There are many great things to do in Jacksonville. The city has more than 22 miles of beaches featuring clear white sand and beautiful views of the ocean. Virtually all of the beaches are very family friendly and are perfect for a summer vacation trip with the whole crew.
Jacksonville has three major beach areas, including Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. Amelia Island has four other incredible beaches, and several more are within a short drive.
The beaches on our list include nine of the best beaches you will find close to Jacksonville. Peruse the list and you are sure to find the perfect fit for your vacation.
1. American Beach
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American Beach is a well-known historic beach located on Amelia Island.
It was founded in 1935, which was a sad time in our nation’s history when there weren’t many beaches that allowed African Americans. Over the next two decades, African Americans came from all over the country to visit the beach. Due to this historical significance, American Beach is part of the state’s Black Heritage Trail.
The beach itself is quiet, removed from traffic sounds with beautiful views of the ocean and the surrounding sand dunes.
The beach is perfect for those who are looking to escape the touristy crowds that flock to other beaches and enjoy fishing, swimming, shelling, and surfing at a historically significant beach. Browse free things to do in Jacksonville on vacation.
More ideas: Things to do on Amelia Island.
2. Atlantic Beach
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Atlantic Beach is a charming coastal community near Jacksonville. The area has an interesting history as most expert historians believe that Atlantic Beach was the first year-round Native American settlement in North America.
The beaches here are quite laidback with a relaxed vibe.
They are quite popular with both locals and tourists in the summer, so claim your spot in the sand early.
The community surrounding the beach has several excellent golf courses, and nice parks for the whole family. Surfing, cycling, and shelling are other popular activities.
Many visitors who come to Atlantic Beach love it so much they continue to come back year after year.
More ideas: Things to Do in Jacksonville with kids
3. Fernandina Beach
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Fernandina Beach is the northernmost city on the coast of Florida. It is situated on Amelia Island in Nassau County near Jacksonville.
The city is perhaps best known for its annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, which is held annually as well as being a destination for golfers.
Activities at the festival include shopping at the variety of vendors offering seafood, arts, handicrafts, antiques, and more, as well as enjoying live music concerts, beauty pageants, and fireworks.
The town itself is quite charming and has a number or interesting boutiques, shops, and restaurants. The beach borders the historic town center and is perfect for families, with a playground, plenty of parking, and great space for picnicking and relaxing on the beach.
Discover more beaches: Florida Gulf Coast, Beaches Near Orlando, Beaches in North Florida, Titusville, Naples
4. Fort Clinch State Park
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Fort Clinch State Park occupies more than 1,400 acres on Amelia Island, which is a barrier island off of the coast of Jacksonville.
The park has 3 miles of shoreline and offers a range of recreational activities for the entire family, such as fishing, swimming, shelling, and sunbathing.
The centerpiece of the park is a historic fort that features actors in period clothing from the Civil War era as well as a number of historical artifacts.
The beach itself is a natural beach with few amenities for tourists. Your kids will enjoy the numerous species of wildlife they may have a chance to see during their visit, including shorebirds, sea turtles, and alligators.
More ideas: Jacksonville Restaurants
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5. Jacksonville Beach
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If you are looking for a beach with a lot of facilities on offer, Jacksonville Beach is where it’s at.
The beach itself is beautiful but it is nearby many activities and amenities, and a popular fishing pier juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.
There is also a well-known golf course a short distance from the beach, and there are plenty of restaurants and fun activities always close at hand. Surfers from around the country come to Jacksonville Beach because it is known for having some of the best waves in this part of the country.
Experienced surfers say that The Poles near Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is the best place in Jacksonville to surf. Free Things to Do in Jacksonville
More ideas: Beaches in Sarasota, St Petersburg, Florida State Parks, Cedar Key Beaches, Cape Coral
6. Little Talbot
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Little Talbot State Park, located a short drive from Jacksonville on Little Talbot Island, has some of the most beautiful beaches in this part of the state.
If you are looking for a postcard-perfect, clean, white-sand beach, then this should be your first stop.
The park has more than 5 miles of pristine beaches and beautiful sand dunes. The park also has salt marshes and coastal forests, which provide an opportunity to explore additional ecosystems.
On your walk through these unique habitats, you may chance a glance at river otters, bobcats, rabbits, and a number of bird species. Read about the best Florida weekend getaways for a relaxing vacation.
More to explore: Dunedin, Punta Gorda Beaches, Apollo Beach, Snorkeling, Miami
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Fancy a beach getaway without the kids? Mayport
is a quaint historical village that has become well-known as home to several casino boats.
If you’d like to bring the kids along, there’s still plenty of family friendly activities, including biking, hiking, and of course enjoying the beach.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park has some of the area’s best trails as well as campgrounds for those looking to spend the night.
Seafood restaurants are abundant here and several offer Mayport shrimp, which is a local specialty. The town has a historical charm adding to the atmosphere of your getaway.
Visit Mayport and enjoy delicious seafood, beautiful views of the Atlantic, and possibly win a few bucks at the blackjack table or slot machine. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.
8. Closest beach to me: Neptune Beach
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In between Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach, you will find the small, coastal community of Neptune Beach.
If you’ve come to the beach to unplug, relax, and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Neptune Beach is for you. This stretch of sand offers some of the most incredible sunsets and sunrises that you will find on the Atlantic coast.
While you won’t find a bustling nightlife or large resorts, this laidback community offers a range of boutique shops, delicious restaurants, and several options for ocean-front accommodations.
You are sure to come away from your trip feeling recharged, relaxed, and fulfilled.
More ideas: Day trips from Naples.
9. Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach is a beautiful resort community located on the seaside in St. John’s County about 18 miles down the coast from Jacksonville.
This beach is most popular among higher-end luxury travelers and those who come to play golf.
The area is famously home to the Players Championship as well as the esteemed PGA Tour.
The sand dunes that flank Ponte Vedra Beach are some of the highest in the state of Florida.
The beach is a family-friendly destination perfect for those who don’t mind spending a little extra for a classy, comfortable, and relaxed vacation spot. Check out these Jacksonville breakfast spots.
More ideas: Things to do in Sarasota.
10. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Welcoming visitors starting 8 am, seven days a week is the Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, a recreational hub perfect for exploring, exercising, relaxing, and playing.
Home to a multitude of activities and features, one of the park’s most enjoyable features is its 1.5-mile sandy beach.
This accessible beach is the proud home of Northeastern Florida’s most popular surfing spot, The Poles.
Zip across the ocean on top of exciting waves or simply enjoy a relaxing dip in the water, sunbathing, or other water sports.
For visitors who want to have a special occasion celebrated here, there is a gorgeous oceanfront event space available for rent called the Dolphin Plaza.
Browse our things to do in Florida guide for more ideas.
500 Wonderwood Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32233, Phone: 904-255-6767
More ideas: Tampa Bay, Southern Florida, Shelling Beaches, Florida Panhandle
11. Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park
Situated on the idyllic southern point of Ponte Vedra Beach is Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park, a lovely addition to Florida’s wealth of spectacular beaches.
Armed with a fun and exciting range of activities, Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park gives guests the opportunity to swim, soak up the sun as they sunbathe, horseback riding, and even beach combing for shark teeth.
This beach is welcoming and handicapped-accessible. Designated parking is off the beach, which means that you can always enjoy a safe and clean beach experience.
For families coming to visit, four-legged friends are also welcome at Mickler’s Landing as long as they remain leashed.
1109 Ponte Vedra Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville, Florida 32082, Phone: 904-209-3740
More ideas: Things to Do in Southern Florida
12. Huguenot Memorial Park
Home to a ton of activities and amenities, the Huguenot Memorial Park is a large beachside recreational facility that is also a designated critical wildlife habitat. It is known for being the nesting grounds of terns and shorebirds but is visited and enjoyed for the numerous adventures it offers to its visitors. Guests can enjoy RV or tent camping at the park’s spacious camping ground, watersport activities, swimming, hiking, and bird watching. It’s also spectacular for hiking, and even provides access to the Atlantic Ocean care of an exciting and exhilarating 4-wheel drive across the soft sand. Though the park does have a minimal admission fee, it is worth it to enjoy all that the park has to offer including its in-park nature center.
10980 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32226, Phone: 904-255-4255
More ideas: Tampa, Spring Hill Beaches, Gulf Coast Beaches, More Florida beaches
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