Beaches are best unspoiled. I love crossing the dunes to find pristine beaches where the only things littering the sand are shells. But sometimes you just need beaches you can drive on in St. Augustine, Florida. You may have a grandma that can’t make the trek across the dunes, a trunk full of baby stuff or a new jeep that is desperate to get a little sand on the tires. We currently fall in the last category and have been searching out the best drivable beaches on the First Coast. Here is a list of beaches you can drive on in St. Augustine and within an hour’s drive. Have fun out there!
This post is sponsored by fresh-from-Florida Noble Juice. Stay hydrated and healthy out there!
Beaches You Can Drive On in St. Augustine
Please note that as of 10/2016, St. Augustine’s beaches are recovering from Hurricane Matthew just like the rest of the city is. Some of the following access points are temporarily closed, or open to 4×4 only. Check here for the county-published updates.
- St. Augustine Beach – If you’re longing for a classic beach drive, head to St. Augustine Beach. This 10 mile long loop is a beach-driver’s dream! You’ll pay $8 for a day pass from March 1 through Labor Day as a non-resident (all rates and details are here). There are often 2 wheel drive vehicles on the beach in this stretch. There are also often 4 wheel drive trucks pulling out the 2 wheel drive vehicles who pulled into a soft spot. Stay in designated areas and don’t pull up too far into dunes if you must hit the beach in a car! Here are the driving ramp access points in St. Augustine Beach:
- A Street Entrance 1.6 mile stretch to Ocean Trace (it’s fun to drive the loop once or twice!)
- Ocean Trace Road
- Matanzas Avenue
- Mary Street
- Surfside Avenue at Vilano is for permitted 4×4 drivers only. You’ll need to jump through a few hoops but the benefit is exclusive access to a fun, drivable beach! It’s also the furthest N access point in St. Johns County.
- Vilano Beach access at Vilano Road is adjacent to the inlet. The water can be rough here- we don’t swim there with the kids. But it can be great for sunbathing and fishing! It’s not restricted to 4×4 but I don’t suggest novices drive here… y’all stick to St. Augustine Beach!
- Porpoise Point is the Vilano beach with views of the St. Augustine skyline. The beach follows the inlet- 4×4 only here!
- Crescent Beach Ramp is drivable and has the notable bonus of being adjacent to South Beach Grill- in case you get hungry.
- Fort Matanzas is the furthest S access point in the county. It’s much quieter and is across the street from Fort Matanzas National Monument (a must-visit!). There is a parking lot here- if you’re 2wd, I suggest parking instead of driving just because there may be nobody to help pull you out if you get stuck.
As much as we love St. Augustine, sometimes we do actually leave town. *gasp* I know! Shocking! Last Sunday, hubby and I sent the kids home without us after church and we hopped in the jeep for a slow ride up A1A to Amelia Island. We stopped by Publix for trail mix and some Noble Juices to hold us over until a late lunch up the coast. I’ll share some beaches you can drive on in Jacksonville if you’re looking to do a similar day trip.
Beaches You Can Drive On in Jacksonville, FL
There aren’t as many drivable beaches in Jacksonville as in St. Augustine. In fact, there’s just one. Huguenot Memorial Park is known as “The Jettys” or the drivable beach – cars can easily access this one. $5 will get you into 10980 Heckscher Dr… but go early! Since it’s the only Jax beach that’s drivable, it fills up quickly! It’a a bit crazy… even though there’s no alcohol allowed, it has a reputation as the party beach. Ok, I warned you.
Beaches You Can Drive On North of Jax
Jeep owners, rejoice! Amelia Island has some fun spots to hit the beach… 4×4 only! When we were there last, a newbie was hauled out by a Chevy with massive mudding tires who, I suspect, trolls the beach for just that purpose. Good times! Let me re-state… FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ONLY on Amelia. The sand is really too soft for vehicles without 4WD… and maybe even for those with 4WD but inexperienced drivers. Stay safe out there… or at least have a good attitude when you get stuck.
- American Beach Access has 1/2 mile of drivable beach
- Peter’s Point 1974 S Fletcher Ave
- Seaside Park 2000 S Fletcher Ave
Nassau County beaches require a driving permit. Check out details here on the Nassau County website. Pin this post to your board using the pix below so it’s easy to find beaches you can drive on in St. Augustine when you want to hit the beach next beautiful day! See ya out there!