Enjoy Florida’s First Coast

Faver Dykes State Park’s location makes it ideal for exploring the northeast coast of Florida. Only thirty minutes from St. Augustine visiting Castillo De San Marcos in the oldest continuously occupied city in the U.S. is a must. Even if you don’t enter the fort, you can enjoy watching the boats cruising in Matanzas Bay and marvel at the structure. You can also observe the Bridge of Lions and the St. Augustine Lighthouse from the fort. The streets are lined with interesting shops and you should certainly eat lunch at the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant. Enjoy the Spanish cuisine and a pitcher of sangria before strolling through the shops and sampling sweets, and during this time of year make sure you stay until dark so you can see the beautiful Christmas lights lining the city.

St. Augustine Columbia

However, St. Augustine isn’t the only nearby place to visit. Head south down A1A and you’ll find another national park at Fort Matanzas. This park does not charge admission, and you can see it all in only an hour or two. Walk the short trail and then take the pontoon boat across the river to the reconstructed fort. Visitors learn a little about the history of the fort from the ranger and then have the opportunity to explore the tiny fort on their own. Make sure you climb the ladder to the roof for a spectacular view and some pictures.

Fort Matanzas

Continuing south on A1A, public access to the beach is available at a number of locations including Crescent Beach. We found a great little BBQ place located at Bing’s Landing, a Flagler County park with boat ramps, natural trails, picnic tables, and a fishing pier. We ate on the porch at Captain’s BBQ overlooking the water, but you could easily take your food to the park and eat on one of the picnic tables.

What could be better? BBQ and bait in the same location!
What could be better? BBQ and bait in the same location!

Continuing down the Flagler County coast you’ll find several boardwalks to the beach including Gamble Rogers State Park…another campground, this time right on the beach. Perfect for motor homes and campers, but not for tent campers like us. It’s also an access point for sunbathers and surfers. Boaters and canoeists can launch boats on the west side of the highway in the Intracoastal Waterway or just get out of the sun for a picnic under the protection of a pavilion.

flaglerEnjoy Florida’s First Coast!