Vilano Beach is two short miles from St. Augustine
, just over the bridge, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, at the north side of St. Augustine Inlet and the Tolomato River. It’s a very picturesque place for visitors and residents alike. Vilano Beach has a great combination surf side and Intracoastal fishing hardly found anywhere else it’s also known for its great skim boarding.
Vilano Beach is has many natural resources. There are nine different wildlife habitats and 125 different kinds of birds that visit, nest or live here. The beaches provide nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles, it also serves as a wintering and calving ground of the northern right whale and has several public parks. The beaches there are beautiful; you can drive on them, surf or fish as well as all the other beach things people love to do. While on the beach you many spot a shrimp boat off shore catching all those wonderful shrimp they sell fresh to the local restaurants.
The town was set up as a Main street community meaning there is one main street through town and everything branches off of it. At one end is the Vilano pier and the other is the beach. In March of 2009 Vilano Beach Main Street was recognized as the Florida Main Street program of the month.
Henry Flagler attracted tourists from the North to his hotels in St. Augustine and they used the seaside community of Vilano Beach as their oceanfront playground. Then in the late 1940's and into the 1950's small motels sprung up along Vilano Road, many of which are still there today which gives this area a nostalgic feel. It was during this time that motel owners Newton and Wilda Haley bought an over six foot tall art deco bird for $100 dollars, painted it blue and called it the Bluebird of Happiness. They used this iconic bird to help sell OJ, attract visitors to the area and as a get-married-next-to photo OP at local Justice of the Peace on Vilano Road. The hotels are within walking distance to the beach at one end and the fishing pier at the other of Vilano Road.
A beach pavilion at the ocean with an interactive fountain is a one end of Vilano Road and there is a matching pavilion at the fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway at either end. They are made it a style that combines art deco moderne and Florida vernacular.
Vilano Beach may be out of it’s heyday but it’s still at great little stop that allows you to take a look into a different era. The beaches are great, the pier is a must see if only for the view and the dolphin art on the arches above it and with historic St. Augustine right over the bridge, your family won’t run out of things to do.