Family Fun at the Jacksonville Beaches
The Jacksonville Beaches of Northeast Florida (known as Florida’s First Coast) provide a beautiful and entertaining area to visit with kids because there are so many family-friendly activities. The area is located outside of Jacksonville, Florida and includes Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach. Here are some of my recommendations for special and unique things to do with kids at the Jacksonville Beaches on Florida’s First Coast.
Play at the Beach
If you visit the area you definitely want to spend time at the beach. The beaches are wide and perfect for walking and bike riding. A fun thing to do that is unique to this area is hunting for sharks’ teeth! Our family has found up to a dozen of the tiny black teeth in one day and the kids can spend hours searching the beach. A great public beach is Mickler’s Landing Beach Park in Ponte Vedra Beach which has free parking, beach access, and public restrooms.
Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach is the kind of place kids dream of visiting on vacation. The water park portion of the park includes water slides of all heights, and they also have mini-golf, laser tag, a batting cage, a few small rides, and an arcade. Although they serve meals, I recommend eating snacks while you are there and then heading next door to well-known local Mexican restaurant TacoLu. At peak times be prepared to wait here, but the specialty tacos are delicious and there is family-friendly seating both indoors and outdoors.
Enjoy Some Golf
If anyone in your family plays golf there are several well-known courses in the region. Ponte Vedra Beach is home to THE PLAYERS Stadium Course where THE PLAYERS Championship (TPC) is played each May and the PGA TOUR also has its headquarters in the area. The clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass is open to the public and makes a great family-friendly outing. You don’t need to be a member to eat at the clubhouse and children are welcome. If you request an outside table you will have a view of the famous Stadium Golf Course and then you can wander through the clubhouse checking out the memorabilia.
If your family is interested in seeing local water life and wildlife check out Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (referred to locally as “Guana Reserve”). The reserve has access in Ponte Vedra Beach and includes salt marshes, lagoons, a lake and the Guana River. With the variety of terrain comes diverse wild life including crabs, turtles, storks, and alligators. If you are interested in kayaking or paddle boarding, you can rent equipment at nearby North Guana Outpost.
Neptune Beach Town Center
If you’re looking for a small beach town for walking, shopping and dining head to Beaches Town Center in Neptune Beach. There are local stores and coffee shops and a wide choice of restaurants.
For a casual meal try local favorite MShack which serves gourmet burgers, fries and milkshakes. For a more upscale but still family-friendly choice make reservations at Mezza. Adults can choose from a variety of Italian-inspired dishes, and if you arrive before 6:30 pm kids can make their own pizzas at the brick oven pizza bar. This isn’t simply pouring some sauce on a pizza crust as the kids get to knead, roll and toss their pizza dough in the air!
If you are looking for a place to stay on your trip, a family-friendly hotel in the area with great views of St. Augustine is Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront, which is only 30 minutes south of many of these activities.
You may also enjoy:
- Historic St. Augustine Attractions for Families
- St. Augustine Alligator Farm Adventures
- Best Destinations for Spring Travel
- Summer Adventures at Florida State Parks
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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…