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Florida has always been synonymous with sunshine, and few counties showcase that radiant state pride more than St. Johns County. Sitting at the northeastern tip of Florida, St. Johns is rich with history, gorgeous coastlines, and modern amenities that appeal to a wide range of residents and tourists. In this exploration, we’re taking a deep dive into the top 10 cities within this picturesque county to help you find the perfect spot to call home or to visit.

Here, we crack open the treasure chest of St. Johns County, each city a unique gem offering a distinct Floridian experience. Whether you’re a retiree in the market for a tranquil retreat or a growing family seeking the nurturing warmth of community, each city shines with its own charms.

Without any further ado, let’s hit the sand (and plenty of the city streets) of the St. Johns County gems.

Best Cities In and Near St. Johns County, FL

1. St. Augustine – The Timeless Treasure

For history buffs and romantics at heart, St. Augustine, the county seat, is a page out of the past. Founded in 1565, it’s regarded as the oldest city in the United States, and that storied heritage echoes through its cobblestone streets and Spanish colonial architecture.

Attractions that Stand the Test of Time

  • Castillo de San Marcos: Experience the echoes of centuries at this formidable fort, the oldest masonry fort in the United States.
  • St. George Street: Wander this pedestrian hub, where the past comes alive with historic reenactors, charming shops, and Spanish-inspired eateries.
  • Flagler College: Admire the awe-inspiring architecture and peacock-strutting ambiance of this former Gilded Age hotel and current college campus, filled with Tiffany stained glass and grandeur.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

St. Augustine is for the resident who appreciates antique charm infused with a modern lifestyle. It’s ideal for people who find solace in the tides of the Atlantic, and yearn for a thriving cultural scene.

2. St. Johns – The Suburban Gem

Adjacent to the city of Jacksonville, St. Johns is a rapidly growing suburban haven with top-tier schools and a family-friendly atmosphere. This city provides a peaceful suburban escape from the region’s metropolitan bustle.

Stress-Free Suburban Living

  • Julington Creek: A serene waterway ideal for kayaking or simply a peaceful stroll along its banks.
  • Durbin Creek Preserve: Nature enthusiasts will revel in the miles of trails perfect for hiking or biking.
  • Avenues Mall: Retail therapy awaits at this mall with varied stores and dining possibilities for the entire family.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

St. Johns is perfect for growing families seeking spacious, updated homes in a close-knit community with easy access to major city facilities and schools.

3. Ponte Vedra Beach – For the Seaside Sophisticate

Renowned for its opulent spa resorts and world-class golf, Ponte Vedra Beach offers a luxurious coastal lifestyle. Home to the PGA Tour and The Players Championship, it’s a notable stop for sports enthusiasts and retirees.

Lifestyles of the Beachside Elite

  • TPC Sawgrass: Golf in the footsteps of legends or catch the action of The Players Championship.
  • Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve: Protecting the tapestry of natural beauty that is ‘Guana,’ offering education and outdoor experiences.
  • Sawgrass Village: Indulge in upscale shopping and quaint dining options amidst the coastal breeze.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

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Ponte Vedra Beach is a haven for the upscale retiree, the golf aficionado, or anyone who prefers the finer aspects of beachfront living.

4. Nocatee – The Modern Utopia

Nocatee is more than a community; it’s a lifestyle, known for combining eco-friendly elements with innovative design. This planned community is a picture-perfect representation of the modern American dream, offering everything within reach.

The Planned Dreamland

  • Splash Water Park: A family-oriented aquatic escape with thrilling water slides and a lazy river for those leisurely summer days.
  • The Greenway Trails: A network of hiking trails leading through preserved lands and nature parks, perfect for an active lifestyle.
  • Nocatee Town Center: A vibrant center featuring shops, eateries, and community events, providing convenience and camaraderie.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

Nocatee is a community designed for the environmentally conscious family looking for high-tech amenities within a picturesque natural landscape.

5. St. Augustine Beach – Where Leisure Meets Waves

St. Augustine Beach is a haven for those who find peace in the timeless horizon of the Atlantic Ocean. This coastal city marries the laid-back beach life with the convenience of city living.

Sandy Toes and Endless Skies

  • Anastasia State Park: Enjoy nature at its finest with four miles of untouched beach and an abundance of wildlife.
  • St. Augustine Beach Pier: For the fishing enthusiast or simply to take in the majestic ocean views.
  • A1A Beachfront Avenue: This iconic coastal drive offers easy access to the beach and various dining and shop stops along the way.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

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St. Augustine Beach is for sun-seekers and water lovers who live for life’s most beautiful sunsets and breathing in the salt-tinged ocean air.

6. Crescent Beach – The Tranquil Enclave

A tranquil stretch of unspoiled beach, Crescent Beach offers residents and visitors a respite from the busier beaches. This oasis is perfect for quiet reflection and to connect with nature.

The Quiet Getaway

  • Fort Matanzas National Monument: A peaceful haven with trails and a ferry ride across the Matanzas River, providing rich historical immersion.
  • Crescent Beach: A spacious beach with soft sands and inviting surf, perfect for solitude or family fun.
  • Mary Street Beach Ramp: A convenient entry point for beachgoers with ample parking and stunning views of the cinnamon-colored sands.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

Crescent Beach is for those who prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle and seek delight in the marvel of nature’s unadulterated offerings.

7. Vilano Beach – The Beach Town with Quirks

Vilano Beach is St. Johns’ own secret slice of paradise, offering a mix of beach charms and unique local experiences for those willing to explore.

Finding the Offbeat

  • Downtown Vilano Beach: A small-town main street with boutique shopping and distinctive eateries, offering an eclectic dining scene.
  • Vilano Beach Fishing Pier: A picture-perfect pier ideal for catching a sunset or casting a line amidst calming oceanic views.
  • Porpoise Point: Iconic for dolphin sightings and an exceptional view of St. Augustine’s profile from across the water.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

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Vilano Beach is the perfect choice for people who appreciate a charming haven with a dash of the unexpected and the thrill of discovery.

8. World Golf Village – A Golfer’s Haven

A paradise for golf aficionados, the World Golf Village is an exclusive retreat with thriving communities that are, quite literally, built around the sport.

The Golfer’s Delight

  • World Golf Hall of Fame: A shrine to the game, this landmark attraction features memorabilia and interactive exhibits worthy of any enthusiast.
  • Slammer & Squire Golf Course: A renowned course designed by Bobby Weed and Hall of Fame members, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen.
  • IMAX Theater: A place for family entertainment and an added layer of luxury to your movie-going experience.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

World Golf Village is for the serious golfer or someone who appreciates a community that revolves around a specific lifestyle and activity.

9. Fruit Cove – The Nature Lover’s Nook

For those who cherish the great outdoors, Fruit Cove is an idyllic suburban community teeming with natural beauty and all the modern comforts a family could desire.

A Nature Oasis

  • Fruit Cove Nature Preserve: A wooded haven with trails and boardwalks, offering an escape into the heart of the local flora and fauna.
  • Caddyshack Ranch: The famous wildlife sanctuary founded by actor Bill Murray, providing a unique experience supporting rescued animals.
  • Worley Bird’s Bait & Tackle: A local institution where nature lovers can gear up for a day of fishing on the St. Johns River or its many tributaries.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

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Fruit Cove is the quintessential location for families who crave the simplicity and beauty of suburban living, with the added bonus of being surrounded by Florida’s natural splendor.

10. Hastings – The Agricultural Heart

The small town of Hastings is not rich in the development typical of the other cities on the list. However, it’s a testament to the county’s agricultural heritage and the proud, hardworking spirit that sustains it.

Tributes to Tradition

  • Potato Festival: An annual festival celebrating the local potato industry, a festive testament to the area’s roots.
  • Hastings Branch Library: A vital community resource and a hub for knowledge and personal enrichment.
  • Hastings Farmers Market: A weekly market offering an array of local produce, fresh farmed goods, and a warm community atmosphere.

The Ideal Dwelling for…

Hastings is for the soul looking to live at a simpler pace, among neighbors with a shared respect for hard work, community, and the land that sustains them.

Each city in St. Johns County opens a doorway to a Florida experience as varied and colorful as the shells that line its beaches. Whether it’s the historic grandeur of St. Augustine, the suburban solace of St. Johns, or the free-spirited charm of Vilano Beach, there’s a place for everyone within these beautiful boundaries.

With this comprehensive guide to the top 10 cities in St. Johns County, you can make an informed choice about the next chapter in your life’s adventure. Whether you seek tranquility, community, or simply a different pace, Florida’s northeastern corner welcomes you with open arms and a perpetual sun-drenched smile.

FAQs on Moving to St. Johns County, FL

Are there good schools in St. Johns County?

Yes, St. Johns County is known for having some of the best public schools in the state of Florida. It consistently ranks high in academic performance and offers a variety of educational programs to cater to different interests and abilities.

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What is the job market like in St. Johns County, FL?

The job market in St. Johns County is robust, with opportunities in healthcare, education, tourism, and retail. The county’s economy is diverse, and its proximity to Jacksonville also provides additional employment options for residents.

Is St. Johns County, FL prone to natural disasters including sinkholes?

St. Johns County, like much of Florida, is susceptible to hurricanes due to its coastal location. However, the occurrence of sinkholes in St. Johns County is less common compared to other parts of Florida. Residents are encouraged to stay informed and prepared for hurricane season.

What kind of recreational activities are available in St. Johns County?

St. Johns County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From miles of beautiful beaches to numerous parks, rivers, and historical sites, there’s no shortage of activities. Golfing, fishing, surfing, hiking, and exploring historical landmarks are popular pastimes here.

How does the public transportation system fare in St. Johns County?

Public transportation in St. Johns County is primarily served by the Sunshine Bus Company, offering routes that cover many areas of the county. While it’s a convenient option for some, having a personal vehicle is beneficial for increased mobility and exploring the region fully.

What type of housing is most common in St. Johns County?

St. Johns County offers a mix of housing options, from apartment complexes and townhomes to single-family homes and luxury waterfront properties. The type of housing varies by area, catering to a range of lifestyles and budgets.

Is St. Johns County pet-friendly?

Yes, St. Johns County is known to be pet-friendly, with many parks, beaches, and communities welcoming pets. There are also numerous services and amenities for pet owners, including veterinary clinics, grooming salons, and dog parks.

What are the best neighborhoods for families in St. Johns County?

Families often gravitate towards neighborhoods like Julington Creek, Nocatee, and St. Johns Golf & Country Club for their amenities, excellent schools, and community-oriented atmosphere. Each offers a unique living experience tailored to family life.

Can you recommend any local movers?

While it’s always best to research and get quotes from several moving companies, local favorites include Suddath Relocation Systems, Gate Parkway Movers, and Two Men and a Truck. Look for reviews and ask for recommendations to find the best fit for your moving needs.

Helpful Tip: Florida is known to be prone to sinkhole issues. Check the St. Johns County sinkhole map for more details

Conclusion: Is St. Johns, A Good Place to Live in?

St. Johns County, FL, emerges not just as a good place to live but as a veritable slice of paradise for those who call it home. With its combination of top-tier schools, robust job market, and an eco-system rich in recreational activities, it’s a place where work and play not only coexist but flourish together.

The community’s emphasis on quality education and employment opportunities lays a solid foundation for both families and professionals. Meanwhile, the myriad of outdoor adventures and historical explorations ensures life here is never dull. Add to this the warm, inclusive community spirit, and it’s clear why many find St. Johns County not just a place to live, but a place to thrive.

Whether you’re drawn by the call of the ocean, the lure of a tight-knit community, or the promise of sunny days, St. Johns County stands ready to welcome you with open arms and a sunny smile.

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