Atlantic Beach of Duval County, Florida, has the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the city of Jacksonville to the west. Atlantic Beach, alongside sister city and neighbor Neptune Beach, is part of the Jacksonville Beaches community. Atlantic Beach has a newly renovated, joint downtown area with Neptune Beach. The twin downtown area, full of shops and restaurants, has access to about 4 miles of public beaches along the Atlantic. The city has around 13,500 permanent residents who have access to the coast year round, and a flood of visitors who flock to the beach on weekends and holidays.
Visitors to Atlantic Beach can shop and dine to their heart’s content without straying too far from the beach. Businesses along Atlantic Boulevard, which begins at the waterfront, sell everything from coffee to electronics to fried chicken. Shopping is fun, but as with all beach towns, water recreation is a must. Stand up paddle boarding and surfing are the local favorites. If you’re new to these activities, the waterfront is novice-friendly. Many equipment rental shops will provide tips and tricks for navigating the surf, if they don’t offer full lessons. Kayaking, another popular form of water recreation, is more of a family-friendly nature activity. Visitors can opt for a guided Eco Tour, where experts help navigate the craft through creeks and waterways. Or travellers can choose to explore the navigable waters of northeastern Florida on their own. The many bodies of water in the area also provide ample opportunities for fishing. Visitors can test their luck—and their patience—on land or sea. Fishermen can cast a line from the pier, or sail out for deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic.
Atlantic Beach gets a flood of visitors from Jacksonville, so a day trip into the city should even the balance. Jacksonville is one of the largest cities in Florida, also home to many museums and cultural sites. It’s the ideal day trip for visitors who appreciate big-city charm and inner-city treasures. Take the time to wander the city’s museums and historic neighborhoods, and you’ll discover the personality behind Jacksonville’s commercial downtown. About 5 miles north of Atlantic Beach is Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The park has a 60-acre freshwater lake that’s perfect for canoeing, fishing and kayaking. There are wooded campsites and lakeside picnic areas, in addition to a quarter-acre water playground by the lake. The Kingsley Plantation, a National Park Service historic site, is around 28 miles from Atlantic Beach. This is the oldest plantation still in existence in Florida, which now features a ranger-guided tour and extensive grounds, including the remnants of the slave quarters.
Many of the mainstream accommodations—hotels, motels, and inns—are located on Mayport Road in Atlantic Beach. The majority of vacation home rentals are located closer to the waterfront, although there are a few options away from the coast. Most vacation home or condominium rentals offer multiple bedrooms with kitchen facilities, and are in the $150-200 range.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority provides service from the city to the outlying beaches, including Atlantic Beach. Trolley, operated by the JTA, is a seasonal service that runs every 20 minutes from South Beach Regional Shopping Center to Atlantic Boulevard. Bus route 10 (Atlantic), 24, 70 and 303 pass through Atlantic Beach as they service the greater Jacksonville metropolitan area year round. For alternative ground transportation, taxis and car rentals can be booked. Biking and walking around the Atlantic Beach area is also completely doable. In terms of air transportation, flying into Jacksonville International Airport is the nearest option.
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