Don’t Miss These Destinations On The Florida Coast
With hundreds of RV resorts to choose from, Florida appeals to diverse travelers year-round. Temperate weather, endless sunshine, sandy beaches, and a wealth of history all are hallmarks of Florida’s Historic Coast, a destination unto itself.
Geographically, Florida’s Historic Coast officially begins just south of Jacksonville in Ponte Vedra on the Atlantic Ocean side of the state. It continues south for 42 miles until you reach Marineland, which is just south of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. Those 42 miles are affectionately dubbed “The Beaches” because of its never-ending fabulous sandy shores!
Camping on the Florida coast
Anastasia State Park offers not only a great beach but excellent camping with 139 sites, though 38 feet is the maximum RV length allowed. With 1,600 acres and four miles of sandy beach, it’s easy to carve out a slice of seclusion while sun-bathing or beachcombing.
Ponte Vedra Beach is one of the spectacular stretches of sand in the U.S. It’s also a great area for shark tooth hunting. The area, known as the Guana – Tolomato – Matanzas (GTM) Reserve, is easily identifiable when you see the life-size statue of Juan Ponce de Leon.
In April 1513, Ponce de León and his men came ashore at this exact location and claimed La Florida for Spain, becoming the first documented visitors of European culture to Florida’s now historic coast.
Just five miles down the road is North Beach Camp Resort. Set on 30 wooded acres, North Beach offers 160 sites on a unique stretch of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the North River.
Amenities include full hookups, 20/30/50 amp electric, water, Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, dump station, cable TV, a clubhouse, beach access, fishing, boating, and more. Just across the street is the Reef Restaurant that offers a terrific menu selection of fresh fish, along with a spectacular oceanfront setting.
North Beach Camp Resort is located less than five miles north of historic downtown St. Augustine.
America’s oldest city – St. Augustine
With dozens of attractions, St. Augustine offers more than 450 years of art, culture, and history all in one compact location. The best way to get a quick and comprehensive city overview is to board an Old Town Trolley Tours.
This hop-on, hop-off tour takes you around the city in a little more than an hour, while making 22 stops along the way, and offering an overview of this historic and colorful town.
Some of the highlights of the Old Town Trolley Tours includes The Old Jail, Potter’s Wax Museum, Colonial Quarter, Lightner Museum, several historic churches, St. Augustine Distillery, San Sebastian Winery, Plaza de la Constitucion, Spanish Hospital Museum, the Oldest House, Castillo de San Marcos, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and everybody’s favorite, the Fountain of Youth.
Nearby, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum offers great views of the city from the top of the 165-foot tall lighthouse tower. Take the circular staircase 219 steps to the top and you will see a completely different view of St. Augustine! It’s worth the effort.
The St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum will take you back in time, about 300 years to be exact. Featuring an impressive collection of authentic pirate artifacts and interactive exhibits, the museum houses rarely-seen shipwreck treasures.
Nights of Lights
From mid-November through the end of January, officials in St. Augustine turn on the Nights of Lights for visitors and locals alike. During that timeframe, more than three million tiny white lights illuminate St. Augustine. Old Town Trolley Tours are also held during evening hours for visitors to explore the impressive Nights of Lights.
Other creative ways of experiencing this annual light show is with Santa’s Red Express Tours, a harbor boat tour, riding in a luxury eight-seat golf cart attended by a knowledgeable guide, aboard a romantic carriage tour, or climbing back up those 219 stairs of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Whichever method of viewing Nights of Lights, you won’t be disappointed with the results.
The World Golf Hall Of Fame & Museum
Florida has a corner on the market when it comes to featuring fabulous golf courses, along with the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. The latter is a must-visit for golfers. Located just eight miles north of St. Augustine, the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum is located in the World Golf Village.
This expansive village also includes the PGA Tour Academy, two championship golf courses, high-end accommodations, and Caddy Shack, a popular golf-themed restaurant owned by actor Bill Murray and his brothers. Murray, an avid golfer, starred in the 1980 golf comedy Caddyshack.
Just north of the World Golf Village in Ponte Vedra is the famed TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, which hosts THE PLAYERS Championship each March. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020, TPC Sawgrass features its renowned 17th hole – a picturesque island green. This par 3, 137-yard beauty garners all the attention and drama, and for good reason.
If you don’t golf at TPC, take the time to tour the 77,000 square-foot TPC Clubhouse. The free tours are conducted by 50 volunteer storytellers who share the colorful history and rituals surrounding this magnificent facility.
Planning your trip to the Florida coast
To learn more about this stretch of the Florida coast, check out Florida’s Historic Coast’s website. You can also find more great campgrounds and RV parks in the area with a quick search on Campground Reviews. Make trip planning easy and find more points of interest along your route with RV Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App With GPS.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.