Florida Scenic Highway: A1A Coastal Byway, from Jax to Flagler Beach
By Dalia Colon
Length: 72 miles.
How to get around: Car or bicycle.
Best time to visit: November, for special events and prime golfing weather at TPC Sawgrass.
Some roads claim to be bicycle-friendly, but A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway walks the walk—so to speak.
Each year on the first Sunday in November, the byway hosts the Spoonbills & Sprockets Cycling Tour, a race that attracts as many sightseers as it does hard-core cyclists. The journey consists of 36, 72 and 100-mile routes traversing some of the country’s most breathtaking beaches and historic streets.
“We get tons of people that show up. They really love being able to travel along the beach, and they also get to see downtown St. Augustine,” said Danielle Anderson, president of Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.
If all that biking revs up your appetite, then after the race head for a meal at Anderson’s favorite local eatery, O'Steen's Restaurant on Anastasia Island.
“It is cash only, and they usually have a long wait… but it’s so worth it,” she promises. While you wait to chow down on the restaurant’s popular fried and broiled seafood, browse for one-of-a-kind souvenirs next door at Anastasia Antique Center.
Want more antiques? After pedaling through the bike race, stick around the peddling that takes place during the byway’s Super Scenic Garage Sale. On the third Saturday in November, more than 100 homes and businesses along the A1A participate in this 72-mile extravaganza of retail therapy. The event gives new meaning to the phrase window shopping.