Best Beaches in St. Augustine for Shells

St. Augustine, famed for its historical prominence, is also home to some of Florida’s most pristine beaches. Whether you’re an avid shell collector, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil beach retreat, St. Augustine has a coastline tailored for every wanderlust heart.

Top 5 Beaches in St. Augustine for Shells

1. Crescent Beach

Deriving its name from its uniquely crescent-shaped shoreline, Crescent Beach sits south of Saint Augustine on Anastasia Island in St. Johns County. This beach stands out as one of the top choices for beachcombers and eco-tourists.

Key Highlights:

  • Hard-packed sand is ideal for walking, cycling, and beach volleyball.
  • Offers activities like surfing, swimming, and boogie boarding.
  • Facilitated boating access points along the A1A.

For those desiring a serene escape with lesser crowds, Crescent Beach with its glistening white sand is a haven.

2. Butler Beach

Butler Beach, located just a short hop from St. Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island, is rich in history and natural beauty.

A Historical Snapshot:

Name OriginFrank B. Butler, a local African-American leader and businessman.
Historical SignificanceThe beach’s role in the civil rights movement during the 1960s.
Endangered SpeciesHome to Anastasia Island beach mouse and the gopher tortoise.

Despite its tranquil setting, Butler Beach offers comprehensive amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, showers, and a pavilion.

3. Vilano Beach

Vilano Beach, often termed St. Augustine’s hidden gem, is nestled just north of the city’s bustling downtown. Historically, this was the go-to beach for Henry Flagler’s affluent friends in the late 19th century.

Notable Features:

  • The charming Art Deco town of Vilano Beach with its fountains and retro pier.
  • Popular for water sports owing to its heavy surf and strong current.

4. Anastasia State Park Beach

One can’t discuss St. Augustine beaches without mentioning Anastasia State Park Beach. Just a short 1.5-mile drive from downtown, it’s a hub for varied beach activities.


  • Four miles of pristine white quartz sand, bordered by sand dunes and tidal marshes.
  • A haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Multiple nature trails through the dunes, perfect for morning walks.

5. South Ponte Vedra Beach

For shell enthusiasts, South Ponte Vedra Beach is the place to be. With a shoreline adorned with shells and captivating sand dunes, it’s a sheller’s paradise.


  • Luxurious beach atmosphere, ideal for sunbathing and picnics.
  • Proximity to top-notch resorts and renowned golf courses.
  • Equipped with grills, perfect for sunset barbecues.

Which is the Best Option?

While each beach boasts its own charm, if shelling is your primary goal, South Ponte Vedra Beach stands out. However, for a comprehensive experience blending history, nature, and beach activities, Anastasia State Park Beach is hard to beat. In the end, the best beach is the one that resonates with your heart’s desire.

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