Ponte Vedra Beach#3 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
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- 4.0Food Scene
The southernmost of the Jacksonville Beaches, Ponte Vedra Beach draws leisure travelers in search of sprawling sands and, of course, golf. This fairly small community on the Atlantic coast (about 22 miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville) is best known as the home to the PGA Tour and The Players Championship, which are played at the famous TPC Sawgrass — and that's just one of many courses and country clubs in the area. But if you would prefer to skip the fairways, Ponte Vedra Beach also features several museums, a variety of shops and an array of eateries.
Ponte Vedra Beach is also home to some of the area's more upscale hotels, including the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach. However, be aware that accommodations here fill up quickly during the golf tournaments in May and during the summer, so make your reservations well in advance if you plan to stay here.
Even if you aren't staying in Ponte Vedra Beach, you can take day trips to the beach and the golf courses. Lying along the sands is free, but chipping out of the sand traps will cost you. To learn more about Ponte Vedra Beach, visit the Florida Tourism Board website.
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#1 Amelia Island
About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 miles of beaches, historic attractions and relaxed atmosphere. While here, you can learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park or simply lounge on the sand. Recent guests particularly recommend laying your towel along the shores of Fernandina Beach, a small community that stretches along the northern part of the barrier island. "The beaches are second to none. The water is clean and warm. Downtown is charming and filled with good shops and restaurants," said one TripAdvisor user.
Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are a bit of a hike from downtown Jacksonville, and traffic can be treacherous. If you'd like to make the most out of a visit to these beachside communities, consider setting up camp there — the island is home to some of the area's more opulent accommodations, including The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. You'll also find numerous vacation rentals and condos that can accommodate larger groups. Just be sure to make your reservations well in advance if you're planning to visit in the summer.
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