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A Blissful Beach Getaway in Jacksonville, Florida

Featuring: Katie Mitura

Vice President of Marketing and Communications , Visit Jacksonville

A destination expert's top picks for experiencing the authentic side of Jacksonville, Florida.

Looking for an inspiring summer getaway? Head to Jacksonville, FL (also fondly known as "Jax" by locals). You'll discover relaxed beach communities, hip neighborhoods with tons of character, and plenty of parks and open spaces. The Rediscover America team spoke with Katie Mitura, a longtime Jacksonville resident and local tourism advocate, about where she likes to take visitors to experience local flavor.

# 1 Walk Other-Worldly Beaches

What can locals and visitors enjoy right now?

Little Talbot Island State Park

The Talbot Island parks are something we always point people towards. Black Rock Beach and Boneyard Beach with the tree skeletons are both uniquely beautiful. It's so cool. You can hike for miles and these tree skeletons just go on forever.

You won't believe the views from Black Rock Beach.

#2 Support Community Makers

How is the local community keeping you inspired?

Local Makers Doing Good

Rethreaded is a local company that employs survivors of human trafficking. Normally they take donated, used materials and craft purses, earrings, keychains and accessories. They recently pivoted to manufacturing masks for COVID-19. It’s a great way to give a locally-made gift and give back.

"We’re a big maker’s city and we don’t get enough recognition for that from visitors. Go find the artists, crafters, and makers." Katie Mitura, Visit Jacksonville

#3 Seek Beach Bliss

Where do you bring visitors to show them the authentic side of Jax?

Jacksonville's Beaches

Our beaches are authentic Jacksonville. You feel like you’re in this perfect little sleepy surfer town, I've heard so many visitors say that. It's where you can eat and shop, but also relax on the beach and enjoy.

#4 Uncover A Hidden Gem

What is the best spot for walking your dogs?

Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens

At Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, you can hike on about three miles of trails and there's an accessible path around the lake. There are multiple ecosystems represented, and it is all built right into the neighborhood. You would never know it’s there!

#5 Savor Fresh Catches

Where can people go to get a true taste of Jacksonville?

Mayport Fish Camps

Head to Mayport to eat shrimp and fresh seafood. Try Palm’s Fish Camp or Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant for great, never-frozen, locally-caught seafood. It’s right off the A1A along the creek. Just a gorgeous place.

"Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens in Arlington is my dog's favorite place to walk and mine too. I always brag about it!" Katie Mitura, Visit Jacksonville

#6 Get On The Water

What should people do if they only have one afternoon to spend in Jax?

Ride The Water Taxi

Ride the Water Taxi downtown on the St. Johns River. It will take you half an hour to go on the full loop, but seeing Jacksonville from the water is just a totally different experience, it’s so picturesque.

#7 Cheers Al Fresco

What's the best spot for sipping a beer outside?

Wicked Barley

Wicked Barley in Mandarin has a beer garden with picnic tables and a grassy open area leading to the docks. Since it’s right on the creek, you can kayak or boat there. Parents love to bring their kids on the weekend to hangout outside and play games on the grass.

#8 Take Home Unique Souvenirs

Where can visitors find unique souvenirs to remember their trip?

Wolf & Cub

Wolf & Cub, is a vintage boutique in Downtown Jax run by a husband and wife team. They do a great job of curating independent and local products from our talented community of makers. They do so many creative, artsy little things with their store.

Follow Wolf & Cub on Instagram and stop by for unique, locally-made souvenirs.

More Local Tips

Driving Distances:

Mileage from nearby metro areas:

  • Savannah 139 miles
  • Orlando 141 miles
  • Tallahassee 166 miles
  • Tampa 224 miles
  • Atlanta 346 miles
  • See more . . .

Neighborhood Hot Spot

Head to Five Points, Riverside, and Avondale for walkable shopping and dining and don't miss the river views from Memorial Park.

New Brewery Alert

If you’re out on the Jax Ale Trail, stop by Mayport newcomer Reve Brewing and try their hazy IPAs, sours, and imperial stouts.

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About the Contributor

Katie Mitura

Vice President of Marketing and Communications

About The Contributor

Katie has dedicated over 15 years to sharing her love of Jacksonville with the travel community.