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10 things you need to see when driving Florida's A1A

Aimee Heckel

December 27, 2018 // By Aimee Heckel

By Aimee Heckel Travel Expert December 27, 2018

The sunrise on A1A

Florida's State Road A1A is one of the most scenic road trip routes in the nation. It runs along the most eastern border of the state, about as close to the water as you can get. In fact, pay attention to the weather when planning your vacation, because stretches of this route are known to close down due to tropical storms.

But when the weather is grand, the views couldn't be better. A1A is a beach-lover's paradise, because it hops from beach to beach. As a bonus, Florida tends to be less expensive than California (except for a few regions near Jupiter Beach), making this beach-hopping car tour both budget-friendly and super laid-back.

Catch a flight into Miami and head north, where you can hug the edge of Florida for long stretches, nearly all the way to the Georgia-Florida state line. A1A is by far the slower route than other north-south options, but making good time is rarely the point of a road trip, right?

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Although we could make a top-100 list of our favorite places to stop on A1A, here are 10 must-dos, starting in Miami Beach and heading north to Amelia Island.

Take a foodie tour

Miami Beach

Ocean Drive in Miami

There's tons to do in Miami (you could make a full vacation out of just this city), but a great way to start your road trip is to fill up here with a food tour. Miami Food Tours runs unique guided tours through the area, where you can experience local-fave restaurants, learn about the history, architecture and culinary scene, and chat with other foodies. It's a unique way to tour the region and start your road trip on a high note.

Go on a "turtle walk"

Fort Lauderdale

View this post on Instagram A post shared by SeaTurtle Oversight Protection (@seaturtleop) on Apr 27, 2017 at 12:02pm PDT

Fort Lauderdale may have a reputation as a party beach, but you can get up close to wildlife here, too. The turtle walks, via the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection Headquarters, are another way to spend your Friday and Saturday nights in the fort.

See these endangered species nesting March through October (maybe even see some little hatchlings) and learn how to protect these ancient creatures. Proceeds of these walks help rescue groups.

Live the simple life

Delray Beach

Delray Beach has plenty of open space

West Palm Beach will catch your eye, but first make a stop at charming Delray Beach. If you can schedule your visit to overlap with the Delray Beach GreenMarket (the farmers' market) on Saturday mornings, you can sip fresh juice and munch on locally-made baked goods.

Relax at Delray Beach , where you'll be surprised to find hundreds of acres of open space and water to explore. Then rent a bike and explore the nearby trails, and end your day browsing shops downtown.

Find luxury

Jupiter Island

Jupiter Beach in Florida

Jupiter Island is total luxury. This tiny town has a population of less than 1,000, but the homes you'll find here are the wealthiest of the wealthy.

Even if you're not looking for real estate, you can experience the life of luxury for one night by renting a vacation rental home in Jupiter Island. Spend a day in Jupiter at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and fantasize that you live in this exclusive beachside community, perhaps next door to Celine Dion?

Soak up some culture

View this post on Instagram A post shared by J.M. Stringer Gallery (@jmsgallery) on Aug 14, 2015 at 12:15pm PDT

The sand is a given around here, but duck indoors to cool off from the sunshine at the art galleries in Vero Beach. The J.M. Stringer Gallery of Fine Art features 19th- and 20th-century works.

And don't miss the Vero Beach Museum of Art, where you can see ever-evolving exhibits, experience family-friendly activities and perhaps experience a lecture. You can even see some glass sculptures by famous artist Dale Chihuly.

Catch some waves

Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach is a surfing favorite

It's hard to narrow down our favorite Space Coast beaches, but Satellite is renowned for its waves. Surfers head here for the famous north dune crossover, but even if you're just a "kook," you can still catch great views at Pelican Beach Park. Bonus: Satellite Beach has a popular dog park, for those traveling with four-legged co-pilots.

Gamble on a cruise ship

Port Canaveral

A view of bustling Port Canaveral

As you get to the northern border of the Space Coast, you'll have to detour inland up Highway 1 around the Canaveral National Seashore until you can get back on A1A. In the meantime, make a stop in Port Canaveral, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.

Grab a fresh-caught seafood meal at Seafood Atlantic and watch the ships sail from port. Or for a wild night, hop on a casino cruise ship and gamble on the water.

Clown around

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach Boardwalk shines at night

A classic activity in Daytona is to hit up the speedway to see a race, or the Daytona 500 if you're lucky. But the Daytona Beach Boardwalk is another family-friendly must-see, a carnival extravaganza right on the beach. Play games, ride the Ferris wheel and get your heart rate up on the roller coaster, before retreating to the calming waters, where you can take a refreshing dip. It's a fair like no other.

Blast to the past

St. Augustine

Beautiful Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European city in the continental nation. Because of the history, a standard city tour is always entertaining. Or perhaps visit Castillo de San Marcos or the Lightner Museum . If you can score a helicopter tour, seeing the region from a bird's-eye view is worth the splurge.

Witness history in nature

Amelia Island

Fort Clinch at sunset

The northernmost point of A1A is Amelia Island, which also feels like a living history museum. Especially Fort Clinch State Park , where you can see remains of a pre-Civil War fortress. Tours will teach you how this region played an important role in both the Spanish-American War and Civil War. Visit the small Fernandina Beach and end your trip with a night at Fort Clinch campgrounds.

Aimee Heckel

About Aimee Heckel

Aimee Heckel is the Space Coast expert for 10Best.com and a road trip advocate. 

Read more about Aimee Heckel here.

Connect with Aimee via: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Florida Rambler

Florida A1A: Best section for superb views & intriguing history

By: Author Bonnie Gross

Posted on Last updated: February 24, 2023

Florida A1A is an asphalt ribbon that follows the Atlantic Coast, sometimes hugging the beach, the length of this very long state.

There are lovely sections up and down the coast, but there are also traffic-clogged stretches where highrises line both sides of Florida A1A.

What is the best section of A1A? For beauty and history and its lack of dense development, the 30 mile stretch of Florida A1A between Ormond Beach and Matanzas Inlet is unsurpassed.    

Here, you can drive 20-some miles without a traffic light and find nearly empty beaches with free parking. As you head north, you enter a canopy of magnificent live oak trees that is a route through a Florida you probably thought was gone forever.

Beyond the scenic beauty, though, this area has so many interesting state parks and historic sites that you can take all day or several days to explore this stretch of Florida A1A.

Note: Sections of this road washed away during 2022 hurricanes but have been repaired.

Here are highlights of this drive on Florida A1A, starting at the south end at Ormond Beach.

Florida A1A and a pristine beach in Flagler County. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Ormond Beach, heading north

Ormond Beach is just 5 miles north on A1A from Daytona Beach, but has a small town vibe and a historic feel.

Starting at Ormond Beach, Florida A1A is also part of another fabulous scenic drive, the 34-mile-long Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail . Depending where your based, you can plan a route that encompasses them both. For this guide, we’re sticking to A1A, but highly recommend this loop trail if you’re in the area.

In Ormond Beach, there are two stops moments off A1A to consider .

First, a few blocks west of A1A, there is a beautiful public park at the Halifax River/Intracoastal Waterway  around the historic home of John D. Rockefeller.  The Casements , now a cultural center for Ormond Beach, is open for tours. Even without taking time to tour, the 1910 building is worth a stop because of the public park space with landscaping and fountains built between it and the river. It’s a great place for a picnic or a short stroll.

Second, Tomoka State Park is 3 miles north of the Casements through a lovely residential neighborhood along the west side of the Halifax River. Here’s a guide to Tomoka State Park , a good place to stroll, picnic, paddle and bike. The  Tomoka Outpost  concession at the boat ramp offers rentals of canoes, tandem and solo kayaks.

Florida A1A: Empty beach in Flagler Beach along beautiful A1A. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: The best beach views begin here

Once you leave Ormond Beach heading north on A1A, you only drive 3 miles before A1A returns to what I believe is its rightful place – right along the beach, with wide views of the dunes, sand and surf.

As A1A rejoins the beach, you come to the first of many opportunities to park and walk along the beach, Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park. Like many places along this section of Florida A1A, parking is delightfully free. The park, 1631 Ocean Shore Blvd., Ormond Beach, has bathrooms, benches and a short boardwalk with a railing overlooking the beach.

Beaches here are so hard-packed that walking on them is like walking on a sidewalk, making them ideal for people (like me) who love long strolls along the surf.

You’ll note that the beaches here look like they’ve been sprinkled with cinnamon. The coral color comes from coquina, a soft rock made of ancient marine reefs and limestone that was used to build historic Castillo San Marco in St. Augustine, among other buildings. (This coquina crops up at some spots: Look below for Washington Oaks Gardens State Park for a good stop to view these spectacular outcroppings.)

If you want to take a 1-mile walk from this park, you can reach the next interesting point along Florida A1A, the World War II watchtower.  (The watchtower makes a nice destination for a walk plus it has no parking, so this is one way to get close to it.)

Along Florida A1A, you pass this a historic World War II submarine watchtower built in 1942., one of the last of its kind. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: World War II watchtower

Most people whiz right past this spot, but if you like historic sites, it’s worth pausing.

Tucked along the beach at 2269 Ocean Shore Blvd. is a historic World War II submarine watchtower built in 1942. More than 15,000 towers like this were built along the coast (equating to one every 6 miles) but few remain.

These towers were staffed by civilian volunteer “spotters,” who were part of the Ground Observation Corps, watching for German airplanes, submarines and infiltrators. (Little known history: There WERE German spies who came ashore Florida beaches.)

You can’t climb the watchtower, but good signage helps you feel a little warm and patriotic thinking about the volunteers who spent hours here watching for the enemy 75 years ago.

There is no parking in front of it or across the street, but for the moment, there is a vacant lot on the opposite side where it seemed OK to park. (Well, we did, briefly.)

Florida A1A: Cinnamon-colored sands get their color from coquina stone. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: North Peninsula State Park and Gamble Rogers State Park

As you continue north on Florida A1A, you come to two more state parks. Their presence results in expanses of preserved land here, from the ocean to beyond the Intracoastal. (The Intracoastal Waterway is the Halifax River in Ormond Beach, but is the Matanzas River in Flagler Beach and points north.)

North Peninsula State Park contributes almost 3 miles of unspoiled beach. If you go west a short distance on High Bridge Road (which, incidentally, is the route of the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail), you come to Smith Creek Landing on the Intracoastal, where you can picnic and take the 2-mile-long Coastal Scenic Trail. There is no admission fee at this park.

Gamble Rogers State Park is a small state park primarily known for its beautiful beaches and campgrounds that are especially popular with RV campers. Admission is $5 per vehicle.

Florida A1A: Flagler Beach is anchored by the fishing pier, built 80 years ago and rebuilt after several hurricanes.  (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Flagler Beach

Heading north, you pass through the cool little beach town of Flagler Beach , a low-rise Old Florida seaside strip with some good beachfront restaurants.

In Flagler Beach, you can still snag a free parking place on A1A next to the beach.

The “downtown” is anchored by the fishing pier, built 80 years ago and rebuilt after several hurricanes. The pier was again damaged by hurricanes in 2022 and is will be closed for several years for rebuilding. This time, it will be higher, wider and built from concrete. Remaining open, however, is an outdoor bar and an indoor restaurant on the pier with outstanding views. Additional restaurant recommendations and details are in our Flagler Beach guide.

As you travel north from Flagler Beach, the Atlantic continues to be easy to view, and another good stop to walk on the beach or use the restroom is Varn Park, where parking is free. (We loved the pavilion, which looks mid-century modern, though we couldn’t find any information on it.)

Along Florida A1A, you can stop at Jungle Hut Park for a one-mile hiking loop through hardwood forest. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Under the canopy of ‘the Hammock ‘

After A1A northbound crosses the Flagler Beach city limits, mansions start filling the oceanfront side of A1A. In a few miles, a curve away from the beach takes you through the most Old Florida section of A1A, through a forested area called the Hammock.

In this section, A1A is lined with thick forest and huge moss-draped oak trees. There is a paved bike trail alongside the highway and several spots to stop if you’re looking for a break. (If you bring your bikes, I recommend using this trail to explore this stretch of A1A and the small roads that lead off it to the beach.)

At Jungle Hut Road (named after an old tourist souvenir shop), if you go east, you’ll come to Jungle Hut Park, where a 1-mile hiking trail loops through beautiful hardwood forest. At the end of that road, there’s free parking at a small beach park.

Similarly, 16 th Road East ends at the beachfront Old Salt Park, again with free parking and a spectacular beach, and Mala Compra Road ends at the Mala Compra Beach.  We especially enjoyed Mala Compra Beach because this is designated as an equine area and a local outfitter, Equestrian Adventures of Florida, offers beachfront horseback trail rides. (You must reserve in advance.) We loved watching the horses on the sand (where the guides also do cleanup duty after the horses.)

florida a1a a1a Mala Compra historic si Florida A1A: Best section for superb views & intriguing history

Florida A1A: Make a stop at Bing’s Landing

My best tip in this entire article may be to recommend Bing’s Landing at Mala Compra Road.

You wouldn’t know it from A1A, but it’s an exceptional historical spot with beautiful views of the Matanzas River. As you drive by, you might think it is just a boat launch with a big parking lot, which it also is.

But this park has so many things going for it, including a popular waterfront restaurant called Captain’s BBQ, which earns 4 ½ stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor.

The park also has shaded picnic tables and piers with great viewing spots for the Matanzas River, where it is common to see dolphin and the occasional manatee. There is even a short trail on the south end end of the park.

What’s exceptional about the park, though, is the visible archaeological site with excellent interpretation here. Under a big covering surrounded by an elevated boardwalk, you look down into the excavated site of the Mala Compra Plantation house, active from 1816 until it was burned down in the Second Seminole War in 1836.

Extensive signage explains who owned the plantation (the country’s first Hispanic Congressman, Joseph Marion Hernández) and provides background on the Seminole Indians. There is information on the enslaved people who lived here, but the treatment of this history falls a bit short.

The strength of the exhibit is your ability to peek into an archaeological site and the explanation about what was found here.

You’d expect an exhibit like this in a state or national park, but with minimal signage on A1A, many do not know it’s even here.

Mala Compra, by the way, means “bad bargain.” (Things didn’t end well here, so maybe it was.)

Along Florida A1A, you can stop at the beach at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park to see swirling coquina rocks along the beach. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is worth a stop

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park , which is just a mile north of Bing’s Landing, is one of my favorite little-known state parks.

There are two sides to Washington Oaks Gardens, quite literally.

On the west side of A1A, the park offers lovely formal gardens — ancient spreading oak trees, a meandering waterway fed by a clear spring, plantings of roses and azaleas and a gazebo.

On the east side of A1A is one of the most unusual beaches in Florida. There is barely a sign; the road to the beach references only the “Florida scrub” habitat adjoining the beach. But if you did your research (or read Florida Rambler), you know that the beach at Washington Oaks is lined with coquina rocks carved by the elements into swirls and bowls and all sorts of  fantastical shapes.

Read more about  Washington Oaks Gardens State Park , in this Florida Rambler story.

Florida A1A: The River to Sea Preserve is next to Marineland. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Marineland and the River to Sea Preserve

Just over 2 miles north, you come to a complex with a rich history where you have another excellent opportunity to admire the dunes and beach.

Marineland opened in 1938 primarily to film underwater scenes for television and motion pictures. Housing marine creatures, the facility was on the forefront of understanding the care and training of dolphins. After World War II, as tourists drove down A1A into Florida, Marine Studios transformed into Marineland, and became one of the state’s top tourist attractions in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today it is owned by the Georgia Aquarium and specializes in human-dolphin interaction. Here’s a Florida Rambler story about the history of Marineland.

Immediately north of Marineland is Flagler County’s new River to Sea Preserve . The main attraction is a boardwalk atop the sand dune bluff with excellent signage about the region. There’s a big parking lot (free) with restrooms, making it an ideal stop when cruising A1A.

Florida A1A at the Matanzas Inlet. With its high bridge and views of undeveloped beach and lagoon lands, the inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes along A1A. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Florida A1A: Matanzas Inlet

The final 2.5 miles of our recommended section of A1A takes you to the last great stop, the Matanzas Inlet. With its long bridge and views of undeveloped beach and lagoon lands, the inlet is one of the most beautiful scenes along A1A. It’s worth stopping here for two reasons.

  • There’s a free boat trip across the lagoon to visit and tour Fort Matanzas National Monument . The 1742 Spanish fort, a property of the National Park System, and the accompanying ferry is operating at a reduced schedule and operates Wednesday to Sunday only.
  • The parking lots on both sides of A1A give you access to the peninsula that wraps around A1A at the north end of the inlet. There’s a broad beautiful beach here and you can stroll along the beach and under A1A to appreciate the views of the Atlantic and over the waters of the inlet, with the small fort off in the distance. It offers a spectacular view at sunset and dolphins are often spotted fishing in the waters of the inlet.

The Matanzas Inlet marks the end of the most scenic stretch of A1A. North of here, extensive development around St Augustine has robbed the road of its original character or beauty.

We do recommend you continue into St. Augustine, the oldest city founded by Europeans in the United States and home to many interesting historic and natural attractions. Here are 10 things to do in St. Augustine for nature and history lovers.

On Florida A1A near Flagler Beach, traffic was sparse on a sunny December weekend.  (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

More about Florida A1A

Here’s a map of this section of Florida A1A

A group of businesses and residents are working to preserve this stretch of Florida A1A. Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve, protect, promote and enhance the 72-mile A1A corridor in Flagler and St. Johns counties.

The U.S. Department of Transportation designated the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Highway as a National Scenic Byway in 2002.

Here’s a guide to the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, an excellent addition to your exploration of the area.

All articles on FloridaRambler.com are original, produced exclusively for our readers and protected by U.S. Copyright law. Any use or re-publication without written permission is against the law.

This page contains affiliate links from which Florida Rambler may earn a sall commission when a purchase is made. This revenue supports our mission to produce quality stories about Florida at no cost to you.

florida a1a pf65elpdjh275573B5248866B63 Florida A1A: Best section for superb views & intriguing history

The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.

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Elizabeth Maxwell

Monday 10th of July 2023

Thank you great reading. Loved reading this going to Georgia in a month plan on taking A1A.

Bob Tramposh

Monday 18th of April 2022

My wife and I have been S. Florida residents for many years, and have only recently started exploring the “real” beauty of NE Florida. This article was wonderfully written and I cannot tell you how much we appreciate it. Very anxious to visit all of the places mentioned in the article. Thank you! Bob Tramposh

Bill MacDonald

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Great article... Hope people see, and read it... Most definitely a beautiful part of the state... Part of the real Florida.

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7 Must-See Stops Along Route A1A, One of the Most Scenic Drives in Florida

Great spots to sightsee, relax, and immerse yourself in nature and history along this picturesque road.

Town Square in St. Augustine Florida

Bobbi Dempsey,

State Route A1A in Florida is a north-south highway nearly 340 miles long that runs along the east coast, spanning almost the entire length of the state from just below the Georgia border to Key West . Among the best road trips in the country, it offers something for everyone because it cuts through serene beaches as well as some of the state’s busiest and most popular cities.

A particularly charming section of A1A is a 72-mile stretch known as the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway. This part of A1A has a slower pace – it’s mostly a two-lane road – but that makes it a great place for a leisurely drive. The byway offers relaxing beaches, state parks, historical sites, and some of the least congested and unspoiled areas on A1A.

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Here are some of the highlights you don’t want to miss if you’re coasting along the Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.

A dog being walked on a canine friendly beach in Ponte Vedra, Florida

Ponte Vedra Beach

Located near the byway’s northern tip, Ponte Vedra Beach is among the road’s most upscale sections. Known for its premiere golf courses, luxurious estates and fine dining, the area also boasts stunning ocean landscapes dotted by sand dunes, along with great kayaking spots. Explore the fascinating ecosystems and exotic wildlife contained within the more than 70,000 acres of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve . Your canine family members will enjoy a visit to dog-friendly Mickler's Landing, which is known for its pink sand and abundance of sea turtles.

The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine

Sometimes referred to as “America’s oldest city,” St. Augustine is more accurately described by history buffs as the site of America’s first continuous European and African American settlement. One thing’s for certain: This is a city with a rich history. Wander along brick-paved streets lined with buildings that have stood for hundreds of years – including those found within the Oldest House Museum Complex (adults: $12.95; 55-plus: $9.95) – or tour Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (adults: $15), the oldest surviving masonry fort in the continental United States. A few blocks off A1A is Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (adults: $19.95; 60-plus: $17.95), which has become a popular attraction (and photo opportunity) for tourists visiting the area. Need a break after all that walking? Catch some shade under the branches of “Old Senator,” a sprawling oak tree near downtown St. Augustine that’s believed to be more than 600 years old.


Fort Matanzas National Monument in Florida

Matanzas Inlet

Located in the central section of the byway between St. Augustine and Flagler Beach, Matanzas Inlet – which spans 300 acres – is the perfect spot to relax and recharge, as its beach offers mesmerizing ocean views. You’ll want to spend plenty of time exploring this part of A1A if you love nature or history. While you’re here, visit the Fort Matanzas National Monument , which features a watchtower dating back to the 1700s, and (if your timing is right) seize the opportunity to observe active sea turtle nesting areas at and around the monument.

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A woman at Marineland in Florida getting a kiss from a dolphin

Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Located in the town of Marineland, this one-of-a-kind “ oceanarium ” was originally created as an underwater film studio more than 80 years ago. Today, it’s also an irresistible destination for anyone who loves dolphins or ocean creatures of any kind. Peek out the porthole windows to watch marine life go about their normal routine – it’s like getting a rare view of another world. Throughout the park, you can see a wide range of ocean-dwelling animals, from sea turtles to sand tiger sharks, but the dolphins seem to be the undisputed stars. You have the chance to participate in a variety of exciting dolphin experiences, including the “Trainer for a Day” program ($349.99, plus tax, which includes cost of admission; participants must be 12 or older; bring swimwear and contact the facility in advance if participants need accommodations due to physical or behavioral conditions).

An old tree in Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Florida

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park 

Located just off Route A1A in Palm Coast (north of Flagler Beach), Washington Oaks Gardens State Park ($5 per vehicle containing two to eight people; $4 for single-occupant vehicle; and $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists or extra passengers) is unique thanks to its special combination of beautiful landscapes, wildlife habitats, lush greenery and centuries-old natural features. A great spot for a picnic, fishing, birdwatching or a peaceful hike – and it’s even a popular wedding locale. 

A sign at the entrance of Bing's Landing in Florida

Bing’s Landing

This 8-acre park has a fishing pier, playground, canoe/kayak launch and plenty of wildlife and natural beauty. A must-see spot here is the Mala Compra Plantation Archaeological Site , where you can get a valuable glimpse into an important part of Florida (and U.S.) history. The archeological site – accidentally discovered in the late 20th century when Flagler County was excavating property in the area – contains the remnants of Mala Compra Plantation, which was once owned by Joseph Hernández, the first Hispanic American to serve in the U.S. Congress.

A woman reading a book by the ocean in Flagler Beach, Florida

Flagler Beach

If your idea of the perfect getaway is chilling out in a laid-back atmosphere where you can listen to the waves from a bench on the pier while Jimmy Buffett tunes are likely playing in the background, this low-key beach town might seem like paradise. The locals are known to be friendly and welcoming, the town has a retro feel, the beach is gorgeous (with free access), and you’re not likely to find the noisy, rowdy crowds you sometimes encounter at other Florida beaches. Be sure to grab a bite at High Tides at Snack Jack, an iconic waterfront eatery that opened in 1947 and offers a retro, old-Florida vibe with amazing ocean views.

Bobbi Dempsey is a freelance writer who has written about a variety of topics including health and entertainment for AARP.org and  AARP The Magazine . Her work has also appeared in  Parade, The New York Times, Harper’s  and other outlets.

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From Beaches To Lighthouses: A Scenic Drive On Florida's A1A

Experience one of the most scenic drives in Florida along the A1A scenic byway, driving by its pristine beaches and historic lighthouses.

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Where does the a1a go, scenic and significant stops on the a1a in florida, what is the best time to travel the a1a in florida, where to stop for food on florida's a1a, what landmarks are there on florida's a1a.

Florida's A1A is a scenic road that spans 338.752 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and offers stunning coastline views. From the southernmost point in Key West to the northernmost point in Fernandina Beach, A1A provides visitors with a scenic and enjoyable driving experience. Let's look closer at the picturesque and significant stops along the way, where the road goes, the best time to travel it, and where to stop for food and landmarks.

A1A runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the Florida State Road system. It starts in Key West and runs north through Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Daytona Beach. The road ends in Fernandina Beach, which is located in Nassau County. A1A is a two-lane road for most of its length, and it is a popular route for tourists who want to enjoy the scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The A1A is one of the most scenic road trips in Florida .

The A1A has numerous scenic and significant stops along the way. The road runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, and travelers can stop at any point to enjoy the view.

Some of the popular stops along Florida's A1A include:

  • The Florida Reef: The only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It spans almost 350 miles and is home to diverse marine life. Visitors can go snorkeling or diving to explore the reef.
  • Daytona International Speedway: The must-visit destination for NASCAR fans. The track hosts the Daytona 500, one of the world's most prestigious races .
  • St. Augustine: The oldest continuously occupied city in the United States. It was founded in 1565 and has a rich history that visitors can explore through its numerous landmarks and museums. Visit St. Augustine on a vacation and check out its numerous historic sites and landmarks.
  • Kennedy Space Center: The Kennedy Space Center is the launch site for NASA's space missions (which people can watch) . Visitors can tour the Kennedy Space Center and learn about the history of space exploration.
  • Amelia Island: This is a popular destination for beachgoers. The island has numerous resorts and restaurants, and visitors can also enjoy kayaking and horseback riding.

Related: Why Neptune Memorial Reef Is So Much More Than An Ecosystem

The best time to travel Florida's A1A is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild, and fewer tourists are on the road. Conversely, the summer can be hot and humid, and more people are visiting the area. Winter is also a popular time to travel A1A, especially for snowbirds who want to escape the cold weather up north.

A1A has numerous options for food and landmarks along the way. Some of the popular spots to grab a bite include the following:

Beachcomber Restaurant For The Classics

Located in St. Augustine, the Beachcomber Restaurant is a casual dining spot with a menu full of fresh seafood and classic American dishes. The restaurant has a laid-back vibe and outdoor seating overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It's the only restaurant directly on the ocean in St. Augustine. Get served some delicious food and ice-cold drinks and enjoy new specials every day.

  • Address: 2 A Street St Augustine Beach, FL 32080
  • Hours: Monday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Ocean Grill For Seafood Lovers And More

Situated in Vero Beach (which offers plenty to do and see) , Ocean Grill has served customers since 1941. The restaurant has a charming, Old Florida feels and a menu full of seafood, steaks, and other delicious dishes. It also features an extensive wine list and a beachside bar.

Three Generations Dedicated to Service and Satisfaction! There is a Gluten-free menu for those with dietary restrictions.

  • Address :1050 Beachland Blvd, Vero Beach, FL 32963, United States
  • Opening hours: Sunday and Monday 5-9 pm Tuesday - Friday 11:30 am - 2pm 5-9 pm

Rusty's Seafood & Oyster Bar

The Rusty's Seafood & Oyster Bar, located in Cape Canaveral, is a casual, family-friendly spot with a menu full of seafood specialties. The restaurant also features live music and a lively atmosphere, making it a popular place for locals and tourists. Visitors can enjoy live music, it's also a family-friendly spot with a menu full of seafood specialties.

  • Address: 628 Glen Cheek Dr, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920, United States
  • Hours: 11am to 10pm Monday - Friday 8am to 10:30pm Saturday & Sunday

Red Fish Blue Fish

In Pensacola Beach, Red Fish Blue Fish is a waterfront restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The menu features fresh seafood, Tacos, and other creative dishes, and the restaurant also has a full bar with craft cocktails and a great selection of beer and wine. There are new events going on all the time, and the casual menu at Salt Life Food Shack makes it a spot to revisit again and again.

  • Address: 1006 Wharf Street (at Broughton) Victoria, BC, on the dock (Lat 48.424343° Long -123.370271°)
  • Hours: Open 7 days a week, 11am-3pm.

This is a seasonal counter service canteen on the pier. Red Fish Blue Fish is open from March to October.

Related: Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale For Culture Lovers: Art Galleries, Theaters, & Festivals In The Heart Of The City

The Salt Life Food Shack

This is a popular spot for seafood and beachside dining in Jacksonville Beach. The menu features a mix of traditional seafood dishes and more creative offerings, like sushi rolls and fish tacos. The restaurant also has a fun, laid-back vibe with a large outdoor patio and live music on weekends. It's a sub-culture beach lovers vibe that can be described as casual yet trendy. There are three locations in Florida:

1. Fernandina Beach

  • Address: 17 North Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
  • Hours : Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Friday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm

2. Jacksonville Beach

  • Address: 1018 Third Street North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
  • Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Friday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

3. St. Augustine Beach

  • Address: 321 A1A Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL 32080
  • Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Friday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Related: From Dolphins To Manatees: A Road Trip Adventure On The Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

Photo by  Lance Asper  on  Unsplash

Some of the popular historic landmarks and attractions along the way on an A1A road trip include:

  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: Located in Miami, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with stunning gardens and a 1916 Italian Renaissance-style villa. Explore the gardens, tour the villa, and learn about the property's history.
  • Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse: Located in Ponce Inlet, and is one of the tallest lighthouses in the United States. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument : This National Monument is located south of St. Augustine and is a historical fort built in the 18th century. Visitors can take a ferry to the defense and explore the grounds.
  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument : Located in St. Augustine, and is a 17th-century fortress that the Spanish built. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a captivating destination allowing visitors to experience over four and half centuries of history. It's the oldest masonry fortification in continental America, showcasing century-old evidence of cultural exchange between diverse populations.

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Discover Scenic State Road A1A On Florida's Atlantic Coast

Experience the beach lifestyle beyond the usual tourist trail, from fernandina beach to key west.

Florida State Road A1A , also known as A1A highway , boasts over 500 miles of stunning shoreline along Florida’s East Coast. From Fernandina Beach , near the Florida-Georgia border, all the way south to Key West , this scenic road runs alongside the beautiful Atlantic coast and passes thorough innumerable quiet beach towns and vibrant communities.

FloridA1A takes you on a virtual road trip around this magical gem in the Florida coast beyond the usual tourist trail, highlighting enchanting destinations for those wanting to experience the beach lifestyle , invest in a booming market, visit for a dream family vacation or celebrate an important milestone.

Experience all that this remarkable area has to offer; relax in a serene and laid-back atmosphere, create cherished family memories that will last a lifetime, and make the most of every moment. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

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A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway

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Elevation Graph for A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway

Sporting a distinct Spanish flair, the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway is officially made up of three separate state scenic highways — the Scenic and Historic A1A, A1A River and Sea Trail, and A1A Ocean Shore which link a string of dazzling barrier islands. This spectacular coastal drive begins near Jacksonville, in Ponte Vedra Beach, which is approximately 10 miles from I-95, exit 289 (Palm Coast Parkway). With year-round sunshine and the magical draw of the beach, almost every stop can be a day long activity, so if possible, plan on more than one day to take full advantage of this drive.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Ponte Vedra Beach has the distinction of being renowned for two sports, golf and tennis. The PGA Tour and the Player’s Championship are played here on the iconic TPC Sawgrass (A1) designed by legendary Pete Dye. Channel your inner Nicklaus, as the two golf courses are open to the public. As well, scattered throughout this drive are golf courses designed by the greats — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones, and Gary Player. If tennis is your game, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is known as the “Official Tennis Club of the ATP World Tour” and here you can play on pro courts or improve your backhand with lessons. Don’t worry — if lounging on the beach — or shopping is more your style, all that and more is covered in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Unplug and rejuvenate in unspoiled natural beauty. Traveling alongside FL-A1A, is the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (A2) . Protecting over 73,000-acres, the reserve is home to vast and impressive array of plants and wildlife including armadillos, tortoises, deer and alligators. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory path for land and water fowl, spot bald eagles and the rare roseate spoonbill. Pack an ample supply of water, insect repellant, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses and snacks to enjoy ten miles of nature trails for hiking, biking and on weekdays, (except holidays), horseback riding. Or, get in a kayak or canoe to explore salt marsh, mangrove tidal wetlands, oyster bars, and estuarine lagoons. There are three parking lots off FL-A1A with access points. The South Ponte Vedra Beach parking lot offers accessible walkways over the dunes leading to coquina sand beaches.

Learn more about the GTMNERR at the Environmental Education Center which features video presentations, a live aquarium, hands on activities and well-designed exhibits especially geared to children. Examine Indian artifacts, fossils and learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants or participate in interpretive walks. There is a small admission fee for the Center which supports conservation and outreach efforts.

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest continuously-occupied city and offers much to explore. Stroll cobblestones streets while visiting unique shops, cafes and art galleries. Or step back in time to discover a rich history by visiting these engaging sites.

Overlooking Matanzas Bay is Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (A3) . The fascinating bastion system fort was built between 1672-1695 out of coquina stone hauled from Anastasia Island after nine earlier wooden forts burned to ground. Explore the fort on your own with a self-guiding brochure or take part in one of the ranger-led tours. Don’t miss the exciting re-enactments by costumed interpreters depicting the daily life of the colonists and the ever popular cannon firings. There is an entrance fee valid for 7 days covered by the America the Beautiful Pass.

The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum (M2) is a stellar example of the early days in St. Augustine. The stone house built in 1798 by Spaniard Andres Ximenez is one of the best preserved colonial buildings in St. Augustine and features period furnishings and decorative arts. Once a boarding house, it was one of the few businesses acceptable for women at the time. Archaeological digs have unearthed ceramic artifacts and an intricately carved bronze cross from the 1650’s. There is an entrance fee and guided tour.

Continue on FL-A1A, crossing the Francis and Mary Usina Bridge and turn left to continue on FL-A1A before crossing back over the Bridge of Lions.

Standing proud and striped like a black-and white barber pole is the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum (M1) . Climb 219 steps to magnificent views and learn about the history of World War II in the nation’s oldest port city, the origins of the modern commercial shrimping industry, boat building, and hear the dramatic stories of shipwrecks and more. There is an entrance fee.

Boasting expansive beaches and sweeping views, Anastasia State Park (H1) is a beautiful spot for day use and popular with campers. Swim life-guarded areas, windsurf, fish or just relax and play in the sand. Hike along the Ancient Dunes Trail which travels through semitropical hardwood forest and crosses towering dunes, or take a leisurely cruise along 4.5 miles of beach. There is great kayaking on Salt Run, a coastal estuary between Anastasia and Conch Islands. Embark on a guided tour available through concessions in the park. There is an entrance fee.

The St. Johns County Pier Park (H2) in St. Augustine Beach is perfect for a sunset stroll, wildlife watching and of course fishing (license required). Enjoy the Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings until 12:30 and concerts and other special events throughout the year.

The tagline Life’s a Beach was never more fitting, as fabulous beaches dot the entire route. Butler Beach (W1) , or further along FL-A1A, Crescent Beach (A4) are both beautiful areas. Pop in for a quick dip or stay for the day. Access the beach via the wooden dune walkovers or drive your car right onto the beach. Having a beach umbrella comes in handy to provide much needed shade.

If you’re craving a more tree-canopied environment, you may want to consider a detour to the Matanzas State Forest (H3) or Faver-Dykes State Park (H4) . Take FL-206 to discover these two important conservation areas. The Matanzas State Forest protects the last remaining undisturbed salt marsh in the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Combined with Moses Creek to the north, these two areas encompass 16,000 acres — 3/4 of which are upland forest of slash and longleaf pine. The remaining area is wetland, bay and cypress swamps. These diverse habitats are a haven for wildlife and part of The Great Florida Birding Trail. A day use permit is required for entrance and can be acquired at no charge by contacting Matanzas State Forest. There are primitive campsites off Eagle’s Nest Road which require a State Forest Use Permit. Along with similar wildlife watching opportunities, at Faver-Dykes State Park you’ll find swimming beaches, fishing, hiking trails and camping. Pellicer Creek is a designated Florida canoe trail and on-site rentals provide what you need to explore the pristine watery habitat. There is a small entrance fee.

Continue south on FL-A1A. Gaze upon Fort Matanzas National Monument (A5) amidst all this natural beauty, it’s hard to imagine this was the site of conflict for land and power in the new world. Learn more about the intriguing history of the Spanish as they battled the French, British, and the United States which took possession of the fort in 1821. There is no fee to enter the park and the ferry ride, first-come, first-served, is free as well. Donations are accepted. The interpretive ferry trip to the fort will pique your curiosity. At the fort, stop at the Visitor Center, walk the nature trails and enjoy the re-enactments.

At Marineland Dolphin Adventure (A6) , you’ll find a chance to get close up — really close up — with dolphin encounters. Take one off the bucket list with a variety of experiences such as Touch and Feed, The Immersion, a 30-minute swim or Trainer For A Day. Advance reservations are recommended.

Discover amazing habitats of coastal scrub and coastal hammock at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park (H5) , which create shelter for a wide range of animals such as owls, snakes, and butterflies. Though called formal gardens, the plantings are extremely natural. Revel in the deep earth tones of huge maritime hammock, live oak and citrus trees punctuated with the dazzling colors of azaleas, camellia and roses. The park is great for bird watching, walking the nature trails, and visiting the lagoon teeming with fish (and fisherman). Stretching for two miles along the beach, don’t miss the unusual water-carved coquina rock formations created by a combination of shell, coral and sand cemented by limestone.

This drive is fortunate to include so many outstanding state parks. The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area (H6) at Flagler Beach is a full-facility recreation area, featuring the gamut of water activities that make an extraordinary day at the beach. There are shaded pavilions for picnic lunches, bike paths and launches for canoes and kayaks (boat and bike rentals available on-site). Short interpretive trails through coastal hammock offer stunning views and the chance to spot wildlife such as otters, bobcats, gopher tortoise and alligators. In warmer months, look out for manatees and dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal and winter months delight watching passing right whales. The park is also a great spot for tent or RV Camping. Note there is a per vehicle fee that requires exact change.

Flagler Beach is another nice spot for some swimming, surfing, beachcombing and strolling. Just off FL-A1A, it’s hard to not be drawn in by the inviting water and picturesque Flagler Pier. There is a small charge for fishing or walking on the pier. The beach is free.

A stop at North Peninsula State Park (H7) rewards with 2.5 miles of reddish-brown sandy beach due to the crushed and worn coquina shells. Located on The Great Florida Birding Trail and along the Atlantic Flyway, you’ll find many species of birds including osprey, great blue heron, cardinals, woodpeckers and the rare Florida scrub jay. It is also Loggerhead sea turtle territory, and in fall, many people gather to watch, marvel at and track the nesting habits of the turtles — from a safe distance of course. Take part in the wide variety of nature programs and activities. The park is free to enter.

The drive continues passing small beach communities such as Ormond-By-The-Sea, Ormond Beach, and Holly Hill before officially ending in Daytona Beach.

Daytona Beach (A7) is the quintessential beach town. From the historic Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier, souvenir shops, vendors for everything you need for a day on the beach, to food aplenty, museums, attractions and lodging, you’ll find something for everyone and more.

Hankering to explore more of the alluring Florida coast? Explore the Indian River Lagoon .

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Driving the A1A Coastal Highway

After a stay in Miami and a visit to Cape Florida , I took about a week to drive up the scenic A1A coastal highway . It only really took me about three and a half days, though I think it could be done in three days with a straight drive. I did a bit of backtracking and exploring along the way. Not included in that total is a day and a half detour into the Kissimmee/Orlando area, which I write about here .

Driving the A1A is really fun! It’s exciting to see the change in architecture and neighborhoods as you travel up the coast. Large chunks are skyscraper-laden ritzy beach towns but most of it is small neighborhoods with beachfront houses and overhanging trees along barrier islands. After a while, you start to form definite opinions about marine-life-themed mailboxes…

Miami Beach

Starting at the bottom of the A1A in Miami Beach, you are treated to a candy confection of pastel art deco buildings.

A1A Miami Beach

Shops, hotels, apartment buildings, car parks, even laundromats are in this streamline moderne style . Everything is painted in pinks, lavenders, and teals. I feel sure at night, it’s well-lit with neon. It strikes me as something between an old Hollywood movie and Bug Bunny. It’s a little cartoonish.

a1a travel

I dig it, though. Mind you, most of my pictures along the A1A are catch-as-catch-can, through-the-windshield shots on the fly. Forgive the reflections and odd angles.

Heading North of Miami Beach

As you head north on A1A, the heavily stylized and shorter buildings give way to taller and taller skyscrapers.

A1A Miami Beach

Continuing north, the high rises end and some very fancy single-family homes occupy the beach side of the road. A lot of these are behind walls or hedges so I don’t have very many pictures.

A1A Sunny Isles

To give you an idea of timing, I left my Miami Airbnb rental in the morning, drove down and walked around the Bill Bagg’s Cape Florida State Park for a bit, then drove up and started the A1A through South Miami Beach. I ate lunch in a beach park in North Miami Beach.

Hollywood, Florida

After feeling like you just left 1940’s Hollywood, California, you reach Hollywood, Florida. It’s almost a Miami suburb. There’s a boardwalk area here with shops and restaurants that face the wide beach.

Hollywood Beach lifeguard stand

The boardwalk is a busy area. It’s where you’ll find fashion photoshoots, beachside fitness classes, and acai bowls. BUT, if you head just a little farther north on A1A, there are short one-way parking streets with paths through to a more pristine beach section. You’ll find these north of Hollywood North Beach Park.

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It’s really beautiful here. This is where I housesat for a week before heading down to Miami itself. I regret I didn’t rack up more beach time. There is a large double-sided Little Free Library over here (that I got a really good book from.) And apparently abandoning cats is a big problem? There are signs all over the place about it.

A1A Hollywood Beach Little Free Library

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Continuing north on A1A, you get into the Fort Lauderdale area. Here, you’ll find these lovely little curly-cue walls along the beach. It’s one of the few places where you can get a really good view of the ocean from your car. And I learned that beachfront parks make great restroom breaks. (It’s not like there are rest stops on the A1A.)

A1A Fort Lauderdale wall

Just north of Fort Lauderdale Beach Park , there is a very tall orange and yellow building that looks VERY similar to the Hollywood Tower of Terror in Disney World. I also got one of my few pictures of the actual A1A road sign here.

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Pompano Beach and North on A1A

There are a few little (and not so little) bridges along the A1A and several of them are drawbridges. I had to stop for this one in Pompano Beach. It is kind of fun to see the tall boats pass by.

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Above Pompano Beach, A1A gets very residential with a lot more trees. There are stretches of commercial development and low apartment complexes but overall, it’s smaller beach neighborhoods.

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I ended my day with a disappointing dinner at a beautifully grand resort, The Breakers in Palm Beach which I write about here . Right on the beach, there is a shopping area and clock tower next to the scalloped sea wall right at the beach. It’s a beautiful area.

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After my meal, I drove a little farther along A1A to Jupiter where I stayed in an Airbnb for the night. It was too late for pictures then, but I went back in the morning to capture driving through this beautiful tunnel of what I think are banyan trees.

A1A banyan tree canopy near Jupiter

The A1A around Jupiter heads inland at times, as it does every now and then, becoming more commercial as it coincides with US 1/Dixie Highway. You could drive down along the neighborhoods on the beach but they dead end and you’d have to backtrack all the way to your entry point.

A1A near Jupiter Florida

But what this gives you are these lovely bridges from the mainland over to the barrier island when A1A heads back out to the coast.

A1A bridge to Vilano Beach

Fort Pierce

North of Jupiter, there are a lot of open empty places, eventually giving way to more subdued high rises than we saw down in Miami.

A1A coastal highway

The only thing I knew about Vero Beach before this drive is that there is a Disney resort here. I tried to visit but they wouldn’t let me in. I can’t really blame them during Covid…

So instead, I went to the public beach next door and had lunch from Beach Bites convenience store/sandwich shop.

Disney's Vero Beach Resort

Jungle Trail

While driving around Vero Beach, I came across historic Jungle Trail , an unpaved road just off Wabasso Beach Road. Of COURSE I pulled off to check it out!

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It’s a section of old-growth Florida jungle sandwiched in between subdivisions and golf courses. And completely delightful for the explorer-by-car.

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Pelican Island National Refuge

Partway along Jungle Trail, heading north of Wabasso Beach Road, is the Pelican Island National Refuge . Formed in 1903, this is the first wildlife refuge established in the United States. It’s a protected wetland and the site for 140 species of birds on their migratory route.

Pelican Island National Refuge

I didn’t see any pelicans or many other birds during my visit in late September. But there are lots of trails in the area, including a paved one next to a small lake.

Pelican Island centennial trail

Heading north from Vero Beach and up towards the Palm Bay area, A1A is mostly populated with smaller houses and apartments. It’s along here that you really get to rating mailboxes. (Sadly, no pictures of the cement manatees, dolphins, and mermaids.)

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Cocoa Beach

Since I spent some extra time tootling around Vero Beach, I ended up reaching Cocoa Beach in the late afternoon. Cocoa Beach is a tourist haven with lots of big shops. The biggest (or at least the most famous/most advertised) is the Ron Jon Surf Shop .

Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, Florida

Two stories of self-branded merch, surfboards, beach shoes, and every other beachy item you can think of surround a central staircase with a rocky waterfall. It’s much nicer than your average souvenir shop – you can get some good brands here. But still, I visited in college in the 90’s and it hasn’t changed one bit.

Detour to Orlando

From here, I detoured into the Kissimmee/Orlando area which is a little over an hour’s drive away. I took a day to ride the Disney Skyliner in the morning, a Winter Park Boat Tour in the afternoon, and the Icon Orlando Ferris Wheel at night. On the way back, I spent the better part of a day at the Kennedy Space Center then continued up the A1A.

The area around Cape Canaveral is open and wild, which is exactly what you want for a space launch. But it means the A1A goes inland for a while here.

Titusville is the small town nearest the Kennedy Space Center, and driving through on US 1, it has a very cute downtown.

Downtown Titusville on A1A

There *is* a weird portion of the A1A that goes through the Canaveral National Seashore, at least according to the map. There are roads leading in on either side, but in between, A1A seems to turn into a walking trail along the beach. I didn’t do that part.

Between Titusville and Daytona Beach, there are some stretches of empty road. This next picture was taken on US 1 (I think) above Titusville.

A1A above Titusville

Daytona Beach

Once you get up towards Daytona Beach, it’s pretty steady development up through St. Augustine. This is also a part of A1A that runs right along the beach, for once without buildings or houses on the beach side.

But in Daytona proper, it’s skyscraper city.

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Flagler Beach

Up toward Flagler Beach, A1A gets much closer to the beach. It’s really a lovely part of the highway.

A1A below Flagler Beach

I ended up stopping near Flagler for the night. Having left the Kennedy Space Center around 3 pm, I was ready for dinner by the time I made it to Flagler Beach. I had it at the Flagler Fish Company , a seafood restaurant a few streets in from A1A.

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They greet you here with complementary house-made chips and a crab dip that is irresistible. Then I had an Asian-inspired white fish with sesame green beans and wasabi potatoes. They did very well with social distancing, had lots of seating outside, and were SUPER friendly. I’d recommend it to anyone.

I was already a big fan of Flagler Beach , so I didn’t explore too much. In the morning, I got some shots of the pier, found an appropriate A1A bumper sticker for my car, and headed back north.

Flagler Beach pier

The beach in Flagler is a lovely spot and it’s here where you get to drive closest to the ocean on A1A.

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A bit above Flager, you get into what I would consider “normal” beach homes. Small, pastel vacation rentals right on the beach. Not high rises or super expensive private homes.

Beach home on A1A above Flagler

Washington Oaks State Park

A little above Flager is the Washington Oaks Gardens State Park , a BEAUTIFUL gardens that I’ve visited before. But what I didn’t get to that time was the beach access side of the park.

This is a beautiful coquina beach – meaning, it’s not fine sand, but coarse seashells in various stages of being broken down. If you walk north from the access point, it’s a rocky beach which is sort of fun and different to explore. I got a little obsessed with getting pictures of the waves crashing on the rocks. You don’t see that as much down in Florida!

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St. Augustine

Around lunchtime, I came to St. Augustine, the United States’ oldest city. I decided to visit Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth which is right on A1A. I’ll cover that in a later post (I can’t recommend it 100%, but it is fun.)

On a fun side note, as I was leaving the Fountain of Youth, I saw this pretty mansion at the end of the street. Turns out you can rent it on Airbnb ! And it’s pretty reasonably priced for such a historic home. You don’t rent the entire house, but the host offers two suites with private entrances.

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I did stop and take a peek at the venerable St. Augustine Lighthouse from the parking lot.

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I ate a PB&J lunch in the parking lot, toured the Fountain of Youth, then drove around old St. Augustine a bit before continuing on. Sadly, I didn’t get pictures of old St. Augustine. It’s hard enough driving down those old brick streets without also trying to take pictures. (And I wasn’t about to pay to park.)

Jacksonville Beach and the Ferry

Up towards Jacksonville Beach, there are more houses along the beach, sort of normal-looking. Through I did pass MANY very large, very expensive looking homes on this trip as well. Homes with service entrances and marble facades.

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To stay on A1A above Jacksonville, you have to take a short ferry ride . This was a surprise to me! But not expensive at all, around $7. And you can save a little if you download the app and purchase online, which I did while I was waiting for the ferry to arrive.

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Amelia Island

After disembarking the ferry, A1A becomes really lush and woodsy. You drive up through several state parks and through Amelia Island. I couldn’t see too many beach houses (or the ocean) from A1A but it looked to have several private subdivisions.

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Fernandina Beach

The end of A1A in is Fernandina Beach, at the top of Florida. There are several nice houses along A1A before it runs into Fort Clinch State Park (and a Salt Life cafe – I didn’t know those exist.)

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Technically, A1A continues inland to the middle of town. I went looking for an “A1A end” sign but this was the best I could find, at the intersection of a gas station and a McDonald’s.

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I ended up staying in a trailer in someone’s backyard at the end of this day (associate link, btw.) It was kind of fun! Very comfortable for an RV, I thought. Also, they had wine.

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For dinner, I ate at a place called Wicked Bao and it was amazing! Cheap for three bao buns and very filling. This is the only place I ate that I regret not being closer to on a regular basis. It’s down near an abandoned-looking part of a wharf but it’s SO worth it.

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And that’s it! That’s the end of my trip driving north on the A1A scenic coastal highway. I really enjoyed it. This is exactly what I wanted when I started traveling. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take more on-the-road roadtrips soon.

a1a travel

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Categories Florida

Tags Attractions Beach Florida Hotels Restaurants Roadtrips Scenic Roads

Sara Beth

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. – Jawaharlal Nehru

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That was really interesting! It’s neat that one road goes through all those different places. Also, I wonder what happened that was bad enough to fine anyone $5,000 for abandoning a cat in a parking lot?

Also, it was great to see pictures of St. Augustine again! It’s been a long time since we’ve been.

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There’s also a little segment of the A1A in Key West that runs between the ocean and airport better known as south Roosevelt Boulevard.

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Great article! I will be doing half of A1A in two weeks and will use your guide to find places of interest. I would love the link to the Airbnb mansion in St. Augustine. When I click above, it just takes me to the general Airbnb site where there are 100’s of rentals in St. Augustine! Thanks in advance if you can help me out with that!

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I’m so sorry it took me so long to approve your comment! (I had a root canal that got infected so I’ve been ignoring things for a while) My original link was a commission link – for a program that doesn’t exist anymore – but it looks like she rents out two spaces in that home. See if this link works – https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/163803491 Plus, I’ll update the post. Thanks for pointing it out!

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Wow I can’t believe you did not mention Deerfield Beach , boca ratón and del Rey beach They are all by the scenic drive A1A

I’m sure I didn’t hit everything worth seeing on my drive!

You made it to the end! (Hint: I love comments) Cancel reply

A1A Travel Inn

About a1a travel inn.

  • Motel Room You’ll have direct access to the parking lot
  • Freebies This stay includes Wi-Fi and Parking for free

Latest deals for A1A Travel Inn

* Total includes estimated local taxes & fees payable on check out.

Prices are based on 1 night, not including taxes and fees

Amenities at A1A Travel Inn

  • Free parking
  • Wi-Fi available in all areas
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Cable or satellite TV
  • 24hr front desk
  • Refrigerator
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Air-conditioned
  • Smoke alarms
  • Conditioner
  • Toilet paper
  • Private bathroom

Media and entertainment

Accessibility and suitability

  • Entire unit located on ground floor
  • Non-smoking rooms available
  • Tile/marble floor

Services and conveniences

Parking and transportation

  • Socket near the bed

Reviews of A1A Travel Inn

All reviews are collected from real users with a verified booking made with KAYAK or one of our trusted external partners.

Learn how KAYAK collects reviews.

  • Cold air very friendly staff/owner. (in 5 reviews)
  • diner right across the street excellent food. (in 5 reviews)
  • The room was clean (in 8 reviews)
  • No pool.no coffee maker no toiletries (in 3 reviews)
  • There were no inside chain locks for safety. (in 1 review)
  • The bed was uncomfortable (in 1 review)

What's nearby

  • Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens 0.7 mi
  • The Casements 0.8 mi
  • Andy Romano Beachfront Park 0.9 mi
  • Fortunato Park 0.9 mi
  • Cassen Park 1.2 mi
  • Bailey Riverbridge Gardens 1.2 mi
  • Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center 2.1 mi
  • Tom Renick Park 3.6 mi
  • Ocean Walk Village 3.8 mi
  • Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park 4.1 mi
  • Daytona Beach Boardwalk 4.2 mi
  • Daytona Beach 4.2 mi

Essential information about A1A Travel Inn

When to book a room at a1a travel inn, top tips for your stay at a1a travel inn.

  • If you’re after a cheap room at A1A Travel Inn, then you should consider staying during the low season. The cheapest deals can generally be found in November and July.
  • Prices can also vary depending on which day of the week you stay. For the best room deals at A1A Travel Inn, plan to stay on a Monday or Wednesday. The most expensive day is usually Thursday.
  • The cheapest price a room at A1A Travel Inn was booked for on KAYAK in the last 2 weeks was $103, while the most expensive was $178.
  • How long should you stay at A1A Travel Inn? KAYAK users usually book their rooms here for 1 day.

FAQs when booking at A1A Travel Inn

Where is a1a travel inn located.

A1A Travel Inn is located at 342 South Atlantic Avenue, 1.2 miles from the center of Ormond Beach. Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens is the closest landmark to A1A Travel Inn.

When is check-in time and check-out time at A1A Travel Inn?

Check-in time is 3:00 PM and check-out time is 10:00 AM at A1A Travel Inn.

Does A1A Travel Inn offer free Wi-Fi?

Yes, A1A Travel Inn offers free Wi-Fi.

Does A1A Travel Inn offer free parking?

Yes, A1A Travel Inn offers free parking.

How far is A1A Travel Inn from the airport?

A1A Travel Inn is 7 miles from Daytona Beach. A1A Travel Inn is 37.2 miles from Orlando Sanford Intl.

How does KAYAK find such great A1A Travel Inn hotel deals?

KAYAK scours the web for all room deals available at A1A Travel Inn in Ormond Beach and lets you compare them to find the best rate for your stay. Many different travel sites will offer discounts or deals at different times for rooms at A1A Travel Inn and KAYAK will provide you with prices from a huge range of travel sites. That means that you can always find a great deal for A1A Travel Inn.

Nearby hotels and places to stay

Most recommended, good to know.

A1A Travel Inn

Property building

View prices for your travel dates

See why so many travelers make A1A Travel Inn their lodge of choice when visiting Ormond Beach. Providing an ideal mix of value, comfort and convenience, it offers a budget friendly setting with an array of amenities designed for travelers like you.

For those interested in checking out popular landmarks while visiting Ormond Beach, A1A Travel Inn is located a short distance from First United Methodist Church (0.4 mi) and St. James Episcopal Church (0.7 mi).

A1A Travel Inn offers guests an array of room amenities including air conditioning.

The lodge offers a 24 hour front desk, to make your visit even more pleasant. Guests arriving by vehicle have access to free parking.

While visiting Ormond Beach, you may want to try some shrimp at one of the nearby restaurants, such as Hull's Seafood Market Restaurant, Riptides Raw Bar & Grill, or Charlie Horse Restaurant.

During your visit, be sure to check out popular attractions like The Casements (0.7 mi), Rockefeller Gardens Park (0.8 mi), and Ormond Memorial Art Museum (0.7 mi), which are all within walking distance of the lodge.

At A1A Travel Inn, your comfort and satisfaction come first, and they look forward to welcoming you to Ormond Beach.

  • Excellent 1
  • Very Good 6
  • All languages ( 11 )
  • English ( 11 )

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" Stayed in the corner "

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" All rooms are about the same. "

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" Call ahead. "

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

A1A TRAVEL INN - Reviews

Scenic A1A Highway Logo

Perhaps no stretch of highway reaches further into America’s history than the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway. An officially designated American Byway®, the 72 miles of mostly two-lane roadway navigate nature’s beauty, history, and true serenity. The land and waters on either side of the Byway have been part of the sweep of American history, nature, archaeology, and recreation for nearly 500 years.

From the northern boundary of st. johns county, the byway bisects the seaside luxury and golf mecca known as ponte vedra beach, and weaves through america’s oldest city, st. augustine; finally ending at the terminus of flagler county at a seaside park named for a true folk hero, the gamble rogers memorial park on flagler beach, the a1a scenic & historic coastal byway connects state parks, national monuments, stunning beaches, nature trails, boating, fishing, preserves, estuaries and all of america’s diverse people. recognized as a national scenic byway in 2002, the a1a scenic & historic coastal byway was designated as florida's second all-american road on february 16, 2021., discover 15 things to do along a1a in flagler county , meet our friends & partners.

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2021 National Scenic Byway and All-American Road Designation Booklet Here !

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Learn About the Florida Scenic Highways Program Here ! 

2023 tell us your passion community assessment survey, spoonbills & sprockets cycling tour.


A1A Merchandise

Order Here...

A1A Super Scenic Garage Sale

72 mile audio/visual tour.

Scenic A1A Map Image

Art aficionados will appreciate the many premier art galleries along the Byway. With nearly 100 different types of venues, visitors can view the art of many genres from international, national and local artists, much of it featuring nature, aquatics and Florida’s environment. Mediums include oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings; wood, stone, marble and granite sculptures; ceramic and clay pottery; black and white and color photographs; hand-blown glass, handmade jewelry, various textiles, and many other imaginative creations. Public art along the Byway includes colorful mosaics, sculptures, and statues.

Please consider renewing your membership. memberships support our mission to protect, preserve, promote and enhance a1a. thank you, donations may be made online by clicking the donate button below or send to:, friends of a1a scenic & historic coastal byway 2175 mizell rd., st. augustine, fl 32080.

For your visiting guests, stock up on our A1A Map Brochures and rack cards found in our area visitor information centers, business supporters, and Chambers or give us a call: 904-425-8055.

Download Our A1A Scenic Byway Map

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A Copy of the Official Registration and Financial Information May Be Obtained from The Division of Consumer Services by Calling Toll-Free Within the State.  Registration Does Not Imply Endorsement, Approval, Or Recommendation by The State. 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352)

Cleanup Day 2019

A1A Travel Inn

342 South Atlantic Avenue, Ormond Beach, FL 32176, United States of America – Great location - show map


Value for money

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A1A Travel Inn Reserve now

Located in Ormond Beach, Florida, this motel is less than 1 mile from the Oceanside Country Club and a 10-minute drive from Daytona Beach. It features free in-room Wi-Fi. Cable TV and a seating area are provided in the colorful rooms at A1A Travel Inn. Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Beach International Airport are a 15-minute drive from this Ormond Beach motel. The A1A Travel Motel has free parking and outdoor seating.

Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8.1 for a two-person trip.

Distance in property description is calculated using © OpenStreetMap

  • Free parking
  • Non-smoking rooms

Property Highlights

Top Location: Highly rated by recent guests (8.1)

Free Parking Available On Site

Saved to 136 lists


Select dates to see this property's availability and prices


Amenities of a1a travel inn.

  • Toilet paper
  • Bathtub or shower
  • Private Bathroom
  • Refrigerator
  • Socket near the bed
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Cable channels
  • Street parking
  • Accessible parking
  • Daily housekeeping
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Fire extinguishers
  • CCTV outside property
  • CCTV in common areas
  • Smoke alarms
  • Air conditioning
  • Tile/Marble floor
  • Entire unit located on ground floor

See availability House rules

From 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Guests are required to show a photo ID and credit card at check-in

Available 24 hours

Cancellation/ prepayment

Cancellation and prepayment policies vary according to accommodations type. Please enter the dates of your stay and check what conditions apply to your preferred room.

Children & Beds

Child policies

Children of all ages are welcome.

Children 18 and above will be charged as adults at this property.

To see correct prices and occupancy info, add the number and ages of children in your group to your search.

Crib and extra bed policies

Cribs and extra beds aren't available at this property.

Age restriction

The minimum age for check-in is 21

Pets are not allowed.

Cards accepted at this property

A1A Travel Inn accepts these cards and reserves the right to temporarily hold an amount prior to arrival.

The fine print Must-know information for guests at this property

Upon check-in photo identification and credit card is required. All special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges.

The property is not able to offer any accessible accommodations due to the limitation restriction placed by the property size as well as the original 1950's design of the building.

Guests are required to show a photo ID and credit card upon check-in. Please note that all Special Requests are subject to availability and additional charges may apply.

FAQs about A1A Travel Inn

How far is a1a travel inn from the center of ormond beach.

A1A Travel Inn is 1.2 miles from the center of Ormond Beach. All distances are measured in straight lines. Actual travel distances may vary.

What are the check-in and check-out times at A1A Travel Inn?

Check-in at A1A Travel Inn is from 3:00 PM, and check-out is until 10:00 AM.

What type of room can I book at A1A Travel Inn?

How much does it cost to stay at a1a travel inn.

The prices at A1A Travel Inn may vary depending on your stay (e.g. dates, hotel's policy etc.). To see prices, enter your dates.

What is there to do at A1A Travel Inn?

How close to the beach is a1a travel inn.

The nearest beach is 500 feet from A1A Travel Inn. All distances are measured in straight lines. Actual travel distances may vary.

The Best of Ormond Beach


  • Daytona Beach Surfing School
  • Daytona 500 Experience
  • Daytona Lagoon
  • Richard Petty Driving Experience

Convention Centers

  • Ocean Center
  • MOAS Museum of Arts and Sciences

Golf Courses

  • LPGA International Golf Club
  • Oceans West Golf Club
  • Congo River Adventure Golf Daytona
  • Daytona Beach Golf Club
  • Hawaiian Falls Mini Golf


  • Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Statue
  • The Casements
  • Museum of Arts and Sciences
  • Southeast Musuem of Photography
  • Sun Splash Park

Popular Areas

  • Lighthouse Point Park
  • Beach Street

Shopping Areas

  • Ocean Walk Village
  • Destination Daytona
  • Boardwalk Amusement Area and Pier
  • Volusia Mall

Stadiums or Arenas

  • Daytona International Speedway
  • Coca Cola Imax Theatre

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Marsa Alam je jedno od novijih letovališta u Egiptu , smešteno na zapadnoj obali Crvenog mora. Gosti ovde mogu uživati na prelepim peščanim plažama, tirkiznom moru i u netaknutoj prirodi nacionalnih parkova. Sa podvodnim svetom kao iz bajke, prelepim luksuznim hotelskim kompleksima i istorijskim spomenicima u okolini, svima omogućava provod po želji i obećava da nikog neće ostaviti ravnodušnim. Direktan čarter let za Marsa Alam nudimo od juna do oktobra – aranžmani: 8 dana (7 noćenja), 15 dana (14 noćenja) i 22 dana (21 noćenje) a tokom zime i drugi broj noćenja moguće je rezervisati aranžman preko aerodroma Hurgada .

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Turistička Agencija 1 A Travel Ponuda Leto 2021 Porodicni Hoteli

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City break 4 dana avionom individualno, turistička agencija 1 a travel „mnogo je mogućnosti, a mi biramo kvalitet“.

Turistička agencija 1 A Travel već dugi niz godina sa ljubavlju bira najlepše letnje destinacije i hotele za svoje klijente. Kao turoperator smo dobro poznati po tome što smo specijalizovani za aranžmane u Turskoj , sa organizovanim čarter letovima. Antalijska i Egejska regija predstavljaju idealna letovališta za porodice, zahvaljujući hotelima koji nude posebne pogodnosti, kao što je kategorija „dvoje dece gratis“, ali i za mlade koji vole da uživaju u letnjim sportovima i raznim drugim aktivnostima. Lepe, peščane plaže, izuzetni domaćini, dobra zabava i novi ukusi čine Tursku primamljivom destinacijom kojoj se naši turisti rado vraćaju svake godine.

Osim u Tursku, sa nama možete putovati u zemlju Crvenog mora, Egipat , i zaroniti u bistre vode ove egzotične destinacije. Popularni su i aranžmani za prekrasni Kipar , Tunis, kao i razna individualna putovanja za Maltu , Istanbul , Emirate, Jordan .

U ponudi turističke agencije 1 A Travel nalaze se brojni renomirani hoteli, te je zahvaljujući raznovrsnoj ponudi užitak gostima zagarantovan. Mi pažljivo osluškujemo potrebe naših turista, te u skladu sa tim, iz godine u godinu širimo našu ponudu i ispunjavamo i najzahtevnija očekivanja. Pružamo usluge rezervacije grupnih i individualnih putovanja, avio karata, kao i putnog zdravstvenog osiguranja. Ono što nas čini uspešnim, jeste naš dobro organizovan tim, kao i odlična poslovna saradnja sa partnerima u zemlji i inostranstvu. Zahvaljujući našem iskustvu, vaši snovi mogu postati stvarnost, potrebno je samo da zaželite.

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The Moscow Metro Museum of Art: 10 Must-See Stations

There are few times one can claim having been on the subway all afternoon and loving it, but the Moscow Metro provides just that opportunity.  While many cities boast famous public transport systems—New York’s subway, London’s underground, San Salvador’s chicken buses—few warrant hours of exploration.  Moscow is different: Take one ride on the Metro, and you’ll find out that this network of railways can be so much more than point A to B drudgery.

The Metro began operating in 1935 with just thirteen stations, covering less than seven miles, but it has since grown into the world’s third busiest transit system ( Tokyo is first ), spanning about 200 miles and offering over 180 stops along the way.  The construction of the Metro began under Joseph Stalin’s command, and being one of the USSR’s most ambitious building projects, the iron-fisted leader instructed designers to create a place full of svet (radiance) and svetloe budushchee (a radiant future), a palace for the people and a tribute to the Mother nation.

Consequently, the Metro is among the most memorable attractions in Moscow.  The stations provide a unique collection of public art, comparable to anything the city’s galleries have to offer and providing a sense of the Soviet era, which is absent from the State National History Museum.  Even better, touring the Metro delivers palpable, experiential moments, which many of us don’t get standing in front of painting or a case of coins.

Though tours are available , discovering the Moscow Metro on your own provides a much more comprehensive, truer experience, something much less sterile than following a guide.  What better place is there to see the “real” Moscow than on mass transit: A few hours will expose you to characters and caricatures you’ll be hard-pressed to find dining near the Bolshoi Theater.  You become part of the attraction, hear it in the screech of the train, feel it as hurried commuters brush by: The Metro sucks you beneath the city and churns you into the mix.

With the recommendations of our born-and-bred Muscovite students, my wife Emma and I have just taken a self-guided tour of what some locals consider the top ten stations of the Moscow Metro. What most satisfied me about our Metro tour was the sense of adventure .  I loved following our route on the maps of the wagon walls as we circled the city, plotting out the course to the subsequent stops; having the weird sensation of being underground for nearly four hours; and discovering the next cavern of treasures, playing Indiana Jones for the afternoon, piecing together fragments of Russia’s mysterious history.  It’s the ultimate interactive museum.

Top Ten Stations (In order of appearance)

Kievskaya station.

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Kievskaya Station went public in March of 1937, the rails between it and Park Kultury Station being the first to cross the Moscow River.  Kievskaya is full of mosaics depicting aristocratic scenes of Russian life, with great cameo appearances by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.  Each work has a Cyrillic title/explanation etched in the marble beneath it; however, if your Russian is rusty, you can just appreciate seeing familiar revolutionary dates like 1905 ( the Russian Revolution ) and 1917 ( the October Revolution ).

Mayakovskaya Station

Mayakovskaya Station ranks in my top three most notable Metro stations. Mayakovskaya just feels right, done Art Deco but no sense of gaudiness or pretention.  The arches are adorned with rounded chrome piping and create feeling of being in a jukebox, but the roof’s expansive mosaics of the sky are the real showstopper.  Subjects cleverly range from looking up at a high jumper, workers atop a building, spires of Orthodox cathedrals, to nimble aircraft humming by, a fleet of prop planes spelling out CCCP in the bluest of skies.

Novoslobodskaya Station

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Novoslobodskaya is the Metro’s unique stained glass station.  Each column has its own distinctive panels of colorful glass, most of them with a floral theme, some of them capturing the odd sailor, musician, artist, gardener, or stenographer in action.  The glass is framed in Art Deco metalwork, and there is the lovely aspect of discovering panels in the less frequented haunches of the hall (on the trackside, between the incoming staircases).  Novosblod is, I’ve been told, the favorite amongst out-of-town visitors.

Komsomolskaya Station

Komsomolskaya Station is one of palatial grandeur.  It seems both magnificent and obligatory, like the presidential palace of a colonial city.  The yellow ceiling has leafy, white concrete garland and a series of golden military mosaics accenting the tile mosaics of glorified Russian life.  Switching lines here, the hallway has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel, impossibly long with decorative tile walls, culminating in a very old station left in a remarkable state of disrepair, offering a really tangible glimpse behind the palace walls.

Dostoevskaya Station

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Dostoevskaya is a tribute to the late, great hero of Russian literature .  The station at first glance seems bare and unimpressive, a stark marble platform without a whiff of reassembled chips of tile.  However, two columns have eerie stone inlay collages of scenes from Dostoevsky’s work, including The Idiot , The Brothers Karamazov , and Crime and Punishment.   Then, standing at the center of the platform, the marble creates a kaleidoscope of reflections.  At the entrance, there is a large, inlay portrait of the author.

Chkalovskaya Station

Chkalovskaya does space Art Deco style (yet again).  Chrome borders all.  Passageways with curvy overhangs create the illusion of walking through the belly of a chic, new-age spacecraft.  There are two (kos)mosaics, one at each end, with planetary subjects.  Transferring here brings you above ground, where some rather elaborate metalwork is on display.  By name similarity only, I’d expected Komsolskaya Station to deliver some kosmonaut décor; instead, it was Chkalovskaya that took us up to the space station.

Elektrozavodskaya Station

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Elektrozavodskaya is full of marble reliefs of workers, men and women, laboring through the different stages of industry.  The superhuman figures are round with muscles, Hollywood fit, and seemingly undeterred by each Herculean task they respectively perform.  The station is chocked with brass, from hammer and sickle light fixtures to beautiful, angular framework up the innards of the columns.  The station’s art pieces are less clever or extravagant than others, but identifying the different stages of industry is entertaining.

Baumanskaya Statio

Baumanskaya Station is the only stop that wasn’t suggested by the students.  Pulling in, the network of statues was just too enticing: Out of half-circle depressions in the platform’s columns, the USSR’s proud and powerful labor force again flaunts its success.  Pilots, blacksmiths, politicians, and artists have all congregated, posing amongst more Art Deco framing.  At the far end, a massive Soviet flag dons the face of Lenin and banners for ’05, ’17, and ‘45.  Standing in front of the flag, you can play with the echoing roof.

Ploshchad Revolutsii Station

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Novokuznetskaya Station

Novokuznetskaya Station finishes off this tour, more or less, where it started: beautiful mosaics.  This station recalls the skyward-facing pieces from Mayakovskaya (Station #2), only with a little larger pictures in a more cramped, very trafficked area.  Due to a line of street lamps in the center of the platform, it has the atmosphere of a bustling market.  The more inventive sky scenes include a man on a ladder, women picking fruit, and a tank-dozer being craned in.  The station’s also has a handsome black-and-white stone mural.

Here is a map and a brief description of our route:

Start at (1)Kievskaya on the “ring line” (look for the squares at the bottom of the platform signs to help you navigate—the ring line is #5, brown line) and go north to Belorusskaya, make a quick switch to the Dark Green/#2 line, and go south one stop to (2)Mayakovskaya.  Backtrack to the ring line—Brown/#5—and continue north, getting off at (3)Novosblodskaya and (4)Komsolskaya.  At Komsolskaya Station, transfer to the Red/#1 line, go south for two stops to Chistye Prudy, and get on the Light Green/#10 line going north.  Take a look at (5)Dostoevskaya Station on the northern segment of Light Green/#10 line then change directions and head south to (6)Chkalovskaya, which offers a transfer to the Dark Blue/#3 line, going west, away from the city center.  Have a look (7)Elektroskaya Station before backtracking into the center of Moscow, stopping off at (8)Baumskaya, getting off the Dark Blue/#3 line at (9)Ploschad Revolyutsii.  Change to the Dark Green/#2 line and go south one stop to see (10)Novokuznetskaya Station.

Check out our new Moscow Indie Travel Guide , book a flight to Moscow and read 10 Bars with Views Worth Blowing the Budget For

Jonathon Engels, formerly a patron saint of misadventure, has been stumbling his way across cultural borders since 2005 and is currently volunteering in the mountains outside of Antigua, Guatemala.  For more of his work, visit his website and blog .

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Photo credits:   SergeyRod , all others courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission

Claudia Looi

Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

By Claudia Looi 2 Comments

Komsomolskaya metro station

Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.

Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.

Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.

The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Moscow subways are very clean

Moscow subways are very clean

To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow.   Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.

The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:

1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station  is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.

2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Revolution Square Metro Station

Revolution Square Metro Station

3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.

Arbatskaya Metro Station

Arbatskaya Metro Station

4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.

Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station

Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station


5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.


Kievskaya Metro Station

6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station  was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.17.53 PM

Novoslobodskaya metro station

7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.

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Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station


8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya metro station

One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station

9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.


10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.

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January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂

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December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?

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Florida scenic highway: a1a ocean islands trail, from fernandina beach to jacksonville beach.

By Lauren Tjaden

Where:  From Fernandina Beach in Amelia Island , just south of the Georgia-Florida state line, along Florida’s Atlantic Coast through  Atlantic Beach  and down to Jacksonville Beach , ending at the southern gateway near J. Turner Butler Boulevard.  

Length:  39.7 Miles

How to get around:  Car

Best time to visit:  Springtime is hard to beat, with perfect temperatures averaging in the high 70s, crowd-free beaches and events like Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival on Amelia Island, a tradition for over 50 years.

Fun fact:  You can raise a mug of suds with the ghosts from ten decades past at The Palace Saloon in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, the oldest bar in Florida.

For more info:  Check out ameliaislandliving.com/fernandinabeach/2017/06/floridas-a1a-ocean-islands-trail/ , as well as Amelia Island ’s and Jacksonville’s visitors’ services .

A1A Ocean Islands Trail promises a stunning drive. It jogs through downtown Fernandina Beach, winds through maritime forests and arcs over waterways, weaving a colorful tapestry of history, recreation and ecological wonders.

At the northern gateway to this byway, the cobbled streets of Fernandina Beach beg to explored on foot. Beyond quaint, this Victorian seaport village boasts over 400 historic sites and a colorful past populated by Gilded Age millionaires, pirates, bootleggers and shrimpers. Discover eclectic shops , refuel at one of over 90 restaurants, and make sure to indulge your sweet tooth at Fantastic Fudge , which lives up to its name.

A splash south of Amelia Island, you’ll find Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island. This utterly unique beach is a photographer’s dream, famed for the bleached-white skeletons of live oak and cedar trees that tumbled from the bluffs near the shore.

The route includes the Mayport Ferry , linking Fort George Island to the historic, commercial fishing village of Mayport across the St. Johns River. Be sure to stop and chow down on locally caught fresh shrimp while you’re in the neighborhood.

In Jacksonville Beach, SeaWalk Pavilion offers concerts, festivals and events with the Atlantic Ocean as the perfect backdrop. Check out Springing the Blues and other events here .

Places to Remember

Amelia Island

Amelia Island

Two Wheel and The Sand- Jacx Beach


Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach

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  18. Gate 1 Travel

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  22. Florida Scenic Highway: A1A Ocean Islands Trail

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  23. PDF TRAVEL CLINIC APPOINTMENT REQUEST Please email completed form to

    D. Charges: Travel consultation $80 Complex travel consultation $110 (travel to 3+ countries) a. Additional charges you may incur: vaccines, prescriptions, and/or lab work b. Verify your insurance coverage for travel services at UHC prior to your appointment. c. Good Faith Estimate and Fees can be found online where you found this document.

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