For more than two centuries, Vilano Beach has been the beach that locals go to. It’s a choice spot north of St. Augustine popular for its casual atmosphere, quiet ambiance, and natural surroundings.
To get to Vilano Beach, you must take the scenic route. And by that, we mean coastal AIA, a designated All-American Road. This Byway supports a variety of wildlife including birds, the gopher tortoise, and other endangered species.
Now it's even easier to get from downtown historic St. Augustine to Vilano Beach! Thanks to the Dolphin Bay Scenic Shuttle, passengers can beat the traffic and learn more about St. Augustine's natural environment and culture. The Dolphin Bay Scenic Shuttle operates daily from the public pier on Vilano Beach to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina in downtown St. Augustine.
The Vilano Beach Pier is located nearby on the river side of the Matanzas inlet, and it is one of the best vantage points to watch the sunset over downtown St. Augustine.
Outdoor Dining Options in Vilano Beach
Some of the best local restaurants on the Northeast Coast are located in Vilano Beach. Cap’s on the Water, The Reef, Aunt Kate’s, Kingfish Grill, and Beaches all have something in common. They offer outdoor seating and waterfront views, the freshest seafood and Old Florida favorites such as shrimp and grits, Minorcan Clam Chowder, succulent shrimp, and flavorful farm-to-table fare. All served up by friendly locals.
Fishing in Vilano Beach
Choose from surf fishing, fishing from the pier, or launch your boat from the ramp. Boaters can tie up at the marina, the pier, or at one of many local restaurants with docks for guests to disembark and take a break from the waves.
Red Boat Tours delivers stunning views of St. Augustine and Matanzas Bay from the water. Choose from a Sunset Tours or a Dolphin Odyssey. Florida Water Tours will take you on an eco-tour, where a knowledgeable guide will point out dolphins, fish, birds, and share information about different species. Step onto a floating oasis and see downtown St. Augustine from the water with Cruisin Tikis St. Augustine. Or cycle your way to freedom with Old Town Cycle Cruise on their 90-minute BYOB cruise of the historic St. Augustine Bayfront. Select a premier sailing experience on a customized sail aboard a luxury yacht with St. Augustine Sailing. Cruise historic St. Augustine by water on Adventure Boat Tours!
Can you drive on Vilano Beach?
Yes, you can take four-wheel-drive vehicles onto Vilano Beach. Vehicle access is limited seasonally and by the beach and weather conditions. For more information about beach access and permits, visit the St. Johns County website.
Are dogs allowed on Vilano Beach?
Yes, you may bring your dog to Vilano Beach. Keep your pet leashed at all times and be sure to pick up after your furry friend. Please observe all posted rules and regulations regarding beach use as well.
Where can I stay nearby?
From resorts and hotels to beach house rentals, find the best lodging options near Vilano Beach here.
Vilano Beach History
In 1888, guests of the Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine would spend the day at the beach in Vilano. The Hotel Ponce de Leon was an exclusive luxury resort built by Standard Oil Magnate Henry Flagler. The opulent hotel was the winter home of the American elite. Today the Hotel Ponce de Leon is Flagler College and a National Historic Landmark.
Vilano Beach Events
- In August, the Florida Skimboarding Pro/Am Tournament is held in Vilano Beach. These athletes defy gravity as they skip from the shoreline to the skyline propelled from the waves. The event is free and open to the public.
- The annual Vilano Bridge Run is held in the spring, with a 5K and 10K option.
- The Lullaby of the Rivers Music Fest at North Shores Park held annually in spring.
- Vilano Beach Artisan Market Walk held every third Saturday at the Vilano Beach Pier.
- Savor renowned whiskeys, spirits, wines and beers, indulge in some of the finest cuisine by the best chefs in Northeast Florida and local culinary superstars at the Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife Festival.
- Get your Kingfish fix at Old School Kingfish Shootout or the St. Augustine Kingfish Mayhem held every June at Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor.