12/3/17 – 12/8/17;
Site 76 W/E/S;
Nice private campsites, a beautiful beach, and close to St Augustine featuring the fort Castillo de san Marcos, museums and shopping/food.
A long straight paved two-lane road takes you to a double right-turn to the campgrounds loops. There are several loops. The loops provide plenty of privacy between each other and the middles of each loop is wooded. The problem is the sites are very narrow as are the loop roads, and our site like many others are close to a 90 degree turn. With thick vegetation opposite our site, backing in was very difficult. I had to push the front end of the truck into the palmettos and still do a three point back in. We saw others that had big Class A motorhomes that either had great difficulty, had branches against or on their rigs, and in one case could not get in at all. You really need to check the site description, look at photos and oversize your site if possible. That being said, some of the sites had way more room than others. And while there were think vegetation on most sites, many had two sites close together – I suspect for the utilities. I took a photo of site 72. Looked great.
Site 76 below is narrow, but deep. There was an open view to a camper in another site to the right in the photo at the utilities, but otherwise very wooded as you can see.
Things to do at the Park
The Beach. Where one takes the right-turn to go to the campground, driving straight ahead brings you to an incredible beach with a feeling of complete isolation (given this was off-season) and a pristine natural environment. Huge parking lot with restrooms, and the Island Beach Shop and Grill (which we didn't use). A good walk on a boardwalk to the beach, which is wide and long with many yards of soft sand before reaching the hard packed sand. The beach was a nice ½ mile bike ride from our campsite.
Things to do nearby
St Augustine. You can't miss the large parking lot along the shoreline on A1A at the base of Castillo de san Marcos, the old Spanish fort, a must see historical attraction. Across the street is access to the somewhat preserved old section of town on St George street open to foot traffic only. Lots of kitchy shops and lunch spots, but a few nice places too including the always fun Columbia restaurant. This one has a nice second floor with some balcony seating that wasn't being used when we were there due to the low number of diners downstairs.
At the end of St George street, we crossed a couple blocks and did a quick visit of Flagler College. The building is the former Pnce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler along with the Alcazar Hotel across the street. The College is open to visitors. We walked through the impressive front gate into a beautiful courtyard. We only went as far as the lobby, but that was impressive enough. Beautiful caved woodwork supporting a splendid rotunda. Sandy sat on one of the rocking chairs on the porch (or are we close enough to Georgia to call it a piazza?), and we could really envision the golden age of this hotel as we looked over the heavily planted courtyard.
Inside the front doors, ornate dark woodwork and the gold leaf domed ceiling.
Sandy Relaxes on the veranda of Flagler College
We did no have time to visit the Lightner Museum in the Alcazar – described as “3 floors of fascinating collections”. We met others who went and loved it. We did walk around the fountain in the courtyard, snapping photos of the facades of all the beautiful buildings.
The Lightner Museum.
Castillo de san Marcos. If within a drive of St Augustine, this is a must see. Yes, it's another fort, but the views from the ramparts, the details inside the rooms, like the graffiti from solders long ago, make it a very interesting and enjoyable visit. Staff were friendly and informative.
St Augustine Lighthouse. We drove up to the lighthouse, but did not take a tour, opting to spend time at the fort and downtown. I was still under the weather and was limiting my exercise. Cousins Dave and Toni were there just a week or so before us and shared photos from the top that looked amazing.