Anastasia State Park is a beautiful and expansive coastal park on the east coast of Florida. Spanning over 1,600 acres with beautiful maritime hammocks and ancient sand dunes, Anastasia boasts miles of stunning shoreline and plenty of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
It’s a haven for wildlife and a wide variety of birds, reptiles, and other creatures. You can observe the animals from the beach or on the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail. Thanks to the 139 campsites, you can stay back to see all of Anastasia Park’s beauty. So book a spot, stay awhile, and take in everything the park offers.
There are many ways to explore and enjoy Anastasia Park, and this guide can help you get the most out of your visit.
How to Experience Anastasia Park
Knowing what to expect and planning will help you enjoy your stay at Anastasia Park. Here are some of the best ways to maximize your visit to this beautiful waterfront park.
Stay at the Campsites
Anastasia Park has incredible sights and activities, but you can’t take them all in with a single visit. But camping is an excellent way to explore more of the park. There are tent camping sites, cabins, bungalows, yurt units, and RVs; make your pick, pay the camping fee, and begin your camping experience!
All sites have:
- Electricity and water
- Picnic table
- Fire ring
- In-ground grills
There is a communal dump station for trash disposal, and you must take your trash to the compactor at the campground entrance. You have all the essential comforts of home while camping at the park.
The camping area is a short walk from the beach. You can easily find your way to the unspoiled beaches and enjoy the sunshine and the breeze. It is an exciting way for campers to spend the evenings or when they need a break from the campground.
Bring your furry friends to the park if you’re a pet lover. Keep them on a leash, pick up after them, and ensure they’re well-behaved. Don’t take them to the beaches or playgrounds, the cabins, and other prohibited areas in the park.
Picnicking at the Park
If you’re looking for a nice spot to rest and enjoy a relaxing meal, there are three picnic areas with pavilions in Anastasia Park. Watersports Picnic Pavilion, Hilltop Picnic area, and Sea Turtle Picnic Pavilion offer the perfect setting for a picnic with friends and family.
Watersports Picnic Pavilion: This spot is ideal for those who love open spaces close to the water. The pavilion is on the banks of Salt Run and the Anastasia Watersports launch. You can park a trailer here and launch from this spot if you have your own kayak, paddle board, or other gear. The pavilion has tables, benches, electricity, and water, making it a great spot to enjoy the day. Pavilion rentals are a $100 flat fee for up to 35 people.
Hilltop Picnic Area: Hilltop is near the marsh and the ocean, with ten covered picnic tables and restrooms. The hilltop picnic area is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Sea Turtle Picnic Pavilion: This picnic area is much larger, accommodating up to 130 guests near the ocean and lifeguarded beach. It is available for rent at $100.
Surfing and Other Beach Activities
Anastasia Park is the perfect spot to try out some watersports. The beach is ideal for kayaking, surfing, boating, canoeing, snorkeling, and many other watersports. Grab your gear and other necessary supplies before you head out to the beach, or shop from Island Beach Shop & Grill. There are other local surf shops on the beach to get what you need.
The beach has 4 miles of sandy shoreline, so there’s plenty of room to spread out and find a perfect spot. Surfers wear bathing suits or trunks in summer, but when the weather cools down in early spring, late fall, and winter, you’ll need to get a wetsuit.
Be cautious when you’re in the water. Always pay attention to the ocean and beach conditions, as wave heights, currents, and temperatures can change quickly in Florida.
Bicycling on the Beach and Park Roads
Bicycling is an excellent outdoor exercise and a great way to take in the sights at Anastasia Park. With over 4 miles of beach and several miles of paved roads, you can explore the park on a two-wheeler.
If you enjoy a good bike ride but don’t have one, rent a bike from the concession inside the park. Get a couple of friends and bike gear, and embark on a cycling adventure that will take you to some of the most beautiful spots in the park. Not all park roads are available for biking, so stay on designated paths.
Like other Florida State parks, Anastasia Park recommends helmets for all ages. Florida State law mandates helmets for children under 16. For your safety, obey all laws and park rules.
Hiking on the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail
Hiking is an excellent way to explore the beauty of Anastasia State Park. It entails walking through the park, discovering national wildlife, and making many new memories with friends and family. Whether a novice hiker or an experienced explorer, the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail will take you on an unforgettable journey.
The Ancient Dunes Nature Trail is a relatively easy 4-mile trail that winds through the maritime hammock and ancient dunes, with excellent views of the native habitat of wildlife and plants. You will see and appreciate nature, native vegetation, and breathtaking landscapes. Take your time, and remember to take lots of pictures.
This trail is mostly flat, but there are areas with uneven terrain, stairs, and hills, so watch your step. Always stay on the marked paths and hiking trails, wear sturdy shoes, and bring plenty of water because Florida can get very hot.
Anastasia State Park has one of the most pristine beaches in Florida; it’s a beach lover’s paradise and perfect for beachcombing. This activity presents the opportunity to explore the coastline, looking for:
- Sea glass
- Other treasures washed ashore from the ocean
Beachcombing at Anastasia State Park is an enlightening and rewarding experience. But, whatever you do, follow the park’s regulations and leave living creatures where you found them. Most of them are protected by law.
The best time to beach comb is usually during low tide when more of the shoreline is exposed, and you’re more likely to find shells and sea glass. Also, since you’re one of many people interested in beachcombing here, get up early for the best chance of finding treasures. Bring a beach bag and gloves to collect your beachcombing treasures.
Check Out the Local Wildlife
Anastasia State Park is home to tidal marshes abundant with sea life, including:
- Sea turtles
The beach boardwalk and overlook are beautiful spots to see the park’s wildlife.
The area also provides great Florida birding opportunities with its proximity to Salt Run. Various songbirds, shorebirds, and water birds call the park home.
Visit the Spanish Coquina Quarries
The Spanish Coquina Quarries is a fascinating place to explore the history of Anastasia State Park. These quarries were used to mine a type of sedimentary rock known as coquina. Coqunia was used to build the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and other nearby structures in the Spanish colonial town of St. Augustine.
Today, the quarries are a popular spot for visitors to learn more about this unique rock and its importance in Florida’s history. Without the discovery and use of coquina from this site, many buildings in Saint Augustine wouldn’t exist, and the fort protecting the Spanish colonial city wouldn’t have been built.
Although the quarries are no longer active, they offer a unique insight into the past and provide an educational experience for anyone who wants to learn about the area’s history. Remember to bring a camera, because you’ll want to capture some fantastic photos of the Coquina Quarries.
Visit St. Augustine Amphitheater
St. Augustine Amphitheater is a stone’s throw from the campgrounds at Anastasia State Park and the perfect place to spend an evening with friends and family. The Amphitheater hosts various concerts, events, and festivals throughout the year. It is one of the most popular attractions in the area.
Besides live shows and performances, the Amphitheater hosts a weekly farmer’s market on Saturday mornings (8:30 am to noon), where visitors can pick up local produce and homemade goods. You will find many local artisans and craftspeople selling quality products in various styles and prices. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful, and you can often find locally-caught seafood.
Here is the cherry on top: There is no entry fee to visit and shop at the farmer’s market, so there’s no reason to miss out on this unique experience at the Amphitheater. If you’re at the park with family or friends, this is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time together.
Anastasia State Park is Waiting. Are You Coming?
Anastasia State Park is a true gem with activities that will keep you entertained throughout your day visit or camping trip. The activities in this guide are just a few fascinating things to see and do here; there’s more!
So, if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with plenty of outdoor activities, Anastasia State Park is the place for you. It is open year-round and ready to impress. You will leave wondering why you waited so long to visit this park!
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
About the author
Steve is the owner of Paddle About, a blog that's all about helping people get out and enjoy nature. He loves to kayak, camp, hike and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not out exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.