Anastasia Island State Park

Also known as the Anastasia State Recreation Area, the Anastasia Island State Park is a 1,600 acre state park of Florida, located on the peninsula of Anastasia Island. Like any state park in Florida, there is a wide variety of wildlife here such as birds and plants. However, there is a difference as it is on a beach setting, with an upland hammock forest, and tidal salt marsh.

It is really a true gem of a park. Another unique characteristic of this park is that it used to be a stone quarry site. In fact, this was where the coquina stone was mind to construct Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

Many recreational activities can be done here include camping, bird watching, fishing, surfing, sailboarding, swimming, hiking, kayaking, camping, and picnicking. The salt marsh which is called Salt Run, is a fantastic place to do a lot of watersports. A store called Anastasia Watersports is located on Salt Run, where visitors can rent out pedal boats, catamarans, one or two man kayaks, canoes, and windsurfing equipment. Sailing instructions are also available for first timers or those who need to brush up on their skills.

Bird watching can also be done here, as many pelicans, gulls, sandpipers, and other creatures have been spotted by many visitors. For those who have never done birdwatching before, brochures are available to assist you in identifying the birds that flock to this park easier. As a rough guide, bird watching can be done at any time of the day, as different birds visit throughout the day. During the morning and late afternoon to the early evening, you can see wading birds especially if there are low tides. Wading birds you will see include the Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Snow Egrets, Great Egrets, Wood Stork, White Ibis, and the Roseate Spoonbill. Raptors can also be seen from the late morning, including the Bald Eagle, Osprey, and the Red-shouldered Hawk. During the evening, you can see the Screech and Great Horned Owls.

Seasonal birds also visit during migratory periods. If you are visiting during the fall, you can also see Peregrine Falcons. Winter offers bird watching opportunities of the American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and the Northern Harrier. Anastasia Island State Park is truly a bird watchers’ paradise.

Those who love fishing will also love Anastsia Island State Park. Some popular fishing aras include Salt Run, as well as the jetties that are north of the bird nesting area. If you have caught a big catch, you can bring the fish to the Ranger Station and enter a Fish of the Month Contest. Winners of this contest will receive prizes supplied by local tackle and bait stores. If you win, at least people will believe you that your fishing haul really was that big!

There are many amenities in Anastasia Island State Park including a full-service campground that consists of 139 campsites, which is suitable for those with tents or RV’s. These campsites set amongst the beautiful surroundings of the big moss-laden oak trees that make up the hammock forest. The campsites are also spacious, and clean bathhouses are just a stone throw away. Pets are allowed to stay here. A small store called Island Joe’s is available for campers who have forgotten to bring their toothbrushes and other items. They also rent out umbrellas, beach chairs, and bicycles.

A number of pavillions can be found throughout the park, so those who are just there for a day can bring along a picnic. After lunch, exploration via hiking can be done. A hiking trail guide can be picked up at the park’s entrance. Most of these nature trails are fairly easy, as they are flat and wind through the forest.

Make sure to bring your camera along if you are visiting the park. This park is a favorite for casual and hobby Photographers as there are many fantastic spots where you can take some truly exceptional nature themed photographs.

*Anastasia Island State Park*
1340-A State Road A1A South
St. Augustine, Florida 32080
(904) 461-2033

*Hours:* Open between 8am and sundown every day (including holidays)

*Entrance fees:*
* $4.00 for a Single Occupant Vehicle
* $8.00 per vehicle if there are 2 to 8 people per vehicle
* $2.00 for bicyclists, pedestrians, extra passengers, or passengers that are in a vehicle that holds an Annual Individual Entrance Pass

*Camping fees:* $28 per night, plus tax. This includes electricity and water. Those who are residents of Florida and are 65 years old or older, or thos ewho hold a social security disability award certificate or a 100% disability award certificate from the US Federal Government are eligible to receive a 50% discount on the current campsite fees.

Reservations are required for those who wish to use the campsite. Bookings are available up to 11 months in advance. If you plan to arrive after 5pm, please notify the State Park office so someone will greet you, otherwise you cannot enter as the park closes at dusk.