How to Plan the Perfect Day at St. Augustine Beach Like a Lifelong Local

Remember when summer was just one long string of lazy days? You may be sitting at your desk right now, but maybe you want to get a head start on planning a perfect summer beach outing with your family. Go on, play hookie today – sunshine waits for no one!

Barney’s Beach Service

barneys beach service st augustine

First, call Stacy at Barney’s Beach Service. Stacy Barnes started renting beach chairs and umbrellas on St. Augustine Beach in 1992. Prior to that, he had worked for Panama Jack in South Padre Island, Texas. He offers you the ultimate in beach relaxation by delivering you a large canvas umbrella complete with two deck-style chairs for $35. You can also opt to rent for $30 if you stop by Holiday Isle Resort, (soon to be Guy Harvey Outpost) or the Hampton Inn Oceanfront. It’s a good idea to plan ahead for holiday weekends as he may sell out. He delivers from St. Johns county pier all the way to Dondaville Road.

“Being outside is what I love most about my job,” said Stacy. “And a close second is meeting all the neat people the past 32 years.” He has several returning vacationers who rent from him every summer. This type of work is not without mishaps. “I chased an umbrella during one storm all the way to A street, a half-mile down the beach. Another time a chair blew south almost to Ocean Trace Road.”

Barney employs five people during the busy months. He’s only a phone call and a few minutes away. He said, “If more people knew about Barney’s, the world would have a lot less plastic chairs in it.”


Pit Surf Shop

A photo posted by PIT SURF SHOP (@pitsurfshop) on

 Whether you love the land or the sea; find what you need to get moving at The Pit. Rent a bicycle, surfboard or SUP (stand up paddle board) for some family fun. This A street landmark has a full range of offerings for the water enthusiast. For those that have been wanting to get on a board, they offer a summer surf camp from 9am-12:30pm every Monday – Thursday until August 1. However, if you are wanting some personal attention, you may opt for a two-hour lesson complete with board and wetsuit for $75.

So, whenever you feel the need for a cool ocean breeze on your face and salt on your skin, then The Pit should be your first “pit-stop.” Not only will you find a full range of beach sports equipment, from bicycles to kayaks, to skim boards and body boards, you will find all the top lines of beach themed apparel and accessories.  Don’t delay, go get salty.

18 A Street


Grab a bite (to-go!) at Mango Mango’s 

Since 2004, Mango Mango’s has been serving up authentic Caribbean style cuisine, with an island experience on the side. The Worley family is all in with mom, dad, and both children being involved in the daily operations. Being just steps away from the beach, it is the perfect locale to drop in and order a sensational take-out lunch. How about a Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich basted with pineapple, papaya and mango juices? If you are a veggie lover, try the Vegetarian Wrap with black beans, avocado and cabbage. Order up, and walk next door to The Pit to rent your sports equipment while they pack up your delicious lunch. By now, all the pieces are in place for your perfect beach day. Plan to stay late and possibly have just one last special treat.

700 A1A Beach Blvd.


Enjoy a Private Serenade by Dusty Young

Dusty Young

Dusty Young is lucky to live only steps from the beach as he has a daily ritual that requires two trips to the sand every day. First, in the afternoon he rides the waves with his body or a board, whichever fits his fancy for the day. Then, he returns to serenade the sunset with his pocket trumpet. His original composition, Sundown Soliloquy is played from a dune facing the sunset. He was inspired to write this song after spending some time with a group of women who were working through difficult transitions. The song is an acknowledgement to their healing process. He then turns toward the ocean and plays “Taps.” A veteran himself, Dusty said, I play “Taps” to show respect for the fallen in the military, as well as all the brave and heroic in all walks of life.”

A musician since a youth of 11 years old, he played first chair in his high school band. He was often excused from school to play “Taps” for veteran’s graveside services. The haunting melody stays with him to this day and became the impetus for his daily ritual. His musical journey led him to creating the first garage band in his neighborhood in Idaho. Later as a young man, he journeyed to San Francisco in the late 60’s. There he had a front row seat to shows by Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. These iconic influences cemented his lifelong love of music. Today, in addition to his daily beach serenades, you may find him performing with a couple of friends around town. A private performance by Dusty is a lovely end to a perfect day on the beach.

 F Street

Meeka landed in St. Augustine in 2012 after zigzagging between Indonesia and South Florida for over 25 years. Her multifaceted life includes being an entrepreneur, a writer, and a mom. In addition to writing for numerous publications, she just finished her first book.