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St Augustine Beach Question


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Hi there, I usually hang out in the Grand Rapids forum, but have a beach question for you good folks...

We are coming down to visit for 2 weeks in late January-February, and thought about getting a condo on St Augustine Beach for a winter break. We like history, art museums, and walking beaches, and figured the combination of St. Augustine/Jacksonville, and exploring the various beaches from Amelia to Ormond Beach might promise a real good time (yes, I have the Foghorn Florida Beach book and love it). Have visited Tampa area and south a lot, but never Jacksonville area....

In Fodor's Florida 2006, and also on his website, he mentions there is significant beach erosion on St Augustine beach, not in the park on the North side of Anastasia Island, but from the non-park side down to "Old Beach Road", and that the condos and hotels only have protective stone walls here. Checked some internet maps and discovered this road goes North-South, rather than East-West!, so the whole erosion thing and its location is still an utter mystery to me...

Anyone in the know on the situation there? Should I locate further south to Crescent beach, or in the Vilano or PonteVerde area?

Any enlightenment would be much appreciated..


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From looking at Google Earth, it appears that erosion isn't the problem, its being made out to be at St. Augustine Beach. It looks like years ago, they allowed a section of buildings to be built closer to the water then they should have. Because it really sticks out like a sore thumb when viewed from above.

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There are concrete sea walls protecting the buisnesses immediately south of the pier (about 1 mile south of Anastasia Park). The beach is still very much walkable and enjoyable. The dunes and much of the beach elevation has been eroded away but is not wiped out. I'm not to sure of the beach conditions further south, but I do know that there huge setbacks for hotels and condos from the dunes. You should be good to stay at any of the St. Aug Beach establishments.

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I'm from Orlando and just spent the weekend in St Augustine Beach two weeks ago. They are just finishing a beach renurishment, which means they added about 100 yards of sand to the beach. It's very wide now, but you can see the rocks where it had eroded to. You can tell it was very narrow. I stayed just a few hundred yards South of the pier, only 5 to 10 minutes drive to the historic area. Very nice area to stay, but it's getting a little cool for a beach vacation for me in the Northern part of Florida. The historic area of St. Augustine is great. Take one of the trolley tours. You pay for one day and can use them for three days and park in their lots for free. That was a good deal. We took the orange trolleys. If you want a scenic drive take A1A from St. Augustine Beach all the way down to Ormond Beach, it's a beautiful ride. Stop at Fort Matanzas in South St. Augustine Beach on the way. It's a lesser known fort that gaurded the back entrance to St. Augustine. It's much smaller than the Castillo in St. Augustine and actually more of a watch tower. It's a national monument and part of the national parks system so it was free, donations accepted. It's off the beaten path, not heavily visited, and has a short nature trail. We had an hour long private tour from the park ranger and caretaker.

If you're a constructionophile, which you probably are if you're in this forum. Check out the Lincolnville area of St. Augustine. It's a historically black area settled by former slaves in the 1800's where a house could be puchased for $50,000 about five years ago. It's only about five blocks South of the main historic area. The area is being restored and houses are now selling for $400,000 and up.

Nice place to visit for about three days.

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I'm not that familiar with St. Augustine Beach as far as the condition of it, but Vilano or South Ponte Vedra are good options. That area has seen alot of new development in the way of condos and businesses and it's actually closer to the action than SAB (which is out on Anastasia Island). There are also houses for short-term rent along there that would give you some real peace and privacy. It makes the trip up to Jacksonville very enjoyable as A1A runs right along the coast up to Ponte Vedra proper and beyond into Jax Beach which is also very nice. A B&B right downtown in St. Augustine is another great option to really enjoy the charm of the city unless going to the beach is a daily necessity (keep in mind that there is a very good chance that the temps will be quite chilly, especially coming off the water...this is definately NOT south Florida weather in Jan-Feb!). Good luck and ENJOY!

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Thanks for your help folks...

The information and insight is much appreciated...

Looks like St Augustine Beach might be OK--have read elsewhere to try to locate below A street at least...

Hadn't thought of using Google earth, and indeed the views are magnificent...

It gives you the impression you're seeing it in real time, of course we all know its a satelite image, and I haven't yet figured out how to pull up the date of the image (if indeed it is available at all), so its still hard to know how recent those nice wide strips of luscious white beach are, lol...

And on the temperature thing...yes I am aware the average high temp is 65 during this time, rather than the 75 of the Sarasota area, but hey, we walk the beautiful white sand beaches of Lake Michigan for only three months out of the year, and many of those days require regular clothes, rather than swim suits--and we're beach walkers, not sun bathers, lol, so it may be just our style...

All best to you folks...


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