castillo de San Marcos is interesting and worth the small entrance fee of $7.
3. If you want to try deep-sea fishing or inshore fishing, there are many charter businesses to accommodate any level of expertise (they usually cover you with a fishing license and gear for the day).
4. I enjoyed the pirate museum; they have some interesting original artifacts.
5. The trolley tour is also an easy and fun way to get around the city and learn some history.
6. There are a variety of water tours that go through the St. Augustine bay area. Dolphins have been commonly spotted when we’ve gone in the past.
7. There are eco tours, boat tours, pirate tours, and graveyard tours. Ripple Effect Eco Tours has naturalist guided kayak tours ($55/adult)…no experience needed.
8. If you have a car, you can go out to Anastasia State Park for swimming, surfing, hiking, shelling, fishing, and archaeological searching (for fishing, remember to get the license).
9. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park is really neat (lots more than just gators).
10. The Nao Victoria will be at the City Marina while we’re there. Nearly five hundred years since becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world, the Nao Victoria has been reconstructed and is now touring the major ports of Florida in 2014. You can also get a combo ticket to tour the Nao Victoria and the El Galeon (a full-sized replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon).
11. Peter will be there with his binoculars, taking advantage of a great opportunity to go birding. Ask him nicely and I bet he’d love to share his experience and skill with you.
There are lots of great ways to wrap up your day:
1. How about a gourmet popsicle from the Hyppo? With flavors like champagne mango, key lime, Datil strawberry, and pear Riesling, it’s a great spot to cool down and relax (70 Saint George Street.)
2. Whenever we are in St. Augustine, my kids beg for gelato from Café del Hidalgo (across from the Columbia Restaurant).
There is so much to do, it is hard to decide where to start, but your day promises to be fun filled and memorable! Looking forward to seeing everyone at HAPS in a couple of weeks.