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Flagler Beach and Flagler Pier

Flagler Beach is a true beach town. Located on the Atlantic ocean about 20 miles north of Daytona Beach, or about halfway between St. Augustine and Daytona. Highway A1A is, of course, the main road right through town and it is basically right on top of what used to be the dunes. Flagler still has that small beach town feel to it, even though it can get fairly crowded at times. If Daytona Beach is too much for you, try Flagler. Parking is free and is available right along-side A1A next to the beach. There are also public parking lots near Flagler pier, across the street from the beach. The sand has an orange color because of all the coquina shell fragments. You are always likely to find some surf in the ocean, except perhaps in the dog days of summer when no storms are in the Atlantic. Further south, near Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, there is less surf because the Bahama Islands blocks the large ocean swells.

You won't find high-rise hotels or luxury resorts here in Flagler Beach. Nor did we see much in the way of "fine-dining." But they have basic hotel accommodations near the beach and basic American cuisine. Not a lot to do here except enjoy the beach or go fishing, surfing, or sightseeing up and down A1A. What more do you really need?

Flagler Beach, Florida
Above: Flagler beach, right next to A1A. Pretty orange sand.

Highway A1A, Flagler beach. jpg
Above: Cruising down A1A in Flagler Beach. Atlantic Ocean is to the left.

Above: You can see how highway A1A runs right along the beach. Great view!
Of course this can be a concern during hurricanes...
Flagler Pier, Florida.jpg
Above: Flagler Pier is a landmark structure that attracts lots of people.

Above: the pier isn't free. But then, nothing else in life is really free either...

Above: walking out over the Atlantic Ocean on Flagler Pier. Clean ocean air. Nothing like it!

Above: a very relaxed beach crowd on a Saturday afternoon at Flagler Beach, near the pier.

Above: looking southwest from the pier toward highway A1A.

Good Food at the Turtle Shack Cafe in Flagler Beach

I have to tell you about this little restaurant where we ate lunch. Honestly, I never would have stopped in this place. It looked like a total dive. But it came highly recommended by a friend of ours who lives in Palm Coast. Its called the Turtle Shack Cafe (photo below) and is right across the street from the beach. We parked the car by the beach and took care in crossing A1A (traffic is a bit fast). Once inside we found a modest establishment with patio furniture for tables and chairs and a very friendly wait-staff. We were seated in an aluminum-roofed add-on with a family and several couples. There was a golf tournament in Palm Coast and several golfers came in later (obviously on a good tip from a local). I ordered a grouper sandwich, sautéed. So far so good. When the sandwich arrived, I was surprised to find a WHOLE GROUPER FILLET on the bun. I had to cut the fish in half to fit it on the large bun. I've never gotten so much fish on a sandwich. The fish was sautéed with garlic and I think lemon as well. It was soft, tender, and tasty. And they actually gave me a soft bun, instead of those crusty old Kaiser rolls. Bottom line: if you want a great grouper sandwich, eat at the Turtle Shack Cafe in Flagler Beach. 2123 N Highway A1A, Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Turtle Shack Cafe, Flagler Beach, A1A.jpg
Above: the Turtle Shack Cafe, where we had lunch. Best grouper sandwich I've ever had.

Text and images copyright © 2007 David McRee,