On the beach at Anastasia State Park
On the beach at Anastasia State Park
Covered picnic area at Anastasia State Park

At Anastasia State Park is a campground rated as one of the top ten best in the United States by Reserve America. The park itself contains about 1,600 acres with four miles of Atlantic beach, a tidal salt marsh and a significant area of upland and maritime hammock. The coquina rock that was used to build the fortress at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine was quarried at an area in the park.

There are lifeguards on the beach from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. The water is continually watched for problems like rip currents and signs are placed along the beaches as needed. The beaches are open to pedestrians and bicyclists but not to motorized vehicles. Bicyclists also have access to several miles of park roads, some with bike lanes. If you need to rent a bike, go to Island Joe's Camp Store and Tropical Grille concession near the beach.

Salt Run, the tidal salt marsh, is open for kayaks, canoes, catamarans and other non-motorized boats. Jet skis are not allowed. Be careful where you come ashore in Salt Run so that you don't disturb the marine life and delicate vegetation.

The Anastasia State Park campground offers 139 campsites for RVs and tents. All sites come with water and electric, a fire ring, an in-ground grill and a picnic table. There is a central RV dump station in the campground. Most sites are separated from each other by 10 to 40-foot-wide strips of vegetation. The campground is located in the hammock forest so it's out of the blowing sand and salt but it's a short walk (or bike ride) to the beach areas. Some sites are universally accessible. The campground also has four central restrooms and shower facilities, several of them universally accessible. Maximum RV length: 40 feet. There are also two children's playgrounds located in the campground loops.

Aerial view of Anastasia State Park

In addition to walking the beach and looking for shells, dolphins and whales, hikers also have access to nature trails in the hammock forest. As Anastasia State Park is a designated site on the Great Florida Birding Trail, you might want to take a bird-identification brochure with you.

Day users have access to three restrooms (two are universally accessible), a playground near the beach and three picnic areas. The beach areas also have outdoor showers for rinsing off the sand and salt.

Anastasia State Park is open for day users from 8 am until sunset every day of the year. For campers who expect to arrive after sunset: call the park the day of arrival and get instructions and the gate combination. Campers need to be in place and set up by 11 pm.

To get there: Anastasia State Park is located less than five miles south of St. Augustine on State Road A1A (the A1A Scenic & Historic Byway). From Interstate 95 get off at exit 311 and go east on State Road 207 to State Road 312. Turn and go east on SR 312 to State Road A1A and turn north, go about 1.5 miles to the park entrance (just past The Surf Station).