DescriptionIt's all about the beach in Jacksonville Beach, where salty Atlantic Ocean waters are said to offer the best surfing in the area. If folks aren't riding the waves, they're strolling on the boardwalk (aka the Sea Walk), spiking volleyballs, or just leaning back in a beach chair on the fine white sand and taking it easy. Dining, shopping and barhopping on the beachfront's 1-mile-long boardwalk (on the oceanfront between 1st Avenue North and 6th Avenue North) also attract beachgoers. Swimming, snorkeling and sailing are popular outdoor sports, as is saltwater fishing off the .25-mile-long pier (closed until further notice), 503 N. 1st St. A license is not required, and bait and tackle can be purchased at a concession stand; phone (904) 241-1515. The pier is open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Apr.-Nov. (6 a.m.-7 p.m., rest of year); entry fee $4, $1 (spectators), free (ages 0-5).
The beach also is popular with much smaller visitors: Endangered loggerhead turtles wade out of the ocean at night to lay their eggs during sea turtle nesting season May-Oct. Take care not to disturb the turtles; do not touch them, light campfires or use flashlights, cell phones or cameras with flash. It's illegal to do so and could cause the female to abandon her nest.
Break away from the sand and ocean and attempt a hole-in-one at the 18-hole Jacksonville Beach Golf Course, 605 Penman Rd. S.; phone (904) 247-6184. Or head for South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground, 2514 S. Beach Pkwy., and shoot some hoops, swing a tennis racquet, work out on the fitness trail, and let the kids go wild on the large playground; it features sections for different age groups and includes a lighthouse, a splash pad and a wooden ship complete with swinging bridge and covered slides.
Spring and summer months bring music and movies to the beach. At the SeaWalk Pavilion, 75 N. 1st St., you can attend blues, jazz, pops and classical music concerts or catch a classic flick. Phone the events hotline at (904) 247-6157, for information. Indoor productions including dramas, comedies and musicals at Players-By-The-Sea Theatre, 106 6th St. N., will capture the attention of theater devotees; phone (904) 249-0289 for reservations.
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