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Cooksey's Camping Resort
St. Augustine Beach, Florida
Norman W. Hildrum

Cooksey's Camping Resort can best be described as an average to below average commercial development. There are 250 sites with reasonable visual separation but closely spaced. Several things that reduce the quality are the fair dirt interior roads and unsightly seasonal/permanent units. While this development is adjacent to a busy highway, we were far enough away to have only minimal road noise. We were in a quiet section with dense vegetation between sites. However, our neighbor on one side was a permanent resident that had accumulated a small junk yard. We had full hook-ups with 50 amp electric service. Our cost was $150.00 per week (01-00).

On th ocean St. Augustine Beach, Florida - Photo by orman HildruThe real advantage of Cooksey's is its locaton! We were just minutes from the beach where we could acess a runway and drive our truck right to the ocean's edge. On several occasions we packed our chairs, table, a small cooler of beverages, and books and drove to a long stretch of beach just south of the campground. We parked adjacent to a St. John's County Park which had a public restroom. Here, we setup or chairs and just reaxed in the warm January sun. The St. Augustine area has many historic and cultural attractions. Several which are must see include:

Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, Florida - Photo by Norman HildrumCastillo de San Marcos - The Castillo de San Marcos was for many years the northern- most outpost of Spain's vast New World Empire. It is the oldest masonry fort and the best-preserved example of a Spanish colonial fortification in the continental United States. It anchored East Florida's defenses, which extended northward to the St. Marys River, westward to the St. Johns, and southward to Fort Matanzas. It protected St. Augustine from pirate raids and from Spain's rival, Great Britain, during a time when the Florida-Georgia-Carolina coastline was an explosive international battleground. Begun in 1672 and completed by 1695, the Castillo replaced successive wood fortifications that had protected St. Augustine since its founding. The fort's commanding location on the west bank of St. Augustine Lighthouse - Photo by Norman HildrumMatanzas Bay allowed its guns to protect not only the harbor entrance but the ground to the north against a land attack. The Castillo's baptism of fire came in 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession, when the English occupied St. Augustine and unsuccessfully besieged the fort for 50 days. The English burned the town before they left, but the Castillo emerged unscathed, thereby making it a symbolic link between the old St. Augustine of 1565 and the new city that rose from the ashes.

St. Augustine Lighthouse - This is Florida's first lighthouse and has been preserved for sightseeing. We climbed all 219 stairs to the top and experienced a really great view. Our legs were a bit rubbery when we got back to earth. We bought a collectable replica of the lighthouse. We've decided to start a collection of lighthouses that we visit.

Fort Mantanzas, Florida - Photo by Noman HildrumFort Matanzas National Monument - This fort was constructed by the Spanish between 1740 and 1742 to guard St. Augustine's "backdoor" from attack. To get to the fort, you have to take a NPS launch across the Matanzas river. The word "matanzas" means "slaughters" in Spanish. Near this location, the Spanish wiped out almost 300 French soldiers from nearby Fort Caroline in the fall of 1565. Once in the fort, you will be treated to a very interesting presentation on Spanish and French activities in the area. Our presentation was made by a NPS volunteer dressed in period garb and carryng a muzzel loading rifle.

Wherever you camp, St. Augustine is a great destination for SavvyCampers.

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