Guest contribution by travel blogger Eleanor Johnson
Jacksonville, commonly known as the First Coast, is one of the most populated cities in Florida and the largest city in the entire contiguous United States. It’s home to some of the largest urban parks, unique historical spots, and some of the most stunning beaches that stretch along the entire east coast.
It has four main coastlines: Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach, and Atlantic Beach. While these beaches are technically not part of Jacksonville’s city limits, they’re just a short drive from downtown.
Jacksonville’s beaches offer plenty of activities other than the usual swimming, beach volleyball, and sunbathing. If you’re planning a trip to the First Coast this summer, here’s a quick bucket list of some of the things you can do, and what to bring:
Visitors and locals alike are free to fish anytime along the Jacksonville piers — no license required. There are even shops near the fishing areas that sell plenty of fishing gear, like bait and hooks. Rick’s Bait & Tackle sells loads of fishing equipment that can be used by fishing enthusiasts no matter their experience. Plus, the locals offer free lessons for first
Since the coast directly faces the Atlantic Ocean, there are plenty of surf spots along Jacksonville beaches. Although areas along southern Florida tend to get little to no surfing waves, its Atlantic coast has the most consistent waves in the entire east coast. Surf spots like Reef Road and Sebastian Inlet, for example, are enjoyable during high tide. So don’t forget to pack a surfboard if you’re eager to learn the sport or simply want to enjoy the waves that the Atlantic has to offer.
Everyone knows how hot Florida can get, so it’s recommended that you bring your breeziest clothes to combat the heat. Woman Within’s selection of shorts
The Jacksonville Beach boardwalk has served as an entertainment hub for decades. Before, it used to contain typical boardwalk concessionaires like games and theme parks. Now, it offers a variety of attractions, with the addition of museums and the like. Wherever you’re headed, you’re never too far away from a scenic corner just waiting to be photographed. Bring a camera like the Fujifilm FinePix XP130, which is inexpensive yet can withstand all those water sports and beach trips. That way, no memory goes undocumented.
Most beaches advise you not to bring your pets – but not in Jacksonville. Although they’re not allowed during peak hours (9AM to 5PM) due to the large crowds, you’re free to walk your pets early in the morning or in the evening. Just remember to have them on a leash at all times.