City Profile: St. Augustine Beach

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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Surrounded by beaches, nature parks and wildlife, St. Augustine Beach is a tranquil northeast Florida getaway.

The St. Augustine area is renowned for its rich history, elegant golf courses, and beautiful beaches. Just five minutes from St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, are the beaches of Anastasia Island. An affordable, relaxing atmosphere, convenient access to the historic district, and pearl white sands make this beach community a sensible and rewarding stop during an extended vacation stay.

Anastasia Island is between the Intracoastal Waterway to the west and the Atlantic to the east. To get to the beaches, cross the towering span bridge of State Road 312, or cross the Bridge of Lions, sculpted hundreds of years ago by an Italian artist (legend has it he committed suicide from the shame of having left an ear and a tongue off the beasts mounted on the bridge).

Sabal palms and sea oats grow wild along sand dunes that stretch along the coast, and sand dollars, moon snails, and angel wings are just a few of the beautiful shells that can be collected during a sunset beach walk.

Fishing tournaments are held during the summer on St. John's pier, and 70 degree year 'round weather is conducive to active fishing at all times. Pier fishing lures bluefish, whiting and drum, while the adventurous can try for snapper, kingfish, cobia and amberjack on deep sea charter boat rides. Freshwater fishing is available in the St. John's River for those interested in panfish, bream and bass.

Anastasia State Park is one of three state parks in the St. Augustine area, and is host to a bird sanctuary with 96 species of birds as well as a four-mile beach. Nature trails and camping are popular activities, and sailboard and paddle cruise rentals are available from the Anastasia Water Sports. The Atlantic and the Salt Run Lagoon are both located on the eastern side of the park, with scenic walkways for strolls along the shore.

The nearby Faver-Dykes State Park in St. Johns County has the same exotic wildlife and plush forestation that Spanish explorers discovered when they arrived. Bald eagles, alligators, bobcats, and woodstorks are just a few of the rare and intriguing animals that can be observed in this area.

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