a VirtualTourist member
My family is planning to come to the area in July. We originally wanted to go to the panhandle but are worried about the June grass, which was terrible last time we were there. We have never been to St. Augustine, and although some us are very interested in the history and the Old City, most would prefer to rent a house at the beach. There are 4 adults and 4 teenagers. I have read that some of the beaches are shelly, not sandy. Which is the best beach area, and also any rental advice (not terribly expensive) would be appreciated.
I was just at Vilano a couple of days ago (north side of the river from St. A) and it's definitely shelly, as were all the beaches up to Jacksonville. If you stay south, in St. Augustine Beach proper, you should be fine. There are shells on all beaches, but it's not as bad there. Personally, I like Atlantic Beach better but, if you're wanting to explore St. Augustine extensively, then St. A Beach is probably the best for your group.
Nothing really compares to the white, sugar sands of the Florida Gulf Coast. You may also want to look at visiting Clearwater, which should not have the sargassum problem. You just need to watch for Red Tide.