Vilano Beach, FL: Things to Do and Where to Eat, Drink & Stay

Ready to take a trip to sunny Florida? Start planning some rest and relaxation at your next favorite vacation destination: Vilano Beach, FL. Located along Florida’s beautiful Atlantic Coast, Vilano Beach offers plenty, from beautiful beaches to luxury hotel stays. With so much to see & do, this Northeast Florida getaway belongs on your Southeast USA bucket list.

Located on the northern end of St. Augustine, Vilano Beach is wedged between the Tolomato River and the Atlantic Ocean—with plenty to do in between. The beach town is known for its retro Art Deco tiles, fishing pier, boardwalk, restaurants, wildlife, and pristine beaches. Thanks to its many kid-friendly attractions, Vilano Beach is also a great spot for a fun-filled Florida family vacation.

Ready to get away for a day trip or looking to plan an entire vacation? Check out all that Vilano Beach, FL, offers with this complete guide for travelers.

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Things to do in Vilano Beach, FL

Vilano Beach Fishing Pier

Looking to start your vacation with fishing, sunset viewing, or people-watching with a beautiful ocean backdrop? The Vilano Beach Fishing Pier is the perfect spot to kick things off. In line with Vilano Beach’s Art Deco theme, the famous fishing pier has a retro look and feel, complete with dolphin sculptures.

Vilano Beach Fishing Pier

Be sure to pack your fishing gear: Vilano Beach Fishing Pier is the perfect place to cast out your fishing rod. Locals often report catching flounder, redfish, trout, and even sharks from the pier.

If fishing isn’t up your alley, there’s still plenty of bench space on the pier to take in its beautiful sunsets. You can even catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming off the Atlantic coast!

Before you leave, don’t forget to take a picture with the infamous fun-loving “bluebird of happiness” statue welcoming all visitors. 

Red Boat Water Tours

Enjoying the waters from the pier not enough to satisfy your itch? Book yourself onto a tour with Red Boat Water Tours. The family-run business, owned and operated by Captain Tony Palesotti and his wife Jennifer, offers various boat tours exploring the Atlantic waters. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find a ride that fits your agenda.

Traveling to Vilano Beach with kids? Pick the family-friendly Dolphin Odyssey & Sightseeing Tour to see these beautiful sea creatures in their natural habitat.

If you’re looking to let loose, book an adults-only Sunset BYOB Cruise. You’ll have the chance to unwind and enjoy the setting sun over the coast with a drink in hand. Red Boat Water Tours also offers seasonal Christmas tours as well as private cruises.

Prices start at $29 and vary by tour. Be sure to book in advance: With the company’s incredible service and friendly tour guides, there’s always a waiting list.

Florida Water Tours

Want to soak up even more stunning views of the Florida coastline from the water? Florida Water Tours is another fantastic option around Vilano Beach. This new boat touring company owns two incredible pontoons: the Osprey and the Island Breeze. 

Florida Water Tours offers a variety of boat tours including the Dolphin & Wildlife Adventure, the Sunset Cruise, the Wine Tasting Cruise, and the Full Moon Cruise. Each cruise has its own theme and caters to travelers of all types—both young and adult, family and couples. Tours start at $19 and are all at least 75 minutes long, with most clocking in at an hour and a half. 

They even offer non-profit tours including Educational Tours for the youth, the Community Science Tour, and even a Water Warriors Summer Camp.

Vilano Beach Nature Boardwalk

Need to unwind after a day of fishing on the pier? Spend some time exploring the Vilano Beach Nature Boardwalk. Located adjacent to the Coastal Hwy, the boardwalk is the perfect scenic bypass to enjoy a peaceful stroll with the family.

Vilano Beach Nature Boardwalk

At the Vilano Beach Nature Boardwalk, you can enjoy the surrounding natural wildlife, including a marsh, and the nearby beach. The wooden boardwalk contains unique and captivating mosaic art pieces. Enjoy the mosaics as you enjoy the 30-minute trek through the beautiful natural setting.

North Beach Park

Looking to soak up some sun and enjoy the sandy shores?Head over to North Beach Park. At this fantastic Vilano Beach seaside destination, you’ll get everything from fishing activities and sunbathing to water sports and swimming.

North Beach Park is a fantastic option for a fun family outing around Vilano Beach. Spend a day playing with the kids in the sand on its quiet, clean family-friendly beaches. After soaking up the sandy shores, dig into its amenities, including a beach pavilion, picnic tables, complimentary beach grills, and a playground for the little ones.

RELATED: Top-Rated St. Augustine Beaches

Across the bridge, North Beach Park offers convenient beach parking. You’ll get easy beach access, just a quick highway walkover away.

Castle Otttis

One of the coolest places to visit around St. Augustine, Castle Otttis is a must-see on your Vilano Beach trip. Completed in 1991, the castle was constructed as an impression of a 1,000-year-old Irish castle. With the help of historians from Florida’s Catholic Diocese, the interior was also built to resemble Ireland’s early Christian churches. 

Castle Otttis rises above 50 feet tall above North Vilano Beach. The interior features eight staircases, several pews, an altar, a Bishop’s chair, 88 glassless windows, and several ancient-looking rooms to explore. The castle was not constructed for any commercial or touristic purposes, but instead as an expression of art. 

If you want to visit Castle Otttis, be sure to contact the owner ahead of time. The attraction can only be visited by appointment.

Serenata Beach Club

Looking for a more luxurious stay around St. Augustine? Take a small trip further north to Ponte Vedra Beach for a stay at the Serenata Beach Club. This private beach club offers weekly stays (and longer), affording its members access to its luxurious facilities and amenities. 

Visiting members are given 24-hour access to a private beach and exclusive oceanfront restaurants and bars, offering the freshest seafood and highest-quality fine-dining options. When visiting the private beach, the helpful staff will provide guests with umbrellas, towels, and chairs.

With spa services, kid’s activities, and social events, Serenata Beach Club is an exclusive and luxury option for you and your family. Visitors can also take advantage of an adults-only pool or enjoy the family pool with the children.

Where to eat & drink

Besides great beaches and fun activities for the family, Vilano Beach offers several excellent restaurants and high-quality places to eat and drink.

Cap’s on the Water is one of the more upscale dining options in Vilano Beach. With several cocktail favorites, a variety of draft beers, and a large selection of wine, drink options at Cap’s on the Water are plentiful. Dinner selections include seafood options such as the well-reviewed grouper, along with the flounder, salmon, and the fresh catch of the day. 

Another fine dining option with outdoor seating, The Reef is one of the best-reviewed and favorite restaurants in the Vilano Beach area. Located on the coastline, The Reef offers guests fresh food options and a fun atmosphere. Along with its long list of house cocktails, make sure to try the shrimp and lobster risotto or the Grilled Seafood Trio, two of the tastiest items on the dinner menu. 

For a more laid-back experience, head on over to Aunt Kate’s. Located just a few blocks south of Cap’s on the Water, Aunt Kate’s has been serving traditional American cuisine, with a focus on family dining, for over 100 years. With a full bar and offerings like meatloaf, grilled barbeque chicken, traditional appetizers, and seafood, Aunt Kate’s is the perfect family outing after a long day on one of Vilano’s beautiful beaches. 

Beaches at Vilano is a seafood restaurant option located on the water’s edge. Diners can dig their toes in the sand while enjoying a signature cocktail and one of its many menu items. Beaches at Vilano is known for its great service and even offers live music entertainment.

On the mainland in St. Augustine, Kingfish Grill on the Water is another excellent seafood restaurant option. Located in a harbor dock, the outside dining offers beautiful, scenic waterfront views in a casual setting with delicious food and drink options.

Known for its comfortable ambiance, Kingfish Grill offers sushi, mahi, and oysters. Be sure to try the Cry No Mas sushi or the Error in Judgement sushi. Be sure to get there early: The restaurant can get pretty busy at peak dining times.

Where to stay

Ocean Sands Beach Inn

Ocean Sands Beach Inn

Across the road from the seashore, the Ocean Sands Beach Inn is the perfect spot for a relaxing holiday. Chill out on your private balcony before taking a dip in the saltwater mineral pool to relax and cool down from the hot Northeast Florida sun.

Hampton Inn & Suites Vilano Beach

Hampton Inn & Suites Vilano Beach

Not far from the shores, the Hampton Inn & Suites delivers spacious & comfortable rooms. Upgrade to one of the deluxe rooms to unwind with a drink on your own private balcony. To take relaxation to the next level dive into the outdoor pool or sweat out tropical cocktails in the fitness center.

Holiday Inn Express Vilano Beach

Holiday Inn Express Vilano Beach

Indulge in simple comforts with a stay at this popular Holiday Inn Express. Rooms are modern and comfortable, offering everything you need for a relaxing seaside Florida vacation. Extra amenities include a fitness center, indoor pool, free parking, and a daily buffet breakfast.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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