By Heather Turk
With 22 miles of wide, white sandy beaches, Jacksonville is not only the perfect place for Allegiant passengers to relax during their Florida vacation, but also a fantastic spot to get active thanks to an array of outdoor activities.
Nature lovers will want to visit Big Talbot Island. Part of the Talbot Islands State Parks, this natural preserve is perfect for birdwatching and a great place for photography. Home to Boneyard Beach, famous for the salt-washed skeletons of live oak and cedar trees that once grew near its shore, visitors can explore the island by renting a kayak from Kayak Amelia (kayakamelia.com) and going on a guided tour through its beautiful marshes.
Hikers will want to check out Little Talbot Island, one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. Boasting more than five miles of white sandy beaches, a three-mile hiking trail and a paved path for bicycles, it’s home to a wealth of wildlife including river otters, marsh rabbits and bobcats. The fishing is excellent thanks to the surrounding surf and tidal streams. Fishermen will find everything from bluefish and redfish to striped bass and flounder in its waters.
The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier is another popular fishing spot, launching nearly a quarter of a mile out into the Atlantic Ocean. Offering anglers access to several deep water species of fish including catfish and seatrout, admission is only $4 for fishermen and a Florida Saltwater Fishing License is not required. Spectators can enjoy the ocean view for just $1; children younger than six are free.
Jacksonille Beach features several other can’t-miss attractions such as Adventure Landing (adventurelanding.com) complete with a go-kart track, miniature golf course, laser tag arena, batting cage, roller coaster and arcade to keep families entertained. Visitors can also be whisked back in time to when Jacksonville’s beaches were the playground of politicians, celebrities, gangsters and socialites at the Beaches Museum & History Park (beachesmuseum.org), which features a replica boardwalk filled with photos and displays.
Guests can always go surfing, stand-up paddle boarding or swimming at any beach in Jacksonville or enjoy the nightlife at Beaches Town Center (beachestowncenter.com), a quaint shopping and dining hub located where Atlantic and Neptune Beach meet. Several championship golf courses are also located near Jacksonville’s beautiful beaches. For more on the city’s exciting beach scene, go to visitjacksonville.com.