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With 42 miles of beaches, natural reserves, and estuaries, visitors come from far and wide to soak up the sun and scenic beauty. But where do the locals go? Here are a few of our not-so-secret favorite experiences.
Florida’s Historic Coast is a mecca for all species of birds, and you can spot them everywhere, from our beaches to our state park trails. A special place locals like to come upon is Bird Island Park. The park is a beautiful place to simply walk around with binoculars. It tends to be still and quiet, perfect for attracting birds. There’s a gazebo and boardwalk overlooking the pond (be sure to check out the animal cut-outs on the railing), and winding trails surrounded by local flora and dotted with sculptures. One of the must-see spots in the park is the elaborate mosaic artwork of nature and animal scenes on the seating ledges surrounding an open stage area.
The beaches and state park trails offer countless miles for bikers to leisurely enjoy the outdoors at their own pace. But what if you prefer to do a little off-roading? Locals love the natural, 3+ miles of unpaved trails in the Nocatee Preserve in Ponte Vedra Beach. These trails, surrounded by shade trees, are perfect for a mountain biking workout. Of course, if your idea of cycling is more of a leisurely, scenic ride, St. Augustine can accommodate you with bike paths from downtown to the seashore and hamlets in between.
Dining Al Fresco
Everybody loves a picnic, especially by the water. And on Florida’s Historic Coast, visitors can enjoy dining outside at any one of our 42 miles of beaches. But there are so many other ways to enjoy dining al fresco. Locals love their food trucks and we’ve got a park full of them. At Village Garden Food Truck Park you’ll find something to please every kind of palate. From Hawaii-inspired poke bowls to fresh fruit smoothies and slow-smoked barbeque to authentic New York bagels, you’ll have lots to fresh choices from up and coming chefs. And while you’re relaxing at the outdoor tables, play a friendly game of corn hole with the kids. Further north, head for the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. There, you’ll discover some of the most beautiful spots to enjoy dining on a deck overlooking the water as the sunsets. From Cap’s on the Water in Vilano Beach to Palm Valley Fish Camp in Ponte Vedra Beach, there is simply no fresher seafood and farm-to-table fare anywhere than on Florida’s Historic Coast (just ask a local).