Eighteen miles south of St. Augustine, 35 miles north of Daytona Beach, the original sea-creature amusement park, Marineland Dolphin Adventure (904/471-1111, daily, $13 adults), opened with a splash in 1938 and is credited with the first performing dolphins. It later played a key role in the sci-fi movie Creature from the Black Lagoon. After struggling to compete with the much larger Sea World and Disney World, the park closed suddenly in 1998, but reopened in 2005 on a much smaller scale, with an “edutainment” focus on up-close encounters with its famous dolphins. It sounds like a magical experience, but be warned: pricing starts around $200 per person and continues upward depending on how much time you spend in the water.
Continuing along the coast south of Marineland, you start to see roadside fruit stands advertising “Indian River Fruit”—something you’ll see more of as you travel south. This is a major citrus-growing region. This stretch of Hwy-A1A, around the town of Flagler Beach, is also one of the few where you can actually see the ocean from the road.