Beach Use Permits – Horseback Riding

Horseback riding on beachAnnouncements

Beach Riding Updates – Please read the following updates for horseback riding on St. Johns County beaches:

  • Mickler’s Landing – Suspended – Due to ongoing FEMA Dune Enhancement Project and erosion from Hurricane Ian. Although pedestrian access has been restored at Mickler’s Landing Park the access and beaches experienced heavy erosion is some areas.
  • Exxon Beach Access – Open – Beach access is managed by the GTMNERR is open and available for riding. All St. Johns County rules and regulations for riding on the beach will apply. Please contact GTMNERR for parking and access information: 904-823-4500.
  • Surfside Beach Access – Suspended – Due to challenges of parking lot and beach management activities.
  • South Beaches – Temporary closure due to Tropical Storm Nicole Recovery.

Horseback Riding on County Beaches

St. Johns County offers horseback riding on approximately 30 miles of our 41.1 miles of coastline. The County is responsible for implementing and abiding by a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A special permit (follow steps below) is required to ride horses on St. Johns County beaches. Permits are free of charge.

Getting Your Permit

6 Steps to Your Beach Horseback Riding Permit
1. Watch Watch the Protected Species Training slideshow.
2. Quiz Complete Quiz.
Please save quiz to your pc or mobile device to complete.
3. Choose Choose your permit level. See Permit Levels.
4. Complete Complete and sign application.
Please save application to your pc or mobile device to complete.
5. Submit Email joneill@sjcfl.us, Fax (904) 209-0620, drop off, or mail completed quiz, application, and any required credentials:

Jade O’Neill
3171 Coastal Hwy
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Attn: Horseback Riding Permits

On Mobile Devices, you may screenshot your quiz results and text to joneill@sjcfl.us.
6. Receive Permit It may take up to two weeks to process your permit.
Please review Planning your Ride.
Need Technical Assistance?

Acrobat Reader is required to view and/or complete the application on your computer.

If you have technical difficulty with the training, please email webmast@sjcfl.us so that we may assist you.

Click for Protected Species Training

Horseback Riding Permit Levels

Master Beach Equestrian Guide

    1. An individual with extensive riding experience on St. Johns County beaches and intends to ride regularly and frequently.
    2. Must complete Protected Species Training. Must provide no less than three letters of written recommendations from Master Equestrian Beach Guides, or written recommendations by the St. Johns County Horse Council, proof of membership to local riding club (if any), and/or some other proof of extensive riding experience on St. Johns County beaches.
    3. Allows permit holder to lead up to 10 individuals by horseback; permit is valid through 2027.

General Beach Equestrian Guide – Class I

  1. An individual intending to ride on St. Johns County beaches regularly and frequently but experience does not warrant a Master Beach Equestrian Guide Permit.
  2. Must complete Protected Species Training and sign completed application
  3. Allows permit holder to lead up to 10 individuals by horseback; permit is valid through 2027.

General Beach Equestrian Day Pass – Class II

  1. An individual desiring a one-time or infrequent horseback ride on the beach.
  2. May obtain necessary education and credentials from a Master Beach Equestrian Guide or through online training.

Planning Your Ride

North Beaches

Mickler’s Landing Access – Suspended – Due to ongoing FEMA Dune Enhancement Project and erosion from Hurricane Ian. Although pedestrian access has been restored at Mickler’s Landing Park the access and beaches experienced heavy erosion is some areas.

Exxon Beach Access – Open – Beach access is managed by the GTMNERR is open and available for riding. All St. Johns County rules and regulations for riding on the beach will apply. Parking is available in the fishing dam parking area, if parking is full spots are also available at visitor center. Please contact GTMNERR for more parking and access information: 904-823-4500.

Surfside Park Access – Suspended – Due to challenges of parking lot and beach management activities.

South Beaches

Frank Butler Park East 5860 A1A S. – Temporary closure due to Tropical Storm Nicole Recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Cost. Permits are free of charge.
  • Clean Up. There are no regulations that require you to clean up horse waste. Please be considerate though, and treat our beaches and parking lots the same way you would your own barn.
  • Want to know where to ride? Get our Map of beach access points and riding beaches.
  • Tides. Please begin your ride 1-2 hours prior to a low tide event and conduct your horses below the most recent high tide line. Tide Predictions Page
  • For more information about horseback riding in St. Johns County, please visit the St. Johns County Horse Council website.

More Information

For more information, please contact: Jade O'Neill, (904) 209-0619.