Planning a trip to Jacksonville? Our experienced travel editors break down the town so you can make the most of your stay. Let these itineraries be your guide, whether you're here for a weekend or a whole week.
1 Check into your hotel and head for the beach to decompress and get acclimated.
2 If you’re in Ponte Vedra, just hang at the hotel and eat. If you’re in one of the Jacksonville Beaches, find your way over to Roy’s for lunch.
3 After a nice siesta, head back to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Bring some “slip on” clothes with you—khakis for the guys, sundress for girls—and head up to the Casa Marina’s Penthouse Lounge for drinks as the sun goes down.
4 Stay on at Casa Marina for dinner and retire to the Penthouse Lounge afterwards to socialize and watch the stars come up over the ocean.
1 Pack the necessities (cooler, drinks, snacks, sunscreen) in the trunk of your car and head up to Atlantic Beach. Set up beachside and get your fill of sun and surf.
2 For lunch, wander up from the beach to downtown and check out Sun Dog.
3 After lunch, head back down to the beach and toast yourself some more.
4 When you’re done with the sun, head back up to downtown Atlantic Beach and start yourself off with some microbrew at Ragtime, then have dinner there.
5 After dinner, you can hang at Ragtime or, for a taste of real beach culture, go ingratiate yourself with the locals at Pete’s.
1 If you’re staying in Ponte Vedra, just walk out of your room to the beach. If you’re not staying in Ponte Vedra, you should experience it, at least. Pack the beach stuff in your car and drive down to the end of Ponte Vedra Boulevard and turn into the parking lot for Mikler’s Landing. Walk through the cut in the dunes and set up shop well above the high-tide line—the waves can get big down here if there’s any wind.
2 When you’re through with the beach for the day, when you pull out of the parking lot, head west (straight) instead of turning onto Ponte Vedra Blvd. Go west on Palm Valley Road to Whitey’s Fish Camp for an early dinner of fried catfish (or seafood if you’re not ready to go full-on Cracker).
1 You’re heading back south, this time all the way to St. Augustine. It’s best to tour the Castillo de San Marcos in the morning, before it gets hot and the crowds arrive. Walk as much of the massive stone fort as your feet allow, but be sure to walk up onto the parapets atop the walls and check out the cannons. Most were captured in various 19th century battles by U.S. forces. The enormous French mortars are very impressive.
2 After you’ve seen the Castillo, walk St. Georges Street and stop into the various shops. Many of the buildings date to the early 18th century and some have been authentically restored. The Spanish Bakery makes incredible cookies, perfect for nibbling while you walk. Leave the Spanish Quarter and stop by the Cathedral on your way to an early dinner at 95 Cordova inside the Casa Marina Hotel.
1Assuming today is Saturday, it’s a great time to hit the Riverside Arts Market in Downtown. Check out the art, crafts and fresh foods in the renovated space under the Fuller Warren Bridge in Riverside. Eat an early lunch at one of the food carts.
2 After the Art Market, you can walk to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Take your time in the European section to appreciate the Old Masters, then head outside to stroll the gardens and take in the panoramic view of the St. Johns River.
3 From the Cummer, head east into downtown and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Spend the rest of the afternoon here, or if you want, breeze through and then head for nearby Jacksonville Landing for drinks before dinner.
1 You’ve been on the run for two days; with just one more day left, head back to the nearest beach. Do not run. Do not do push ups. Do not play volleyball. Lie still and bake the last of that pre-vacation stress out of your body.
2 After the beach, drive to the Seafoam Dining Room at the Ponte Vedra Inn for a last, glorious meal overlooking the ocean. If you get there early, so much the better. Have a few cocktails, chat up the guests and unwind.