Northeast Florida Beaches – Jacksonville

Dream Family Vacation in Jacksonville Area

Doesn’t a week at the beach sound great? A family vacation in Florida immediately brings to mind theme parks, Disney, and high cost. However, for a family looking for a great beach vacation, Northeast Florida is ideal. Uncrowded beaches, lower-cost accommodations, and lots to do make it an ideal summer vacation spot.

Northeast Florida has beaches that rival any sun destination and each has its own flavor. In fact, you will find some unique features that are not available in other areas.

Huguenot Memorial Park

Huguenot Memorial Park is actually a beach and a park that falls under the City of Jacksonville. This drive on the beach makes it perfect for a quick taste of the sea or a whole day with all the stuff a family needs and wants without having to drag it all from a parking lot to the beach. Huguenot also offers camping, a family beach that is protected from the ocean, picnic shelters and a birding trail.

Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach is an exciting strip of sandy white beach, nicely groomed, and monitored by lifeguards during the season. Parking is complimentary at many of the parking lots bordering the beach. With festivals, moonlight movies, surfing lessons, fishing and much more to be found at Jacksonville Beach, every day can be completely different. Get there early for easier parking on weekends and holidays.

surfing Jacksonville Beach

The beach is beautiful in and of itself, but it is also close to many activities and amenities, including a popular fishing pier that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. A well-known golf course is also a short distance from the beach, and there are numerous restaurants and fun activities nearby. Surfers from all over the country visit Jacksonville Beach because it has some of the best waves in this part of the country.

Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach, and Atlantic Beach are the city’s main beaches. They are open to the public and pet-friendly, and they are home to surf shops, fresh seafood restaurants, charming beach boutique shops, and parks such as Hanna Park and Dutton Island Preserve. Undisturbed barrier islands on the city’s northside offer must-see beaches such as Blackrock Beach, Boneyard Beach, Little Talbot Island, and Huguenot Park.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island State Park is just north of Huguenot and is completely undeveloped. Exploring the beach there gives visitors a step back in time to how Florida beaches looked before they became destinations. This five-mile stretch of unspoiled beach is a wonderful classroom for every member of the family with its nature trail and abundance of wildlife to view.

Boneyard Beach

Big Talbot Island State Park’s famous Boneyard Beach is a must-see. Climb the bones of bleached live oaks washed up on the beach by years of deterioration. Another highlight is Blackrock Beach (watch the video here), which has beautiful black rocks that make up the coastline. These are among the world’s oldest rock formations, made of decayed leaves and compressed sand. It’s one of the few places in Northeast Florida where nature truly reigns supreme.

Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach, located near Jacksonville, is a charming coastal community.  The beaches here are laid-back and have a relaxed vibe. In the summer, they are very popular with both locals and tourists, so reserve your spot in the sand early. The beach community has several outstanding golf courses and nice parks for the whole family. Other popular activities include surfing, cycling, and shelling. Many tourists to Atlantic Beach enjoy it so much that they return year after year.

Amelia Island

On Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach is completely open to the sea and offers great waves. It is also a favorite with shark tooth collectors. South of Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra offers Mickler’s Landing, a more secluded public beach, bordered by breathtaking beach houses. It also is another haven for shark tooth collecting.

Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach  is known for its great golf and hosts the renowned Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. Downtown Fernandina Beach also has a variety of delicious restaurants, as well as 13 miles of pristine beaches, rich biodiversity, and clear, calm waters.

The shrimp festival features a variety of vendors selling seafood, arts, handicrafts, antiques, and more, as well as live music concerts, beauty pageants, and fireworks. The town is quite charming, with a variety of interesting boutiques, shops, and restaurants. With a playground, plenty of parking, and plenty of space for picnicking and relaxing on the beach, the beach borders the historic town center and is ideal for families.

Amelia Island’s quaint charm has made it a popular vacation destination for generations. Its upscale resorts and world-class spas meld with a captivating collection of bed and breakfasts, historic sites, and enthralling festivals to create a truly Floridian experience.

American Beach

American Beach is peaceful, away from traffic noises, with stunning views of the ocean and surrounding sand dunes. The beach is ideal for those who want to avoid the tourist crowds at other beaches and instead enjoy fishing, swimming, shelling, and surfing at a historically significant beach.

A Break From the Beach

If your family needs a little time away from the beach to recover from the sun or to just change it up a bit, Northeast Florida offers lots to do. Minutes from Jacksonville Beach is the St. John’s Town Center with the best shopping in the area, as well as outstanding choices in dining. Quaint Amelia Island has excellent antique stores and boutiques of all kinds in its downtown core. On I-95 at St. Augustine you will find a great array of outlet stores.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is very impressive and well worth it for any family visiting Northeast Florida. Situated on the water and a short drive from Huguenot Memorial Park, this zoo can fill a day with more than 1500 animals to discover. It is very clean and has great kids’ areas.

State and national parks throughout the area, as well as art museums and a Science and History museum, give visitors lots to do. Historic St. Augustine is a 30-45 minute drive from most of the beaches and offers lots of tourist destinations, tours, and more.

Adventure Landing

If you can’t leave Florida without a water park, Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach is great fun and has discounted admission after 2 pm and family nights on Friday and Saturday all summer long.

Adventure Landing Jacksonville Beach
Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach

Saving On Your Northeast Florida Vacation

Planning your vacation online? You will save you a ton on the cost of your trip. Check out for excellent deals on hotel stays or do a search for beach rentals in Northeast Florida for prices that easily beat other beaches in the state. Look at deal websites like Groupon or Living Social to save on dining out or excursions. Cross-check restaurants against a restaurant review site like before buying that great deal.

Enjoy your trip! The options really are endless for an affordable, fun-filled week at the beach this summer with your family in Northeast Florida.

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