St. Augustine is 41 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida and it takes approximately 45 minutes traveling on US-1 to arrive there. If you live in Orlando, St.Augustine is located 105 miles to the Northeast.. Traveling time is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. From Miami, St. Augustine is 317 miles away. Head north up the east coast, which will take you 4 hours and 45 minutes to reach your destination. St. Augustine Beaches are unlike any beach you have ever had the pleasure of visiting. I have been there many times since 1985 with my children and I yearn to capture the experience all over again, just to run my toes through the white soft sand, while capturing the laughing and romping of its guests in the water. My children found the beaches to be a great place, not only for swimming, but also for meeting people their own age. The beach offers a diversity of all different age groups and people from all walks of life, and I found it to be quite interesting.
If you are planning on taking a vacation in Florida, I highly recommend visiting all of the St. Augustine Beaches. We finally reached our first St. Augustine Beach in Florida by jumping on State Road A1A. St. Augustine Beach is located on 18 mile long Anastasia Island. There are many entrances on to the beach. This is one of the many beaches in florida, for which you can drive a car on to the beach and drive for miles, while soaking up the sun and the warm breezes. Walking along the beach in the early hours, we found many exotic shells, shells that sold for many dollars at gift shops in the area.
We decided to bring out the beach blanket and relax in the hot sand with our favorite cool drink, Pina Coladas, while enjoying the whole day. My children loved the volley ball courts they have set up there, it kept them entertained for hours playing, while I worked on that tan of mine that needed a bit of encouragement.
From the beach, we stood on the St. John’s Pier and just looked in amazement at all the beautiful beachfront homes. Many were built high up to avoid sand erosion. Looking over the water, we can look for miles and miles across the warm gulf waters. When nighttime finally arrived, the town comes to life with the sound of music and dancing. We hit the dance floor around 9 o’clock and danced till the wee hours of the morning.
Staying at the St. Augustine Beach and Tennis Club, we were greeted with the finest hospitality and the cleanest rooms in Florida. They offer a continental breakfast that we enjoyed. The best time to visit this lovely beach is from May to September. If you plan on going there in April, be advised that you will have to share the sand with “Spring Breakers” from schools all over the country. Rain season and hurricane seasons are not a good time to visit there, this season starts in September, along with the incoming travelers from the north, settling in for the holidays. We arrived in St. Augustine on May 19th, the water was warm, the skies were blue, a perfect day!
From there we visited Vilano Beach, which is just north of Matazanas Inlet on Scenic A1A. The coastline there is unending. Lodging is great for large families, especially ours, since there are 5 in my family and we always seem to find places that are too small.
We ate our lunch in the picnic area, this saved us money on having to eat out, and we enjoyed the change. While eating our lunch, we were taken in by the beautiful sandpipers, pelicans, seagulls, and terns that roamed all over the beach. It is serenity at it’s finest. The warm breezes that filled the air were just breathtaking and captivating.
Butler beach, set amongst a scenic shoreline, is a place to be sure to visit. If you like to barbecue like we do, make sure you bring the steaks with you! We broiled five sirloin steaks that afternoon, along with corn on the cob. Grills are set up along the beach, which we found to be another great hospitality feature. We enjoyed many hours of fun and relaxation there. The weather was beautiful that day, we could feel the rays of the sun beat down upon us, hoping we could stay forever. Later that afternoon we went boating, utilizing the many boat ramps. The water was a warm 74 degrees and you could see the sand when looking into the water. It was white and smooth at the bottom of the gulf. We stopped the boat in a shallow part of the water and went swimming. The water was as warm as a bathtub, and we didn’t have to worry about stepping on stones, there weren’t any!
Later that night, we docked the boat and left for the Passport Inn, which is located across from the beaches on A1A, not far from Holiday Inn, where we once again enjoyed our favorite drinks and danced till 1 AM in the morning to the sounds of our favorite music. I have visited there many times in 1986, I used to walk in and they would have my special drink ready for me. They remember their customers and treat them well. The atmosphere is one of coziness and a beach hut type décor. Be sure to order food there, anything from appetizers to a main course meal. Prices are competitive with other restaurants in the area, not high priced, and portions are plentiful. Shrimp, lobster and Grouper seem to be popular dishes, but my favorite was grouper. It contains no bones, has a white fillet and no fishy taste. I prefer mine breaded, but you can also have it cooked in garlic butter or broiled. I suggest grouper next time you want a great seafood dish.
By the next morning, we had to pack and I certainly had a grim look on my face, for I did not want to leave. We were going to stop at all the attractions before leaving to see all that St. Augustine has to offer. There you can find the finest dining available, over thirty attractions, gift shops galore on St. John’s Street. My favorite will always be the beaches. I will return one day and run my toes through the white sand once more.