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St Augustine to Guana River State Park Along A1A

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This road has been rated by 36 visitors
 
Author Info
This road trip was originally submitted by BRTP Partners on March 15, 2010

Trip Length: 26 miles


From The Author

Scenery You'll See
This route is a wonderful ocean drive along the northeastern Florida coast with access to unspoiled beaches the Sunshine State is famous for. The beaches are significant not only because they offer panoramic views of the Atlantic, but also because they contain some of the last towering barrier dunes, anchored by long-rooted plants and trees. These tall dunes have largely disappeared due to flattening or storms. Along this road trip you will visit the nearby manmade lake where you can spend some time enjoying great fishing and picnicking. The route also takes you past oceanfront homes built on stilts. Along the way you'll also have a chance to see Guana Lake - a manmade impoundment teeming with different kinds of wildlife. Be on the lookout for waterfowl, wading birds, as well as otters and even alligators. In winter the lake shelters migratory ducks, American coots, common moorhens, and common gallinules. If you're lucky, you may even spot white pelicans.
Towns/Cities You'll Pass By/Through
Starting in St. Augustine Florida you'll drive from the junction of A1A North at the Bride of Lions. Take A1A North and drive about 2 miles from downtown. After the Old City Jail take a right turn, and drive east over the Vilano Bridge across the North River. To your the right you'll see St. Augustine Inlet. Heading northward cross the Usina Bridge and turn right to find the charm of old Florida.
Attractions & Points-of-Interests Along the Way
Just 2 miles northeast of St. Augustine, the oldest city in the nation, is Vilano Beach. The gem of St. Augustine's North Shore peninsula, Vilano Beach is like a charming peaceful island by the waters of the Atlantic.

Guana River State Park is a 2,400-acre state park with 5 miles of beaches adjacent to a state wildlife management area. If you follow the sandy road about half a mile to the small dam, you'll have a chance to enjoy a panoramic view of the Guana River tidal marsh as well as Guana Lake.
Wildlife viewing is the best early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This area teems with 185 bird species among which are the osprey and migrating birds. Falcons, hawks and even peregrine falcon can sometimes be seen here in fall and winter. The dam shelters brown pelicans. Oyster beds are exposed on the south side of the dam at low tide. Be on the lookout for great blue and great white herons and other large wading birds.

Hiking is available on the trails that this area is laced with. If you decide to go hiking, make sure you keep you eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, raccoons, gopher tortoises and bobcats. You are sure to enjoy the lake and inland trails during hunting seasons. The area is rich in fish, shellfish, sea turtles, and mammals. Timucua Indians' mounds of shells can be seen in the park. These are the trails available along the route:
- 10-mile Hammock Road
- 1-mile Shell Bluff Road to the Tolomato River
- 3-mile Timucua Trail
- 2.8-mile South Peninsula Loop.

As you travel along A1A you will have an opportunity to stop and visit several public beaches. Two of the beaches you'll pass are South and North Beach. South Beach is often crowded, so if you continue north on A1A another 1.2 miles, you'll hit North Beach, which sees much smaller crowds. There are no fresh water sources at these beaches, and the restrooms are portable port-a-johns. Both South Beach and North Beach feature 30- to 40-foot sand dunes, supporting plant species such as prickly pear cactus, sea oats, palmetto, cabbage palm, as well as a variety of beach wildflowers. Each of the two beaches has wooden observation decks providing a bird's-eye view of both the Atlantic Ocean and Guana Lake. The decks are also great for watching birds and migrating right whales, which calve near the shore during winter. If you take a stroll on the boardwalk, you can walk along the high-tide line to see seaweed, driftwood, starfish, and shells tossed up by the waves.
Continuing from the park beaches north about 2 miles to Ponte Vedra Beach, you can end up at a golf resort. If you decide to take a side trip to St. Augustine, just trace your path back to the start of this drive.
Camping & Hiking  Notable Parks  Water Scenery 

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Filed under
Road Trip Info > Road Trip Routes > Florida




 
 

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