Not Your Average Sight Seeing in St. Augustine

By Molly Gadawski

If there’s ever a day where walking down St. George Street and visiting your favorite local coffee shop just doesn’t hit the spot, St. Augustine has so much more to offer in terms of adventuring outdoors and sightseeing than you may know.

The first days of December up until the very last day of March marks the span of the whale watching season. These four months allow those living along the Atlantic coast between Jacksonville, Florida and Cape Canaveral, Florida to spot the biggest endangered mammal in the state; the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Frank Gromling, a resident of North Flagler Beach writes for FloridaLive as a Coastal View columnist. Gromling thinks this time of the year is best for seeing whales.

“February seems to be the best month for whale sightings.”

Gromling has spent his time writing, adventuring and volunteering as project assistant in efforts of reviving the population of the North Atlantic Right Whale, and is also the founder and publisher of Ocean Publishing, a traditional publishing house in Flagler Beach, Florida, that specializes in nonfiction books about marine life, nature, environment, and conservation, per Flagler Live.

Fishing piers are one of the best locations to seat yourself at when keeping an eye out for the 46-foot long Right Whale, so consider yourself lucky to be living in Northern Florida where there are four picture perfect piers to venture out on.

For Flagler College students and beach lovers, the St. Augustine Beach Pier is the closest opportunity available for whale watching.

Bill DeFeo, writer and drone footage blogger takes advantage of the opportunities at the St. Augustine Beach Pier with his drone. He enjoys making this available to his followers online.

“I like starting my morning off by going out onto the beach with my drone and livestreaming the sunrises on my Facebook page that has over 15,000 followers,”DeFeo said.

 DeFeo was in the right place at the right time on Saturday, Feb. 8th, 2020 when he was using his drone to try and capture the beauty of the Snow Moon that took place over the weekend and illuminated the night sky.

It was then that he was “able to capture about a three-minute-long video of a Right Whale off of St. Augustine Beach.”

If you’re down to do a little driving to make your whale watching experience worthwhile make sure to grab your binoculars and head straight down A1A to Flagler Beach.

It’s pier is one of the better locations you can bet on spotting not only Right Whales, but sharks, dolphins and manatees as well. This is because the pier is 800 feet long and in a prime position for all marine animals passing by.

A bit farther down A1A after leaving Flagler Beach, you’ll come across Daytona Beach which offers two different piers and locations that are optimal for gazing out on the horizon and spotting marine fish and mammals.

Daytona Beach Shores is home to the Sunglow pier; great for fishing and whale watching as reported by its frequent beach goers. The second pier in the Daytona Beach area is the Main Street Pier, where you can find Crabby Joe’s Restaurant along the boardwalk and grab a bite to eat while overlooking the ocean and periodically looking out for the Right Whales that come by every so often.

Many of the piers and good locations for whale watching are accompanied by other tourist attractions such as boardwalks with shops or restaurants. With that being said, whale watching is an activity that can brighten up the cloudy overcast winter days here in St. Augustine and it’s something that is enjoyable for people of all ages.

More of Bill DeFeo’s content can be found on his website, where he regularly uploads the sunrises and sunsets, along with his occasional whale sightings and other inspirational posts.

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