Beach Access in St Augustine: from Ponte Vedra to Flagler County
So how do you get to enjoy the beautiful, sandy beaches of Saint Augustine, FL? Easy! St Johns County and the respective towns do a great job of making sure that the public has access to the beach any time of year. Whether you want to walk across a boardwalk, drive on with your car, or just park and bring your cooler and umbrella, there are lots of options. No beaches in the St Augustine area are private, so as long as you can access the sand through a public entrance, you’re good to go!
If you’re doing a North Florida road trip or adding a trip to St Augustine beaches to your Disney World or Daytona Beach vacation, you’ll need to know how to get onto the beach. With only a few beachfront hotels and condos, it might look tricky to find your perfect hotel room on the beach, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
List of St Augustine Beach Access Points
Starting at the north end, where Jacksonville Beach becomes Ponte Vedra, here are the best access points, with parking or walking path noted. The communities included in the St Augustine beach access roster include Ponte Vedra, Vilano Beach, St Augustine Beach, Anastasia Island, Butler Beach, Crescent Beach, Mantanzas Inlet, Marineland, Ocean Hammock, and Palm Coast.
We’ve broken this down into three sections: Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beaches, Anastasia Island Beaches, and Southern St Augustine Beaches as far as Palm Coast.
Northern St Augustine Beach Access Points: Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach
Several of the Ponte Vedra beach access points are a part of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, so there is a parking fee that supports the preservation and services within the GTM Reserve. The beaches of PV and Vilano are wonderful for finding shark teeth and for boogie boarding.
- Mickler’s Landing beach – Parking, restroom facilities, boardwalk
- North Beach GTM Reserve – Parking ($3 cash), cross highway, boardwalk
- Middle Beach GTM Reserve – Parking ($3 cash), cross highway, boardwalk
- South Beach GTM Reserve – Parking ($3 cash), cross highway, boardwalk
- South Point beach access – Parking, cross highway
- South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area – Parking and picnic tables
- The Reef beach access – Parking, cross highway
- 11st Street Beach Access – parking is on the street perpendicular to Highway A1A
- Boating Club Road hammock tunnel – parking is on the street perpendicular to Highway A1A
- North Beach Park – Parking, restrooms, go up the stairs to the highway pedestrian crossover
- Mussallem Beachfront Park – Parking, cross highway
- Nease Beachfront Park – Parking, cross highway, boardwalk
- Surfside Park – Parking, restroom facilities
- Vilano Beach Oceanfront Park – Parking, restroom facilities
- Vilano Point beach access – street parking
- Vilano Boat Ramp – this is NOT beach access unless you have your own paddle craft and are paddling to a St Augustine Bay sandbar
Beach Access Spots on Anastasia Island, St Augustine Beach
After you cross the Bridge of Lions from historic Downtown St Augustine, you’ll be on Anastasia Island. This island is beautiful, has lots of restaurants, Alvin’s Island (the beach gear shop) and it’s where WE live! Here on the island you’ll find Anastasia State Park, public drive-on beach access, and Fort Matanzas National Monument (National Park beach).
Starting from the north end of Anastasia Island, here are all of the beach access points for the town of St Augustine Beach and the whole of the Island.
- Anastasia State Park beach – entrance fee required, lots of parking
- St Augustine Beach Beachfront Park – street parking
- St Augustine Beach Pier – free parking, paid pier access
- The end of every street from 16th Street south to F Street has a beach entrance, sand or boardwalk path. Parking is on the street or in one of these lots: 8th St/9th Ln, A St Parking
- Ocean Hammock Park – Parking, boardwalk to beach
- Ocean Trace Beach – drive on access
- Dondanville Rd – drive on access
From Dondanville Rd southward, St Augustine beach access requires either street parking or a drive-on permit. Be respectful of signage and residents’ own parking strips before leaving your car in this beach neighborhood. We live here and are happy to share our beach, but don’t make our neighborhood a traffic jam or unpleasant place for us to walk with our kids.
- E Magnolia Ave – sand and boardwalk to beach
- Palmetto Ave – sand and boardwalk to beach
- Orange Ave – sand and boardwalk to beach
- Matanzas Ave – Parking at Windswept Acres Park (restrooms here), or drive on access
- Mary Street – street parking and drive on access
- Butler Park East – Parking and restrooms, boardwalk to beach
- Crescent Beach Park – Parking and restrooms
- Green Road – street parking, boardwalk
- Spyglass Beach Park – Parking, stairs up/down and boardwalk
- Matanzas Beach Ramp – Parking, this is the LAST vehicle exit from the beach
- Fort Matanzas National Monument – Parking on both sides of street; east side has a boardwalk to the Atlantic Ocean, west side has a boardwalk to the sandbar and Intracoastal Waterway
St Augustine Beach Access in Summer Haven and Marineland
As you drive south you leave Anastasia Island and travel across several more barrier islands. These stretches of sand are less built up, but there are still small communities. There are very few facilities, but the beaches are beautiful.
When you get to River to Sea Preserve Beach in Marineland, you’ll find coves and coquina tidepools, which are very unusual for Florida beaches. This is one of our favorite beaches in St Augustine.
- Old A1A Beach Access – street parking
- Sandbar Beach – small tidal pool with beach access, Parking
- River Beach – Parking, also a launch for kayaks
- River to Sea Preserve Beach – FAVORITE, Parking, restrooms, picnic tables
- Washington Oaks Gardens Beach – FEE AREA, Parking, restrooms
- Bay Drive Park – Parking, picnic tables, boardwalk
- MalaCompra Park – Parking, restrooms
- Old Salt Park – Parking, restrooms
- Jungle Hut Road Park – Parking
- Varn Park – Parking, restrooms *THE COOLEST BATHROOM ARCHITECTURE!!
South of here you start getting into Flagler Beach, Ormond Beach and eventually Daytona Beach. It’s such a beautiful stretch of Florida coast!
St Augustine Beach Access Rules
Like with any beach access, you’ll want to be respectful of private property. There are a lot of homes and condos along the beaches of Ponte Vedra and St Augustine Beach, but ALL stretches of beach are public. You can enjoy all 16 miles of beach from Mickler’s Landing to Vilano Beach and 25 miles of beach from Anastasia State Park to Varn Park with no worries… HAVING SAID THAT:
- Do not go onto private BEACHFRONT property – you can be on the sand, but not private spaces including privately owned boardwalks, retaining walls, structured seating areas or landscaped property.
- Driving on the the beach is okay with a permit or paid access – only drive the direction noted on the signs and ONLY in the traffic lanes and ONLY on stretches of beach where it’s clearly allowed.
- Watch for beach pedestrians – weather you’re driving on St Augustine Beach or riding your bike, there are a lot of pedestrians to be safe around
- Do not walk in the dunes – along much of the beaches of St Augustine Beach and Ponte Vedra there are sand dunes covered in vegetation. Only cross the dunes on designated trails or boardwalks to protect the habitat.
- DO NOT LITTER – leave the beach better than you found it
- Do not dig and abandon holes in the sand MAY through OCTOBER – this is sea turtle nesting season and the beaches of St Augustine, Ponte Vedra and all the way up to Tybee Island in Savannah are all nesting areas for a variety of sea turtle populations.
- Beach fires are not allowed
Are there Dog-Friendly Beaches in St Augustine?
Dogs are allowed on most beaches, included off-leash in both Flagler and St Johns Counties. Butler Beach and Crescent Beach have great parking areas at the beach and dogs are allowed. If you’re wondering this, you’re probably a dog owner, so you know how to manage your pet politely around other humans and dogs. Please remember about dog-etiquette and that not everyone wants to meet your pup up close.
Favorite Beaches of St Augustine
I will forever love our neighborhood beach here on Anastasia Island and this it’s just the best, but there are a few other favorite beaches in St Augustine. To the north, Middle Beach at the GTM Reserve is our family favorite for shark tooth hunting and pristine nature. There are no buildings anywhere around and driving on the beach isn’t allowed. It’s perfect.
We also really love River to Sea Preserve Beach in Marineland. Here you’ll find a wheelchair accessible viewing boardwalk, accessible beach ramp, a shaded picnic pavilion and amazing tidepools at low tide. We find a lot of shark teeth here too.
More Fun St Augustine Area Activities
Be sure you explore the city of St Augustine when you come to visit our beaches too. The oldest city in the USA, it was founded in 1565 and is really beautiful. Walk through the historic downtown, eat at some of the best restaurants in St Augustine, check out Flagler College and the Lightner Museum for Gilded Age architecture… So much to do and see!
- visit Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
- Bioluminescent Kayaking by Nasa
- check out the St Augustine Alligator Farm
- Blue Spring State Park for Manatees
- Day Trip to Daytona Beach
- Climb the St Augustine Lighthouse
- Canaveral National Seashore
- do the historic boat tour to Fort Matanzas National Monument
- Rock Springs Run and Kayaking in the Jungle
I hope this is helpful. You’ll love spending time on the sands of St Augustine Beach. You’ll find that it’s NOT all silver-haired travelers like you might think, and that some of the prettiest beaches in Florida are actually right here!
If you have questions about beach access in St Augustine, Flagler or St Johns Counties, please leave a comment or send us a note. We’re happy to help others have amazing Florida beach days!
2 thoughts on “Beach Access in St Augustine: from Ponte Vedra to Flagler County”