Visit Crescent Beach, Florida: Warm Waters, Soft Sand and Plenty of Sun
Beautiful Crescent Beach is just a short drive from Downtown St. Augustine and the St. Augustine jetties but the feel of the beach is so much more relaxed than many of the popular Atlantic Coast beaches nearby. The sand is pristine, soft and white with some shelly golden texture as you move away from the dunes. The water, a most beautiful shade of blue-green and you can nearly see the bottom all the way across the inlet. For a great escape from the hustle and bustle of St. Augustine Beach without having to travel as far south as tranquil New Smyrna Beach, Crescent Beach is the perfect getaway!
Crescent Beach Activities and Fun Stuff
There’s so much to see and do at Crescent Beach including windsurfing, boating, surf fishing, swimming and shelling. As the waves roll in down toward the Matanzas Inlet, shells of all shapes and sizes wash up. Don’t be surprised if you find sand dollars, conch and of course oyster shells in the mix. While there are parts of the beach that are rather shelly and tough on the toes, a skip to the left or right just 5 feet or so will put you in soft, white sand that’s like walking on sugar.
On the Matanzas Inlet which runs just behind Crescent Beach and is very easily accessible from the southernmost tip of the beach, windsurfing and boating are quite popular. In this area, the water is rather shallow and you can nearly wade all the way across—but look out for that ripping current nearby the bridge! During the summer months, it’s not uncommon for this area to look more like Lake Havasu, filled with boats, rafts and plenty of people just having a good time.
Surf fishing is sure to land you on a group of whiting, ladyfish, flounder or pompano. While fishing from the bridge that runs over A1A towards the parking area for Crescent Beach is a prime spot for redfish, black drum and sheephead as well as various other drum varieties of fish feeding on oysters, clams and barnacles along the sea wall. Night fishing in Crescent Beach right in the surf is also prime for catching shark.
Swimming in Crescent Beach is of course a popular pass time for beachcombers. As the tide rolls out there are often tide pools that are ideal for young children to splash and play in without the risk of surf or rip tides pulling them out. Many areas of the beach have very shallow drop offs so even for younger children or those who are not avid swimmers, Crescent Beach is ideal for swimming provided you’re not near the southernmost tip of the beach where the Matanzas Inlet meets the Atlantic Ocean with great force; the current is just too strong here even for the most avid swimmer.
Driving and Parking on the Beach
Like many of the beaches in Florida, Crescent Beach does have a span that allows driving on the beach as well as parking directly in the sand. At one time driving was permitted all the way down the beach to the southernmost tip by the inlet but many vehicles found themselves stuck in the sugary sand at that end so driving is no longer permitted this far down. If you’re visiting the beach with children, you may enjoy parking just before the beach driving entrance and then walking down—the kids will be safe from the traffic as there are no vehicles permitted at this end of the beach and the walkway, though rather long, is built out of wood and easy to pull a cooler, stroller or similar items along. There is ample parking along A1A as well as one of two parking lots on either side of the beach entrance path.