VIBE: Relaxed, Family Friendly, Romantic
300 Anastasia Park Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Imagine a soft sand paradise with no condos or hotels on the beach. Miles of coastline and tall white sand dunes with grass swaying in the ocean breeze. The entire day can be spent relaxing with your family.
Anastasia State Park delivers an experience of peace, beauty and beach side fun. Families, couples or any beach lover will enjoy this Florida beach getaway near St. Augustine. The best part is that it's not crowded and parking is a reasonable fee. There's plenty to do with food available on site. Come for the day to this budget-friendly Florida state park and stay until the sun goes down.
Anastasia Island Sand
The sand at Anastasia State Park beach is an eclectic mix of white dune sand and shelly coral sand. It is soft in some spots but firm enough to ride a bike on. The shells are small although we found some good ones at low tide. Walking is easy and water shoes are not necessary. Nothing to worry about: you won't cut your feet at Anastasia State Park beach. However, you might get tired walking to the oceanfront. It is a LONG way. It is as far a hike from the parking lot as Siesta Key. If you take the main walkway it is flat and accessible with a Mobi-Mat for wheelchairs. That is also the area with a lifeguard.
However, we did not go that way. We took the longer way, uphill and over the protected dunes on a walkway. It is a beautiful walk with a view of the St. Augustine lighthouse. Bruno carried just about everything, as he always does. It might be time to get a beach wagon!
Anastasia Island Water
The ocean at Anastasia State Park was a little cooler than we are used to! The Gulf Stream influence is a little weaker in St. Augustine so the water was about 76 degrees F. In July, the beaches we regularly visit near our home have water temperatures well over 80 degrees F. We love warm beach water! However, it was 90+ degrees air temperature that day so the cooler ocean was refreshing...especially after that long walk to the beachfront. Whew!
Beach Parking and Amenities
Parking is only $8 per vehicle and you can leave and re-enter for that fee all day long until sunset. With over 350 total parking spaces, it's easy to find a spot for your car, truck or RV. We do recommend a beach wagon because if you forget something in your vehicle, it is a hot hike back to the parking lot. Near the parking lot is the Island Beach Shop & Grill. Aside from bike and boogie board rentals, you can get burgers, chicken, fish, pulled pork, wraps, salads and drinks, including alcohol. Wow! So don't worry if you didn't bring enough food for the day. Covered grilling areas are nearby if you love to do your own cooking.
Just a short drive away is Anastasia Watersports, located inside Anastasia State Park. Rent a kayak, canoe, sail or paddleboard and enjoy the Salt Run ecosystem just west of the ocean. Here is where you can catch trout or flounder. Bait is available at the concession shop. Use the fish-cleaning station before you go home. The park offers eco-tours, hiking and camping too. Is there anything this Florida state park didn't think of? There's even complimentary Wi-Fi at the concession shop. Amenities for everybody at this beach park!
Most of us will just hang out on this 4 mile stretch of oceanfront beach and get some sun. Like it's neighbor one hour south, Daytona Beach Shores, tidal pools form for everybody to float in. Such a treat for families with children. We saw people playing volleyball, football and frisbee. Of course, there is always a sand "digger" at every Florida beach destination we visit. Filling holes back in afterward digging will help with beach erosion and ensure baby sea turtles can make it to the ocean when they hatch.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Aside from the long walk to the oceanfront, it is good to be aware of the sloping Anastasia Island beach terrain. There is a lot of erosion and big drop-offs in the sand: some of the dips are 3 to 4 feet. Small children and older adults will need to be careful of falling. We encountered two of these large "shelf" formations on the way down to swim in the ocean. The sand takes a beating when the tide and waves are high. Once you're in the water, though, the sand is flat and firm.
What We Really Think About Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park is amazing. The sheer beauty of the beach makes it a must see on the east coast of Florida. The white sand dunes are huge! It's a real treat to visit a beach without having to worry about parking or food...everything is in one place for your family and friends. We also categorized this beach as romantic because it is a stunning backdrop for a Florida beach wedding. The Sea Turtle Pavilion can be rented and decorated for a small, charming reception. We recommend you download a park brochure to help you plan your visit.
Anastasia Island Beach Summary
City of St. Augustine
To make your vacation even more special, venture over to St. Augustine. You can stay at a hotel on Anastasia Island such as highly rated The Local Inn. A nice alternative, after you have enjoyed the beach, is to be within reach of the Old City for exploration.The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District may be an affordable option. We have always wanted to try the Old Jail Tour in St. Augustine. It's an interactive experience giving you a glimpse into the lives of prisoners in the 19th and early 20th century. They even have a ghost tour. We visited the St. Augustine Fort, the Castillo de San Marcos when we first moved here. We highly recommend it as well as the Fort Matanzas National Monument. St. Augustine and Anastasia Island are the whole package for a vacation in Florida!
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers specializing in Florida beaches on every coast. Take a road trip or plan a Florida vacation.