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St. Augustine Beach, Florida

We have never spent a vacation in one place, other than the long weekend we took to the Bahamas when I was pregnant with Grace and quite content to just sit and lounge by the pool.  We long to explore, to discover off the beaten path places, funky antique shops, local restaurants, book stores and the like.  We always vow to use the highway as little as possible and get lost as often as possible!

After three days in Disney we were ready to head out on the second part of our Florida trip.  Since we wanted to hit the beach while it was still warm and the sun was still shining, we did travel via highway north an hour.  As soon as we dropped our bags in the room, we threw on our flip flops and headed out to the beach.  

Soft sand.  Palm trees.  Pelicans.  Perfection.  It was not until we strolled hand in hand down the beach did we really start to relax.  It was just so beautiful.  We began our hunt for sea shells and sea glass but came up empty. 

We did discover the coolest pier we have ever seen.  Local fisherman lined the sides with their lines cast into the water waiting for a bite.  They were eager to talk and share they stories about the “big catch” they have had from this pier.  As we were talking one of the fishermen did get a big catch, at least to us!  This juvenile bonnethead shark was caught and released.  This was especially important to Lilah who spent an entire year immersed in her Destination Imagination Project bringing awareness to the horrors of the shark finning industry.  We breathed a sigh of relief when he recovered from his initial shock and swam away out of sight into deeper water.

And oh, the pelicans.  I fell in love.  We have plenty of seagulls of many different varieties in Connecticut, but these huge proud birds are so unusual to this northerner.  When they flew in large number in a single line, they reminded me of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park when the pterodactyl fly over the open fields.

Bordering St. Augustine Beach is Anastasia State Park.  We drove here searching for a more remote beach to find treasure.  No treasure to put in our pocket, but we were given one to tuck away in our memory...a glorious sunset. 

We drove 20 minutes south to Marineland Beach again in search of treasures for our pocket and came up empty.  But we were given the treasure of a coastline that reminded me a bit of Maine, rocky and rugged.  

I have wonderful treasures that may not be made of shell or glass but are just as valuable.  I treasure this time together as a family, walking in the sand hand in hand, sharing time and love and togetherness.  


  1. Wow - we loved the pelican photos.

    1. Yesterday a seagull flew over my house and I actually sighed and wished it were a pelican! Crazy...but true!

  2. Such a beautiful and peaceful time together! Loved your photos, especailly the pelican photos!

    1. Thank you! The pelican is one of my favorites which is why I broke my "no pictures from Instagram" rule for this post!

  3. Lovely. I love the way you vacation. My entire life we drove to one destination and stayed there the entire week. I love all the places you got to go. Look how much you did in a little over a WEEK!!! St. Augustine is beautiful. I have never seen a Florida beach with rocks like that. Thank you for taking us along on your trip Jess.

    1. I think there are benefits to staying put. After this vacation, I did have a thought that it would be nice to pick a beach and just stay on that beach, but then we would not have all these pictures of different places to look back on!

  4. We so loved St. Augustine. When we lived in Jacksonville our destination of choice when going out for the day was always St. Augustine which was about 35 minutes from our home. The old town is great! Used to have a great art scene there. It has been years since our last visit (maybe 20 years), we were a young married couple at the time with a toddler in tow. These days it is really hard for us to get away - two dogs, two cats, ferret, two birds, and a backyard full of chickens hinder us a little in the traveling department. Thanks for all the great posts.

    1. The next few posts are about the old town. It is a beautiful city. When you drive over the bridge across the river and see the red tile rooftops of the college and the church steeples, it feels like you have stepped into a picture book set in another country. We could not have asked for a better trip!

  5. Beautiful, can't wait to see it for myself. Pelicans are one of my favorites too. When we were on Sanibel Island a few weeks ago, I couldn't believe how close to the kids they would dive for food. Crazy!

    1. Grace is desperate to get to Sanibel Island. It is on her "bucket list". She is 13, far too young to have a bucket list, but that is Grace, always planning! She started following an Instagram account all about the shells of Sanibel and it is just fueling her desire to get back to FL as quickly as possible!


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