Just across the historic Bridge of Lions from St. Augustine,
Florida lie the beaches of Anastasia Island. The 24 miles of unspoiled,
sandy beaches on Anastasia Island provide a pleasant and unexpected
surprise for visitors where sabal palms and sea oats grow wild on
Home of beach paddle tennis, first played in 1972, the hard-packed sand
provides the finest natural "courts" in America. Flanked by the
Atlantic Ocean on the east and pleasant year-round weather, visitors
will be compelled to explore of the beaches of Anastasia Island.
Natural attractions are found in three of the area's state parks:
Anastasia State Recreation Area, on Anastasia Island, is a
1,700-acre bird sanctuary rich with five miles of beach, lagoon
waterways, wildlife and sweeping sand dunes.
Faver-Dykes State Park, on the southern tip of St. Johns County,
serves as a 752-acre forest for endangered bald eagles and wood storks,
and boasts trails and camping along meandering marshes.
Guana River State Park in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach is a
pristine 2,200-acre preserve with a five-mile coastal strand, an
ancient Spanish well and 2,000-year-old Indian shell bluffs.
Beyond the water's edge, the waves are sprinkled with water enthusiasts
surfing, boogie-boarding, ocean kayaking and even windsurfing. Farther
out, charter boats and private yachts carry deep-sea anglers to marlin,
kingfish, sailfish, dolphin and wahoo. Surf and jetty casters reel in
drum, bluefish, red bass and Spanish mackerel.
Three piers - the Lighthouse Pier, the Vilano Beach Pier and the St.
Johns County Pier (St. Augustine Beach) - lure fishermen with bountiful
catches of sheepshead, flounder and drum. Ten boat launches provide
easy access to waterways.
Straight-from-the-docks, incredibly fresh seafood and delicacies are
served in more than 150 eateries on the beaches of Anastasia Island and
in St. Augustine. Options range from waterbound bungalows to gourmet
bistros and turn-of-the-century Victorian mansions. The area's strong
Minorcan heritage inspires spicy dishes and savory specialties, such as
pilau and sauces from the datil pepper - a red-hot local condiment
indigenous to the area.
Photos Courtesy: VISIT FLORIDA - St. Augustine Lighthouse Tower and Museum