Many visitors to the state of Florida concentrate their attention on Orlando and the Everglades, never even realizing that tourism in Florida extends beyond the coastline to dozens of small islands in the Atlantic. These islands offer another experience of Florida, with vacation homes on Anastasia Island providing tourists the opportunity to visit Fort Matanzas National Monument, which contains a fort built during the era of Spanish colonization.
Classed as a barrier island, Anastasia Island is about 18 miles long and lies quite near the city of St. Augustine. Unlike some islands, Anastasia is separated from mainland Florida not by a mile or more of ocean, but by the Matanzas River. Indeed, portions of the island are so close to the mainland that they are considered inside the city limits of St. Augustine. Beaches on Anastasia Island include Butler Beach, St. Augustine Beach, and Crescent Beach.
The Fountain of Youth?
Florida has long been fabled to contain the legendary Fountain of Youth originally discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Len. Historical sources suggest that Ponce de Len may have landed on Anastasia Island in 1513, which leaves open the possibility that the Fountain of Youth is located off the mainland.
One of the joys of a visit to Anastasia Island is the chance to see coquina building techniques up close. Coquina refers to a type of coarse shell material that can be used like stones. The Spanish and the British both built of coquina here, with the Castillo de San Marcos a notable example of the technique
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