Atlantic Beach is located in Duval County on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida and, along with the nearby Neptune Beach community, is part of the Jacksonville metropolitan area.
Known for its crisp waters, scenic beaches and abundance of sport fish, the state’s northern coast attracts saltwater anglers from all over the region.
Atlantic Beach is also a short drive from several national forests and wildlife reserves; one of them is right on the border with neighboring Georgia.
With an abundance of dining, nature and outdoor recreation options, keeping busy shouldn’t be a problem.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Atlantic Beach, Florida.
1. Howell Park
Howell Park in Atlantic Beach isn’t the largest park you’re likely to find in the area, but it has less traffic than other parks, making it a great option for those looking to avoid the crowds.
Located off Seminole Road, it features ponds, streams and ¾ mile nature trails that meander through many idyllic settings.
Previous guests have noticed that despite the small size of the park, they feel they are farther away from civilization than they actually are.
Howell Park is popular with picnickers, cyclists, walkers, and children who need room to stretch their legs.
2. St John’s River Ferry
The St. Johns River flows between the Atlantic Ocean and barrier islands located off the coast of Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach.
This is a scenic waterway filled with stunning views, interesting animals, and a lot of history.
The St. John’s River ferry is a convenient and inexpensive activity that many tourists take advantage of, and is often one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
It’s only a few dollars whether you’re taking the car or taking the ferry as a pedestrian. Once over the water, you have access to several beautiful and inexpensive beaches and parks.
3. Atlantic Beach Brewing Company
With a hip and contemporary vibe and a wide variety of craft beers, Atlantic Beach Brewing Company is a popular spot for weary beer lovers just after a long day in the Florida sun.
Atlantic Beach’s bars include indoor and outdoor seating, and there’s always a range of ready-made beers to appeal to just about any taste bud.
There is no kitchen on site, but guests can order from the menu at the adjacent restaurant and have it delivered conveniently.
For those who want to bring home a beer or two, Atlantic Beach can refill bottles; the cost is very reasonable, but varies slightly depending on the type of beer.
While it may not be the most traditional of all restaurants in Atlantic Beach, Pho Viet is known for serving steaming bowls of pho, and for those unfamiliar with it, it’s one of Vietnam’s national dishes.
This is a hot noodle soup that usually includes bean sprouts, beef strips, meatballs, lime juice and chili peppers.
While soup is what this restaurant is known for, they also serve hearty sandwiches, fried rice and spring rolls and are known for being generous and reasonably priced.
Pho Viet is a great stop for those looking to do some culinary exploration without traveling overseas or spending a penny.
5. Cummer Museum of Art
Located on Jacksonville’s River Drive, the Cummer Art Museum is a cultural and artistic gem worth spending an hour or two with art lovers.
The museum’s collection features thousands of individual works that blend contemporary, historical and ancient. They include many international influences.
The Cummer Museum is spread over several buildings overlooking the St. Johns River. In addition to the permanent collection, the grounds offer a variety of walking paths to beautiful gardens, many of which were originally planted more than 100 years ago, including sculptures, ponds and babbling fountains.
6. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are some of the area’s main attractions, with thousands of species of plants and animals spread across acres of scenic spots along the Zoo Boulevard, near where the Trout River empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
The zoo is known for its big cats, including tigers from Southeast Asia, jaguars from South America and lions from Africa.
Many tourists choose to show themselves around, but for those who want to draw on the knowledge of the staff, they offer a variety of tours and activity options, many of which are geared towards families with children.
7. Timuchuan Ecological Reserve
Covering nearly 50,000 acres of marshes, dunes, and forest, the Timucuan Ecological Reserve is named after the Timucuan people, the Native American people who have inhabited the area for countless generations before officially settling in the area.
In addition to pristine natural areas, the reserve also includes many historic sites such as Kingsley Plantation and Fort Caroline, both of which offer guests a unique experience when the area is remote, hostile and often deadly. perspective.
Reserve staff offer a variety of historical and nature tours, programs and events, and even volunteer opportunities for those willing to help maintain the park.
8. Hangar Bay Cafe and Gallery
Located on Mayport Road in Jacksonville, Hangar Bay Café and Gallery provides guests with unique local art and delicious, inexpensive food that keeps many coming back again and again.
The cafe’s big seller is ramen, which is made in a variety of ways. There are meat and vegetable options, many of which are unique and quirky combinations, including many local and international flavours that work well together.
The cafe is an unpretentious destination, but customers appreciate its reasonable prices and quick service, making it a great place for families with empty stomachs and empty wallets.
9. Science and History Museum
Of all the museums in Jacksonville, probably none cover such a broad range of topics as the science and history museums.
Designed to educate and entertain at the same time, its interactive exhibits touch upon animals and the natural world, space, technology, art and culture.
The museum’s on-site planetarium is considered one of the most advanced in the country, and offers several shows on a regular basis, including dim lighting, comfortable seating, and plenty of chilled air conditioning.
The dinosaur exhibit is also popular, and the theater offers a variety of live entertainment and community events throughout the year.
10. Riverside Art Market
Jacksonville’s Riverside Art Market is part gallery, part farmers market, part flea market. It’s one of the most eclectic shopping destinations in the area, attracting a loyal crowd.
Vendors at the market include farmers, artists, chefs and artisans, and many of the items you’ll see won’t be available anywhere else.
From jewelry, health and body products to prepared meals, fresh baked goods and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, you won’t find much. A stop at the market on a Saturday morning is as much a shopping as it is a social event.
The market is located on the riverside of Riverside Boulevard.
11. Avondale Historic District
One of Jacksonville’s oldest neighborhoods, the Avondale Historic District is known for its quaint, traditional architecture, parks, and easy-to-walk streets.
Much of the region has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Now, in addition to the historic vibe, the area has acquired a trendy bohemian vibe with trendy cafes and coffee shops, galleries and vintage shops.
There are also several craft breweries nearby, and restaurants offer everything from traditional Southern fare to fully organic and vegetarian.
The Avondale Historic District is just a short walk away from the aforementioned art market and totals about two square miles.
12. Friendship Fountain
The Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville is one of those amazing attractions that often goes far beyond the expectations of tourists.
More reminiscent of what you’d expect to see in front of a Las Vegas casino, its 60 high-pressure nozzles blast water more than 100 feet into the air.
At night, with the addition of colorful lights, it becomes a one-of-a-kind spectacle, which is often one of the most awe-inspiring experiences for tourists traveling to the area.
The large park around the fountain is a great place for a picnic or an afternoon walk. It is located on the banks of the St. Johns River opposite the city center and offers stunning urban and natural views.
13. South Bank River Walk
The scenic St. John’s River is one of the city’s natural focal points, and the River Walk is the perfect place to enjoy the region’s unique mix of natural and man-made elements that work together to create a stunning landscape.
The River Walk is close to the city’s downtown, but far enough away that visitors feel like they’ve somehow escaped all the chaos.
The Riverwalk area is dotted with dining options, retail stores, and even trendy bars.
The area is especially popular in the afternoons and evenings and often has live entertainment that is a big hit with the happy hour crowd.
14. Florida Theater
The Florida Theater was built in the mid-1920s during the heyday of the Art Deco movement. It is one of the best preserved striking style buildings in the area and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Although the theater struggled in the mid-20th century, it reopened again in the 1980s after several ownership changes and renovation plans, and has since offered a variety of performances to locals and tourists alike.
Guests appreciate the theater’s old-world feel, state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and high-quality performances offered throughout the year.
15. Adventure Landing
With a huge water park, mini golf, laser tag, and a lazy river that’s perfect for tubing, Adventure Landing is one of Jacksonville’s real crowd-pulling attractions, especially during the often unbearably hot summer months.
The Shipwreck Island Play Village is the heart of the park and is usually where kids and their watchers spend most of their time, but when a brief attention span wins, there’s also a batting cage, go-kart track and plenty of arcade games.
There are several food and beverage concessions on site, and they even offer adults-only activities when the park is closed to kids.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Atlantic Beach, FL, FL
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