Located just north of downtown St. Augustine and to the east of the Atlantic Ocean, Vilano Beach is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets for beach-goers and nature lovers. The beach itself is drivable, so hit the sand with your four-wheel drive and travel for miles to find that perfect spot. Vilano is home to a variety of annual events, including the Dish N Fish, the Wine and Spirits Festival, and the Summer Jazz Social. While you’re browsing Vilano Beach vacation rentals for your next trip, start by checking out one of these nine locations.

1. St. Augustine, Florida

city hall
Source: Flickr / Steven Martin

A city filled with historical sites and things to do, St. Augustine is home to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Fort Matanzas National Monument. Play a round of mini-golf or take a guided eco-tour along the marsh edges. There’s an interactive pirate cruise, where you can live your life’s dream as a full-fledged pirate, or visit the St. Augustine Distillery and sample the award-winning spirits. The Colonial Quarter is another must-see stop in the city, where you can experience the history of the city through interactive exhibits and activities before heading back to your vacation rental.

2. Crescent Beach, Florida

vultures gathered at the seashore
Source: Flickr / amy32080

Just south of St. Augustine, Crescent Beach offers miles of beaches that are ideal for surfing, swimming, boarding, or shell-scavenging. Bring your own boat or rent one and set sail over the blue waters. Visit the shops along the boardwalk to find souvenirs or stop in a local cafe for the catch of the day. The St. Augustine Outlet Mall is close by for those who are in search of a bargain or meander through one of the local antique markets for vintage furniture and goods for a beautiful reminder of your trip.

3. St. Johns County, Florida

clouds above the ocean
Source: Flickr / Landon

Vacation rentals in St. Johns County places you in close proximity to the St. Johns County Ocean Pier. Spend your evenings with the family, enjoying miles of white sand and warm water for fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. The pier has a variety of amenities, including pedestrian ramps, a splash park for the kids to enjoy, covered pavilions for picnics, and bathrooms. If your family decides they want to go fishing, visit the bait and tackle shop at the pier, so you don’t have to bring bait and fishing supplies to your vacation rental. You can also find ice and refreshments all in one location, making this an excellent one-stop destination for a full day of relaxation.

4. St. Johns River, Florida

trees and blue lake
Source: Flickr / Daniel Piraino

The longest river in Florida, St. John’s runs from Lake George all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. This 310-mile stretch of water is a popular spot for commercial and recreational use. Ideal for boating, skiing, swimming, and manatee watching, this river borders 12 different counties. Visit the Blue Spring State Park and go hiking, or grab some marshmallows from your vacation rental and have a bonfire on the water edge.

5. Tolomato River, Florida

sailing boat at the river
Source: Flickr / Jon Dawson

Located in the heart of Ocala National Forest, the Tolomato River features the perfect vacation rentals for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The slow, lazy water and natural habitats make it an excellent place for birdwatching and hiking. Take a cruise along the river to see St. Augustine from a different perspective, or visit the GTM reserve for nine miles of biking for all skill levels.

6. Coastal Highway, Vilano Beach, Florida

long concrete bridge
Source: Flickr / David Ellis

The Coastal Highway runs along the Atlantic Ocean side on Vilano Beach and up the east coast. This stretch of highway offers vacation rentals with excellent views of the water. Visit the Vilano Beach Pier for fishing and hanging out with the locals, or take a trolley tour from the beach to downtown St. Augustine. For adults, go on a wine tasting tour, or stroll along St. George Street for clothing and gifts.

7. Anastasia Island, Florida

grasses near the pond
Source: Flickr / Caylin

Anastasia Island is one of the barrier islands near St. Augustine. Step out of your island vacation rental and take a short trip to the Anastasia Island State Park, where you can take the family boating or hiking. Visit the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park to see the lush gardens, or take a tour of the Coquina Quarry.

8. Butler Beach, Florida

beach front
Source: Flickr / Michael Kappel

Butler Beach is a popular stop for travelers staying in vacation rentals close by. This beach is home to the Frank B. Butler State Park, which offers a quiet place to observe sea turtles, go picnicking, or simply view the intracostal waterway. The beach gets its name from Frank B. Butler, a local black businessman who played an important role in the civil rights movement in St. Augustine.

9. Palm Coast, Florida

Eco park near the sea
Source: Flickr / Josh Hallett

Located near St. Augustine, Palm Coast offers 19 miles of beaches and popular spots for your family to enjoy. Go hiking and biking at one of the 40 parks in the area, or visit Flagler Beach to take part in boating, swimming or volleyball on the sand. The Flagler Beach trails are ideal for birdwatching, or you can stop by the Flagler Beach Pier for a day of fishing and people watching. The historic Princess Place Preserves offers a tour of a 1888 hunting lodge, plus you can stroll along the trails while bird-watching. If you are a fan of kayaking, sign up for a Ripple Effect EcoTour, which provides a captivating view of the coast.