Just a few minutes from Downtown, Jacksonville's white sand beaches await you. Spend a day unwinding by the ocean and enjoy the nearby shops, restaurants, attractions, and nightlife in the evening.
Bring your flip-flops and pack that sunscreen, Jacksonville has 22 miles of wide, uncrowded, white-sandy beaches that offer visitors majestic sunrises and star filled nights. Visitors will find plenty to do and a variety of water activities. Casual fun restaurants, nightlife hotspots, souvenir shops, and oceanfront hotels blend into the scene without crowding the views of the shorelines in Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Mayport.
Get to Know Jacksonville's Different Beaches
There are four separate beach areas, each with its own unique characteristics:
Farthest north, the quaint, historic village of Mayport is home to the ferry, seafood restaurants offering their freshest catch, fishing charters and the Marine Science Education Center. Dine on freshly-caught seafood, including the local specialty, Mayport shrimp. Then head over to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park to enjoy the beach and explore what many consider to be Jacksonville's favorite biking and hiking trails. The park also offers camping and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding wilderness.
Atlantic Beach & Neptune Beach
South of Mayport are the communities of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach. The intersection of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach is a hot spot called the Beaches Town Center. It's a perfect spot where you can enjoy casual and upscale dining, diverse shopping options, and a very happening nightlife scene.
Rounding things out is Jacksonville Beach. Get a tan, catch a wave on a boogie board, or have a picnic on the beach. At night, grab a blanket and head to the Sea Walk Pavilion on Jacksonville Beach for movies and music. Spring and Summer events include music festivals, the Moonlight Movies Series and Summer Jazz concert series. Cap off the day with a pint from one of Jax Beach's local breweries or a beachy cocktail from any number of amazing craft cocktail bars in the area. Nightlife is also hot in Jacksonville Beach, with oceanfront clubs and intimate pubs.
What to eat at the Beaches & Mayport:
Seafood of course! Jacksonville’s own Mayport Shrimp is the culinary staple of the region. Enjoy it and other local fresh seafood at unique and delicious spots like North Beach Fish Camp, Eleven South, Doro, Marker 32, Azurea at One Ocean, and Hawkers, Flying Iguana, Sliders Seafood Grill, Culhane's Irish Pub and Mezza. Here are some of the Best Bites.
- Angie's Subs - The best subs and sweet tea in town! This Jacksonville Beach favorite has been around for nearly 30 years, and with good reason. On your first visit go for their #1 best seller – the Peruvian. With ham, genoa salami, bacon, Italian sausage, provolone and Peruvian sauce it has everything you want and more! Of course don’t forget to wash it down with some sweet tea.
- Azurea - For upscale dining right by the beach, Azurea is a must. Their long line catch 3 ways uses the freshest locally caught fish and gives you a great variety of preparations to enjoy it. The 3 ways: grilled with tropical fruit salpicone, bronzed with a citrus butter emulsion, and cooked in beignet batter with a smoked Vidalia remoulade. Fish 3 ways, all delicious.
- Engine 15 Brewing - One of the stops on the Jax Ale Trail, this popular craft brewery’s Frito pie might rival their beer (and that’s saying something). But you won’t have to choose because at lunchtime your pie comes with a free draft.
- The Fish Company - Serving up fresh local seafood in Atlantic Beach, The Fish Company is a great spot for oysters and drinks, but what makes them stand out from the other seafood restaurants is their Szechuan Fish. A new spin on the classic Asian preparation, the daily fresh catch is seasoned with five spices, seared and served over fresh spinach and warm soba noodles topped with a special reduction.
- Marker 32 - Featured on Emeril’s Florida, Marker 32 is a staple of the Jacksonville culinary scene. Everything on the menu is prepared daily from scratch by classically trained chefs. One of Marker 32’s (many) highlights: broiled octopus with rosemary, garlic and black pepper over a chilled corona bean salad on top of a white bean hummus, with a tomato puree and basil oil.
- North Beach Fish Camp - Located just steps from the sand in the middle of the Beaches Town Center the North Beach Fish Camp is one of Jacksonville’s best fish camps. Their signature dish is a perfect example of southern beach cuisine: fresh blackened Mahi with Tasso ham gravy, collards and creamy grits. Yum!
- Poe's Tavern - A gastropub named after the great poet, Poe’s Tavern has burgers to match some of the artist’s greatest works. The Rue Morgue is a dish just as epic as Poe himself, a bunless burger with fries covered in chili and queso, topped with a fried egg. It will get your tell-tale heart pumping.
- Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant - A visit to Jacksonville is not complete without dining on the local Mayport shrimp (there’s a reason there’s so many shrimp dishes on this list!). For a true Jacksonville fish camp experience, try it at Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant right on the dock in the historic Mayport Village.
- Salt Life Food Shack - For those enjoying the Jacksonville Beach experience, a trip to Jacksonville would not be complete without a visit to this local food joint. Salt Life’s signature dish is a true tribute to their ocean loving lifestyle: fresh tuna, steamed spinach, sticky rice, avocadoes, and a special marinade make this poke bowl unforgettable.
- Singleton's Seafood Shack - Singleton’s is a cozy little seafood shack in Mayport that just happens to have some of the best Minorcan Clam Chowder you’ve ever had.
- TacoLu - Fish tacos, tequila and mexcal – what more could you ask for? TacoLu is the place to go if you want great food, but also want to have a great time. There’s a reason this place is always packed. Must try: the bangin’ shrimp taco with its Asian style fried shrimp, cabbage and chipotle cream.
Getting Here from Downtown:
Take the Mathews Bridge to the Arlington Expressway/Atlantic Blvd. east until you reach A1A. Turn right to go to Neptune and Atlantic Beach, left for Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beaches. There is plenty of free parking at the beaches and two city-owned lots that charge a small fee during the summer.