Beach Use Permits – Horseback Riding
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Frank Butler Park East Temporary Closure for Park Improvements – Frank Butler Park East, including the beach walkover, horseback riding beach access, and the parking lot, will be closed for park improvements beginning Monday, February 1. Phase one improvements will include additional parking spaces, parking lot surface improvements, beach walkover improvements, and new landscaping. The park and all beach access is scheduled to reopen in March. Phase two of the improvement project, scheduled for a date to be confirmed, will include renovating the bathrooms, adding ADA parking spaces, and constructing sidewalks. For more information on this project, please call Beach Services at 904.209.0331.
Vilano Beach Driving Access and Surfside Park Parking Lot Closed – Due to a beach renourishment project that will restore critically-eroded shoreline and dunes, vehicular access to Vilano Beach will be restricted. In addition, the Surfside Park parking lot and pedestrian beach access point will be closed, and on-beach driving, horseback riding, and commercial fishing will be restricted from Vilano Beach to Serenata Ocean Villas. The project is scheduled to be complete in early 2021. For more information, please call 904.209.0260. Follow the progress of this project.
Planning Your Ride
Mickler’s Landing Access
- November 1 – April 14
Ride 7 days a week. No time restriction.
- April 15 – April 30
Monday-Friday: No time restriction.
Saturday, Sundays & Federal Holidays: Ride before 9am & after 5pm (tides permitting).
- May 1 – September 15
Saturday, Sundays & Federal Holidays: Ride between 8am-9am or 5pm-7:30pm (tides permitting).
- September 16 – October 31
Ride 7 days a week, 8am-7:30pm
Surfside Park Access
- May 1 – October 31
- November 1 – April 30
Ride 7 days a week. No time restriction
Frank Butler Park East 5860 A1A S. / Overflow Parking at 5780 Gloria Avenue
- Open for Rides: November 1, 2020 to March 5, 2021 (Designated Spring Break).
- Closed for Rides: March 6, 2021 (Designated Spring Break) to October 31, 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Cost. Permits are free of charge.
- Clean Up. There are no regulations that require you to clean up horse waste. Please be considerate though, and treat our beaches and parking lots the same way you would your own barn.
- Want to know where to ride? Get our Map of beach access points and riding beaches.
- Tides. Please begin your ride 1-2 hours prior to a low tide event and conduct your horses below the most recent high tide line. Tide Predictions Page
- For more information about horseback riding in St. Johns County, please visit the St. Johns County Horse Council website.
Horseback Riding on County Beaches
St. Johns County offers horseback riding on approximately 30 miles of our 41.1 miles of coastline. The County is responsible for implementing and abiding by a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A special permit (follow steps below) is required to ride horses on St. Johns County beaches. Permits are free of charge.
Getting Your Permit
|6 Steps to Your Beach Horseback Riding Permit|
|1. Watch||Watch the Protected Species Training slideshow.|
|2. Quiz||Complete Quiz.|
|3. Choose||Choose your permit level. See Permit Levels.|
|4. Complete||Complete and sign application.
|5. Submit||Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax (904) 209-0620, drop off, or mail completed application, required credentials, and scores to:
|6. Receive Permit||It may take up to two weeks to process your permit.
Please review Planning your Ride (above).
|Need Technical Assistance?|
|Click for Protected Species Training|
Master Beach Equestrian Guide
- An individual with extensive riding experience on St. Johns County beaches and intends to ride regularly and frequently.
- Must complete Protected Species Training. Must provide no less than three letters of written recommendations from Master Equestrian Beach Guides, or written recommendations by the St. Johns County Horse Council, proof of membership to local riding club (if any), and/or some other proof of extensive riding experience on St. Johns County beaches.
- Allows permit holder to lead up to 10 individuals by horseback; permit is valid through 2027.
General Beach Equestrian Guide – Class I
- An individual intending to ride on St. Johns County beaches regularly and frequently but experience does not warrant a Master Beach Equestrian Guide Permit.
- Must complete Protected Species Training and sign completed application
- Allows permit holder to lead up to 10 individuals by horseback; permit is valid for 5 years from training date.
General Beach Equestrian Day Pass – Class II
- An individual desiring a one-time or infrequent horseback ride on the beach.
- May obtain necessary education and credentials from a Master Beach Equestrian Guide or through online training.
For more information, please contact: Jade O'Neill, (904) 209-0619.