Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Weekend at Florida's Anastasia State Park

A great park we return to now and then.  Combines woods and beach, and an historic city right down the street. 

We stayed in Coquina loop that is closest to the beach.  The first time we stayed in this park we were in Angel Wing loop that is furthest from the beach.  Anything for that matter.  It's a long bike ride from that loop.  Getting lazy in our old age, I guess.  All the sites are about the same regardless of which of the seven loops you stay in; well shaded, private to varying degrees and most are level. All are packed sand/gravel with the exception of the paved ADA sites.

All the loop roads are paved.  Two loops are dedicated to tents and small RVs.  The remainder can handle tents,small and larger RVs. 

The road to six of the seven loops.  Nice shady bike ride or walk.  The individual loops enter and exit on the right hand side of this road.  The last loop is about a half mile down the road.  On the left side, half way in, is an access to the nature trail.

The nature trail is a loop that takes 30-45 minutes to complete.  One can enter the loop at the beginning or at the half way mark as it nears the road to the 6 camping loops.

 The trail is cut among the very old and grown over sand dunes that exist from hundreds of years ago when the ocean existed to this point.  So, the trail is part level and.....

...part elevation change.  So much so, in some areas, that the rangers built log stairways.  We met people actually jogging this trail, stairways and all.

Entering the parking lot to the beach there is a large area for picnicking.  It has pavilions with grills, rest room/change rooms and welcome shade.


At the edge of the parking lot is an old anchor, circa unknown, donated by friends of the park.  Across the large parking lot is a small store that has souvenirs, camping and beach needs, and a place to get some good light meals and drinks.  There is a pavilion there, no wi-fi, but good strong 4G, often a breeze, rest/change rooms and a shower to get the salt and sand off one coming from the beach.

There are two ways to enter the beach at the park.  One is a long boardwalk across the dunes.  The other is short gap in the dunes by the store.

St. Augustine Beach looking north towards town.

And, the beach looking south.  The pier, at the public beach, looks close. But, it isn't.

 We walked the beach to the pier.  The problem is you have to walk back.

The beach observation tower at the park.  Good for watching the sun rise and storms that are out at sea.


Sea oats and grass on the dunes.  This is a nice 4-mile beach.

At the entrance of the park is a quarry that was the source of the coquina that the Spaniards used to build Castillo de San Marcos. Filled with water now and all grown over there are a couple of hiking trails around the quarry.

A block of coquina stone cut from the quarry.  Coquina is made of small shells bonded to form a limestone-like material. The material easily absorbed the impact of cannon balls shot from enemy ships in Mantanazas Bay.


We can't just stay at the park with the old town of St. Augustine just a couple of miles down the road.  An easy bike ride.  On the way we pass the light house as seen behind another favorite place in town, Lombardi's pottery and plants store.

What a colorful place to browse.  Many neat plants and colorful pottery.

The light house was built in 1874 and is still active.   The grounds contain a museum and several interesting structures, maritime exhibits, and, of course, a store.  For a "small" fee one can go to the top of the light house for a panoramic view of the city, beach and in between. 

Crossing the bridge into old St. Augustine.  The waterfront on the left, the fort on the right.

The entrance to Fort. The green grass was once a moat.  No doubt there was an alligator or two swimming around in there back in the day.  Nature's free sentinels.

A watchtower and battery of cannon.

A static display of the available artillery of the day.

This one fascinated me.  A mobile long gun. Must have had one heck of a kick.  1.0 to 2.0 caliber, weighs 50+ lbs.  Can be mounted on the carriage, a wall, or ship's gunwale.

In the courtyard visitors are provided with authentic of the day entertainment and ranger lectures about the fort and its history.  Guided tours through the building are conducted all day.  One can self-tour with plenty of signage explaining the various connected rooms.  Offices, quarters, brig, chapel, weapons storage, etc.  You can see where, as the occupants and purpose changed throughout the years doorways connecting rooms have been brick and mortared into solid walls.

 And then there is the old city.  Many of the original buildings have been turned into B&Bs, inns, art galleries, shops of all sorts, eateries, and more.

The streets are narrow, but traffic still flows.  The building to the right now serves as a candle and knickknack store, the center building a coffee and more house, the buildings on the left are inns.  Some of the architecture is rough...

....some grand. All interesting.  All depends on the use of the building, location in the town and when it was built.

 Always the last stop before heading home is the San Sebastion winery.  The grapes come from their sister winery, Lakeridge,  in Clermont, FL.  But the wine is produced here.  Take a tour and partake in the tasting.  Of course, there is a store to buy their product and many related items.

Other things at the park:

 On the beach

Pelican formation.

Two Pipers and a Gull

Fly a kite, ride a bike, catch some rays, or, go in the water.

Many came to fish in the morning and late evening.

 View across the dunes.  The evening storms are building to the north.

Sand drawings.  Along the path to the beach wind blows the grass around creating a "drawing".  Fascinating to watch.

On the trail

Southeastern Five Lined Skink


Oddly colored Cardinal



Coral Bean. Also known as the Cherokee bean, Red Cardinal, or Cardinal Spear.

But wait, there's more....

On our way back to the campground this uniquely decorated bike was parked at the bus stop.  Couldn't pass it up.  Rattle can special paint job.

No comments:

Post a Comment