Top Ten Things to Do on Anastasia Island

Welcome to the enchanting Anastasia Island, a coastal paradise nestled along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Also known as the Historic Coast because of the proximity to our country’s oldest town of St. 

Augustine, Anastasia Island is renowned for its pristine beaches and laid-back beach-town feel. Whether you’re into nature and Old Florida, a history buff, or someone simply seeking a sunny escape, this barrier island offers a plethora of activities to suit every taste!

Ten Compelling Reasons to Visit Anastasia Island

Where else can nature lovers, music enthusiasts, adventure-seekers and history aficionados alike intermingle and find amazing things to do? Reminiscent of the neighboring Amelia Island on the same coast just a short drive north, the island beckons both adventure seekers and relaxation enthusiasts. 

It welcomes everyone in between. Read on for some fantastic things to do on Anastasia Island – you may never want to leave!

1. Visit St. Augustine Beach

 Visit St. Augustine Beach

Anastasia Island is home to St. Augustine Beach, where you can relax on the sandy shores, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoy water sports like surfing and paddleboarding

The beach is the crowning jewel of the island, where the unending roar of the Atlantic Ocean is muted by miles of rolling sand dunes covered in wildflowers and salt-tolerant plants.

These sand dunes are an important factor in the protection of the threatened gopher tortoise and the endangered Anastasia Island Beach Mouse. 

Along the shore, miles of cinnamon-colored sand harbors crabs, wading birds, and sea turtle nesting sites steps away from the brilliant deep blue of the ocean. 

Just four miles from the lively St. Augustine historic district, a trip to the beach brings tranquility and peace.

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Long Term RV Park Campground

2. Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse

 Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse stands proudly at 165 feet tall, and has been a beacon of light (literally) since 1874. What started as a wooden watchtower in the 1500’s has become an iconic towering figure, whose black and white stripes can be spotted from almost anywhere on the island. 

The 219-step climb to the top offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean and historic St. Augustine skyline. Entry into the grounds also contains a maritime museum tour and hands-on activities for all ages.

Note: If you’re into the paranormal, St. Augustine has no shortage of ghostly tales and tours. With a city as old as this one, there are bound to be spirits roaming about. The “Dark of the Moon Tour” through the lighthouse is voted one of the best ghost tours in the city!

3. Camp at Anastasia State Park

Camp at Anastasia State Park

Anastasia State Park is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and diverse ecosystems. There is a reason it is consistently ranked among the top 10 best state parks in all of the United States.

The 1,600 acres of pristine beaches, salt marshes, historic coquina quarries, and miles of shaded nature trails offer something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The campground at Anastasia State Park books up 11 months in advance, and rightfully so. While these camping sites are not directly on the beach like at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys (another top-rated park), the campground is a very short walk to the shores of St. Augustine Beach inside the state park.

4. Go Fishing at the County Pier

Go Fishing at the County Pier

Anastasia Island offers multiple opportunities for fishing. You can fish from the beach, the pier, or charter a boat for deep-sea fishing adventures. The Matanzas River section of the Intracoastal Waterway also offers several avenues for avid fisherman, where mullet, shrimp, oysters, trout, redfish, and flounder are abundant.

The St. Johns County Fishing Pier on St. Augustine Beach is a haven for both seasoned fishermen along with first-timers. Alongside the pier is a recreation area with a splash pad, picnic areas, and public restrooms offering showers and changing rooms for switching out of salty wet bathing suits.

5. Check Out One of the Island’s Special Events

Check Out One of the Island's Special Events

Check the local calendar for exciting events and festivals happening on Anastasia Island. Whether it’s a cultural festival, music event, or beach celebration, this little island offers a diverse range of experiences. 

During the summer months Music and Art by the Sea is held at the pier most Wednesdays. During these afternoons a weekly art show combines with local musicians and food trucks to create a fun atmosphere. Bring a cooler and a beach chair to this free event!

And on New Year’s Eve the pier goes all out with a beach fireworks show. The best viewing spots are at the pier, on A Street, from Anastasia State Park (we were luckily here camping on 12/31), and on 10th Street. We were totally impressed by the show but alas, we have no photos – why is it so hard to take a good picture of fireworks?

6. Enjoy a Concert Steps from the Beach

Enjoy a Concert Steps from the Beach

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is a small, unassuming spot… until you actually get inside! From A1A there is a small sign before a winding tree-lined road, and the amphitheatre itself is not visible. 

The second entry point is directly from the Anastasia State Park campground, where free shuttle buses bring guests to and from the concerts and events. There is also a nature trail connecting the amphitheatre to the state park.

The amphitheatre itself is large and the sound quality is fantastic, but the outside deck, concession stand, and bar areas are just as awesome.

Acts including Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band, the Beach Boys, Kid Rock, Alan Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan and Santana have graced this stage over the past few decades!

7. Paddleboard or Kayak in the Matanzas Inlet

Paddleboard or Kayak in the Matanzas Inlet

The Matanzas Inlet at the southern tip of the island provides a picturesque setting for paddleboarding, surrounded by the Matanzas River and Fort Matanzas National Monument. The inlet is flanked by marshlands which provide a serene backdrop as you paddle. 

A haven for wildlife, most days dolphins, tropical and wading birds, and even a manatee or two make an appearance. Paddle in the shadows of history as you pass Fort Matanzas National Monument and its storied past.

8. Cross the Bridge into the Historic District

Cross the Bridge into the Historic District

If you have an extra half-day or so during your stay on Anastasia Island, it would be remiss not to check out the historic district in the nation’s oldest city

Revel in the Spanish architecture, shop along the cobblestone streets, enjoy a bite to eat or a crafty drink at some of the best restaurants in St. Augustine. After all the sea air, lighthouse-climbing, and paddle boarding you’ve done, you deserve a treat!

Tip: Watch out for those martinis at the Tini Martini Bar, they sneak up on you!

9. Enjoy Amazing Seafood Dishes

Enjoy Amazing Seafood Dishes

If you haven’t gotten your fill of really, really good food while touring the historic district, this is your chance for some mouthwatering seafood dishes. One of the best things to do on Anastasia Island is actually, to eat! Right up my alley. 

Up and down the island are mom-and-pop cafés, large restaurants with epic water views, and laid-back oases that create delicious locally-caught seafood treats.

Dishes to Try:

  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Crab Cake Eggs Benedict
  • Blackened Mahi Tacos
  • Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

10. End with a Stunning Sunset

I’m not sure if you know this but, the sun sets in the west. Since St. Augustine is on Florida’s east coast, it is not known for an epic sunset. Enter: Anastasia Island. 

Watching the sun sink down over the mainland from the island has never been a disappointment. Welcome to Florida the beautiful in all its glory!

How to Get to Anastasia Island

The nearest major airport is Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), which is about 50 miles north of Anastasia Island. From the airport, you can rent a car or use other ground transportation options to reach the island

If you’re driving from the north, take Interstate 95 (I-95) south until you reach St. Augustine. From the Orlando area it will take about two hours on I-95 north to reach the island.

Anastasia Island is connected to the mainland and St. Augustine by the Bridge of Lions, which takes you over the Matanzas River onto Anastasia Island. 

Once you’re on the island, it is most helpful to have a car to get around. The main road running along the length of Anastasia Island is A1A Beach Boulevard.

The Best Time to Visit St. Augustine

The Best Time to Visit St. Augustine

Generally the city has a mild climate (isn’t Florida wonderful?), but there are some things to consider. Fall is often considered one of the best times to visit. The weather is pleasant with lower humidity, and the summer crowds have started to diminish. 

Spring (March to May) also offers mild temperatures but spring break crowds can creep up. Winter in St. Augustine is mild making it an appealing destination for those seeking a winter escape. While temperatures are cooler, they rarely drop to extreme lows. 

The holiday season brings festive decorations and events such as the Nights of Lights – a tradition going back 30 years! Summer is the peak tourist season, with warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Expect more crowded attractions, especially since St. Augustine is a popular vacation spot. 

Travel tip: Keep in mind that hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30. While St. Augustine is not as hurricane-prone as some other parts of Florida, it’s always a good idea to be aware of weather forecasts during this period.

There are so many ways to discover endless coastal charm and vibrant things to do on Anastasia Island. From pristine beaches and historic landmarks to outdoor adventures and delectable dining, find your perfect getaway. 

Explore St. Augustine’s rich history, relax on sandy shores, indulge in water sports, and savor local cuisine. Plan your ideal escape with our guide to Anastasia Island and start making memories now!

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