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A1A Scenic  & Historic Coastal Byway

 

A1A State of Mind 

The A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway spans 72 miles along the northeast coast of Florida, nestled between the cities of Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. It is one of the most beautiful sections of our state offering a look at Florida much as it was in 1513 when discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon along the shores of Ponte Vedra. His first sighting of ‘La Florida’ is where the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve is today, encompassing 76,000 acres of conservation lands, filled with pristine estuaries and coastal wildlife. Interestingly enough, just a few miles north is the golf mecca of the PGA TOUR Headquarters and TPC Sawgrass, one of the most challenging courses in The Players Championship series.

As you travel our coastal corridor, you’ll notice the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway ties together a diverse collection of communities, national parks, and historic landmarks such as the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and the Marineland Dolphin Adventure, home to the world’s first oceanarium.

 

 

Outside of the modern communities of Ponte Vedra and Palm Coast await the Old Florida beach towns of Vilano Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Crescent Beach, and Flagler Beach. These are places where time has stood still in the best ways, and represent what a scenic highway is all about. Community spirit, locally-owned shops and restaurants, farmers and artisan markets, neighbors gathering on a Friday or Saturday evening for music in the park or an oyster roast.

 

 

The Friends of A1A’s longest serving board member, and founder of the popular Music & Art by the Sea concert series, Bob Samuels always says, ‘If you’re on the scenic highway, you can’t be in a hurry’, and that’s the most remarkable thing about the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway. This road, which will turn 100 years old in 2027, is really a journey through the past, a road trip along the timeline of our nation.

Discover the Holiday Magic

For the holidays, we’re heading to the City of St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, it’s officially known as The Nation’s Oldest City, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Nights of Lights. Celebrated from November to the end of January, this spectacular display of lights throughout the historic downtown area is world renowned, and has been recognized as one of USA Today’s Best Public Holiday Lights Displays in America and is ranked among the Top 10 Holiday Displays in the World by National Geographic. Yes, it’s that amazing. The displays can be enjoyed by horse drawn carriage along the bayfront on our scenic byway, on foot through the walkable downtown area, or from the waterways of the Matanzas River. It’s truly an experience you’ll never forget. For many of our residents and visitors it has become an annual tradition shared by generations of families.

Our byway is home to a number of holiday events including the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach’s annual Holiday at the Beach Parade which opens with Santa parachuting in from a plane over the Atlantic Ocean every year, Flagler County’s Starry Nights Display along A1A, the Vilano Beach Holiday Village, and so much more.

If you’re planning a 2024 visit, a few of our ‘mark your calendar’ events include the 12th Annual Spoonbills & Sprockets Cycling Tour in the spring, the A1A Mega Beach Cleanup or International Coastal Cleanups in the summer, and the 16th Annual Super Scenic 150 Mile Garage Sale in the fall. If you just happen to want to meander down the A1A Scenic Byway, take a peek at our website www.ScenicA1A.org and download our free, self-guided A1A Scenic Byway Mobi Tour, at www.travelstorys.com/tours/a1a-scenic-byway, to start your adventure.  We’ll be looking for you along the byway! Safe travels.

For more information, go to:  https://nsbfoundation.com/nb/a1a-scenic-historic-coastal-byway/