Wandering around Saint Augustine

It’s been over 40 years since we last camped in Anastasia State Park. We were camping in a tent with our kids and back then you could drive on the beach.

Today there is no more driving on the beach in the state park. Instead, there is a huge parking area with walkways over the dunes and a wheelchair accessible beach mat to the beach.

It was chilly, foggy and raining during most of our stay. On the first sunny day we went exploring. After a drive south on famous highway A1A, we headed to the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

Founded in 1893, the Alligator Farm started out with just a few exhibits of Florida reptiles. It has expanded over the years to include not only reptiles but also birds and mammals from all around the world. Today, in addition to the educational shows and exhibits, it is also used for research.

As we wandered through the zoo toward the Native Swamp and Rookery to see the nesting birds (I posted about them here) we stopped to observe the many varieties of animal life.

We took a break for lunch and drove to the nearby Conch House Marina and Guesthouse to eat outside on their waterfront deck.

Lunch with a view at Conch House Restaurant

After lunch it was back to the Alligator Farm to watch the 3:00 alligator feeding. Can you say feeding frenzy?

Our next stop was the Saint Augustine Lighthouse. Gorgeous views were our reward for climbing all the steps to the top.

When we weren’t exploring St. Augustine we enjoyed being in Anastasia State Park. Our campsite was surrounded on three sides by natural vegetation and the beach was only a 10 minute walk from our campsite. One afternoon we explored the nature trail near the campground.



17 thoughts on “Wandering around Saint Augustine

    1. Judy, watching them go after that food was pretty disturbing. It’a one thing to see them basking in the sun no moving but watching them feed was kind of scary. Luckily, all the humans were safely out of their reach!

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      1. When we walk at Brookgreen Garden, we purposely look for this one alligator. He’s maybe 6-7′ long and stretches out either with the turtles on a platform or on the bank. We get fairly close because he pays no attention to people. But, those guys going after that food remind you why we really shouldn’t get that close.

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  1. This looks like a great place for sure! Thank you for giving us more places to add on our list of go to’s. There is so much to see here in this great State. We’re in the Everglades National Park next week and can’t wait.

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  2. The view from the lighthouse is beautiful. My dad and I climbed to the top several years ago. He said it would be his last lighthouse climb! The state park looks lovely! Alligator feeding can only be described as a frenzy for sure.

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  3. We camped at Anastasia State Park for a few days on our RV trip. It was certainly beautiful. But we were there during Thanksgiving week and it was packed to the gills. We were at the end of a loop, stuck right behind a huge family group that had about 10 camping spots together. They completely took over that section of the campground, setting up all kinds of raucous games in the road. Every time I walked somewhere, I had to go through their little kingdom and felt as if I was trespassing on their family compound. The man in the spot kitty-corner to us looked like he was on the run from the law–skulking about and staring at people–extremely creepy. To top it off, the woman in the trailer next to us chain smoked, creating a stinky blue haze that slowly wafted over to us, no matter where she was. I have a good laugh about it now but, at the time, I couldn’t wait to get out of there!

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    1. Oh no! I think we have all had experiences like that in a campground. We were in Hillsborough River state park near Tampa for two weeks one time in November. It was fine during the week but on the weekend we were between a two big groups and the kids walked through our campsite until we asked them not to. The parents never said a word to them. Another time was in a state park in the panhandle. Every time we were outside the guy in the next campsite came over to talk. He had no camping gear and slept in his car. The rangers told him he had to have camping gear so he bought a cheap tent but still slept in his car. When he caught his picnic table on fire with a cheap charcoal grill they finally threw him out! Always an adventure!

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