Not to be confused with nearby metropolis Jacksonville, the beachside oasis of Jacksonville Beach is located on a barrier island on the northern Atlantic side of Florida and offers all the essentials for a Sunshine State vacation: warm waves, soft sandy beaches and plenty of sunny days and palm trees. Whether it’s a romantic getaway for two or a fun-filled visit with the whole family, Jacksonville Beach has something for everyone.
Jacksonville Beach boasts more than four miles of public beaches with amenities like beach wheelchairs and lifeguards. The Jacksonville Beach Pier is a legendary spot for fishing or catching an oceanview sunrise, if you’re an early riser. Surf the area’s lauded waves, rent a beach bike for a ride along the hard-packed sand, or just sit back and catch some rays - and keep your eyes peeled for a dolphin sighting! Get active out in the ocean with a deep-sea fishing tour or windsurfing or kitesurfing lesson.
There is fun to be had away from the waves, too. For kids and kids at heart, check out Adventure Landing amusement park. In addition to Shipwreck Island Waterpark, with all the water slides and wave pools you can dream of, Adventure Landing offers mini golf, laser tag, a roller coaster and more. For more relaxed fun, explore local history and art at the Beaches Museum and History Park. Or see a live show courtesy of Players by the Sea, a local theater company that has been providing entertainment for more than 50 years. If it’s peace and quiet in the natural world that calls you, head to Cradle Creek Preserve, just minutes from town. This beautiful nature preserve offers 36 acres of pristine marshlands plush with wildlife, hiking trails to explore and a dock to put in a kayak or canoe for a peaceful paddle around the lakes.
If you’re looking for some big city entertainment, like world class museums, live entertainment or a big name sporting event, Jacksonville is an easy 30 minute drive (or one hour bus ride) west. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art are not to be missed.
Head south from Jacksonville Beach and you’ll reach beautiful St. Augustine in less than an hour. This picturesque city, known for its stunning Spanish colonial architecture, offers plenty of entertainment, especially for history buffs and art lovers. Check out the Spanish forts at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, dating back to the 1600s, or the Lightner Museum, with everything from mummies to a collection of stained glass.
Downtown Jacksonville Beach stretches along the coastline and is where you’ll find restaurants, shopping, and, of course, easy access to the beach and the Jacksonville Beach Pier. The South Beach area to the south offers a more quiet residential atmosphere with parks and equally easy ocean access.
The Jacksonville Transit Authority coordinates a public transit system for the city of Jacksonville and nearby beach communities, like Jacksonville Beach, which means you can get around town or catch a ride to other towns on the bus. The routes are somewhat limited within Jacksonville Beach itself so it may require some walking, depending on where you need to go. Fees are very reasonable, starting at $1.50.
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