Waterfront Dining Options In & Around Ponte Vedra
One of the pleasures of living near the water (and there’s plenty of it here in northeast Florida) is eating and drinking near the water. So whether you want oysters on the Intracoastal, or Grouper on the Atlantic, there’s a table here waiting for you …
Caps on the Water – This popular St. Augustine spot has a real “Old Florida” feel, from the mature trees covering the deck to the dock extending out into the Intracoastal. Great place to watch the sunset with a glass of wine from Caps’ very solid wine list.
Barbara Jean’s – Known for their crab cakes, Barbara Jean’s also serves hearty home-style fare such as meat loaf and pot roast, she crab soup, tuna, catfish and more. And it all comes with a great view from the deck of the boats traversing up and down the Intracoastal Waterway.
LuLu’s Waterfront Grille – Next door to Barbara Jean’s is LuLu’s Waterfont Grille, a laid back spot for seafood and “baskwiches”, not to mention a daily happy hour. The recently renovated dock means you can get to LuLu’s by boat!
Palm Valley Fish Camp – On the other side of Barbara Jean’s is Palm Valley Fish Camp, a slightly upscale take on the traditional fish camp theme. Wonderful seafood and a great atmosphere make this a popular destination in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Palm Valley Outdoors Bar & Grill – Just to the south is a relative newcomer to the dining scene, though the location has been home to a variety of restaurants, bait shops and other endeavors over the years. Located under the bridge at S. Roscoe Blvd. and Nocatee Pkwy., next to the boat launch, the new Palm Valley Outdoors Bar & Grill is making a splash with quality seafood, burgers, wraps, tacos and more. Definitely try the poutine. You can also buy bait, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and get right out on the water, if you like.
On the River
Julington Creek Fish Camp – Owned by the same team as Palm Valley Fish Camp, leveraging the same upscale fish camp theme, only this time on the river.
Clark’s Fish Camp – Clark’s is actually on Julington Creek, which feeds into the St. Johns. You’ll find much more than the standard fish camp fare here, both in atmosphere, and on the menu itself. Inside, you’ll find a huge collection of taxidermy, from fish and fowl, to lions, tigers and bears. On the menu, you’ll find everything from frog legs and gator tail to yak, venison, kangaroo and ostrich.
On the Ocean
True oceanfront dining can be difficult to come by, given the value of the land/sand, but there are some options to choose from in the area:
The Reef – The Reef comes with a killer view of the Atlantic in historic St. Augustine. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything closer to the water.
Casa Marina – In Jacksonville Beach, Casa Marina Hotel offers rooftop dining (and drinks) overlooking the Jacksonville Beach Pier. Down on the main level, they also do an excellent Sunday brunch.
Lemon Bar – Seemingly a Jax Beach institution, the Lemon Bar is part of the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn. Known more for the drinks and the view than dining, it’s still a great place to enjoy a cocktail, some bar bites and some ocean breezes.
Some Honorable Mentions
Though not technically on the water, there are a few other places that deserve a nod:
Flask & Cannon – Not on the water, and not much food, but the old school cocktails are really, really good.
Blind Rabbit – If you like whiskey, and more poutine, don’t miss the Blind Rabbit. Good food and flights of bourbon, etc. Be sure to have a designated driver.
Secret Garden – Full disclosure, it’s owned by family friends, but a great stop at the beach for breakfast or lunch. Try the shrimp and grits or fried green tomatoes.
Where are your favorite spots to drink and/or dine on the water in the Jacksonville area? Let us know in the comments…