As you plan your RV camping destinations this year, why not plan time to savor North Florida’s Atlantic Coastline? Highway A1A, designated the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway, may only be about eighty miles long, but it’s overflowing with history, coastal beauty and fascinating attractions.
If you’ll be renting an RV, we suggest you fly into Jacksonville, Florida, only thirty minutes from Ponte Vedra Beach, our journey’s trailhead. Once you’ve loaded your supplies in the RV rental, travel FL-212 east to Ponte Vedra Beach, a posh resort community where golf is king. Follow Hwy A1A south through the heart of this beautiful coastal community, taking a side trip to Guana Tolamato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Park the RV and break out the bikes to explore this amazing ecosystem on nine miles of trails.
Let’s pick up again where the Byway ambles south along the coastline through easy living beach communities like Palm Valley and Villano Beach. You’ll notice that the Intercoastal Waterway has been tracking alongside A1A throughout your route, providing interesting scenery and places to stop and play. Once you’ve crossed the Villano Bridge into St. Augustine, your interest will probably turn to the historic.
The oldest continuously-inhabited city in America, St. Augustine is worthy of an RV camping vacation in itself. Our goal, however, is to help you learn the joys of the entire coastal byway, so here are just a few places to visit:
- St. Augustine Lighthouse – icon of maritime Florida at the tip of Anastasia Island.
- Castillo de San Marcos National Historic Site – a fort with more than three hundred years of history.
- St. Augustine’s Downtown District and Antiques Row – each offers historic charm, quaint buildings and plenty of shopping opportunities.
By the way, once you’ve followed A1A across the bridge to Anastasia Island, be sure to enjoy the Atlantic at Anastasia State Park and the island’s three beaches. And if you’re ready to stop for the night, St. Augustine Beach KOA is right there on the island.
And then it’s over the Matanzas Inlet and on to the town of Marineland, where scenic dunes and beautiful golden brown beaches tempt visitors to sea kayak, surf fish or simply relax in the sun. Following the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Highway, we’ll continue south from Marineland to Washington Gardens State Park for a taste of Old Florida beauty. Hike along the trails and encounter magnificent trees within the hardwood hammock.
We’re nearing the end of our trip, but there’s so much more to experience. Some of the best attractions on this final stretch of A1A are the beaches. Pass through the resort town of Palm Harbor and then hug the shoreline until you reach Painter’s Hill. That’s where you’ll find Varn Park, a good beach spot to get out of your RV and take sunrise or sunset photos.
At the southern end of our scenic byway lies Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. Not only can you camp in a seaside campsite, your entire family will find their favorite ways to play in the sun and sand between the ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway.