There’s nearly 40 miles of coastline on Florida’s First Coast. From Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island to St. Augustine Beach and everything in between, a day at the beach is almost always within reach.
In Duval County, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach are known not only for the beach, but also dining and nightlife. The Jacksonville Beach pier is a great place to cast a line or do a little surfing. And Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach is a local landmark boasting a cameo appearance in the John Grisham novel “The Brethren”.
Just to south in St. Johns County, you’ll find upscale Ponte Vedra Beach. Home to TPC Sawgrass and the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, the coastline here is dotted with million dollar estates overlooking the Atlantic. A little further south is the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a protected area extending from the beach inland to the Guana River Marsh area. Here, the beach is pristine and undeveloped, making it the ideal location for sea turtle nests.
Head even further south and you’ll discover eclectic St. Augustine. Known primarily as the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine offers a vibrant mix of beaches, dining, entertainment and funky shops and pubs. Tour the historic district first. Then take a detour off the beaten path to explore the beaches, including Vilano Beach, and the many hidden treasures in and around town.