St. Augustine Beach is a fun-filled, family-friendly destination in the heart of Florida. People come here for the rich history, the beautiful beaches, and the incredible golf, fishing, and restaurants in the area. With a pleasant year-round mild climate and mostly sunny skies, it’s easy to see why St. Augustine is such a popular tourist destination. This St. Augustine Beach travel guide will help you get the most out of your travel plans when planning your next vacation.
Spend the Day on St. Augustine Beach
There are several places to hit the surf and the sand on a St. Augustine Beach vacation. A beautiful place to build sandcastles and relax in the sunshine is Anastasia State Park. Here you’ll find shaded picnic areas, restrooms, and soft sand. Many come to windsurf, sail, or canoe on the ocean. Others like to take a hike on the nature trails or do some saltwater fishing. Anglers find bluefish, pompano, redfish, and flounder in Anastasia State Park. There’s also some great bird watching here, especially in the spring and the fall.
For some quieter beach time, head to Vilano Beach. Locals call Vilano Beach the “best-kept secret.” You’ll find wonderful waterfront restaurants, a fishing pier, parasailing, and Sea Doo rentals, as well as lots of parks. Surfside Park has picnic areas, beach access, and outside showers.
Cruise the Open Seas
Take the free ferry to Fort Matanzas on Rattlesnake Island for some dolphin spotting. You can see dolphins and other sea creatures in their natural habitat. Once you get to Rattlesnake Island, take some time to tour the fort. The ferry leaves from 8635 Hwy. A1A. If a more formal cruise is more your thing, take a 75-minue narrated tour on the double-decker Victory III. This cruise leaves from Municipal Marina daily at various times throughout the day. On the cruise, you’re likely to spot dolphins, brown pelicans, cormorants, and kingfishers.
Spend Some Time on the Green
Any St. Augustine travel guide is sure to mention that golfing is king in St. Augustine Beach! For the avid golf fan, spend a day at the World Golf Hall of Fame, a museum honoring professional golf, the players, and famous supporters. Nearby, you can try your hand at golf on one of the many 18-hole golf courses in World Golf Village. If you don’t have time for the real courses, hit a ball or two at the “challenge hole.” In the middle of World Golf Village, just 132 feet from the shoreline, you’ll find the challenge hole. For $5 you can play the challenge hole or for $10, you'll have five golf balls to try your luck. After you’ve spent some time on the courses, stroll along The Walkway of Champions which circles the lake and passes shopping areas.
You can also play the greens at Ponce de Leon Hotel Golf & Conference Resort and the St. Augustine Shores Golf Club. Both courses are par-70, 18-hole courses with lots of water, driving ranges, and putting greens.
St. Augustine Beach is rich with historical treasures. A favorite place to visit is The Oldest House. Archaeological surveys say that this house stood on the site as early as the beginning of the 17th century. Today, you’ll visit the Gonzales-Alvarez House that evolved from a two-room dwelling built between 1702 and 1727 to the beautiful site it is today. You’ll want to allow for about 30 minutes of exploring here.
All St. Augustine Beach vacations should include the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. This 165-foot-tall structure is Florida’s first official lighthouse. It was built in 1875 to replace the original lighthouse that stood there in 1565. The current lighthouse has been beautifully restored in Victorian-style. Explore the visitors' center and climb the 219 steps to the stop. But beware, the lighthouse is said to be haunted. In 2007, the SyFy Network filmed an episode of "Ghost Hunters" here.
Cheap and Delicious Eats
St. Augustine vacations are known for delicious restaurants that won’t break the budget. You can find plenty to satisfy any taste pallet for excellent prices. Many love Collage for a welcome respite from tourist-filled restaurants. Collage features a creative menu with items like three-cheese pesto cheesecake, beef empanadas, mushroom and poblano crepes, and delicious bouillabaisse. For dessert, try homemade ice cream and delectable Bougainvillea. The staff is friendly, the food simply scrumptious, and the atmosphere welcoming.
If you’re searching for a more traditional meal, you absolutely must stop at Antonio’s Pizza. Antonio’s features New York style pizza with good, old fashioned taste. Try a slice of cheese pizza or enjoy lasagna, baked ziti, and chicken Parmesan. Those who come to Antonio’s say the pizza here rivals the sliceries found in the Big Apple!
Give Your Credit Card a Workout
St. Augustine Beach vacations are the perfect for shopping . . . and lots of it! The winding streets of the historic district are filled with antique shops, art galleries, fine furnishings, and even china. If you are really interested in antiques, try Alcazar Courtyard Shops, at the Lightner Museum for a wonderful selection of antiques.
St. George Street, from King Street north to the Old City Gate, is the heart of the historic district. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants and boutiques selling everything from T-shirts to antiques. These blocks get the most tourists, so be prepared for crowds. If you prefer a less-crowded shopping experience, poke around the narrow streets south of King Street. If you’re a bargain shopper, go to the St. Augustine Outlet Mall. With over 85 outlet stores like Ann Taylor, Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, and Coach, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list. For more outlet shopping, try Belz Factory Outlet World on the east side of the interstate.
St. Augustine Beach has a pleasant, year-round climate. You’ll find warm spring, summer, and autumn months, making for wonderful St. Augustine Beach vacations. Summer is the high tourist season. From May–September, you’ll find bigger crowds and higher prices. Off season is December–April. You may experience some cold days during this time, but the temperatures are usually quite nice. The best times for St. Augustine Beach vacations are April–May and September–November. You’ll find the best prices and nice weather these times of the year.
Most St. Augustine Beach travel guides will tell you to bring cool, comfortable clothing on your vacation. The temperatures are typically about 80 degrees F. this time of the year. Bring your bathing suit and sunscreen if you’re headed to the beach. Shorts, sandals, T-shirts, and flip flops are appropriate for daytime. You may want to bring a nicer outfit for dinner and a light jacket when the sun goes down.
In the fall and winter, the temperatures cool down. You’ll definitely want a jacket for the daytime. Average temperatures this time of the year is in the 60s. There’s still plenty of sun, even in the winter time, so be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and visors if you’re planning on spending time outside.
St. Augustine Beach is a smaller town, but you’ll find many modern conveniences and services. The town has medical centers, transportation, health clubs, grocery stores, and post offices. You’ll find places to rent recreational equipment, like boating and fishing supplies. You’ll also have no problem picking up essentials like sunscreen, insect repellant and over-the-counter medicines.
As mentioned in many St. Augustine travel guides, St. Augustine Beach is an old, 17-century fort and holds the title of the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. A group of French Huguenots settled St. Augustine Beach in 1562. The colony survived many attacks by pirates, Native Americans, and the British over a series of two centuries. The Treaty of Paris, ending the French and Indian War, ceded the colony to England in 1763. The British sold to Spain 20 years later and the United States took control in 1821.
Today, tourism is St. Augustine Beach’s main industry. You’ll find a beautiful, charming town with plenty of fun outdoor activities, good restaurants, and shopping.
If you’re flying, you'll want to fly into either the Daytona Beach International Airport or the Jacksonville International Airport. Rent a car and both airports are about an hour away from St. Augustine Beach.
For a fabulous, fun-filled Florida vacation that doesn’t break the bank, try VacationRentals.com. You’ll find fabulous condos, homes, and apartments to rent for your time in Florida. Your family will feel right at home in rentals that are comfortable, convenient, and close to all of the fun. Hotels in the St. Augustine Beach area tend to be on the expensive side, especially during the peak season. By using VacationRentals.com you’ll save a lot of money . . . money that can be spent on other activities on your vacation. Check out the deals available at VacationRentals.com to stay in a great place that won’t blow your budget.
You might aslo like...