5 Reasons We’re in Love with Jacksonville Beach

Sunrise Boardwalk Casa Marina Jax 1
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Our family is all about the beach and you know we #LoveFL.  At home, we live across the street from the beach.  We go on weekend trips to the beach.  We go walking on the beach even if it’s a freezing cold day and there’s not a chance of getting in the water.  You know what’s perfect?  Staying in a hotel at the beach and then being able to wake up and walk on the beach… and then actually swim and splash in the waves… and do it when it’s not even summer.  That’s why Jacksonville Beach is perfect.

Here are the top five reasons we fell in love with Jacksonville Beach:

Sunrise Boardwalk Casa Marina Jax 1


Chris Taylor and LittleMan running into surf Jax Beach Casa Marina 2Warm water

We know.  We just said that we love the warm water, but it’s that amazing and important.  At home on the Puget Sound of Seattle, Washington we say “Let’s go to the beach!”…knowing full well that we’ll not actually touch the water unless it’s 2pm on the hottest August day.  That’s not a problem for the water-lovers of Jacksonville Beach.  Being there in the fall, we had low expectations of swimming and then were crazy happy when we were able to enjoy the water and all its splendor.

Tip:  swimming or playing in the surf at sunset is best if it’s not the hottest weather (meaning not a sweltering summer day).  The water has been absorbing the sun’s rays all day and the air is cool, making the water feel as warm as possible.  Also, beaches are less crowded on the East Coast at sunset.  On the West Coast, well, people gather to watch the sunset and western beaches are ALWAYS breezy at sunset.  

Recommendation:  We stayed at the Casa Marina Hotel which is right on the beach, so was perfect for maximum enjoyment.

LittleMan and Sunset at Casa Marina Jax Beach 1


Fun activities

Of course there’s the splashing in the waves, but there’s more to it than that.  There’s the body surfing on 3 foot crests.  There’s the running in the shallows that are wonderfully consistent twenty feet out.  Heck, you can actually just sit in the surf and get splashed.  Jax Beach is the most relaxing beach…evarrrrr.

Rob Taylor and LittleMan in Surf Jax Beach 1

TinyMan Crawling on sand at Jax Beach 1The sand is compact enough that it’s a great strolling beach, meaning a stroller can easily be pushed on the damp sand.  It’s perfect for putting that traveling baby to sleep.  And then when that baby wakes up, that same compact sand is perfect for crawling.  We know, a crawling baby on the beach sounds like a sandy nightmare, but the sand here isn’t the type that gets into everything (at least not that we found).  

Tip:  if you’re bringing a baby, especially a chubby one, onto the beach, you can prevent massive sand issues by sprinkling baby powder on them.  Something magical in baby powder (talc) keeps sand from sticking to skin.  This is not a 100% foolproof solution, but it works pretty well.

Dudes Sitting in Sand on Jax Beach 1


People watching at Jacksonville Beach

The beach attracts all kinds of people.  If you like to sit back and chill (and silently wonder about people), just go to the beach.  At Jacksonville Beach, there are all sorts:  surfers, families, retired couples, runners, kite-flyers… treasure hunters.  Yeah, it’s funny when you explain to a four year old what somebody with a metal detector is doing at the beach.  Four year olds have no filter:  “that’s silly”…said loudly.  But then watching surfers with your kids is really awesome.  Each time somebody caught a good wave it was cause for cheering.  Despite loving to surf, we don’t do it anymore (there is no good reason for this).  

Surfer at Sunrise at Casa Marina Jax Beach 1

The other cool thing about the people at the beach is that there are always other kids.  It’s wonderful when a local family is cool and their kids befriend yours.  Our oldest befriended the nicest local girl at Jacksonville Beach and they spent all morning digging for clams and building in the sand.  Sociable people make for a great beach day and Jax Beach was full of them!

Tip:  don’t be afraid to make friends while you’re traveling.  If you’re someplace, like a beach or microbrewery, the other people there are typically like-minded and, more often than not, ready to befriend you for a few minutes at least.

LittleMan and Friend playing in sand at Jacksonville Beach


Sunrise/Sunset on Jacksonville Beach

Our first experience at Jacksonville Beach was at sunset.  The colors were awe-inspiring.  The air was thick with the Atlantic humidity.  It was perfect.  And the kids loved it.  Being sunset, it wasn’t ideal for full on swimming way out into the waves, but was great for purely joyful splashing in the surf.

Chris Taylor and Dudes at Sunset Casa Marina Jax Beach 3

And sunrise was incredible too.  The marine layer of air that rolls in from the sea makes for muffled sounds and a calm breeze.  Walking on the beach early in morning is clearly a favorite activity for the locals and tourists alike.  This was also the best time to watch the surfers getting warmed up for the day.  Since we were staying at the Casa Marina right on the beach, it was easy to pop out and enjoy the sunrise before it dissipated.

Tip:  if you can sneak away alone to walk the beach, do it.  It’s a great way to start the day and really helps clear your mind.  Kids are wonderful to be with any time of day, but if you can break away for a little solitude on family vacation, you won’t regret it.  

Runner at Sunrise at Casa Marina Jax Beach 1


Washed up Jellyfish on Jacksonville BeachIt’s clean

We wish that cleanliness didn’t have to be mentioned, but that’s just not the world we live in unfortunately.  Trash and general pollution are too often a problem and cause too great an impact.  It’s selfish to say that a dirty beach is a vacation bummer, as it’s more like a disappointment with mankind sort of bummer, but coming from that family travel perspective, a clean beach is so highly appreciated.  

Jacksonville Beach has the right kind of litter:  jellyfish, clam shells, random feathers, the odd piece of beach grass.  It didn’t even have beach glass.  And the sand is the perfect mix of sugary smooth white sand with dark charcoal drifts throughout.  It’s just beautiful from every angle.

Tip:  always bring a bag and maybe some gloves with you to the beach so that if you do find trash you can pick it up and throw it away properly.  Here’s a good book to share with kids about littering and what goes All the Way to the Ocean.  We love this book!

Sunrise at Casa Marina Jax Beach 3


If it’s not clear already, Jacksonville Beach won our hearts.  It’s great to find a place that you can’t wait to return to, and with the great food and accommodations close by, we have no reason not to return.  We did learn though, that next time we need to allot more time for the beach, the pier, and the nightlife just off the beach (it’s kind of cool with a Venice Beach, CA vibe (artists and performers all over).  

We’re ready for our next Florida beach vacation, especially as Seattle sits shrouded in fog and mist.  Jacksonville Beach is calling our names and we’ll answer…soon.

Taylor Family at Jax Beach Sunset 1

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29 Responses

  • From your photos, this looks like a spectacular place to take the family. Also, thanks so much for sharing the “All the Way to the Ocean” book — my mom buys the library books for the preschool where she works, and this will be a great addition to their collection.

    Jacksonville is huge on public lands — their parks department oversees the largest urban park system in the U.S., with more than 80,000 acres under their management. Check out some of their other city parks too while you’re visiting the beach — kayaking on the St. Johns River is a lot of fun!

    • Our next trip will see us exploring St Johns. We can’t wait. We’re hoping to get access to the lighthouse too, but that’s a long shot. 🙂 Kayaking the waterway is part of my own plan (I’m Rob) when we’re there next. We kayak a ton at home and would love to explore Florida this way too.

  • We love going to the beach as well but are no where near driving distance from one! I agree walking or even looking at it when is it cold still is magical! Loved all the pics of Jacksonville especially the sunset ones! Great tip on using baby powder! What a lovely place for the babies to learn crawling!

  • Although never visited this place myself, it looks so amazing that now I am in love with that too!! Thanks a lot for sharing <3

  • Amazing photos, those sunsets are incredible and they make me wish I were on a beach right now. I can totally see why your kids loved it there. (they are adorable by the way 😀 )

  • Such stunning photos! As a someone who is interested in eco and responsible tourism I love that you noticed and added in about how clean the beach is! Something that is definitely becoming more and more of an issue and needs more education.

  • I have never been to Jacksonville Beach. I’ve been to a lot of beaches in Florida but not this one. It sounds like a great time. A clean beach and warm water sound great to me!

  • Your photos are absolutely stunning. I can see why you love Jacksonville beach so much. What an amazing tip about the talc powder too. We live by the beach and will be trying that ASAP. It looks like you’ve had so much fun and I am insanely jealous of the warm water. Thank you for sharing your adventure on #whatevertheweather x

  • A beautiful beach to beach to visit! Can completely understand why you want to visit it, we’re not so used to warm water here either, so that would be a bonus if nothing else! I’d head about the talc tip before, although we haven’t given it a try yet, thanks for reminding me!
    Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  • Funnily, I’ve never been to Jax beach even though I grew up a couple of hours from there. Our go-to is usually St. Simons because it’s only an hour away.

    You’re right, the west coast is beautiful but the east coast is WARM. When we lived in British Columbia and California we often went to the beach but we never got in. Lol.

  • Quite possibly my most favorite beach tips ever! Seriously, not only did you let readers know how they can easily help…but also a book to help educate kids (& adults)! Love!
    Tip: always bring a bag and maybe some gloves with you to the beach so that if you do find trash you can pick it up and throw it away properly. Here’s a good book to share with kids about littering and what goes All the Way to the Ocean.

  • I’m not really a beach person, but I am a sunset person and your sunsets are gorgeous. I might have to check out Jacksonville Beach next time we’re in the area.

  • All great reasons to check out this beach! I love people watching when we are at the beach too!!

  • That is so funny. It has been so long that I was thinking that I’d love to visit Jacksonville one day. I’ve traveled a lot through Florida but not there. Now I’m reading this. That confirms only what I already knew. I want to go there. Beautiful pictures! I love the beach!

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