Parks & Recreation
COVID-19 UPDATES: For Information regarding St. Johns County's response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including closures, cancellations, and access to facilities please visit our St. Johns County Corona Virus (COVID-19) Response site.
Memorial Day Weekend Beach Update – Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest times on St. Johns County Beaches. This holiday weekend, Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25, St. Johns County staff is taking extra precautions to educate the public regarding safe beach driving rules and regulations, public safety measures, and free shuttle services to Mickler’s Beachfront Park and St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier. Memorial Day Weekend Beach Access and Shuttle Details
St. Johns County 2020 Summer Camp Program Cancelled – After much consideration and in adherence to CDC recommendations and the State of Florida’s safety guidelines, the St. Johns County 2020 Summer Camp Program has been cancelled. The difficult decision was based on the health, safety, and welfare of students and staff, remaining one of St. Johns County’s top priorities. St. Johns County leaders continue to closely follow the Governor’s Executive Orders and phased reopening guidelines in an effort to safely return to standard operations and provide services our residents enjoy. Staff is currently reviewing alternative program options that may be offered at a later time in the summer. St. Johns County apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and greatly appreciates the community’s patience and understanding during this time. For more information on facility opening updates and future programming options, please call 904.209.0333.
St. Johns County Reopening Strategy – Phase One
In consideration of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-112 outlining Florida’s plan for recovery, St. Johns County is launching a phased reopening approach in collaboration with the City of St. Augustine, the City of St. Augustine Beach, and local health care and law enforcement agencies.
The health, safety, and welfare of St. Johns County residents remain the top priorities in the development and implementation of the reopening strategy. Phase One of St. Johns County’s reopening includes:
- Beaches – Beginning Monday, May 4, all restrictions previously in place on St. Johns County beaches are rescinded.
- Recreational Facilities – All recreational facilities, including recreation centers, pools, pavilions, etc., remain closed and unavailable for reservations or rentals.
- Recreational Programing – All recreational programing, including open play, camps, and league activities, remain suspended.
- SJC Ocean and Fishing Pier – Beginning Monday, May 4, the St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier is open to the public with no access fee. All other facilities, including the pavilion, remain closed to the public and unavailable for reservations, rentals, or events, including farmers markets.
- Distancing and Industry Guidelines – It is recommended that the public continue to adhere to the CDC social distancing guidelines of limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and maintaining a minimum distance of six feet between parties. Guidelines regarding restaurant, retail, and other business operations can be found at www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
Letter from the Director
Dear St. Johns County residents,
Concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak continue to affect our way of life in St. Johns County. Many of us live here for easy access to incredible coastal and outdoor amenities, and now our ability to enjoy these features has temporarily changed. The County continues to respond to this health emergency, while maintaining access to our parks and ensuring a safe outdoor environment.
Across the country, most communities are keeping parks open while closing indoor facilities. Although we have closed beaches and recreation centers and canceled organized activities and events, our parks, trails, boat ramps, green spaces, and the golf course remain open. We will continue to monitor the situation and, with your help, we will keep access to these amenities available for as long as safely possible.
Parks, trails, and green spaces are an essential part of community health and wellness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has flagged mental health as a top concern associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. We all know that physical distancing will take a toll on our mental and physical health, especially during the stress and anxiety caused by these unprecedented times. Numerous studies demonstrate that access to the outdoors and opportunities for physical activity reduces stress and improves mental health.
We believe that parks, trails, and green spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. Please follow local, state, and federal ordinances and guidelines regarding physical distancing and the use of these spaces. We encourage all residents to also follow these recommendations:
- Refrain from using parks or trails if you are experiencing symptoms of illness.
- Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
- While on trails, warn others of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
- Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings and maintain proper physical distance at all times when participating in outdoor group activities.
- Observe the CDC minimum recommended physical distance of 6 feet when in the presence of others, or find an alternate location if not possible.
Local parks, trails, and green spaces have always served as places where people can find renewal and restoration. During these challenging times, these places are needed now more than ever. As our current environment continually evolves over the next several weeks, additional closures and service disruptions may occur. Please know that Parks and Recreation staff are working hard to maintain these spaces and keep them safe and accessible to our community during this time.
Be sure to visit our Facebook page to get access to a variety of online programming and activities that the whole family can enjoy. We all need to do our part and utilize parks in a way that shows respect to each other and public health.
Director of Parks and Recreation
We thank residents and visitors for their patience as we work to improve our parks and facilities for St. Johns County residents and visitors. For more information, call 904-209-0333.
Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp Open to Vehicular Access – The Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp is now open to one-way traffic as an exit ramp only. This ramp reconstruction project was accomplished through a partnership between St. Johns County and the National Park Service. The reopening of the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp restores beach access lost due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and worsened by subsequent storms. It will also improve response times for law enforcement and emergency services personnel.
Vehicular access on any St. Johns County beach is always subject to local weather, tidal conditions, and the amount of beach available to safely accommodate pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Due to these factors, the ramp may be impassible and vehicles may have to drive back to exit at the Crescent Beach Ramp. Please note that beach driving is prohibited on all areas south of the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp. With the opening of the ramp, the Fort Matanzas Beach Ramp parking lot is also now open to visitors. Daily driving conditions are posted to the SJC Beaches Twitter account and Facebook page, and the Reach the Beach mobile app. For more information, call 904.209.0333.
The Al Wilke playground project will begin April 20, with new playground install beginning shortly thereafter. The project is expected to be completed by June 1, 2020.
Ocean and Fishing Pier Gift Shop and Visitor Information Center Reopens May 22 – Check out the SJC Ocean and Fishing Pier page for details.
New Playground Coming to Armstrong Park – St. Johns County thanks residents and visitors for their patience during the closure.
Floating Dock at Usina Boat Ramp – The floating dock at Usina Boat Ramp is currently closed due to Hurricane damage and is expected to be reopened in Winter 2020.
St. Johns County Golf Course Master Plan Update – The St. Johns Golf Club is in the process of a potential Master Plan update that would include updating various aspects of the golf course.
Hastings Tot Lot is currently closed.
The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to a thriving local park system, the opportunity for our residents and visitors to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles, and the preservation of the natural beauty of our environment. Explore the many ways Parks and Recreation is making our communities happier and healthier by providing a place where it all comes together – a sense of community, an appreciation of history, and a respect for nature.
For more information about the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department, please contact our main office, 2175 Mizell Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080, (904) 209-0333.
SJC Parks and Recreation – Where everybody plays.