Top 10 Ways to Practice Social Distancing and Stay Safe Outdoors on Florida’s Historic Coast

Explore fun outdoor activities while staying safe in St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra.

May 12, 2020
wooded trail

Ah, those wide-open spaces. If there’s ever been a time when people want to spread out, avoid crowds, and have their own space, this is it. And this is the perfect place to retreat, relax and explore the region’s great outdoors.

Florida’s Historic Coast is so much more than miles of beautiful beaches where you can soak up plenty of Vitamin D. It’s also acres of state parks, nature reserves and estuaries brimming with natural flora and fauna eco-minded visitors can enjoy at a leisurely pace. Whether bird-watching or dolphin-watching from a kayak, camping
on a white sand beach or hiking along a path less traveled, these wide-open spaces offer visitors all the space and fresh air they need right now.

1. Kayaking

Even in the heart of a historic downtown, you can feel far away from it all in a kayak. And with miles of estuaries that wind along the coastline, through maritime hammocks and nature reserves, kayaking is one of the finest ways to experience the stillness and breathtaking beauty of the outdoors. Find your own way through saltwater marshes and mangrove wetlands as you quietly come upon a heron scouting the waters for his next meal or a curious manatee coming up for air just inches from your paddle.

2. Fishing

It’s easy to get hooked on fishing around here. First, there’s the water. It’s everywhere! Then, there’s the weather. Seems it’s always perfect for fishing. And no matter what kind of angler you are, there’s a special spot that’s got your name on it. With 42 miles of pristine beaches, there’s plenty of elbow room to cast right off the shore as the sun peeks out over the horizon. You can always try your luck off the pier or on a private deep-sea charter. Prefer freshwater fishing? You’re in luck as there are rivers, estuaries and streams where you can cast your lure from just about anywhere—a dock, a rock or a boat—and all to yourself.

3. Golfing

A trip to Florida’s Historic Coast would not be complete without hitting the links. Especially when there are so many world-class courses to choose from--some with ocean breezes and stunning seaside vistas. Perhaps the most famous, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, is home to THE PLAYERS® Championship. On every golfer’s bucket list, this is where the pros play and where wanna-be champions test their skill and prowess on the iconic 17th island hole.

4. Boat Tours

From airboats like Sea Serpent Tours, that glide across the St. Johns River to 70-foot schooners that offer stunning views of the sunset, visitors will find the perfect vessel to float their boat in Florida’s Historic Coast. From the bay front to the beaches and all the waterways in between, St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach offer a wide variety of ways to dolphin watch or simply relax with a glass of wine. Scenic boat tours, such as St. Augustine Boat Tours can be customized to accommodate families or small groups.

5. Walking

Welcome to one of the most walk-friendly towns in the country. Where, as you walk leisurely along an historic bay front, from the picturesque marina to the 17th century Spanish fort, you feel you are stepping back 450 years. Take in the fresh air and wind your way around downtown’s brick-lined streets and plaza before stopping at Taberna del Caballo or Casa de Vino 57 for a refreshing drink. You’ll be inspired to venture on a private, guided walking tour with Ancient City Tours to learn all about the history, the culture and the architecture of the Nation’s Oldest City.

6. Biking

St. Augustine’s population of 14,000 full time residents gives this nation’s oldest city a hometown feel that appeals to visitors of all kinds. Whether traveling for business or vacation, visitors appreciate the small-town hospitality of local shops and outdoor restaurants, charming accommodations and historic beauty they can enjoy at a leisurely, relaxing pace without the hassle of huge crowds. Just minutes from the center of town the beaches, biking trails and loops at state parks and nature reserves beckon adventure-seeking bikers.

7. Hiking Trails

There are countless miles of trails and loops to explore on Florida’s Historic Coast. And whether hiking in a state park or taking a path less traveled, visitors are amazed at the diversity of habitats, wildlife and native vegetation they come upon. From dune trails that lead hikers up and down sandy terrain to loops along rivers, creeks and beaches that meander under the shade of ancient live oaks, visitors can sometimes feel as if they were the first to lay eyes on Old Florida.

8. Shell Collecting

Florida’s Historic Coast boasts 42 miles of unobstructed, pristine beaches
on the Atlantic Ocean. Soft, white quartz sand and plenty of space to spread out and enjoy sunning, surfing and shell-collecting makes a day at the beach exactly what visitors want it to be. For the more adventurous early risers there’s spectacular sunrise walks and shark’s teeth collecting on beaches known to give up treasure troves of ancient fossilized shark teeth from prehistoric times.

9. Paddle-boarding

With so many waterways surrounding Florida’s Historic Coast, there is no shortage of boat ramps and docks to put in your paddleboard. The Intracoastal and St. Johns River are popular SUP spots as are the marshes at high tide (watch for oyster beds below) where the occasional sea turtle will pop its head out from the grasses or a friendly dolphin will swim alongside just inches from your board. Salt Run, from the Lighthouse to Anastasia State Park, and Trout Creek provide natural pristine waters and Instagram-worthy views. Whether novice or experienced, a personal flotation device, a whistle, a leash and water shoes are highly recommended

10. Yoga

Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to revive, restore and renew their spirit. Challenging times can drain the most positive souls. Which is why bright blue skies, warm sunshine and clean ocean air are just the right dose of nature to cure what ails you. No equipment necessary. Just you, a sandy beach or a patch of grass and, voila, you’re transported to another world, another time. It just happens to be morning on Florida’s Historic Coast. Embassy Suites St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort offers daily morning yoga classes – free for guests, affordable drop-in rates if you’re not staying on property.

Whether a landlubber or lover of the sea, visitors find plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful weather and plenty of nature on Florida’s Historic Coast. From kayaking along the waterways, hiking and biking miles and miles of nature trails, golfing on world-renowned courses or simply taking a sunset cruise on a schooner, Florida’s Historic Coast offers visitors and groups a plethora of opportunities to really spread out and safely enjoy the great outdoors.