With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, both St. Augustine and Amelia Island offer plenty of relaxing water views. All along the waterfront are patios, decks and rooftops that offer the perfect vantage point to enjoy them. Here, we've rounded up a few of the best.
Cap’s On the Water has tables along the main dining deck and a beach with an old cedar tree that is a local favorite for kids of all ages. The cuisine pairs fresh local seafood with traditional Southern and Mediterranean flavors, but it's still relaxed enough to enjoy beer and oysters on the deck. The real show-stopper is the sunset over the Intracoastal Waterway.
Across the A1A from St. Augustine Beach, the Sunset Grille offers plenty of outdoor seating on its double-decker wrap-around porches and outdoor patio. Here, fresh seafood is served with Key West flair. The menu features award-winning chowders, fresh local seafood and signature cocktails—the perfect ending to a day at the beach.
Dine on fresh seafood at the Caribbean-inspired Hurricane Patty’s, housed in an old over-water fishing boat manufacturing facility. It's now a colorful, fun meeting spot with spectacular views of Oyster Creek and signature drinks like the Datil Smoothie and the Hurricane Category 5 Cocktail.
Beachgoers on St. Augustine Beach can walk right up to the Beachcomber Restaurant, the only one actually on this beach, for yummy street tacos, sandwiches and cold beer. The best part is that you don't even need to put on your flip-flops.
Tucked under the Bridge of Lions, the Beaches of Vilano is St. Augustine's best-kept secret. Colorful beach chairs line the shore, looking out over Matanzas Bay. Two tiki bars serve all manner of beach libation, from Rum Runners to the coconut-strawberry Shipwreck. Try the Datil Pepper Shrimp and Grits, made from St. Augustine's own incredibly hot pepper—it rates up there with a habanero on the heat scale, but sweeter.
You'll want the loafers for A1A Aleworks, but it is worth dressing up for these views of Mantanzas Bay. From the second story veranda, sip local craft beer, feel the sea air and watch ships on the bay pass under the Bridge of Lions.
"Salt Life," a simple phrase uttered on a spearfishing trip, has become the mantra for beach lovers and spawned an entire line of beach gear. Now found on bumper stickers and T-shirts everywhere, the brand has grown to include Salt Life Food Shack, a place where beachgoers can be as comfortable in flip flops as the next guy in loafers, and enjoy the ocean breezes with friends over frozen margaritas or fresh seafood.
Sliders Seaside Grill boasts beach dining with your toes in the sand. A sandbox and playground nearby will keep the kiddies happy during the day while waiting on mouthwatering seafood and burgers. Later, beach-worthy cocktails and craft beer are perfect for sipping in the tiki bar while local musicians provide a soundtrack for the ocean breezes.
The Sandbar Kitchen fires up a brick oven for delicious pizza but also serves up fish and chips or and juicy burgers. Enjoy them on the patio or right on the beach. Inside, find TVs on the second level for watching the game and a stage for live performances.
Try the signature broiled oysters on the upper deck at The Salty Pelican. From there you can glimpse the stunning sunsets over the Amelia River while sipping handcrafted cocktails or a glass of wine.
Ocean Bar and Grill at The Ritz Carlton offers direct access to the beach via a boardwalk over the sand dunes. Swimsuits are welcome on the patio, or reserve a luxury cabana and sip a Freckled Turtle—Amelia Island's signature cocktail—or a variety of other cool libations. The lunch menu features light fare and fresh seafood.
Hammerhead Beach Bar is where locals go to party. Next to Seaside Park, it's open daily from 10 am to 2 am. Come as you are for a drink and a game of pool or darts, or just hang out with a drink on the multi-level deck.