St. Augustine Stories and Tips

The Beach I Call Home

coquina on the beach Photo, St. Augustine, Florida

A place that I'm proud to call home is the lovely little town of St. Augustine Beach. Located on Anastasia Island on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine Beach is the quaint seaside provence of the "Nation's Oldest City". If you're looking for bright cheesy colors, gaudy high-rises, and crowded sand, then you're looking in the wrong place. Here you'll find a small-town feel on a wide sandy beach with classy cafes, and open skylines to enjoy sunsets instead of hotels.

The commune of St. Augustine Beach is actually only a small stretch of less than 2 miles, but within these miles you'll find all you need for a relaxing visit. From the northside of the coastal road "Beach A1A" you're greeted by the pier park area. Here there is a large public parking area free of charge. CHeck out the fishing pier for an excellent view over the ocean and town, and children will love the newly built "Splash Park". Continually throughout the year, one might run into a special event being held at the pavilion area here, from fireworks shows, fund-raiser races, music festivals, and more. On Wednesday mornings there's a great farmer's market here and the adjoining cultural center hosts several art and culture events as well. Grab a volleyball and pick up a game at the open sand courts on the side of the parking lot.

Next travel further south and you'll see a few local restaurants. Cafe 11 is a popular stop for locals as well as visitors. Many concerts are held here at night, and the Sunday brunch is always packed. Across the street is the lovely Castillo Real hotel which also houses a wonderful upscale restaurant inside. Cafe Atlantico is a gourmet local restaurant open only for dinner, offering an ever-changing seasonal menu. "A Street" is towards the center of town and here there is a concentration of restaurants, smoothie shops, bars, and a surf-shop. Looking for a meal closest to the sand? Drive towards the beach on A Street to the Beachcomber.

Throughout the 2 miles of beach road look for several free public parking areas, around 16th St, 11 St, 8th St, and A St. Most have bathroom and shower facilities as well. One unique thing about St. Augustine Beach is the opportunity to drive on the beach. This is argued on both sides, but in the numbered streets (16th - 1st) no cars are allowed, but in the lettered streets (A St - F St, and further north) cars are allowed in designated areas. Luckily the beaches are very very wide and cars must park nearest the western dunes, so when you're lying on the beach, it's easy to not even notice them, especially at low tide.

If you visit here, it's easy to see why so many people come here each year. It's a great, quaint, relaxing place!

• http://www.staugbch.com/

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