Nestled on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine stands proud as the oldest continuously inhabited European-established city in the United States.
Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, this historic gem is not only steeped in rich history, but also boasts some of the most stunning and pristine beaches along the Atlantic coast. These beautiful stretches of sand serve as a key attraction for visitors from all over the world.
As you wander along the shoreline, the echoes of the past are never far away. The well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and historic sites like the Castillo de San Marcos make St. Augustine a unique and enchanting destination.
This rich heritage only adds to the charm and allure of the area’s beaches, as visitors can bask in the sun while taking in the remarkable stories that shaped this city.
So, when you visit St. Augustine’s shores, you’re not only indulging in sun-soaked relaxation but also experiencing a living, breathing piece of American history.
St Augustine Beach
Easily accessible and boasting a range of convenient facilities, such as ample parking, restrooms, showers, and picnic areas, St. Augustine Beach ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all its visitors.
The St. Johns County Ocean Pier serves as a notable landmark, offering breathtaking panoramic views and an opportunity to indulge in fishing.
Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, or beachcomb, St. Augustine Beach caters to a wide array of recreational pursuits.
Its gentle waves provide the perfect environment for novice surfers, while the spacious shoreline offers ample room for beach volleyball or leisurely walks.
Furthermore, local businesses support visitors with beach equipment rentals and exciting water sports, such as paddleboarding and kayaking. Embrace the warmth and charm of St. Augustine Beach as you create unforgettable memories on its pristine shores.
Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park, situated just a short drive from St. Augustine Beach, is a nature lover’s paradise featuring over four miles of pristine, unspoiled beaches.
This tranquil oasis, encompassing more than 1,600 acres, is home to a diverse array of wildlife, lush maritime hammocks, and ancient sand dunes, making it an idyllic setting for those seeking a more serene and peaceful beach experience.
The park offers a multitude of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. The extensive shoreline is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or simply strolling along the water’s edge while appreciating the breathtaking natural surroundings.
For adventure seekers, the park’s network of hiking and biking trails winds through maritime hammocks and dunes, providing ample opportunities for exploration and wildlife spotting.
Birdwatchers will delight in the diverse array of bird species that call the park home, including ospreys, herons, and roseate spoonbills.
The park’s tidal marshes and estuaries also offer excellent kayaking and canoeing opportunities, with rentals available on-site.
Anastasia State Park campground
The Anastasia State Park campground offers a fantastic choice for those looking to immerse themselves in nature while still remaining close to St. Augustine’s beautiful beaches.
Set within the park’s lush landscape, the campground allows for a unique opportunity to experience the area’s natural beauty while enjoying easy access to the park’s pristine shoreline.
The full-facility campground includes over 130 campsites, suitable for both tents and RVs. Each site comes equipped with water and electrical hookups (20, 30, and 50 amp), a fire ring, and a picnic table.
For campers’ convenience, the campground also offers amenities such as restrooms, showers, a dump station, and laundry facilities.
In addition to the beach, campers at Anastasia State Park can enjoy a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking and biking trails, birdwatching, and water sports like kayaking and canoeing.
The park also features a store that sells camping supplies, snacks, and souvenirs, as well as a concession stand providing beach equipment rentals.
When planning your stay at the Anastasia State Park campground, keep the following tips in mind:
- Reservations: It’s highly recommended to reserve your campsite in advance, especially during peak season or on weekends, as the campground tends to fill up quickly. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica.
- Check-in/Check-out: The standard check-in time is 3:00 PM, while check-out time is 1:00 PM. Make sure to arrive during the park’s operating hours (8:00 AM to sunset) and adhere to the check-in and check-out times.
- Campground Rules: Familiarize yourself with the campground rules, such as quiet hours, pet policies, and fire regulations, to ensure a pleasant and respectful stay for all campers.
- Wildlife Safety: Store food and scented items properly to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite. Remember to observe wildlife from a distance and never feed or approach them.
Crescent Beach, located just south of St. Augustine Beach, is a serene and picturesque destination known for its powdery soft, white sand and tranquil atmosphere. This lesser-known gem offers visitors a more laid-back and secluded beach experience, away from the bustling crowds found at more popular locations.
The natural beauty of Crescent Beach is complemented by its gently sloping shoreline and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming, wading, or simply relaxing with a good book.
The beach’s consistent waves also attract surfers of various skill levels, while the nearby Matanzas Inlet offers an excellent location for fishing enthusiasts to cast their lines.
For those interested in exploring the area, Crescent Beach is surrounded by a number of attractions worth visiting. The Matanzas Inlet, just a short drive away, is a picturesque and historic location where visitors can learn about the area’s rich past or simply marvel at the stunning views of the water.
Additionally, the nearby Fort Matanzas National Monument offers a glimpse into Florida’s colonial history and is accessible via a short boat ride.
Crescent Beach is a charming and peaceful haven, perfect for visitors seeking a more intimate and secluded coastal retreat. With its unspoiled beauty and diverse recreational offerings, Crescent Beach is a must-visit spot for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Vilano Beach, a hidden gem located just north of St. Augustine’s historic downtown, is a charming and quiet coastal community that offers visitors a more private and relaxed beach experience.
This lesser-known destination boasts a unique coquina sand shoreline, a blend of crushed shells and sand that creates a distinct texture and appearance, as well as striking rock formations, which add character to the beach’s natural beauty.
The beach’s relatively calm waters and wide shoreline make it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or enjoying a leisurely walk along the coast.
Vilano Beach is also popular among surfers, as it frequently offers good swells for both beginners and more experienced wave riders. For those interested in fishing, the beach provides ample opportunities to cast a line from the shore or from the nearby Vilano Beach Pier.
Visitors to Vilano Beach will also find a range of dining options and local attractions within close proximity.
The Vilano Beach Pier and waterfront area boast a selection of restaurants serving fresh seafood, offering guests the opportunity to dine with stunning views of the ocean. Just a short drive away, the historic downtown of St. Augustine provides a wealth of cultural experiences, shopping, and entertainment options.
Butler Beach, located south of St. Augustine Beach and north of Crescent Beach, is a pristine and uncrowded stretch of coastline known for its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere. This idyllic spot offers visitors a more relaxed and peaceful beach experience, away from the busier tourist areas.
The beach’s wide, sandy shoreline and clear waters make it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or taking a leisurely walk along the water’s edge.
The relatively calm surf conditions also make Butler Beach a suitable destination for beginner surfers and paddleboarders. With its less crowded setting, this beach is an excellent location for families and couples seeking a quieter retreat.
At Butler Beach, visitors can find basic amenities, such as restrooms and showers, as well as free parking along the side streets. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty, so always exercise caution when swimming or participating in water activities.
Matanzas Beach, nestled just south of Crescent Beach, is a secluded and picturesque slice of coastline renowned for its unspoiled beauty and tranquil atmosphere. This hidden treasure is perfect for those seeking a serene escape from the more crowded beaches nearby.
The beach’s soft sand and gentle waves create an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing, or simply unwinding with a good book.
The nearby Matanzas Inlet, boasting breathtaking views and abundant wildlife, provides an excellent location for fishing, kayaking, or birdwatching. In addition, the adjacent Matanzas River offers visitors the chance to explore the area’s unique ecosystem through boat tours or canoe excursions.
While Matanzas Beach presents a more secluded experience, it’s essential to keep in mind that amenities are limited.
Be sure to come prepared with necessities such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and beach gear. The beach’s remote nature also means there are no lifeguards on duty, so exercise caution when entering the water and always prioritize safety.
Keep these tips in mind
When planning a trip to St. Augustine’s beautiful beaches, it’s helpful to keep some tips in mind to make the most of your experience:
- Best Time to Visit: The peak season in St. Augustine is typically from March to September when the weather is warm and sunny. However, visiting during the shoulder seasons (October to February) may offer milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodations.
- Beach Safety: Always keep an eye on the posted beach flags and lifeguard warnings, as they indicate the current swimming conditions. It’s important to swim in designated areas and never swim alone. Additionally, be cautious of rip currents and make sure to apply sunscreen regularly to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Responsible Tourism: Help preserve the beauty of St. Augustine’s beaches by practicing “Leave No Trace” principles. This includes properly disposing of trash, not disturbing wildlife, and refraining from taking shells or other natural souvenirs from the beach.
- Parking and Access: Arrive early to secure parking spots, especially during peak season or on weekends. Many beaches offer paid parking, but some may have limited availability. Research in advance to find the most convenient parking and beach access points.
- Bring Essentials: Pack essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, beach towels, and an umbrella or beach tent for shade. Consider renting chairs, umbrellas, or other beach gear from local businesses if you don’t want to bring your own.
- Accommodations: St. Augustine offers a variety of lodging options, from charming bed and breakfasts to beachfront hotels and vacation rentals. Book well in advance, especially during peak season, and consider staying near the beach for easy access and stunning views.
- Dining Options: St. Augustine is known for its diverse culinary scene, ranging from casual beachside eateries to upscale restaurants. Be sure to explore the local dining options and try some fresh seafood during your stay.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable and enjoyable visit to the stunning beaches of St. Augustine.
How to get to Anastasia State Park?
To reach Anastasia State Park, located near St. Augustine, Florida, follow these directions:
If you are traveling from Interstate 95: Take exit 311 for FL-207 E toward St. Augustine Beach. Head east on FL-207 for approximately 5.2 miles. Turn right onto FL-312 E and continue for about 3.8 miles. Turn left onto FL-A1A S/Anastasia Blvd and proceed for approximately 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Anastasia Park Rd, and you will find the park entrance shortly after the turn.
The park’s address is 300 Anastasia Park Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080. Using a GPS device or a smartphone with mapping capabilities can provide you with turn-by-turn directions to the park as well.
Anastasia State Park is a short drive from St. Augustine’s historic downtown, making it an easily accessible destination for visitors staying in the area.
Once you arrive at the park, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee, which varies depending on the number of occupants in the vehicle. The park is open daily from 8:00 AM until sunset.
In conclusion, St. Augustine Beach, just a few miles south of the historic downtown area, is a lively and alluring destination that appeals to beach lovers of all ages.
With its soft, white sand and captivating turquoise waters, this beach creates the perfect backdrop for memorable moments with family and friends.