13 Best Beaches in Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville is a boater’s paradise. It has an impressive 1,100 miles of navigable waters, including 22 miles of beaches and 40 miles of Intracoastal Waterway. Jacksonville has the longest stretch of the St. Johns River. It is the perfect area to get out and enjoy the sunshine and warm waters, whether you’re aboard a boat, in the water, or hanging out on the beaches.
Which Are The Best Beaches in Jacksonville, FL?
Jacksonville is home to the following public beaches:
You can find American Beach on Amelia Island in Jacksonville. It is quiet and boasts incredible ocean views. American Beach was founded in 1935 and was one of the first beaches that allowed People of Color during segregation; thousands of families from all over the country came to visit this beach, especially from 1935 to about 1955. Now, this historic beach is part of Florida’s Black Heritage Trail.
Atlantic Beach is located between Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park and Neptune Beach. It is best known for its historical significance and community. Many historians believe that this beach was the first permanent Native American settlement in North America. The 16th-century Mocama tribe, part of the Timucua, called this region Sarabay; it is believed that this civilization was advanced and quite large, with 200,000 to 300,000 residents.
Atlantic Beach is a great place to walk on sandy shores, participate in water sports, boat, fish, and search for seashells.
This beach sits at the northernmost coastal border of Jacksonville, right next to Fort Clinch State Park. This beach is family-friendly, with several playgrounds, picnic areas, mini-golf courses, wooden boardwalks, snorkeling, volleyball courts, a skate park, and Peter’s Point Beachfront Park. One of the perks of this beach is that beachfront horseback riding tours are available.
Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch State Park, nestled in a cove next to Fernandina Beach, offers 1,100 acres of pure beauty. This beach is known for picturesque sandy beaches, historical museums, and the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail that runs through it.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (say that name three times fast, we dare you) protects over 73,200 acres of Florida’s coastline. Most visitors come here to hike, bike, boat, and view tons of wildlife.
Huguenot Memorial Park
Huguenot is a pet and family-friendly beach with walking trails, a campground, and a playground. This beach has gentle waves, soft sands, and lifeguards, which is ideal for swimmers and families with young children.
We’ll talk about this gorgeous beach in more detail below. Be sure to check that out! We also have a comprehensive guide to boating at Jacksonville Beach right here.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
This stunning white sandy beach is the perfect place for families. It offers campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and even a splash park. You can find this beach below the Mayport Naval Station Base Beach and above Atlantic Beach. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is home to “The Poles,” known as one of the best surfing spots in northeastern Florida.
Little Talbot Island State Park
This stretch of beach is encompassed in the Timucuara Ecological and Historical Preserve of Jacksonville, Florida. It is situated just north of Huguenot Memorial Park.
Mayport Naval Station Beach
This stretch of beach is usually quiet and relatively empty. It is a lovely sea-shell-laden beach cove that makes for a low-key yet beautiful beach getaway. It is nestled between Huguenot Memorial Park (to the north) and Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park (to the south).
Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park
Absolutely filled with shells, this beach is ideal for shell hunters but not a friend of the barefoot beach-goers. Many people report a high number of shark teeth (petrified too) that wash ashore here. Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park is ideal for families because it has a pavilion, family-friendly resorts, grills, picnic areas, showers, and more.
You can see some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets on Neptune Beach. It is one mile long and sits right between the famous Atlantic and Jacksonville Beaches. This beach has hard-packed sand that many travelers enjoy cycling, and the coast is nice for surfing waves.
Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach is perfect for the quiet-nature-loving types. This area is filled with salt marshes, scenic forty-foot-tall dunes, vast stretches of wilderness, and tranquil waters ideal for sandcastle building, sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Recently, golfing competitions have become more popular here, and the nightlife in the city is lively too.
Does Jacksonville Beach have clear water?
While Jacksonville Beach is panoramic and breathtakingly gorgeous, the water is not clear (nor blue). Jacksonville Beach has fine grit and light gray sand and tan to brownish water thanks to the tannic acids from the local salt marshes.
The sand is relatively compact, perfect for beachfront walking, running, bicycling, and water wading. Many people choose to boat, kayak, canoe, and kite-board here. Some people surf, but that is not one of the more popular activities in the area.
Is Jacksonville Beach a dry beach?
Jacksonville Beach is a dry beach that prohibits the use of alcohol at all times. Glass bottles, alcoholic or not, are also not permitted for safety reasons.
While alcohol is banned, beach picnics are welcome. Just leave your grills at home because those are also prohibited.
Jacksonville Beach is pet-friendly. Pets are allowed on the beach from 5 pm to 9 am during the warm months of April 1st to September 30th. Then from October 1st to March 31st, pets are allowed on the beach any time of the day or night. All pets must be up-to-date on their rabies vaccine, kept on a leash, and all owners must immediately remove their pets’ droppings from the beach.
What is Jacksonville Beach known for?
Jacksonville Beach is known for being northeast Florida’s “First Coast.” This scenic beach boasts incredible dolphin viewing areas, fishing piers, beach volleyball, fishing, swimming, beach running, birdwatching, some of the best surfing waves in the area, and many boat launches.
The nightlife and local eateries are on par, too, with many options ranging from affordable and family-friendly to upscale, sophisticated, exclusive, and ultra-luxurious.
Jacksonville is a historic area with many museums and galleries available for your viewing pleasure.
This beach accommodates watersports well; many people choose Jacksonville Beach for boogie boarding, wakeboarding, body surfing, water skiing, hydrofoiling, flyboarding, kitesurfing, jet surfing, parasailing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, jet-skiing, yachting, and even windsurfing.
From May through October, visitors may see sea turtles nesting on the beaches. Enjoy the sea turtles from afar, where you cannot disturb them. They are a remarkable sight to see.
If you ever visit the nearby St. Johns River, you may glimpse the rhesus monkeys. No one knows how these monkeys came to the region, but they are fantastic swimmers and climbers and an integral component of the native wildlife.
The waters are a bit too murky for snorkeling or scuba diving, so these activities are best reserved for a different beach.
You do not need a license to fish the beach or on the famous Jacksonville Beach Pier, so bring your rod and reel and enjoy a fantastic day fishing. Well-stocked bait and tackle shops are conveniently located near the pier and along the length of Jacksonville Beach.
Are you ready to explore the waterways of Jacksonville Beach or other beaches in Jacksonville, Florida? Do you need a boat captain to take you on an adventure of a lifetime? With Boatsetter, you can rent a wide variety of boats in the Jacksonville area, including fishing boats, pontoons, deck boats, yachts, catamarans, and many more!