Labor Day weekend, and we headed up Florida’s second oldest settlement, St. Augustine (for the oldest see here) and the Anastasia State Park that is located in the city. It had been two years since we had camped at Anastasia, so it was time to go back. This was also a Florida Pop-up Camper (FPUC) gathering, and it had been a few months since we’d camped with our FPUC friends. Combine all that with a holiday weekend and the beach, and you’ve got yourself a good time.
Camping – Anastasia has somewhere around 140 camp sites, of which about 20 are probably big enough to put a 35 foot rig into based on the information on Reserve America. We camped in site 123, which is the same site we had two years ago. The sites have water and electricity (30 Amp), and there is a 3 lane dump station at the campground exit. The roads are a bit tight, and there are some sites that are probably deep enough to park in, but if you have a towable you may find yourself doing a bit of maneuvering to get into the site. Most of the sites are very shady, and the vegetation around the sites serves as a good wind break, so you do not get the direct wind off the Atlantic like you do at campground that are right on the beach. The campground is about a quarter to a half mile from the beach. You can easily walk or ride a bike, or drive up and park with the day use folks to use the beach. There is a store/snack bar at the beach parking lot, Island Joe’s, that has wi-fi along with souvenirs and basic camp supplies.
Stuff To Do – At the park you can go to the beach, or hike the two trails that are on the park property. There is also a water sports concession that is on the lagoon where you can rent sailboats and kayaks to roam around the lagoon. In addition, on Saturday morning, there is a farmers market at the St. Augustine Amphitheater which is located adjacent to the park just south of the park entrance.
If you are willing to leave the park, there is the entire City of St. Augustine to visit. This includes the lighthouse , which is located just north of the park off A1A. You can climb the lighthouse (as we did) and tour the old keepers cottage.
There is also the Castillo de San Marcos, the Spanish Fort that was built to defend the city. If you time your visit right, you can see them fire the cannons in addition to touring the fort.
We did something new this trip and visited Fort Mose State Historical Site, which is just north the Castillo on US 1. Fort Mose is just a site, there is no fort left. This is the location of the first settlement of free Africans in the New World. The story of how the Spanish King offered freedom to any escaped slaves that converted to Catholicism is told in historical markers and a small interpretive center. You can walk out on a boardwalk and see the location where the fort was, but since it was primarily earthworks, there is nothing left.
We had a great weekend, and enjoyed visiting with our FPUC friends and hanging out on the beach and soaking up the great history in St. Augustine. Pictures of the park are here.