Living in Florida is such a blessing to me. Why? Because I love the beach! St. Augustine, if you’ve never visited, is a quaint little town with beautiful beaches along the northeast coast of Florida. It’s not your typical “beach” town, and I think that’s what I like! The beaches here are family friendly and have a natural beauty that is refreshing. There are many beaches to visit, and in my opinion, each has its own beauty and little something different to offer. Some of the beaches in St. Augustine/St. Johns County that I like to visit include St. Augustine Beach (including Anastasia State Park), Vilano Beach (including Surfside Park), Ponte Vedra Beach (including Micklers), Crescent Beach, and Matanzas Beach (including the inlet area). I like to take photos and capture all the beauty I see, pretty much everywhere I go. Today, I am going to share some “sights” you might see when you visit the beautiful beaches of St. Augustine. Enjoy!
BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS
There are many kinds of birds you will see at the beaches of St. Augustine. Above is just a sampling. Some of the birds you might see while visiting our beaches include pelicans, gulls, terns, sandpipers, egrets, herons, crows, skimmers, plovers, oystercatchers, osprey, and even an occasional wood stork. Sometimes on our beaches, you will see a roped-off area for bird-nesting. FWC Share the Beach with Beach-Nesting Birds provides helpful information about beach-nesting birds.
STARFISH (Sea Stars)
Here are just a few of the starfish I have seen at the beaches in St. Augustine. There are many varieties of starfish, but the one I see most often are the Royal Starfish (purple). When I am walking on the beach and I see a starfish, I try to pick them up and put them back in the water. It’s okay to take photos of them, but it’s best to return them to their habitat if they are still alive.
You will definitely find shells on your beach walks in St. Augustine! Of course, the amount and type of shells you find will vary depending on season/time of year, tides, beaches, etc. I have collected many shells for crafting and sometimes I just enjoy photographing the shells. Can you spy a shark tooth in the second to last photo?
There are several types of jellyfish you can encounter at the beaches in St. Augustine. Thankfully, they are not present year round! If they are present, you will see a purple flag flying at the beaches. Above I have pictured some of the jellyfish I have seen. The first two are pictures of cannonball jellyfish (in the photo below I am holding one). The clear jellyfish is possibly a moon jellyfish. The last two photos are man o’ war, which is actually not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore (multicellular organism). Though beautiful in color, I hear, you do not want to be stung by one of those guys!
RAINBOWS and CLOUDS
During the summer months in Florida, we have a lot of rain showers and storms … there are always beautiful, low puffy clouds in the summer. Often it will rain while the sun is still shining, so we see a lot of rainbows. So beautiful!
SHARKS and OTHER CREATURES
Yes, there are sharks .. this is the Atlantic Ocean . . . but I’ll tell you, many visitors do not realize just how close the sharks come to shore. My husband, boys and I fish often and we have caught plenty of sharks. They are usually not too far out because they are looking for dinner and swimming where all the bait fish are located. Above are two photos that show you just how close they can get … this is past the last wave breaking. This shark here is not one that will come after humans intentionally, he’s just looking for food. Still, it’s a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and respect their space.
These are Gopher Tortoises. They are a “Threatened” species of reptile in the state of Florida, both the tortoise and their burrows are protected under law. They live in upland scrub and pine flatwoods as well as beach dunes. They retreat to their burrows to escape the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Do not confuse a Gopher Tortoise with a Sea Turtle … they do not swim. Gopher Tortoises have toes and claws, unlike sea turtles that have only one or two claws on their front flippers.
Here you have a blue crab my boys caught at Matanzas Inlet and a ghost crab on the beach in St. Augustine. Both are very common.
Sometimes when you are walking on the boardwalk from the parking lot to the beach, you will see creatures other than gopher tortoises. Here we have a cute little bunny and a banana spider in his web amongst the trees.
DOGS love the Beach too!
We like to take our dogs for an occasional walk at the beach. Neither of our dogs likes to swim out in the ocean, but they do enjoy getting their feet wet. One of our dogs likes to chase the birds while the other likes to play frisbee (he can run really fast!) We are responsible dog owners and generally keep them on their leashes, but once in a while if the beach is not crowded offseason, we can let them off leash for a little bit … they love that freedom!
Just down the road from St. Augustine in Palm Coast is a beautiful beach covered with coquina rocks. My boys used to love to climb on them and look inside for creatures that were washed up by the waves. Coquina is only located in a few places in the world and one of them is close to St. Augustine! Coquina rock is soft rock made of ancient marine reefs and limestone. If you visit St. Augustine, be sure to also check out the Castillo de San Marcos (the Fort). It is made out of coquina!
SUNRISE … SUNSET
This is just a very small sampling of sunrise and sunset photos I have taken from our beaches. There is nothing like sitting on the beach and watching the sun rise above the ocean, so magnificent! Equally beautiful is marveling at all the colors in the sky when the sun is setting.
MOON over St. Augustine
Here are two recent photos I took from Vilano beach, the night of the Strawberry moon. See more photos of the Strawberry Moon on one of my recent blogs.
And LAST but not LEAST …
In the distance from Porpoise Point at Vilano Beach, you can see the St. Augustine Lighthouse. If you have never been, you must visit and climb the 219 steps … you will be glad you did once you see the amazing view! The top right photo is the sea turtle patrol checking on the eggs in a nest at Surfside Park. The bottom right photo is a shrimping boat. There are a lot of good seafood restaurants in St. Augustine. A few I would recommend are Harrys, Schooners, and St. Augustine Seafood Company. The last photo shows the Schooner Freedom cruising by the lighthouse on an evening cruise … great way to view the sunset!
If you want to learn more about St. Augustine and see more beautiful photos, be sure to follow my blog! Thanks for visiting! ~Kristina~