Historic Waters Stay Popular

Florida’s First Coast’s natural history and beauty

By Morgan Saltz

Coined in the 1980s for marketing purposes to attract tourism, Florida’s “First Coast” refers the northeastern stretch of the state hugging Georgia and the Atlantic Ocean, which was one of the first locations to be colonized by the Spanish.

The First Coast must have been a conquistador’s dream—the intricate water ways and expansive Atlantic coast would have made it easy to navigate new waters, explore new territories and still remain close to any ally ships arriving on the shore from Europe. With over 1,100 miles of navigable water, Florida’s First Coast boasts venues and group activities that celebrate the water-forward region.

Local Expert Tip

Picture rolling green vistas with colorful sunsets, magical lighting, and entertainment that’s guaranteed to get even your quietest introverts up and networking.”

–  Gil Langley, president and CEO, Amelia Island CVB



Dolphin swimming at Marineland Florida
Dolphin at Marineland Florida

Black Rock Beach. Visit a geological wonder on the beaches of Big Talbot Island Park and witness the blackened rocks and tree skeletons formed at the end of the last ice age. As beautiful as it is slightly spooky, groups will marvel at this Florida treasure. Be sure to bring your camera!

St. Augustine Boat Tours. One of the true “firsts” of Florida’s First Coast, group boat tours explore aquatic wildlife, fresh takes on sightseeing and fun facts about the historic city from its famous waters.

Flagler Beachfront Winery. Sit on the winery’s Oceanview Patio and enjoy their wines made on-site and served out of machines. Simply pick your wine and your pour size and head out to overlook the ocean. This hangout is also home to the “Got Slushed” frozen wine beverage for a refreshing tumbler.

The Boat House. Located in historic downtown Amelia Island, this seafood and steak restaurant has an impressive buyout capacity of 288. The menu melds Florida’s history with southern comfort foods, Spanish classics and fresh local seafood along with an extensive cocktail, wine and beer list.

Marineland. Florida is the ultimate place to swim with dolphins. For smaller groups of up to 10 people, visitors can swim and play with some of the state’s most beloved residents. The dolphins will even allow guests to hold on to their flippers and take a belly ride!



This article appears in the digital-only May 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.