"Crescent Beach & Ft. Matanzas Nat'l Monument" Crescent Beach by HSC123
Crescent Beach Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 4 photos
The southern half of Anastasia Island is located about one hour south of Jacksonville and 10-15 minutes from the historic district of St. Augustine. Crescent Beach is the quiet, unincorporated seaside community that makes up much of this narrow southern tail of the island. Here, wide, dune-backed, white sand beaches beckon day-tripping inlanders from places like Gainesville and Palatka. Though home to only one hotel and one bed & breakfast, Crescent Beach boasts several low-rise condominiums and beach houses available to travelers as vacation rentals. Overall, the beach is one of the prettiest in St. Johns County and does not suffer from the drastic erosion problems that plague neighboring St. Augustine Beach. The one drawback (to me, though some might disagree) is that driving on the sand is allowed on a portion of Crescent Beach.
Geographically, this stretch of Anastasia Island is quite narrow. In some places, it is even possible to watch an Atlantic Ocean sunrise and an Intracoastal Waterway sunset from the same building. In the southernmost part of Crescent Beach and its neighboring hamlet of Summer Haven, small sandbars and marsh islands dot the waterway and inlet. One such island is actually home to Crescent Beach's own historic site, Fort Matanzas National Monument. Accessible only by boat (a free ferry is provided), Fort Matanzas is a small stone blockhouse originally built to help defend St. Augustine from southern attacks during the days of Spanish occupation. A small ferry shuttles visitors from the main visitor center to the fort site hourly during the daytime. Just a short drive south of Fort Matanzas, at the St. Johns-Flagler county line, Marineland offers visitors the opportunity to interact or even swim with dolphins.
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