Jacksonville Beach is a resort city that lies east of the city of Jacksonville, Florida. Along with the coastal towns to the north and south, it is part of the area known as Jacksonville Beaches. These communities share a warm tropical climate and a beautiful stretch of white sand beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a perfect place for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The area also has several world-class golf courses, lovely wildlife preserves, an amusement park, and an iconic museum. Jacksonville Beach hosts several annual music events, including the Seawalk Music Festival, Salt Life Fest, Springing the Blues, and the Great Atlantic Country Music Fest. Here are some of the top locations for vacation rentals in and around Jacksonville Beach.
1. North Jacksonville Beach
On the northeast side of Jacksonville Beach is its most iconic landmark, the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier, which runs almost a quarter mile out over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Angle off the pier or stroll to the end for a breathtaking panoramic view of the north Florida coast. The waves just off the pier are excellent for surfing, and if you’re new at the sport, take lessons from a local surf shop. Other water sports include kayaking and paddle boarding. On the beach, you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, Frisbee-throwing, and volleyball.
2. Central Jacksonville Beach
Just off Beach Boulevard as you come into Jacksonville Beach is Adventure Landing, northeast Florida’s largest family entertainment facility. Its recreational activities include laser tag, miniature golf, a roller coaster, go-karts, and a gaming arcade. Gator Alley is a large enclosure holding multiple Florida alligators. The site also has Shipwreck Island, an extensive water park with water slides, a wave pool, water thrill rides, a tubing river, and a splash cover for young children. Farther along Beach Boulevard is the Beaches Museum and History Park, which features exhibits highlighting local history, art, and ecology.
3. South Jacksonville Beach
If you enjoy golf, play 18 holes in a lovely setting at the municipally-owned Jacksonville Beach Golf Club near your vacation rental. Just west of the golf course, 45-acre Candle Creek Preserve has trails and elevated boardwalks where you can stroll through marshes and a forest of magnolia and oak trees to observe alligators, manatees, wood storks, and bald eagles. South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground is a family-friendly area with picnic tables, a playground, a skate park, and sports facilities. Nearby Huguenot Park offers a three-acre fish-stocked lake with a boardwalk and fishing pier. Oceanfront Park features a walking area over the dunes and a sand volleyball court.
4. Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach lies adjacent to the south side of Jacksonville Beach. This seaside resort community is famous as the headquarters of golf’s PGA Tour. The sand dunes that line the beach are up to 40 feet high. The white sand beach is perfect for swimming, strolling, beachcombing for shells, and surf fishing. Popular offshore activities include surfing, boating, wakeboarding, and water skiing before retreating to your cozy vacation rental. The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach offers fascinating exhibits of the works of local artists.
The community of Sawgrass is just south of Ponte Vedra Beach. It has one of the world’s most famous golf courses, the TPC Sawgrass. Its unique 17th hole, built out over a pond and almost entirely surrounded by water, is itself world famous. This facility hosts The Players Championship, an exclusive yearly tournament. It’s a must-play 18 holes for golf enthusiasts. The white sand beach also continues along Sawgrass, offering opportunities for relaxing beach and water activities.
6. Palm Valley
Palm Valley is a quiet beachside community just south of Sawgrass. It adjoins Guana River Wildlife Management Area. This vast region of diverse ecosystems includes a sand beach, maritime hammocks, salt marshes, and pine forests. Its many miles of trails are ideal for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, and you can canoe and kayak along numerous paddling routes. Birds you can watch for include roseate spoonbills, white ibises, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles. The area is also great for fishing and crabbing near vacation rentals.
7. Neptune Beach
The town of Neptune Beach lies just north of Jacksonville Beach. Its crystal clear warm waters and wide white sand beaches attract visitors from all over the country. The hard-packed sand allows you to cycle on the beach, and the offshore waves are great for body boarding and surfing. The relaxing, laid-back atmosphere of the pedestrian area makes it pleasant to peruse the shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
8. Atlantic Beach
Atlantic Beach is north of Neptune Beach in the line of Jacksonville Beaches. Along with two miles of white sand beach, the town has numerous parks with picnic areas, playgrounds, sports courts, and other recreational facilities. On the Intracoastal Waterway on the west side of town, Dutton Island Preserve, River Branch Preserve, and Tideviews Preserve offer miles of nature trails and boardwalks for hiking. They also have water courses for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. These preserves are ideal for bird watching and wildlife observation.
Mayport is a historic village on the St. John’s River just a few miles north of Jacksonville Beach. It’s renowned for its seafood restaurants, which feature the area specialty of Mayport shrimp. Nearby is vast 450-acre Hanna Park, which has an excellent white sand beach as well as a large freshwater lake. The beach at the park is shallow and great for swimming and body surfing. On the north side is a famous surfing location known as the Poles. Explore Hanna Park Lake by canoe, kayak, or paddle boat, and on the shore is a small water park for children.