Guest Question: Should I stay in downtown St. Augustine or should I stay on Vilano Beach?

You’ve got questions…we’ve got answers! If you have a question about planning the perfect St. Augustine vacation, just drop us an email at We’ll be happy to answer your specific inquiry, and if it’s one that we think other guests could benefit from, we’ll share the answer in a blog.

Today’s question is a popular one: since we opened our beach cottages on Vilano Beach, many of our guests are conflicted as to where to stay for their St. Augustine vacation. Before we give you some guidance in that area, let’s give some background on our properties:

St Augustine, bed and breakfast, historic inn, downtown, historic district, yellow building, busienss sign

Our downtown location is in St. Augustine’s historic district, with stunning views of the Matanzas Bay.

1. The Bayfront Marin House. Our bed and breakfast is located in downtown St. Augustine, in the historic district. St. Augustine is not located on the ocean–it is located on the Mantanzas Bay, and we are located right on that bay, just south of the Bridge of Lions. In our downtown location, we have 15 rooms; most are rooms for two people. Our largest room is a two-room suite, the Lyndsay Michelle. Two of our rooms–The Governor White and the Coquina Suite–have daybeds for extra guests. In addition, several rooms are large enough to accommodate blow up mattresses for younger guests; please inquire (extra charges apply for extra people).

The first floor of our inn is dog friendly.

We also have a 24 hour front desk, and we serve breakfast and happy hour on site each day. Our address is 142 Avenida Menendez.

St. Augustine rental property, private home, caribbean colors, coral and turquoise house, private pool, Vilano Beach

Our Beachcomber Cottages are located on Vilano Beach. Shown above is the Lagoon Cottage, one of eight suites available in four different houses. The pool shown here is prviate to this suite.

2. The Beachcomber Cottages on Vilano. St. Augustine is flanked by two barrier islands–Vilano Beach and St. Augustine beach. Our cottages are located on Vilano Beach, which is accessed by taking the Usina Bridge (right next to the carousel, if you’re familiar with that). Our cottages are on the beach, and are 2.2 miles from the beginning of the historic district, and a little over 3 miles to our inn. We have four separate houses, all located on Beachcomber Way. Those houses are split into eight separate suites, all very different. Some include the run of the house (like the Oceanview Cottage, and the Lagoon Cottage), and some have multiple suites in one cottage. The largest sleeps up to 6 people (the Lagoon Cottage) and the smallest sleeps 2 (the Saltwater Suite).

Given the nature of the beach cottages, we do not have a 24 hour desk, although you can call the main inn 24/7. We do have daily housekeeping services, as well as office hours from 8-5 each day. To check in to your cottage, you can either come downtown and we will give you a key and map, or you can go directly to the cottage and use a lockbox (we will give you an exclusive number for your use).

Guests at the cottage are invited to both breakfast and happy hour at the inn. They are provided with a downtown parking pass.

Beach cottages are NOT dog friendly. A $250 fee will be charged to guests who bring a pet with them without disclosing that information.

The addresses for the cottages are 10A, 10B, 21, and 40 Beachcomber Way.

With that background, let’s dive into our question!

Should I stay in downtown St. Augustine or should I stay on Vilano Beach in one of your cottages?

Yikes! Gentle reader, that’s like asking us to choose between a gooey piece of cake and a warm donut dripping with icing! They’re both pretty awesome–it really just depends on what you’re hungry for. The obvious answer is ‘both’, but if you must choose just one, here are some thoughts that may help:

1. Do you want to ‘do the town’, and visit our great museums, eat at a restaurant on the spur of the moment, or take a walk after dinner? I’d stay downtown. Do you want peace and alone time, and time to talk to your significant other? I’d hit the beach.

2. Do you prefer to wake up to a hot breakfast, or wake to the sound of the waves? Cottage guests are invited to dine downtown or they can opt for a personally delivered light bites basket. The basket has homemade bread, a homemade muffin, and fruit, but downtown offers that plus a hot entree, as well as being waited on by our smiling team!

3. Do you want breakfast in bed? Only available downtown.

4. Do you want a kitchenette, or even a full kitchen? That’s only available at the beach, although we can outfit your downtown room with a mini fridge if you would like us to.

5. Do you want to walk to all your meals (downtown) or do you not mind a drive (the beach)?

6. Want to take a carriage ride? They are only available downtown.

7. Want to be on the beach in less than a minute? I’d pick a cottage.

8. Do you want a beautiful room, uniquely and elegantly decorated with original charm and luxury updates? Then you can flip a coin–all of the rooms have been recently renovated, and all are absolutely beautiful!

In short, both properties have wonderful advantages, so there really are no wrong answers. Many of our guests have opted for the donut/cake choice–they stay 1 or 2 nights in each!

We know it’s a tough call–if you have specific questions about either lodging option, please give us a call at 904.824.4301. We’ll be happy to walk you through the rooms and advantages of each.