Immerse yourself in Jacksonville's 21 miles of wide, uncrowded beaches. Visitors will find plenty to do with diverse activities, restaurants, nightlife hotspots, souvenir shops and oceanfront hotels blending into the scene without crowding views of the shoreline.
Get visitor information and explore the beaches' colorful history with a stop at the Beaches Museum & History Center in Jacksonville Beach. With its replica boardwalk, photos and displays, visitors will be whisked back in time to an era when Jacksonville's beaches were the playground of politicians, celebrities, gangsters and socialites and where one could ride a seaside roller coaster or Ferris wheel and race cars along the sand.
Today, the rides and beach driving are gone, but left in its place is a peaceful boardwalk nestled in white, rolling sand dunes and a fishing pier launching nearly a quarter of a mile into the Atlantic Ocean.
EXPLORE BY LAND OR SEA
Start your exploration of the beaches with a refreshing walk along the wide, paved boardwalk or take to the sea on foot. The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier launches out nearly a quarter of a mile into the Atlantic Ocean and offers great views of the coastline. Admission is only $1 for pedestrians. Fishermen are also offered affordable entry at $4.
If you prefer water to dry land, take a surf lesson from a local surf shop like Aqua East or explore the ocean for dolphins and sand bars that come and go with the tide. Kayak Adventures offers unique guided excursions, including the Shell Hunter and Island Hopper tour where paddlers discover what the tide leaves behind on sand bars - sharks teeth, shells, crabs and more. Or head out to sea on the Dutton Island Dolphin Adventure. You'll not only catch glimpses of dolphin, but also Florida's birds and occasionally a manatee.
WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
There's no need to sit around your hotel room once the sun bathing sends you running for shade. Families looking for an easy activity after the sun sets should grab a blanket or beach chairs and head to the Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. There is always a festival or special event at the oceanside venue.
A PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD
The gentle crash of the ocean lulls active travelers to sleep at accommodations scattered along the coast. For those seeking refuge in a natural setting, accommodations near Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park are ideal, and are also convenient to the JAXPORT St. Johns River Ferry, which departs for Fort George Island regularly. Fort George Island is home to guided kayaking and Segway tours, each featuring the rich Florida history and ecosystems of the island.
For a truly relaxing experience, select a resort where your every whim is met. One Ocean Resort Hotel & Spa oozes luxury, from its ocean color scheme of soft blues and greens, to an oceanfront spa and docents on every floor, tending to each visitor. Guests also receive access to the greens at Queen's Harbour Yacht and Country Club.
Those taking up respite at the hotel or those just staying nearby can dine at Azuréa Restaurant, the resort's restaurant with sweeping views of the ocean. Chef Ted Peters plans the menu seasonally to take advantage of the freshest ingredients, but with the nearby ocean, seafood is always a delectable item to choose.
In the heart of Jacksonville Beach, visitors will find many options for affordable, oceanfront rooms, including the Quality Suites Oceanfront. Easy beach access is high on the list of amenities and making it even easier is resident company, Rent Beach Stuff. This company has everything on hand to make your say at the beach enjoyable, from bikes, to umbrellas and, boogie boards, there is something to make your day at the beach even better.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.