How to move there: The Castillo de San Marcos doesn't offer any rental housing, but who would want two million annual visitors knocking on your door anyway? With so much of the property in St. Augustine devoted to hotels and vacation villas, it can be a bit difficult to find places for rent, so start your apartment search in St. Augustine five to six weeks ahead of time. Moving furniture on a July afternoon will make you feel like you're in a sauna, but saunas are good for your health. Fortunately, St. Augustine hasn't been directly hit by a hurricane since the 1960s.
What you'll need to bring: In addition to your bathing suit and sunglasses, moving to St. Augustine requires some basic paperwork. Apartment managers usually want to see proof of income, rental history, driver's license, a credit report, and maybe a criminal background check, as well.
St. Augustine may be small, but it has a number of distinct neighborhoods due to its age, rather than the generic suburban sprawl found in many modern small towns.
Old Town: This part of St. Augustine doesn't have many full time residents, but if you're committed to pretending your life is an endless vacation, you might be able to find a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment for rent amid the historic buildings of Old Town. Just watch out for errant cannonballs launched from the Castillo.
Uptown: This neighborhood is also called the San Marco Shopping District, so you know residential options are limited. But if you do find a studio apartment, you'll be living next to an old house that is now a cupcake bakery, as well as antique shops, a pizzeria, a traditional print shop, and a steak house.
Lincolnville Historic District: Rental homes in Lincolnville include some of the hundreds of Victorian era houses in the neighborhood. The district has been revitalized in recent years, with new homes and apartments added alongside the old ones. There's also a farmer's market in Eddie Vickers Park every Sunday afternoon, with Southern barbecue pulled pork, baked goods, fresh produce, jewelry and pottery. Living near Victorian homes does not mean you'll be forced to wear a top hat, but feel free to do so.
Davis Shores: This area is just across the Bridge of Lions over the Matanzas River, giving you a view of Old Town while not being trampled by tourists. Davis Shores sits at the tip of a peninsula that juts into the Matanzas and its shallow offshoot, Salt Run. Many of the homes here were built in the 1920s during a real estate boom. The boom soon busted, but Davis Shores is booming again, with restaurants, shops and new apartment complexes. Wide streets and cul-de-sacs give the neighborhood a suburban feel. Best of all, if you get lost on a foggy night, just follow the St. Augustine Lighthouse back to Davis Shores.
North City: This part of St. Augustine is above Old Town, putting you a bit closer to Jacksonville. The area was originally settled as farmland. Like the rest of the city, modern housing here is mixed with architecture from several historical eras. And if all of that history starts to make you feel ancient, just stop by the Fountain of Youth (though it seems to not have worked out for Ponce de Leon).
Hang out with artisans, and meet your neighbors at the monthly First Friday Art Walk, where you'll find antique books, avant garde art, and live music. Another event that's easy to mark on your calendar is the Uptown Saturday Night, held the last Saturday of each month, when stores near the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum -- yes, St. Augustine is home to the oldest Odditorium? -- stay open until 9PM, with some providing snacks and tunes for their guests.
Stay in shape and have fun by sailing, boating, kayaking and canoeing in Anastasia State Park. For land-based activities, play ballgames at one of the many city parks or shoot a round at one of numerous golf courses.
Sun and Surf
Living in St. Augustine puts you right next to both protected coastlines and resort-style beaches. Vilano Beach, St. Augustine Beach, and the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (try saying that three times fast) are all nearby.
Enjoy a night out
Hundreds of bars and restaurants range from pub crawl wildness to sophisticated wine tastings, and the varied cuisine includes seafood, classic American diners, vegetarian dishes, and upscale bistros.