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St. Augustine Beach and Fishing Pier.jpg

Saint Augustine Beaches

 

The Saint Augustine beaches are a "must see, " as is the City of St. Augustine. Saint Augustine is located on the Northeast coast of Florida on the Atlantic Ocean, south of Jacksonville. It is easily accessed from I-95, and is only an hour and a half from Orlando. There is a lot to do in St. Augustine, even if you never go near the beach. But who would miss out on the beach? We visited the weekend before Easter, and although traffic was fairly heavy in the City itself and very heavy on US1, traffic on the beaches was light. Our first stop on Saturday morning (After breakfast at "The Bunnery" downtown) was at the St. John's County Fishing Pier at St. Augustine Beach.

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Compared to most of the piers I'm accustomed to on the Gulf coast, this pier is quite tall. The surf was up and there were plenty of surfers in the water. In fact, there was a surfing contest underway on the south side of the pier. Admission is only 50 cents if you just want to walk out onto the pier and enjoy the view. It's well worth it. If you walk north you will soon find yourself in the Anastasia Island Recreation Area where there are no buildings--just complete peace and quiet. Wow! What a great place for a quiet Saturday morning walk. It was quite a contrast to the noise and bustle of downtown St. Augustine.

Below are some photos I took on a beautiful morning in March. The water is a bit cool but as you'll see, the temperature is warm enough for bathing suits.

 
 


The pier entrance. Pay your money, buy something to drink, walk out over the ocean.

 


Above: About half-way out on the pier, looking east toward the Atlantic.


Above: half-way out on the pier, looking back towards the beach.


Above: looking north from the pier toward Anastasia State Recreation Area.

BeachHunter's Personal Recommendations for St. Augustine, Fl

St. Augustine Beach is separated from the City of St. Augustine by the Matanzas River, crossed by the Historic Bridge of Lions (which is currently under renovations). Saint Augustine Beach is located on Anastasia Island, which runs north-south along the Atlantic. You may want to visit the Alligator Farm Zoological Park, especially during April and May when all the young herons, egrets, and wood storks are hatching in their nests in the mangroves above the alligators. It is quite a sight to see. This year we were there before the eggs started to hatch.

See my photos of the alligators and a video of the crazy herons in the rookery.

Time didn't permit me to climb the 200 steps to the top of the lighthouse, but I'll be making another trip soon to take some photos and enjoy the view.

Good, Inexpensive Food in St. Augustine

I must say that we were extremely pleased with every meal we had in St. Augustine. The quality and tastiness of the food is just outstanding, and I can tell you that after returning to St. Petersburg, we really missed it. We've definitely placed St. Augustine high on our list of places to visit regularly.

If you are in St. Augustine Beach at breakfast time I highly recommend Cafe Eleven. It's a very popular breakfast eatery. It's beach casual and the food is great whether you just want coffee and a muffin, or a full breakfast. Their Sunday morning buffet with made-to-order omelets is most excellent.

If you appreciate healthy food or need vegetarian or vegan, you MUST go to the Manatee Cafe. It serves delicious healthful cuisine prepared using pure filtered water, certified organically grown fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and fresh herbs. It's not on the beach, but it is close to downtown St. Augustine. Their food is fantastic. Just follow the link to their website to see their menu. I had a bean burrito on a homemade whole grain tortilla, with bean sprouts, tofu cheese, and all kinds of other stuff with tortilla chips and hummus. I topped it off with a fruit smoothie. I ate way too much.

One rainy evening for dinner we took a walk through the cool drizzling rain a couple of blocks from our accommodations to Flavors Eatery (no website, but located at 125 King Street, just a few blocks from Flagler College). They have fresh wraps, salads, and sandwiches. The Friday night we were there an acoustic guitar duo kept the small crowd entertained. I had a fish wrap which was very, very good. Had a smoothie too, but I'll have to remember not to order smoothies with berries. I hate those seeds crunching between my teeth. I'll just stick to banana, strawberry, or mango smoothies, thanks.

There are lots of restaurants in St. Augustine, but we try to avoid restaurants that cater almost solely to tourists. The food quality tends to be mediocre and the service is usually rushed because of the sheer numbers of people they have to feed every day. Prices also tend to be high. If you just want a restaurant that will throw you a fried fish sandwich or filet with fries and a couple of beers and a dessert, and don't mind paying $50 for dinner for two, there are plenty of those places, no need for me to point them out. There are also some pretty high-class restaurants here with excellent food and high prices to match. Just pick up some of the free magazines for visitors. All the restaurants are well advertised.


Above: view from the pier.


Above: we took a walk north toward Anastasia State Rec Area. Few people, no buildings. Perfect.


Above: view south from atop the pier.


Above: windy conditions made the surf choppy, but the surfers were having fun.


Above: one juvenile and 3 adult pelicans taking it easy on the pier.


Above: harmless Cannonball jellyfish are common on the beach.

 

 

Text and Photos Copyright 2007 David McRee, BeachHunter.net | Saint Augustine Beach