Anastasia State Park beach walkover
Lifeguards on duty in designated areas from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Wednesday Farmers Market at St. Johns County Pier Park
South Ponte Vedra Beach
Fort Matanzas National Monument
7-day beach itinerary on Florida's Family Friendly Coast!
The kid-friendly city of St. Augustine, Florida is the perfect destination for a getaway with your whole family. From the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum to The Reef— St. Augustine has a variety of family-friendly things to do, and places to eat and stay!
Enjoy a vacation at the best beaches in Florida. St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, Vilano Beach and other stretches of sand on Florida’s Historic Coast have plenty to offer. But where to start? Here are our suggestions for a week-long beach getaway with the family.
Day 1: Ponte Vedra Beach
Have breakfast at the Metro Diner or — if you time it right — enjoy the extravagant Sunday Brunch at The Reef.
Take your beach chairs, umbrellas, beach bucket, shovel and cooler to the beach at Mickler’s Landing. Follow the wooden walkway through 20-foot high sand dunes to experience the pink coquina sand and unspoiled natural habitat of wildlife. Shells are plentiful and you may even find ancient shark’s teeth. Mickler’s Landing has bathroom facilities, outdoor showers, and the wooden walkway will accommodate wheelchairs. Plenty of parking is available and there is posted information about threatened and endangered species that may be encountered while there.
If you didn’t pack your own lunch in your cooler, that's okay! You’ll find a menu of items to suit every taste at Barbara Jean’s — salads, sandwiches and seafood in a very casual atmosphere.
After lunch, explore the tidal wetlands and lagoons at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a protected habitat for countless local species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and plants. Take a hike, ride a bike, do some kayaking or some bird watching.
For dinner, choose Ruth's Chris Steak House, a long-time local favorite, it’s a deliciously relaxing way to complete a great day with the family.
Day 2: Vilano Beach
Wake the family up early and select some pastries at Publix on Vilano. Then enjoy a sunrise picnic on Vilano Beach. You can even park on the sand. This is the best shelling beach in the area, so make sure you get started early to find the best treasures. Stay north of the jetty to enjoy the ocean waves. Try your hand at skim-boarding and surfing.
For lunch, nosh at the Beaches at Vilano for a lively toes-in-the-sand waterside meal. Then go fishing off the Vilano Beach pier.
Now meander south of the beach jetty to Porpoise Point. The water is mellow, ideal for relaxing floats and swims. The views of historic downtown across the bay are incredible from here, too.
For dinner, go to the Kingfish Grill, a waterfront dinery at Camachee Cove that boasts both fresh seafood and exotic sushi. Stay for the live music.
Day 3: St. Augustine Beach Corridor
Have breakfast at the Conch House, with amazing views as you dine on the docks. Watch the charter boats depart for a day of fishing.
Then go to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm & Zoological Park, home to every type of alligator and crocodile in the world and a rookery that is a photographer’s dream. Kids will love the park. Be brave and do the Crocodile Crossing Zip line over the alligator lagoon.
Locals say Candlelight South has some of the best wings in town. You be the judge as you have lunch at this sports bar located at the east side of the Bridge of Lions.
Ready for the best view in the Nation’s oldest city? The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, built in the 1800s, is a history-rich attraction that offers tours, a museum and 219 spiral steps to the top.
For dinner, head to long-time favorite Gypsy Cab. Their homemade salad dressing is fantastic — they bottle it for sale to meet the demand of their many fans.
Day 4: Anastasia State Park
Enjoy breakfast at Little Margie’s Café and then spend the day at Anastasia State Park, an oasis of that old-Florida feel. Walk or bike on the nature trail. See the old Coquina Quarry, where coquina shell-rock was mined centuries ago to build the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.
For lunch, the Grill concession is a convenient way to picnic on-site. In the afternoon, rent a paddleboard, kayak, sail boat or canoes and leisurely explore Salt Run. The water is calm and the paddling is easy on this scenic waterway. Then spend some time on this four-mile stretch of beach. If you walk far enough north you may find yourself all alone – a rare treat on any beach.
Have dinner at one of the local mainstays, the Sunset Grille. Grab a spot on the second floor deck for views of the ocean. The fish tacos and burgers are divine. The offer a variety of family-friendly cusine that everyone will love.
Day 5: St. Augustine Beach
Greet the sunrise on St. Augustine Beach then have breakfast at The Oasis. Omelets, egg sandwiches and (of course) cheese grits, make for a filling southern start to the day.
For lunch go Caribbean at Mango Mango’s. Just steps from the beach, this little restaurant is big on taste and refreshing drinks.
Time to shop along A1A! St. Augustine Beach has an eclectic assortment of surf shops, souvenirs, art galleries, jewelry shops, ladies apparel, and surf and sports equipment.
If all that surfing and shopping has you feeling depleted, sneak away and rejuvenate with a massage, facial or body treatment at Debbie’s Day Spa.
For dinner, treat yourself to stylish dining at Terra & Acqua. The rustic Italian restaurant combines serves up modern cuisine with the freshest locally-farmed ingredients. Later, kick back on the outdoor patio at Salt Life Food Shack. Enjoy live music, and a variety of craft brews and tropical cocktails for the adults.
Day 6: Crescent, Butler, Matanzas
Today, head south to Butler Beach, a perfect place for kite flying, paddle-ball and relaxing. Parking on the beach is permitted and crowds are few. This historic stretch of beach has free off-beach parking, restrooms and covered picnic pavilions.
In the afternoon venture back in time to Fort Matanzas National Monument to learn about the Spanish explorers who settled this area. Free admission includes the ferry ride across the inlet to the fort, where you can see what life was like for soldiers of the time. The park area is full of beautiful live oak trees. From there, head to Matanzas Inlet, a popular recreation spot for water enthusiasts.
Have dinner at a longtime local favorite, Zaharias Restaurant.
Day 7: Marineland
For breakfast, go to Red Frogs and McToad’s and then head to Marineland Dolphin Adventure. This attraction has a rich history — it
was the first marine aquarium attraction in the state. Now the team at Marineland in St. Augustine focuses on research and rehabbing marine mammals and other creatures. The highlight of your beach trip just may be an upclose encounter with a dolphin at Marineland. They even offer the chance to swim with dolphins, which is a truly unforgettable experience. The beach south of Marineland has some mesmerizing coquina rock formations and ledges to discover.
End the day with something really spectacular! A sunset kayak tour with Ripple Effect Ecotours. Led by a professional kayak/naturalist guide, you’ll paddle the backwaters of the 77,000 acres that make up the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.