Immerse yourself in Jacksonville’s 21 miles of wide, uncrowded beaches. Visitors will find plenty to do, with diverse activities, family fun, restaurants and nightlife, souvenir shops and oceanfront hotels blending into the scene without crowding views of the shoreline.
Start your exploration of the beaches with a refreshing walk along the wide, paved boardwalk or take to the sea on foot. The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier launches out nearly a quarter of a mile into the Atlantic Ocean and offers great views of the coastline. Admission is only $1 for pedestrians, fishermen are $4.
Explore the beach’s colorful history with a stop at the Beaches Museum & History Center in Jacksonville Beach. With its replica boardwalk filled with photos and displays, visitors will be whisked back in time to an era when Jacksonville's beaches were the playground of politicians, celebrities, gangsters and socialites. The museum is also home to one of four Visit Jacksonville Visitor Centers.
If you prefer water immersion to dry land, take a surf lesson from a local surf shop like Aqua East or search the ocean for dolphins and sand bars that come and go with the tide. Kayak Amelia offers family-friendly guided excursions, including the Shell Hunter and Island Hopper tour where paddlers discover what the tide leaves behind on sand bars – sharks’ teeth, shells, crabs and more. Or head out to sea on the Dutton Island Dolphin Adventure. You'll not only catch glimpses of dolphin, but also Florida’s birds and manatees.
Visitors with the family in tow must head to Adventure Landing. During the summer, cool off at Shipwreck Island Waterpark with four major water slides daring guests to test their adventurous side. Other waterpark attractions include Lil’ St. Johns River for leisurely tubing, Kiddie’s Cove for tots, Pirate’s Play Village and a wave pool. And families looking to dry out after a day at the beach will also find miniature golf, laser tag, arcade, go-karts and batting cages.
Championship golf is accessible from the beaches, including Jacksonville’s 18-hole championship course Windsor Parke Golf Club. Nearby in Ponte Vedra Beach, The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass awaits golfers looking to take on the infamous 17th island-green par-three. The course also plays host to the annual PGA TOUR event, THE PLAYERS Championship.
Families and couples looking for an easy activity after the sun sets should grab a blanket or beach chairs and head to the Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. One of the signature events of the summer are the Moonlight Movies Series. Visitors bring picnic blankets and baskets, lawn chairs and settle in for an oceanfront evening of entertainment. Another highly-anticipated event is the Cool Sounds of Hot Summer Nights jazz concert series, welcoming regional jazz performers on two separate Sunday evenings.
Catch fresh seafood at some of the beaches most popular restaurants, including a few new options for waterfront dining. Bravo TV’s Top Chef Contestant Kenny Gilbert is opening a new restaurant, Nippers Beach Grille, in Jacksonville Beach this summer. The restaurant features a Caribbean-inspired menu and spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway with boat access.
Opening in April, The Pier Restaurant creates a laid-back beach vibe for lunch, including seating along Jacksonville Beach’s boardwalk and a more intimate evening experience. The second floor of the restaurant offers incredible sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier.
The historic Casa Marina Hotel and Restaurant in Jacksonville Beach has opened their Penthouse Lounge with views of the Atlantic Ocean for lunch service. Lunch is now available 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The restaurant also continues to be a nightlife hotspot serving cocktails and appetizers.
A variety of accommodations scattered along the coast, from quaint bed & breakfasts to affordable hotels and oceanfront resorts. Experience one of Jacksonville’s best parks by staying in an RV or tent site at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The park features hiking paths, mountain biking trails, beautiful beaches, playground and splash park and freshwater lake for fishing and paddle boating. The park is also convenient to the St. Johns River Ferry, which departs for Fort George Island regularly and is the only auto ferry in the state of Florida. Fort George Island is home to guided kayaking and Segway tours, each showcasing rich Florida history and ecosystems of the island.
A beaches trolley system allows visitors to explore all beach neighborhoods and attractions. Rent Beach Stuff also adds convenience for beach travelers. This company has everything on hand to make your stay at the beach enjoyable, from bikes to umbrellas and boogie boards. Pick-up and drop-off is a part of the service.