Atlantic Beach, FL

Overview

Atlantic Beach is a charming, beach-side suburb of Jacksonville, Florida, located 14 miles east of the city, 5 miles south of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve and approximately 50 miles south of the Florida-Georgia border. It maintains its own government despite being an annex of Jacksonville and has maintained its distinct coastal-American character since its foundation in the early 1900s. Atlantic Beach appeals to people who appreciate a tranquil, small-town lifestyle. Many commute to Jacksonville for their daytime jobs and then return in the evening for dinner at home or in one of the many seafood restaurants in the area. Parks, eateries and pristine beaches make Atlantic Beach an ideal location.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Because the Atlantic Beach neighborhood is a sprawling and quasi-rustic suburb, restaurants, clubs and pubs do not occupy a single specific district. Many of the restaurants serve traditional American fare with fresh seafood the local specialty due to the city's proximity to the ocean. If you enjoy fresh seafood, then put The Fish Co., located on Atlantic Boulevard, at the top of your list. It provides outdoor seating, a full bar and happy hour from 2 pm to 7 pm every day. You can grab an order of oysters on the half-shell as an appetizer at the raw bar or some of the Cajun linguine (shrimp with smoked Andouille sausage) with a side of fried calamari. And to finish it off and call it a night, ask for one of the VIP cognacs. Martini lovers and seafood connoisseurs are at home in the Ocean 60 Restaurant & Martini Bar situated on Ocean Boulevard. The flavor of the food in this eatery matches the fantastic and artistic presentation of each dish brought out in a timely fashion by the courteous waitstaff. Start off with the sundried tomato and bacon Caesar, and then dig into a large plate of grilled Tuscan pork. You also have a 2-page menu from which to order a variety of specially-mixed alcoholic concoctions to accompany your cuisine. After dinner, you can head over to Lynch's Irish Pub on First Street. Enjoy the nightly live music as you order one of the happy hour specials, which run from 11 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday. The pub hosts weekly events such as karaoke, billiards, pint night, trivia night and radical bingo. Lynch's also provides in-house catering for birthday parties, celebrations and large groups (reservations required). The Monkey's Uncle Tavern, located on South 3rd Street, has opened its doors to the beach crowd since 1985. This lively, neighborhood alehouse always has something going on. Let your hair down, play some darts, belt out a few tunes on karaoke night or join the throng on the dance floor. The Monkey's Uncle permits in-bar smoking and hosts pool tournaments.

History & Culture

Atlantic Beach began its evolution in 1900 when Henry Flagler established the Mayport Branch of the railroad to the coastal Atlantic district between the present-day Naval Station Mayport area and the St. Johns River. Subsequently, Flagler constructed the Continental Hotel—a 250-room, summer resort—just off the newly built railroad line. While this community did begin to draw tourists, the local economy tapered off in response to World War I and the loss of the hotel to a fire in 1919. Subsequent to the construction of the naval station and the Mathews Bridge (1953), the local economy began to grow again. Today, Atlantic Beach houses the Beaches Museum and History Park which chronicles the settlement, growth and development of the local beach communities—admission is free. Throughout the year, the city hosts concerts, park tours and starlight camp-outs.

Transportation

Most of Atlantic Beach's residents utilize their own private vehicles for transportation because public transportation to Jacksonville has not been integrated with this part of the beach yet. While you do not encounter taxis on a regular basis in this quiet suburb of Jacksonville, consider calling ahead for one or requesting an Uber. You can easily find free parking throughout the town, and if you need to hop on the highway for an intrastate trip, I-95 lies 7 miles to the west of downtown Atlantic Beach. This part of the beach does have some "bicycle-friendly" roads but no dedicated cycling lanes. That being said though, joggers, pedestrians and bicyclists frequently transit the city safely with no issues.

Cost

Be prepared to spoon out a bit of extra cash if you want to live within a stone's-throw of the ocean. The cost of living on beautiful Atlantic Beach is somewhat higher than the average cost in metropolitan Jacksonville. The median rent for a one-bedroom residence is $825 per month. It costs around $5 for the privilege to hoist back an icy-cold brew at one of the beach bars, and a gallon of fuel runs 2 to 3 percent higher than the national average cost.

Shopping

Atlantic Beach has a distribution of shops and boutiques along its ocean front, versus a concentration of retailers in one designated spot. If you have just arrived in the area, check out the Atlantic Beach Surf Shop at 38 Ocean Boulevard. It carries everything you need to make your days on the beach pleasant. Grab a lounge chair, a beach umbrella and maybe that paddle-board you've had your eye on. Its women's and men's apparel sections are filled with appropriate choices for the local climate. And if you so desire, park the car in front of the store, rent one of the Atlantic Beach Surf Shop's bikes and pedal your way to the sun, sand and surf. Women in Atlantic Beach searching for the latest styles at modest prices put AshleGryre Boutique on Atlantic Boulevard at the top of their lists. Adorn yourself with one of the Lele Sadoughi arcade necklaces this trendy store carries or the latest Rachel Zoe swing dress. And before you go, how about asking one of the friendly staff members to help you select a pair of those Vince Camuto Kains you've been eyeing for the past month. Many of the local residents do their weekly grocery shopping at Publix Supermarket located in the Seminole Shoppes at 630 Atlantic Boulevard. If you have an organically tuned palate, why not try the Jacksonville Farmer's Market, reputed to be the oldest farmer's markets in Florida. Located on 1810 West Beaver Street (U.S. 90), it is open 365 days a year and sells only the freshest, locally grown produce and home-baked goodies.

Parks

Atlantic Beach houses 14 different parks, of which many are mostly free to use. This ocean-front community provides the local residents with an abundance of park-sponsored amenities and events. The city is "pro-Fido," so feel free to bring your well-behaved canine to most locations. Fitness buffs frequent Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, which for a $5 fee allows residents and tourists access to a campground, ocean fishing, surfing, a freshwater lake, hiking and biking trails and a splash pad for the kids. In the spring, families gather at the Jordan Community Center (on the Saturday before Easter) for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and the yearly Arts in the Park event held every April. Everyone's welcome to join in these two great events.

1 Neighborhoods in Atlantic Beach, FL

  • North Beach

    If living near the ocean but within reach of every amenity you can think of sounds like heaven to you, consider North Beach. This historic coastal neighborhood sits about 21 miles east of Jacksonville city center, where it lies sandwiched between the Mayport and Atlantic Beach communities.

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