Hit the Beach

Where First Coast - - CONTENTS - BY SHEL­LEY PRE­STON

Your guide for find­ing the per­fect spot on the beach.

Jack­sonville and Amelia Is­land have a beach for ev­ery per­son­al­ity with their 22 miles of shore­line con­nect­ing their com­mu­ni­ties. Jack­sonville Beach is where the ac­tion is with shop­ping and din­ing near the wa­ter and a party vibe dur­ing the evenings. Nearby Nep­tune and At­lantic Beach have a mel­lower feel—per­fect for ro­man­tic strolls or plop­ping down a beach chair to work on your tan as the kids play. Amelia Is­land cap­tures both a rus­tic and sporty ap­proach to beach life with driv­ing per­mit­ted on most beaches and se­cluded spots with nary a soul in sight. Pick your plea­sure for sand and sun.

NEP­TUNE/AT­LANTIC BEACHES

Nep­tune Beach lures surfers for its sporty cul­ture and good waves. At its heart is Beaches Town Cen­ter, a pedes­tri­an­friendly area that’s home to bou­tiques, pubs and cafés and a good place to find beach gear. Be­gin­ning at One Ocean, a tow­er­ing re­sort ho­tel, is At­lantic Beach. The mostly residential area fea­tures quiet beaches and din­ing and shop­ping on nearby At­lantic Av­enue.

JAX BEACH

The clos­est beach to down­town Jack­sonville, this is the place for a fes­tive beach- go­ing ex­cur­sion. Surf shops, pa­tio bars and restau­rants serv­ing seafood and burgers line the beach­front. The pier is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for catch­ing fish or catch­ing ocean views.

FER­NAN­D­INA BEACH

Driv­ing on the beach is by per­mit only on these beaches: Amer­i­can, Peter’s Point and Sea­side Park. If you are an an­gler, a hot spot is Amelia Is­land State Park, where you can drop a line from the long pier or fish di­rectly from the shore. Con­ve­nient to the town of Fer­nan­d­ina Beach, Main Beach is fam­ily-friendly with a play­ground and a sim­ple putt-putt course.

PONTE VE­DRA

While much of this beach is pri­vate, you can ac­cess a beau­ti­ful stretch at Mick­ler’s Land­ing, pop­u­lar for surfers and ca­sual beach go­ers. For a na­ture fix be­yond the beach, go to the GTM Re­search Re­serve for kayak­ing and get­ting glimpses of wildlife such as egrets and al­li­ga­tors. And nearby, TPC Saw­grass hap­pens to be a des­ti­na­tion golf course.

The beau­ti­ful At­lantic

is a child’s par­adise

The Jax Beach Pier

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