A Vacation in St. Augustine, Florida Has Much to Offer Golfers (and Anyone Who Eats)!

Our spotlight on St. Augustine, Florida continues this week with golf and restaurant reviews by our members. Take a look at last week’s Vacation Exchange Network Blog for posts aboutsights to see and things to do in St. Augustine and vacation homes available for swap in St. Augustine.

Golf and Restaurant Reviews by The Vacation Exchange Network Members

Our members’ St. Augustine golf course picks:

St. Johns Golf & Country Club is located between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida and offers extraordinary golf. The 18-hole Clyde Johnston-designed course has the right challenges for novice and avid golfers alike. A great place to hone your skills, St. Johns is known for its consistent quality of service and conditions, being nationally ranked for customer satisfaction and loyalty by the National Golf Foundation, and host to the PGA TOUR Qualifying School in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Cimarrone Golf in Jacksonville should not be missed. Cimarrone’s manicured course conditions and challenging design provides a fun, player-friendly experience for golfers of all abilities.

King & Bear Golf Course in World Golf Village is named for its co-designers, World Golf Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Wide fairways, top-notch conditioning. Not to be missed!

These restaurants have gotten rave reviews by our members:

O.C. White’s Restaurant: If sightseeing downtown, O.C. Whites is a good choice for lunch or dinner. Offering fresh local seafood, it is located in a historic building. Music in the patio area in the evening creates a fun atmosphere to spend part of an evening.

Pusser’s Bar and Grill in Ponte Vedra Beach (a short drive north of St. Augustine) is a great spot. Try the fish and chips. You won’t be sorry.

Ocean 60 (in Atlantic Beach) is a trendy spot with great food. You’d think you were in SOHO in New York City. Be sure and make a reservation because it’s a very popular spot. Located in a very cute little area that’s perfect for taking a walk after dinner.

Benito’s: There were so many good restaurants in the area, but for wonderful Italian food, don’t miss Benito’s. Located in Vilano Beach (a section of St. Augustine), the food at this very unassuming spot is terrific. On top of wonderful food, the prices are very reasonable. Over a two week period, we ate here four times.

Columbia Restaurant: This Spanish restaurant on St. George Street serves wonderful food with atmosphere. Indoor patio is stunning. Don’t miss the Scallops Casimiro.

Aunt Kate’s is a casual spot with great food and reasonable prices. The fried shrimp is terrific.

Salt Water Cowboy’s is not fancy but has a pleasant atmosphere; good food with a southern flair and good value. For those with a daring streak, try the fried alligator. Of course, be sure and try the fried chicken.

The Vacation Exchange Network is always looking for restaurant, golf, attraction, and destination reviews. Please share yours in the comments section below, or if you are a member, please email us with your reviews.

The Vacation Exchange Network

Unmatched in the home exchange industry, The Vacation Exchange Network is the vacation home owner’s first stop in vacation planning. Swap a stay in your vacation home for a stay anywhere in the United States or around the world, without the necessity of having to find someone who wants to use your home. Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s main site for more information about how home swaps work or to become a member and start planning your next home exchange vacation!


Escape the Cold in Sunny Locales

This winter has been especially brutal for many states, and it’s no wonder our minds have turned to sunny temperatures!  There are a number of warm and sunny spots in our house exchange network, so you can find a little refuge from the cold. We have home swap options in Florida, California, and more. Let’s take a look at some beautiful and warm places to escape the harsh winter in the upcoming months.


Panama City Beach, Florida - TimothyJ (Flickr)

We have a number of exchange homes available in the Sunshine State. From Destin to Anna Marie Island, the beautiful shores of Florida are waiting to be explored! Florida is home to some amazing beaches and fun vacation spots.

Anna Marie Island

Named as one of the Top 10 Beaches for Families by Parent Magazine, Anna Marie Island offers family activities like miniature golf, sailing, paddleboard and more. If you’re interested a house swap, our directory features a number of homes for the area.

Panama City Beach

Gorgeous white sands and pretty water make this spot a favorite for many vacationers. Besides miles of beach to explore, there’s a waterpark, bumper boats, a crazy maze and other activities for families or couples. You’ll find several properties for Panama City Beach in our member directory; some even overlook the water.


Besides the beautiful beaches, you’ll find a great outlet mall at Destin.  This spot on the Emerald Coast is a favorite for many and if you’ve never experienced it, maybe it’s time to consider a vacation home exchange in Destin.   We have 20 properties available in Destin, and many are available year round. Check out our list to see more.


The Golden State awaits for you to visit it! There are so many popular tourist destinations in the state, because it has something for everyone. Sun, sand, surf, shopping and more. Our California exchange homes offer you a chance to explore all that the state has to offer.

San Francisco, California - Jeff Gunn (Flickr)

San Francisco

You can ride the world-famous cable cars or explore a number of interesting museums, including the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Two hours from San Francisco, you’ll find the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you’ll see colorful sea creatures, otters and more. Alcatraz and The Asian Art Museum are also interesting spots to visit in the city. House swapping for San Francisco is available, and you can see the properties we have now.

Long Beach

A decommissioned submarine, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and a vibrant downtown are just a few reasons you might visit Long Beach. You’ll also find great outdoor areas, such as the El Dorado Nature Center. You’ll find a few Long Beach house exchange properties in the directory.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs has long been a favorite destination for all ages. If you’re a history buff, it’s a must, thanks to the Palm Springs Air Museum, which features several exhibits of WWII planes.  There’s also a “folly” theater, canyons to explore, botanical gardens and other points of interest.  You can browse our Palm Beach vacation home exchange properties to see if you’re interested in this city.

These are just a few of our properties in sunny locales! As the ice and snow continue, what better time to explore a new sunny region? If sun isn’t on your mind, don’t worry, our other properties can meet any need. As the internet’s # 1 vacation home exchange network, you can find thousands of properties on our website in the United States or overseas, including Aruba, Peru, United Kingdom and more!


5 Things To do With Kids on a Vacation Home Swap: How to Get Out and Explore a New City

Traveling with your children can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you get a chance to discover a new city. When you use the Vacation Exchange Network for a housing swap, you have a chance to visit exciting destinations all over the world. There are museums, landmarks, activities, shows to see and more. When you arrive at your destination, what are some of the best ways to keep your children engaged and entertained while exploring your new city? Read on and see!

1. Have a Vacation Photo Scavenger Hunt

Before arriving at your destination, you can devise a photo scavenger hunt. Look up the local landmarks, wildlife, points of interest, and attractions to make a list of images to “capture” with your children. You can make a quick list with checkboxes, and have your children run around taking photographs on everything on the list. Not only is this a way to explore the new area on a home exchange, but you will also have a great record of some of your experiences. When you get home, you can save the photographs in a special photo album or scrapbook. This is a great activity for children ages 3 and up.


2. Take a Set of “Buddy Pictures” At Fun Locales

Here’s an activity that’s very popular online with both adults and children! Have your children pick a beloved toy to take along as you explore the sights of  your vacation destination. Take photographs of the toy in front of signs, plants, and other interesting spots. Your child will love finding new places for their toy to go, and dreaming up fun situations for the “animal” to engage in. You might pose your buddy in front of a historic castle, or posing with a local delicacy.  The only rule is have fun and get creative! Your children will love sharing the images with friends and family when they return from your vacation, plus this activity can make even “boring” places seem fun.

3. Play Brochure “Roulette”

Read over the brochures for your destination and choose a handful with options that you feel are child-friendly. Then let your child decide the day’s “mystery” activity or destination by putting each brochure in its own envelope and pick from the pile. You never know where you’re going to end up! This is a great way to see the city in a new way, and not stick to a strict itinerary. Save the brochures to put in a scrapbook later, along with photos from the destination(s).

4. Get a pass for the local transportation system.

One of the best ways to explore the real culture of the city is to use the local transportation system. If you can jump on a subway, trolley, bus, tram or even train, you can discover new sights, fascinating exhibits, great places to eat and more. Most transportation options are easy and affordable to use, so as you prepare for your house swap, see your best options for getting around.

5.   Make Your Own Audio “Tour”

Take along your smartphone or tablet when you explore the new city, and let your children discuss the “must see” elements of your vacation, favorite sights, fun places to go, and what your family did. Let your child tell you their own “history” of the place, using their imagination and their surroundings to weave fun stories. You can save all of your recordings on your device, then mix it into MP3 files to play back anytime you need a walk down memory lane. You could even share it with a family member who might also be going to the same destination.

Your vacations are what you make of them, and each destination offers a chance to learn, play and explore a new area. Children are naturally curious, and you can use the world as their playroom and make memories by indulging in some of these fun activities.


4 Hot International Choices This Spring for a House Swap Vacation

Welcome to the 2nd part of my post series for spring destinations for a vacation home exchange. In this post, I’ll be covering international options for your next house swap. Be sure to read my previous post for the United States destinations.


At The Vacation Exchange Network, we have multiple homes in Australia. Australia is a land of adventure, and offers options for fun for any traveler. When it comes to deciding on an Australian vacation, you should look for activities and places you want to explore. New South Wales is home to Sydney, a wonderland of history and culture, including the iconic SydneyOpera House. Sydney Harbor is one of the most beautiful in the world, and has several beaches to enjoy. If you’re looking for quiet, you can probably find it there. The government operatesSydney Ferries letting you enjoy the beauty of the surroundings on the water.


In Melbourne, Australia, you’ll find gorgeous gardens to explore and enjoy at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are committed to conversation and educating visitors about the importance of plants. If it’s a beautiful day, spend it outside walking some of the prettiest gardens you’ve ever seen.  Are you an art lover? Don’t miss a chance to look through the collection at the National Gallery of Australia, which opened in 1861. The gallery features art not only from Australia, but also from around the world. Exhibits change, but recently the gallery featured Art Deco Fashion, Australian Impressionists, and more. The gallery is also free. Melbourne and Sydney are just a few spots in Australia when you can find exchange homes from The Vacation Exchange Network. Our full list of Australian homes is yours for the browsing!

United Kingdom

We have several UK homes available for a house exchange.  London, of course, is a popular vacation spot. There’s so much to do in London that you’d have to spend weeks enjoying everything it has to offer! Many love the Tower of London which features over 1000 years of history. You can see the Crown Jewels, explore the four floors of the White Tower, and even see old instruments of torture. Why read about history in a book when you can see it come alive? If you want to see great art and are on a budget, the British Museum is a free museum with multiple history and art exhibits. They offer several special kids and family programs as well. North Yorkshire is also open for the exploring. The Museum of Victorian Science features a private collection of scientific objects from the Victorian age and features several demonstrations. Perfect for a child interested in science, or even steampunk fans.