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Come sit under the shade of mature, moss-covered oak trees in the beautiful parks of South St. Augustine {32086}. Two popular neighborhoods, The South and The Shores, sit along the shores of the Matanzas River and Moultrie Creek. People started building homes near the water in the 1920’s but the masses didn’t occupy these neighborhoods until the late 20th century. The personality of these communities is undeniable. The South has a series of passive parks along the water perfect for fishing, picnicking and walking a dog, while The Shores has an extensive system of paved trails ideal for biking and jogging.

Large Oak trees dominate the other neighborhoods along 207 and US 1, south of St. Augustine. This list of parks includes The Shores, The South, Wildwood Drive, the Matanzas Forest, Moses Creek, and Faver-Dykes State Park, all of which are filled with the prospect of outdoor adventures.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This is arguably the best park in St. Augustine due to its large size and the incredible number of recreational opportunities. This park has a dog park, a skate park (with a beginners area and a 9 1/2 foot deep pool for experienced skaters), basketball courts, racquetball courts, a handicap accessible playground, swings (including a mommy and me swing and special needs swings), a horse shoe court, multiple picnic pavilions, a fishing dock, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, 2 multipurpose fields, 4 softball fields, a 7/8th of a mile jogging/walking trail, and nature trails. We regularly spend hours at this park.

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Canopy Shores Park

804 Christina Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park has a shaded 1.5 mile paved loop trail for walking, biking, dog walking, and bird watching. The playground reflects the environment, and is built to look like a tree house. There is a restroom and a covered picnic pavilion perfect for parties. The trail includes many exercise stations and benches along the paved pathway. The park closes at dusk. There is a foot path that connects the park to the Riverview club, making this very convenient for residents.

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Vaill Point Park

630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park is a secret treasure for families in this area. There is a large picnic pavilion, a playground with swings, a climbing wall, swings, 1.5 miles of paved nature trails, and a fishing dock. The playground has two separate play structures for children of different ages and the picnic pavilion is perfect for birthday parties. If you plan to walk these trails, please know that there are multiple intersection points and you could find yourself lost. To walk the full trail and visit the fishing pier, take a right at each intersection.

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Royal Road Park (St. Augustine South Tot Lot)

709 Royal Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park has a picnic pavilion, a playground, two pickleball courts, a ball field, a wall for racquet sports, and a basketball court. This playground is uncovered and very hot if it is not a cool day. This park is showing the most wear and least upkeep of all the St. Johns County facilities we visited. There is no restroom, so plan ahead if you have little ones. The pickleball courts and basketball court are in disrepair and the playground shows extensive sun damage. Thankfully, within the next six months there are plans for a new playground and new facilities. We will update this information when the work is complete.

Shore Drive Waterfront Park

Multiple points of access along Shore Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This series of passive parks along the edge of the Matanzas River and Moultrie Creek in St. Augustine South has spectacular views, picnic areas, fishing docks, dog walking areas, kayaking, boating, and bird watching. Two facilities included in this park system are Doug Crane Boat Ramp and the Moultrie Creek Boat Ramp. This is an ideal area for taking family pictures.

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Canopy Shores Park

804 Christina Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park has a shaded 1.5 mile paved loop trail for walking, biking, dog walking, and nature viewing. There are boardwalks at multiple points along the path. Look for owls and bats if you visit in the evening and woodpeckers during the day. This park is filled with wildlife because of the canopy of oak trees and the nearby water.

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Vaill Point Park

630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park has 1.5 miles of paved nature trails. If you plan to walk these trails, take a picture of the map prior to your stroll because it has multiple intersection points. Please note: At my last visit the map was missing! If you don’t have a map, keep taking a right at each intersection to walk the full trail and visit the fishing pier. This park is listed on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail. You are able to see bats and owls at dusk and woodpeckers during the day. According to St. Johns County Audubon you can see a Bald Eagle nest on the bluff from the observation deck and kayak launch. Children will be delighted by the resident gopher tortoise that lives in a burrow between the parking area and the playground. Do not touch or bother him, he is a keystone species and is protected under state law.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This huge park has a 7/8th of a mile jogging/walking trail that encompasses the park. You can see many native birds and the occasional gopher tortoise along this shaded, dirt path. There are also short nature trails off the fishing dock to explore with your little ones.

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Matanzas State Forest

6840 US 1 S., St. Augustine, FL, 32086

This State Forest is ideal for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, and photography. Camping is available at the Cedar Creek Campground.  This is a 5.9 mile loop trail. A day-use permit is required for entrance and can be acquired at no charge by calling (904) 797-5073  or emailing [email protected] .

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Moses Creek Conservation Area

1300 FL-206, St. Augustine, FL 32086

This conservation area has areas for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, camping and horseback riding.  The east trailhead has a port-a-potty and is our preferred trailhead. The path is a 5.7 mile out and back trail. If you start at the East trailhead, the observation bluff is 1.5 miles. This may be a little long for tiny hikers so bring a child carrier or ride your bike. Be sure to apply bug spray and enjoy the beautiful winding creek that gave much of this area its name.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

There are two lighted basketball courts at this park with benches and bleachers for observers. This court is between the skate park and the playground with restroom facilities nearby.

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Royal Road Park (St. Augustine South Tot Lot)

709 Royal Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

A severely dilapidated court sits at this park. While it would be possible to play here, the court is in such disrepair that I do not advise it. This court is appropriate for practicing layups or a friendly game of horse if you established a free throw line. New facilities are in the planning stages for this park. Check back soon for updates.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

There are six lighted tennis courts, eight lighted paddle tennis courts, eight pickleball courts, four racquetball courts, and two bocce ball courts. If you like sports with a racquet, this is your place! For inexpensive tennis lessons and group games check out the St. Augustine Tennis Center.

Royal Road Park (St. Augustine South Tot Lot)

709 Royal Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This park has two small pickleball courts and a wall for practicing racquet sports. The net and fences are broken and dilapidated. Skip this area for racquet sports until it has been renovated. New facilities are planned for this park within the year. Check back soon for updates.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This beautiful park has two multi-purpose fields that are ideal for soccer. There are goals set up on both fields. You can also see families utilizing these fields for flag football, flying kites or playing Frisbee.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

There are four lighted 300′ softball fields at this park. These fields have dugouts, shaded spectator bleachers, restrooms, and an announcer’s tower. Adult Softball leagues are held at Treaty Park and Mills Field in the fall and spring. Leagues consist of Men’s, Coed, and Church teams. Sign up with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Royal Road Park (St. Augustine South Tot Lot)

709 Royal Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This is an open field with a fence to block foul balls for baseball or softball. The ground is uneven with a large hole in the middle of the field. Renovations are planned for this park in the near future. Please check back here for updates.

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Robert-Laryn Skate Park at Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This is an incredible lighted skate park with areas for all levels of skateboarders and in-line skaters. This park features ½ pipes, rails, ledges, banks and a 9 and half foot pool. There is also a “little dudes” park at the entrance for beginning skaters. The park is open daily from sunrise until 10 PM. Please be aware that the lights go out at 10:15 PM and use of the park is at your own risk. Parental supervision is required for children under 9 and helmets are required for all riders.

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Paws Dog Park at Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

The Shae Burchfield Memorial Paw Park has two fenced areas, one for large dogs and the other for small dogs. There are water stations, benches, and shaded areas for talking to new friends while your dogs run free. There are almost always dogs here so it’s a great spot to bring your friendly, immunized pets for socializing.

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Doug Crane Boat Ramp

1039 Shore Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32086

These poured concrete boat ramps have a large parking lot with access to the Matanzas River. There are 2 boat ramps, portable restrooms, and space for 24 vehicles.

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Moultrie Creek Boat Ramp

4805 Shore Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32086

This is a single boat ramp that allows access for boaters to Moultrie Creek with 6 parking spaces. There are no restroom facilities at this location. There is a fishing dock with a floating Dock and a small Trail Network.

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Treaty Park

1595 Wildwood Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

Treaty park has a 3 acre lake for catch and release fun. There are multiple areas for fishing. You can fish off the dock or walk through the woods and fish directly from shore. There are many turtles and ducks here for children to feed. Corn, cheerios, rice, lettuce in small pieces, peas, and oatmeal are great treats for the creatures here.

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Vaill Point Park

630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086

This fishing pier can only be accessed by walking down the nature trails. Pack light and look forward to beautiful views of the the Intracoastal Waterway and Moultrie Creek.

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Shore Drive Waterfront Park and Moultrie Creek Boat Ramp

Shore Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32086

There are two fishing docks near Moultrie Creek Boat Ramp and several areas where you can walk to the edge of the water to fish.  There are no restroom facilities at these fishing locations. There are two parking areas; One at the Moultrie Creek boat ramp and another just past the long boardwalk.

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Faver Dykes State Park

1000 Faver Dykes Road, St. Augustine, Florida 32086

This state park has 4 nature trails, fishing, picnicking, boating, canoeing, camping, a playground, and wildlife viewing. There is a $5 entrance fee per car to enter. There are two trails (The Picnic Area Nature Trail and the Campground Nature Trail) that are only 1/2 mile long and are perfect for tiny naturalists to explore. The Hiram Faver Trail is a longer, shaded 2.6 miles. The fishing dock is located next to the picnic area and the playground so that little fishermen can take a break from the arduous task of waiting for a fish to bite.

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Princess Place Preserve

2500 Princess Place Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137

Just over Pellicer Creek, lies the Adirondack style, historic home of Princess Scherbatow. Built in 1887, the lodge is Flagler County’s oldest standing structure. This park has hiking trails, biking trails, sites for birding (including an area where Eagles are known to nest), kayaking, fishing, camping, equestrian trails, an equestrian campsite, Canoeing, Kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Entrance is free to this preserve and access is down a long unpaved road (so don’t wash your vehicle before you visit). Wear bug spray if you plan on hiking or biking down the trails. Tours of the lodge take place Friday through Sunday at 2pm. In February, Princess Place hosts the Flagler County Native American Festival which is a fun and educational event.

Pellicer Creek Conservation Area

430 Princess Place Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137

There are multiple entry points to this large conservation area along Pellicer Creek that divides St. Johns and Flagler counties. The pond can be accessed by vehicle from N Old Kings Road, as you drive toward the powerline trailhead. The property can also be accessed by foot, bicycle or horse along the network of trails leading out of Princess Place Preserve. A land bridge connects the trails to the Florida Agriultural musuem, where guided horse rides can be purchased for children over 8.

Florida Agricultural Museum

7900 N Old Kings Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137

This living history museum is designed to preserve and educate the community about Florida agriculture. There is an 1880’s farmhouse, farm animals (including Florida Cracker Cattle), horseback riding, a dairy barn, and important agricultural history. Admission to the museum is $9 per adult and $7 for children 6-12. Children under 5 are free. A family ticket provides entry for 2 adults and 3 children for $30. Horseback riding can be purchased for children over 8. There is a farmer’s market every Thursday 8 to 12pm. This is the same program offered by Old Florida Museum at Fort Menedez that relocated from downtown St. Augustine.

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LEAH NOEL

Senior Writer

Leah was born in the Wild West of California and raised in the beautiful bluegrass of Kentucky. She fell in love with the magic of St Augustine and moved here as a newlywed. She lives with four untamable children, a menagerie of animals and a loving husband. Leah spends most of her time trying to wrangle small beasts as they explore the world, tell her they don’t want what’s for dinner and complain about wearing shoes. Her favorite things are seeing the spark of discovery in little eyes and being creative. Leah loves to help and has a tender heart. She rarely meets someone she doesn’t like. Don’t be afraid to say hello if you see her out and about.