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Jacksonville: Explore this Beach Town on Florida’s East Coast

Jacksonville is a thriving city located on Florida’s east coast and is the first city travelers enter when driving down from Savannah or Charleston. Downton Jax offers everything you’d expect in a bustling, urban metropolis, while the surrounding areas offer perfect waterfront wonders. From the St. John’s River to the Atlantic Ocean, you will find plenty of places to dine and stay, along with ample activities to keep you busy during your visit.

What to Do In Jacksonville

The first order of business when you get to Jacksonville is to hit the beaches! Jacksonville offers four miles of pristine Atlantic coastline; no matter which beach you decide to go to, you are certain to enjoy yourself. The four main beaches are Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach. All are beautiful, but many visitors find the palm tree-lined shores of Ponte Vedra to be most delightful.

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Aside from relaxing on the beach, Jacksonville offers many water activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and river cruises. Whether you are up for an independent adventure on a paddleboard or are looking to spend a relaxing day sailing down the river, Jacksonville has something for everyone.

If the water isn’t your cup of tea, Jacksonville offers plenty of green lawns to tee off on. No matter your experience level, you will be able to enjoy Jacksonville’s lovely weather while playing on the best golf courses. Looking for a little culture? Then cruise over and check out the events at the Thrasher Horne Center. From Broadway to live concerts, there is something for the whole family at the TH Center.

Where to Eat in Jacksonville

After a long day out on the beach, head to downtown Jacksonville for dinner. Many of the restaurants create delectable dishes from locally grown and fresh-caught ingredients. Jacksonville is a seafood lover’s paradise; two of the best places to eat are Singleton’s Seafood Shack and Clara’s Tidbits Restaurant.


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Singleton’s Seafood Shack is a bit of a hole in the wall; it doesn’t offer much in the way of atmosphere, but the food here is out of this world! From oysters to alligator, you will have plenty of salty delights to choose from; don’t miss out on the hushpuppies.

If you can catch them when they are open, Clara’s Tidbits is the perfect lunch spot. The quick-moving line brings you to the counter where you will be able to order delicious sandwiches and potato salad that is to die for.




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If you are in the mood for a sweet treat, skip the ice cream route and head to Good Dough for homemade creations like pastries and a fried chicken “doughwich.” Why? Because chicken tastes better when it’s paired with a sugary donut.


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Compare Hotels and Airbnbs in Jacksonville

Where to Stay in Jacksonville: More Hotel Suggestions

Jacksonville can be done in a day trip or an overnight stay. It’s a larger beach town in northeastern Florida where the St. John’s River meets the Atlantic Ocean. For a day trip, budget at least 4 hours, but if you love beach life I would budget an overnight or two-day stay if possible!


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If you’d like to stay somewhere central to downtown and the beaches, book a room at One Ocean Resort and Spa. This hotel offers guests luxury amenities like unpacking and snack-stocking services. When you stay here, you will be given one of the exquisite rooms in this eight-story, waterfront hotel. Whether you want to grab a bite to eat downtown, relax on the beach, or get a massage, all of this and more are available when you stay at One Ocean Resort and Spa.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Check rates on Hotels.com

Other well recommended hotels in Jacksonville:

Another luxury option for accommodations in Jacksonville is the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. Since 1928, Ponte Vedra has been offering guests helpful amenities, access to pristine Atlantic beaches, and an opportunity to rest and relax at the spa. The hotel is just a short drive from some of downtown Jax’s best restaurants.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Check rates on Hotels.com

If you are interested in staying in the City Center, Omni Jacksonville Hotel is a top choice. Located just steps from the St. John’s Riverwalk, the Omni Jacksonville Hotel recently renovation all 354 guest rooms and is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city with award-winning, personalized service. 

Read reviews on TripAdvisor | Check rates on Hotels.com

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  1. You list a couple of cool Jacksonville restaurants. Have you been to Clark’s Fish Landing? One of the coolest places I have been to. I want to go back to Jax just for dat.

    1. Hi Charles,

      Actually, no I haven’t. I’ve heard good things, but Clark’s is a bit of a drive for me (South Jax Beach to Julington Creek), but I do want to make the trip! Honestly, there is just so much good seafood around here I’m always tempted to be lazy and stay close.

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