Top 12 Beaches in Jacksonville

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Jacksonville’s Sparkling Shores – The City’s Gorgeous Beaches

Jacksonville boasts miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline, offering vibrant beach communities and endless options for waterfront fun. From downtown city beaches to quiet coastal parks, Jacksonville’s beaches have something for everyone.

BeachHighlights
Little Talbot Island State ParkSecluded shores, wildlife, driftwood sculptures
Adventure Landing BeachFamily fun, theme park rides, beach access
Neptune BeachRetro charm, beachfront dining, Pete’s Bar
Atlantic BeachPopular, oceanfront hotels, vibrant atmosphere
Kathryn Abbey Hanna ParkSurfing, camping, historic charm
Mickler’s Landing Beachfront ParkSurfing, seashells, rock jetties
Huguenot Memorial Park & BeachSaltwater fishing, marsh and Atlantic access
Hanna Park North BeachSurfers’ hideaway, serene beach experience
Marina Fishing Pier State ParkBeachcombing, pier fishing, river views
Fort George Island BeachSecluded beauty, hiking trails, unspoiled beaches
Blackrock BeachDramatic tidal pools, unique coastal scenery

White sand, gentle surf, beachside attractions, water sports, and stunning views await visitors and locals alike. Keep reading to discover the top beaches Jacksonville has to offer!

Little Talbot Island State Park – Secluded Shores and Driftwood Sculptures

Name and Location: Little Talbot Island State Park sits on a barrier island complex between the Atlantic Ocean and Fort George Inlet about 25 minutes northeast of Jacksonville.

History and Significance: Once a hideaway for pirates and rumrunners during Prohibition, today the undeveloped island preserves natural coastal habitats including maritime forests, dunes, salt marshes and miles of quiet beach shorelinehaven for coastal birds and sea turtles seeking undisturbed nesting grounds.

What to Expect: Beachcombers delight in miles of pristine shoreline where surf crashes driftwood into sculptural forms, backed by scenic marshes and forests laced in Spanish moss straight out of Southern Gothic tales, bereft of tacky dive bars or hotels marring the peaceful primordial charm.

Visitor Information: 12157 Heckscher Dr/A1A, Jacksonville, FL 32226. North Florida’s surf fishing capital. Gates open 8am to sunset daily. Entrance fees $5/vehicle. Canoes, kayaks avail for rent. Campsites book early.

For a peaceful beach getaway with glimpses of wildlife and nature, visit Little Talbot Island State Park. This pristine barrier island feels worlds away yet sits only 30 minutes from Downtown Jacksonville. Undeveloped shorelines create secluded spots to swim, fish, or explore the island’s interior marsh trails. Visitors are treated to views of the historic Fort George Inlet, 19th century river pilots’ homes, and trees adorned with lush Spanish moss. The park is also known for its many driftwood sculptures artfully arranged along the sands.

Adventure Landing Beach – Thrills and Family Fun

Name and Location: Adventure Landing Beach sits beside sister theme park Adventure Landing off Beach Boulevard by Southside intersection with St. Johns Bluff Road.

History and Significance: Formerly known as Beach Marine, the compact beachfront adjoining popular family entertainment center and arcade offers easy access to beach amusement combining wave pools, playgrounds, beach rentals and dining with go karts, mini golf, laser tag and games next door.

What to Expect: Enjoy bodysurfing mild waves warmed by surf park retaining walls, then tap an outdoor bar for frozen cocktails without leaving beach premises. Kids exhaust themselves building epic sandcastles equipped with mini ferris wheels and waterslides from the amusement park.

Visitor Information: 14420 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville FL 32250. Beach open daily 10am-5pm, rides open weekends and seasonally. Rental lockers, chairs, umbrellas, boards available. Adventure Pass covers park/beach attractions.

Nestled on Jacksonville Beach, Adventure Landing combines a stretch of sand and surf with a massive entertainment complex. Families flock here not only for the beach access but also for the theme park rides, arcade, mini golf courses, laser tag arena, and ship-themed playground. The complex sits conveniently across the road from the ocean, allowing parents to relax on the beach while kids enjoy the amusement rides and vice versa. They’ve thought of everything for an easy, stress-free beach day.

Neptune Beach – Laid-Back Shores and Vintage Charm

Name and Location: Neptune Beach stretches two miles between Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beaches along Florida A1A Scenic Highway, retaining its small town appeal.

History and Significance: Originally called New Brighton in the 1920s, Neptune Beach transformed from fledgling seaside development into popular family-friendly beachtown combining chilled-out surfing ethos with beloved community fixtures including original ice cream parlor, skate park, vegetable stand and sleepy coastal cottages.

What to Expect: Mellow bars serving microbrews and cocktails, surf shops and locally-owned boutiques line A1A through town and out along white sand public beaches granting easygoing access to waves without traffic snarls further south, with nearby parks offering fishing piers, courts, arts center and farmer’s market.

Visitor Information: Town lies between Atlantic Blvd and Butler Blvd exits east of ICW with paid beachfront parking access points granting entry to beach routes bookended by lifeguard stands. Beach wheelchairs avail on request.

Neptune Beach exudes retro charm, with its iconic neon signage, beachfront dining spots, and quirky boutiques. The small oceanfront town provides easy access to both the beach and attractions like Pete’s Bar, a legendary local dive bar. Neptune Beach’s laid-back atmosphere contrasts to some of Jacksonville’s larger, more crowded beaches. Sink your toes into the sand, grab a bite at the famous Pete’s Bar hamburger stand, and soak up the vintage beach town vibes.

Atlantic Beach – Bustling Oceanfront Town

Name and Location: Atlantic Beach centers around A1A “Beach Boulevard” through the beaches community southeast of Mayport between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean.

History and Significance: Developed as Florida’s first drive-on beaches community in the early 1900s, Atlantic Beach became Jacksonville’s most vibrant beaches destination as a prohibitory reaction against consuming alcohol caused tourism to swell tremendously by setting up lively – and rowdy – resorts right over city lines.

What to Expect: Today a go-to beach base for dining, fishing charters, surf shops, lodging and nightlife, Atlantic Beach hosts events year-round both on shore and offshore, with seasonal lifeguards stationed near public beach walkway crossings granting ocean access from hotels and restaurants lining Beach Boulevard through town.

Visitor Information: Beach access every few blocks with metered parking when available or public lots charging by the hour a short walk away. Beach wheelchairs, restrooms, showers avail at heated Indies surf shop.

One of the most popular beaches in Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach offers abundant oceanfront hotels, restaurants, shops and activities. Families appreciate the kids’ playground, lifeguard stations, and seasonal events like the yearly Sea and Sky Spectacular air show. Surfing is popular here, as are beach volleyball, swimming, and surf fishing. The bustling Beach Avenue provides boutique shopping and dining just steps from the sand. Atlantic Beach caters to both tourists and locals with its vibrant atmosphere and scenic seaside charm.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park – Surfers, Campers, and Historic Charm

Name and Location: Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park sprawls across 500 lush acres where Atlantic Beach meets Wonderwood Expressway about 15 miles east of Jacksonville.

History and Significance: Once a 1920s winter retreat for New York philanthropist Alfred I. duPont and his family, he later deeded the land to his daughter Kathryn who established a children’s home onsite that eventually transformed into a public park combining beach access through maritime forests with nature trails, lakeside campgrounds and historic hall.

What to Expect: Surfers covet the dynamic waves reaching the remote shoreline, with a dedicated surfer parking lot located near trail heads granting quicker beach access. Nature lovers enjoy spotting herons, raccoons, otters and falcons along freshwater Lake Hanna beside scenic picnic grounds threaded by hiking and biking trails.

Visitor Information: 500 Mayport Rd, Atlantic Beach FL 32233. Lifeguards on duty seasonally. Entry fee $3-5. Popular year-round for seasonal camping, weddings, events and ranger-led activities.

Experience a rustic escape at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, home to 450 campsites just steps from gorgeous Atlantic surf. Surfing is huge here, thanks to reliable waves, surf shops, and surf camps offering lessons for all levels. Nature trails and bike paths wind through a 60-acre maritime hammock, shaded by live oak trees abloom with Spanish moss. History buffs will appreciate the 1920s Florida Cracker-style homes nestled along the park road leading out to the beach. With its charming old Florida ambiance and fantastic surf, Hanna Park is a Jacksonville favorite.

Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park – Premier Surfing and Seashells

Name and Location: Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park sprawls across 58 acres northeast of Ponte Vedra Beach, with dune crossovers allowing ocean access.

History and Significance: Originally family gardens for Palm Valley settlers, the property later became coquina quarry before Jacksonville acquired it for preservation as recreation area with boardwalks granting access over coastal vegetation, opening unique shelling and surf fishing opportunities less disrupted by dredging operations altering sand drifts elsewhere.

What to Expect: Premier destination for astounding seashell collections, including rare junonia finds. Surfers covet the powerful waves breaking beyond the Jupiter jetty. Beachcombers delight in “Old Ponte Vedra” remnants visible at low tides. Site includes picnic shelters amid scenic greenery.

Visitor Information: 282 Mickler Road. Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. North Lot most accessible with dune walkovers. South lot requires longer walk but less crowded. Leashed dogs allowed before 9am/after 5pm.

Known as one of the foremost East Coast surfing destinations, Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park brings wave riders flocking to its reliable breaks. Even beginners can surf here thanks to the gradual sloping sands that prevent massive crashes. The park also features weathered rock jetties, perfect for catching sunrises, spotting dolphins, and collecting seashells during low tides. Picnic areas and playgrounds allow beachgoers to make a day of their visit. Beachcomb, surf, or just relax on the park’s uncrowded sands.

Huguenot Memorial Park & Beach – Saltwater Fishing Paradise

Name and Location: Huguenot Memorial Park sits across 268 scenic acres on the northern banks of the St. Johns River near Jacksonville’s San Marco andAtlantic Beach neighborhoods, with a public boat ramp granting ocean access through Ft. George Inlet.

History and Significance: Dedicated in 1949 as memorial “where religion, history, and romance blend,” the park preserves sites linked to early Huguenot settlers in 1564 near what is now Jacksonville, including replica cross and towering Memorial Column honoring founder Jean Ribault.

What to Expect: Saltwater anglers launch boats, canoes and kayaks to fish tidal basin waters abundant with red drum, black drum and spotted sea trout. Shaded picnic areas fringe the riverfront, with a tall observation deck overlooking the shoreline beloved by birdwatchers.

Visitor Information: 10980 Heckscher Drive. Jacksonville, FL 32226. Leashed pets allowed. Interpretive exhibits at Ribault Club House. Boat launch fee $12, $2 walk-ins or bicyclists. Gates open 7am to 11pm.

Stretching over 109 acres amid coastal wetlands, Huguenot Memorial Park provides access to both the inland marshes and the Atlantic shoreline. A small beach nestled against the jetty allows beachgoers to enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of the sea. The park’s true claim to fame, however, is its world-class shore fishing. Anglers flock here thanks to an abundance of trophy trout, redfish, flounder, and other catches brought in by the tide. Cast from the jetty, kayak the inland waters, or just relax with an ocean view at this unique coastal park.

Hanna Park North Beach – Surfers’ Secluded Hideaway

Name and Location: North Beach within Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park sits tucked behind coastal sand dunes inside a dedicated surfer parking lot granting exclusive entry from Wonderwood Expressway half a mile closer to prime surf breaks than South Beach’s main entrance.

History and Significance: Originally part of 1930s winter retreat estate owned by Alfred I. duPont prior to bequeathing the expansive Atlantic Beach grounds to his daughter Kathryn to establish youth home, this secluded oceanside site retains prized proximity to premier swells coveted by savvy local wave riders in the know.

What to Expect: Short scenic walk through sea oats leads over dunes to a dramatic beach jutting south beside crashing waves renowned among expert surfers for hollow barrels, especially when nor’easters whip up big Atlantic swells, while bypassing crowds converging elsewhere.

Visitor Information: 500 Wonderwood Dr. Atlantic Beach, FL 32233. Entry $5 cash only. Four hour parking limit. Beach wheelchairs available. Leashed dogs allowed before 9am and after 5pm like rest of park.

Managed by the Florida State Park system, North Beach within Hanna Park offers a peaceful, crowd-free alternative to the main park beach. Instead of roads and campsites, quiet sand dunes buffer North Beach’s shoreline. Only surfers, nature lovers and the occasional beachcomber come here, as the access trail prohibits vehicles. Enjoy a serene seaside hike, fantastic surf fishing, or ride the sometimes head-high waves breaking along this semi-remote stretch of sand. Due to dangerous rip currents, swimming is not advised. For surfing or solitude by the sea, visit North Beach.

Marina Fishing Pier State Park – Beachcombing and Pier Fishing

Name and Location: Marina Fishing Pier State Park on Atlantic Beach sits beside Joe’s Crab Shack on Beach Boulevard between 20th and 21st Streets beside a popular fishing pier stretching into the ocean.

History and Significance: Built in 1912, the historic pier once served elite families arriving on rail lines from Jacksonville to seaside attractions until automobiles transformed Atlantic Beach into a hotspot for drive-on beach access. Later hurricane damage from Dora and rebuilding efforts shortened the current concrete attraction.

What to Expect: Pier fishermen cast for king mackerel, cobia, redfish and sharks from planks above a rich artificial reef while beachcombers explore coquina rock tidepools teeming with marine creatures below along secluded stretches of sandy shoreline when tides retreat.

Visitor Information: 351 N 1st Street Atlantic Beach, FL 32233. Year-round beach access with free pier fishing 24 hours daily. Concession stand serves snacks and bait. Restrooms and showers avail nearby.

Though small in size, Marina Fishing Pier State Park provides stellar St. Johns River views alongside Atlantic Ocean beach access. The fishing pier offers unmatched sight fishing, as visitors can peer down to see trout, flounder, and redfish prowling the shallows. The park also features picnic tables, grills, a short nature trail through the maritime forest, and calm sandy shorelines perfect for combing. Located in Jacksonville’s Fort George Island, this scenic state park makes for a budget-friendly beach trip with epic scenery.

Fort George Island Beach – Secluded North Florida Beauty

Name and Location: Fort George Island State Cultural Site sprawls across 1,440 acres located across Fort George Inlet southeast of downtown Jacksonville, reachable by Heckscher Drive then Palmera Drive leading to North Shore Beach granting ocean access.

History and Significance: Named “Saint George” by French colonists in 1562 when establishing short-lived Fort Caroline nearby, the island later became plantation ground before certain areas became state property conserved for passive recreation meant to retain natural and historic integrity commemorated by Kingsley Plantation ruins from 1800s.

What to Expect: Hiking and biking trails grant beach access revealing secluded stretches of golden sand beach beside scenic Talbot Islands Marine State Park across the inlet, detailed in early European records but without modern development marring views of one of North Florida’s most pristine preserved shorelines.

Visitor Information: 12157 Heckscher Dr. Jacksonville, FL 32226. Open 8:00 AM-Sunset daily. State Park Entry $2 pedestrians, $4/car. Haunted year-round by ghosts from its bizarre history. Surf fishing permits sold on site.

Part of the Talbot Islands State Parks system, Fort George Island Beach offers secluded shorelines with gorgeous views. The island terrain encompasses lush vegetation, coastal dunes, salt marsh, and golden unspoiled beaches. Hiking trails wind across the landscape for those wishing to explore the island’s interior. Visitors tend to scatter along the four-mile-long beach, finding their own private paradise thanks to the undeveloped coastline. Picnic amid swaying palms before swimming or beachcombing in solitude. For peaceful and picturesque beaches, Fort George Island delivers.

Little Talbot Island’s Blackrock Beach – Dramatic Tidal Pools and Driftwood

Name and Location: Blackrock Beach within Little Talbot Island State Park sits just north of Big Talbot Island off Heckscher Drive/A1A about 22 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, granting exclusive hike or bike-in access by perimeter road or trail over dunes from the Ranger Station to a secluded oceanside stretch recalling primordial seaside wilderness further enhanced by scenic tidal pools during lower tides.

History and Significance: Once haunt of bootleggers and pirates, the north end backshore facing Nassau Sound hearkens back millennia when dramatic rocky outcroppings pounded by surf resembled New England territories but set along warmer Southern latitudes. Recent decades have thankfully prevented modern intrusions from infiltrating the seemingly cursed but pristine shoreline stalked by tales of shipwreck plunder and murders tied to deeds for these sacred grounds.

What to Expect: Beachcombers delight in dramatic driftwood conspiracy sculptures crafted by powerful ocean forces, set amid rippling shoals revealing small islands and aquatic life when tidal conditions align favorably several days monthly. Prepare to be awestruck discovering Blackrock Beach’s ominous beauty guarded by spirits warning against removing artifacts but permitting transport through captured photos instead.

Visitor Information: 12157 Heckscher Dr. Jacksonville, FL 32226. Remote beach access by 1.5 mile marked pedestrian route only from Ranger Station. No driving onto fragile habitat. Visit pristine tidal beach parks respectfully as short-term guests, not colonists forever altering the terrain through extractive conquests or litter.

Located on Little Talbot Island just east of Big Talbot Island State Park, Blackrock Beach astonishes visitors with its dramatic black stone formations contrasting white sands. Exposing at low tide, the rocks form shallow pools perfect for observing tiny marine creatures. Beachcombers adore the abundance of gnarled driftwood scattered across the shore, remnants of storms and extreme high tides. The striking yet peaceful landscape seems frozen in time. For tidal pool exploring and unique coastal scenery, add Blackrock Beach to your Jacksonville itinerary.

Whether you seek bustling city beaches, remote park shorelines or secluded surf spots, Jacksonville’s array of coastal landscapes astounds. Discover adventure, history, entertainment, or relaxation along this vibrant north Florida city’s sparkling Atlantic shores. With its mild weather and miles of vibrant beaches, Jacksonville remains one of Florida’s cherished beach destinations.

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