Usually the ocean water in Northern St. Augustine is not overly translucent. But at this inlet, you will find tropical-looking water that reminds you of what you might see in the Florida Keys.
I have lived in the Jacksonville/Saint Augustine, Florida area for the past 23 years. I’ve been to every beach starting from Fernandina all the way down to Washington Oaks. I thought I had figured out which beaches were the very best in North Florida, which in my opinion previously were the secluded and intimate Guana beach and Vilano beach, where you can catch a tan and listen to the seagulls chirp with the waves crashing, unbothered.
That was until yesterday, when I was introduced to the gorgeous Matanzas Inlet.
The Matanzas Inlet is found off the beaten path. It’s a treasured gem, located about a mile past the final parking lot at Crescent Beach.
Here’s how you arrive at this “secret” dream-like beach location: First, you park at the Matanzas Inlet Parking Lot, and then walk barefoot about a mile south where you will find a white, velvety sand beach that bends and wraps around the inlet as it merges into the Intracoastal.
Jeep owners please be aware, there is no driving allowed past the Matanzas Inlet Parking lot, so you have to travel by foot to reach this location. The secluded nature of the inlet is a treat because you can have the best beach in the area basically all to yourself.
It’s not a complete secret, as you’ll see fishing boats in the water, men, women and children fishing along the shore as well as up top on the Matanzas Inlet Bridge. You will not find many tourists in this spot, but the locals certainly are in on this secret.
The water is gorgeous. Usually the ocean water in Northern St. Augustine is not overly translucent. But at this inlet, you will find tropical-looking water that reminds of the water you see in the Florida Keys.
You’ll even find sea turtles and tortoises like Arthur, shown below, at this inlet, that have made the area their home. It’s a safe and quiet spot that remains beautifully preserved. Of course, always remember to be very respectful of this sanctuary and its inhabitants.
For me, I like to be where the crowds are not. The Matanzas Inlet has just enough people there to make you feel moderately social, but it’s empty enough to make you feel like you’re on your own private beach. At the Matanzas Inlet you’ll find good, safe company, a beautiful view with the option to choose to sit along either the Atlantic, the Inlet, or the Intracoastal. If you prefer swimming in gentler water, you should sit on the Intracoastal side.
I highly recommend that the next time you want a good, relaxing beach day, travel just a little bit farther south and walk about a mile where you will encounter the serenely beautiful Matanzas Inlet.
It’s the next best thing to owning your own private beach. But shh… it’s a secret, so don’t tell anybody.