Jacksonville Beach is a beautiful stretch of land set between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intra-Coastal Waterway; it consists of wide beaches
as well as resorts and oceanfront hotels, shopping
, fabulous places to eat and businesses, not to forget many golf courses, festivals and concerts for the whole family to enjoy. They have a great pier with a wonderful boardwalk full of shops and places to eat or get a drink.
Things to do on Jacksonville Beach
Jacksonville Beach is a great place to spend a few days, as it will take you that long to see it all. They have many hotels there, similar to the ones you'll find in Daytona Beach
, as well as one of the main draws being the Pier. The beaches are nice and wide so I guess that's why they made the pier's boardwalk so nice and wide.
The first thing you'll notice while on the boardwalk is the all wooden planks and cobblestone; it's like a throw back to another era. Back in the 60's, the old boardwalk had penny arcades, a Ferris wheel, and merry go rounds for with which mothers would bring their kids and feed them corndogs and cotton candy. The place got a rough reputation, however, when sailors and transients started to make it a sleazy place to hang out. Today they attract a higher caliber of clientele, with their many clubs, restaurants and festival grounds, they have plenty of parking and plenty of places to party. You can browse the shops at the boardwalk, ride your bike or rollerblade along, but be sure to watch for people, because this place is always crowded, day or night.
Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier
The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier
itself juts out into the Atlantic for nearly a quarter of a mile. The pier is wheel chair accessible and well lit at night; it also includes a concession and bait shop. If you'd like to drop a line in off the pier, there is a slight fee, but no fishing license is required; some fish that you might be able to catch are black drum, redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, croakers and assorted bottom fish as well as the occasional king mackerel and tarpon.
Every year, people gather to enjoy one of the festivals that are normally held for three days in April, such as the "Springing the Blues". Famous Blues acts from all over the country come to Jacksonville for food, fun and fabulous music. The Aqua East Surfing the Blues Contest is held along with the Blues festival, and again draws top ranked surfers from all over to come try their hand at surfing our small waves.
Places to Eat
Buckets Baha Oyster Bar
is an open air beach front bar, right next to the Pavilion Stage. They offer burgers and wings, as well as steamed or raw clams or oysters. They are shucked while you watch, so the place is very laid back and informal. They have pool tables and other games and live entertainment.
Joe's Crab Shack
, as the name suggests, is a great place to get crabs and many other seafood selections. Joe's is very casual dinning, as all of their tables are picnic tables sporting with the live entertainment. The servers are fun loving too and often sing along with whatever music is playing. They also have a surf shop, where you can buy t-shirts and other things with their logo on it. This is a great place to bring the family for great food and some fun.
Sneakers Sports Bar and Grill
is one of the largest sports bars in Jacksonville. The place is decorated with sports memorabilia, huge TV's, and in the middle of the place there is a horseshoe shaped bar; elsewhere, this is an open-air bar. The sports show, the End Zone, is broadcast live from there. They offer sandwiches, burgers, wings and quesadillas, salads, ribs and steaks. One day a weeks, you can test your sports trivia knowledge for prizes.
Jacksonville Beach is a great place to spend the day with the family; they have lifeguard stands dotted along the shore, all bearing the Red Cross symbol, which overlook volleyball nets here and there so you can play in or out of the water, or just relax on the sand. Then when you are done soaking up the rays, venture up to the pier and boardwalk for an afternoon of shopping, then a night of food and partying with the locals; it's all good.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com