St. Augustine: How Long is the Commute to the Beach?

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

St. Augustine Map of Beaches

Getting to the beach in St. Augustine. Map from Google.

Here’s the most important question in St. Augustine: how long does it take to get to (or how far is it from) the beach?

I live near Wildwood Drive in what I like to call “The Unfashionable South End of St. Augustine.” I live there as a compromise with my wife, because she works in Jacksonville, and if we lived out at the beach it would add 10-minutes plus to her drive each day, each way.

I live about eight miles by road from the beach and it takes me about 12 minutes, on average, to get there.

I can either take the 206 bridge to the south or the 312 bridge to the north. If traffic is bad it can sometimes take 15 minutes.  Since I live about equal distance from the bridges (smack in the middle), this is probably the longest it takes anyone in St. Augustine (east of I-95) to get to the beach.

If you live west of I-95 off of state route 16, you probably take the Vilano Beach bridge, and your commute is probably still around 12 minutes. If you live near the Historic District you’re probably accessing the beach at Vilano as well, because the Bridge of Lions is so tricky to get over, which leads to my next subject…

The Worst Place To Live In St. Augustine If You Have To Commute To Jacksonville (Or Anywhere, Actually)

The absolute worst place to live if you have to commute anywhere is: Davis Shores, that pretty little neighborhood between the Lighthouse and the Bridge of Lions.

Before Davis Shores residents throw bricks at me I’d just like to remind them that I am a former resident. Davis Shores was the very first place I lived in St. Augustine when I moved here back in 1994, and I lived there until 1997.

And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind moving back.

But it is hell if you have to drive anywhere besides St. Augustine Beach.

I worked in Jacksonville at the time and just getting to the intersection of San Marco and state route 16 via the Bridge of Lions sometimes took 20 minutes.

And with random festivals going on seemingly every other day downtown, the streets may be blocked for any reason or no reason, forcing you to drive south to the 312 bridge. Which means if downtown is your destination, you still can’t get there except by going south and around. And it is always a surprise when it happens.

But Davis Shores was such a great neighborhood, it was almost worth it.

Just be glad they demolished the old drawbridge to Vilano.

I remember sitting there at 4 am one morning after deciding to take A1A home from Jacksonville after work.  For reasons God alone knows, at that very moment a tugboat tried to push a too-large barge through the bridge’s narrow opening and damaged it (the bridge, not the barge).

That meant a 20-minute drive north to Ponte Vedra over the Palm Valley bridge, and then back south on US 1 to St. Augustine. I was very tired when I crawled into bed, and not too happy.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking for your commute to the beach in St. Augustine! Email us at or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.


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