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Jacksonville is one of few destinations in Florida travelers can sail up on their boats, dock and dine at a variety of excellent restaurants. What’s not to love?
Notable, dockside eateries are all the buzz, specializing in daily, fresh-caught seafood, and the added perk of live music, full bars and truly infectious, laid-back vibes are here to stay. This dock and dine situation is incredibly unique (you can bet you’ll find the freshest Mayport shrimp here, too!), with ocean breezes and unbeatable waterfront views, so get thyself on a boat for this “only in Jacksonville” experience.
The newest waterfront restaurant on the scenic Heckscher Drive on Jacksonville’s Northside is Palms Fish Camp, offers locally caught fresh seafood, pizza, sandwiches, tacos and stunning views. They are open every day of the week starting at 11 a.m.
It’s a highbrow affair at Julington Creek Fish Camp (dock at Julington Creek Marina, Pier #3), helmed by Jacksonville-born Ben Groshell, a graduate of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. It’s quite refined for dockside dining, and foodies can order the ever-famous Mayport Shrimp & Grits and soft-shell crab. Ben and his wife gave the people what they wanted with Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant, with two locations, one at Mayport Village and the other on the Intracoastal waters in Jacksonville Beachbehind the Beach Marina. This is a more casual, rustic approach to seafood in a cozy environment with indoor and patio seating. It’s all about community here (it’s a magnet for locals), who nom on excellent dishes like their famous oyster po’ boys and shrimp louie salad.
Everyone knows your name at Big Dawgs Pierside, the stomping ground for boaters who want a side of fun with their wings and seafood on the Intracoastal. The dockside restaurant at Beach Marina is a hot spot for locals, banging out an exciting social atmosphere, and regulars obsess over baskets of delicious fresh seafood and great water views.
The Jacksonville Landing settles right along the Jacksonville Riverwalk making it the perfect spot for an easy stroll and a bite to eat featuring a couple restaurants overlooking the St. Johns River and lots of cuisines to choose from. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal with a great view, Benny’s Steak & Seafood is the place for you. Benny’s serves up fresh seafood and Angus Beef Steaks among their other mouth-watering entrees and appetizers. You can opt for some wings and great river views at Hooter’s or some Chicago-style pizza at Chicago Pizza and Sports Grille which is also a great hangout for sport watchers. Cinco De Mayo offers authentic Mexican food for a great price. If you are looking for something quick, visit the second-floor food court where you’ll find even more options. When your done with your meal you’ll want to stop by Coastal Cookies for some delicious treats.
Across the river from the Jacksonville Landing in Downtown’s Southbank, and with 62 boats slips that can accommodate up to a 120-foot yacht, River City Brewing Company caters to an array of customers. Whether enjoying happy hour during the week or their very popular Sunday Brunch, their vast menu and relaxed atmosphere allows them to serve the business professional or the casual boater. They offer craft beers and live music on the weekends.
If you’re cruising down Cedar River on your boat, kayak or paddleboard, BoonDocks Gastro Pub is a hidden gem. They offer a simple yet assorted menu, from Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Curds, Downhome Southern Cuisine to Fresh Baked Pizza. As an added treat you can enjoy live music while relaxing inside their rustic atmosphere or the breeze on their large outdoor patio.
There’s no more unique waterfront restaurant in Jacksonville than Clark’s Fish Camp! This Mandarin neighborhood creekside eatery offers delicious fresh seafood and exotic meats from all over the world. The restaurant’s décor is just as impressive as their menu, with one of the largest privately-owned collections of taxidermy in the country that includes lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, giraffes, deer, bobcats, and a whole flock of birds.
Also in Mandarin, Wicked Barley -one of the local craft breweries on the Jax Ale Trail- offers a full-service restaurant, a tap room, an outdoor covered patio, a full dock, and even a kayak launch area for visitors traveling on Goodby’s Creek. Wicked Barley is pet friendly and offers 10 of their own beers on draft.
A delicious and familiar stop just off the St. John’s River at Goodby’s Channel, Hooter’s offers original wings on their pet-friendly patio. You can catch sports on the big screens or a manatee sighting. Aside from their standard menu of wings, seafood, burgers and salads this location tries to offer new weekly menu items making it a neighborhood favorite and boater’s delight.
Already a well-known go to spot on any given sports day, Hurricane Grille & Wings has a convenient location in the Julington Creek Marina. Join in on the heightened sports atmosphere or call ahead for a dockside delivery of any of their menu items that boasts of Tropical-themed menu of all your favorite game day cuisine.
Whether by boat, kayak or car, Jacksonville has a delicious meal waiting for you to devour it!
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