EXPLORE ATLANTIC BEACH AND NEPTUNE BEACH
ATLANTIC BEACH and NEPTUNE BEACH are virtually two towns in one, each with its favored beach district and both sharing its vibrant Town Center. Together these towns have approximately 5 miles of sandy beaches with multiple ocean accesses. In addition to the beach, there are sixty-five acres dedicated to parks, including the Dutton Island Preserve on the inter-coastal waterway.
Jack Russell Park, one of Atlantic Beach’s most frequently used parks, rests on 12 acres and consists of a large picnic pavilion (available by reservation), tennis courts, racquetball courts, playground areas, baseball diamonds, a full basketball court, and a soccer field. Along Atlantic Beach’s northern border is Hanna Park, a magnet for surfers, beachcombers, campers, bicyclists and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.
In the fabulous shared beaches Town Center, the sidewalks are made of brick pavers and bear the names of individuals, families, and businesses contributing to the town’s thriving success. With dozens of shops, taverns, and restaurants to choose from, exploring the joint downtown area of Atlantic and Neptune Beaches is a laid-back, fantastic way to spend a few hours or a few days.
The beach provides the perfect back-drop for the eclectic mix of small shops and restaurants where we can beach, shop, and dine our way into the wee hours of the morning or simply rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy a truly remarkable seaside experience. If you’re interested in reading more about the recent happenings, here’s a link to our Atlantic/Neptune Beaches Journal (blog) page.
Don’t Miss These…
The public beach access from the twin downtown area allows access to about 5 miles of soft, sandy beach (we favor the Lemon Street access) and although there are dozens of great places to eat, beach, and be merry here, the guacamole (prepared tableside) at Flying Iguana and the Moscow Mule specialty cocktail at Poe’s Tavern are two of our favorite ways to indulge. If you need an address to use for your GPS to bring you close to this access point use 208 Lemon Street, 32266.
Here’s one for all the John Grisham fans… In his book The Brethren, Grisham’s character Trevor not only mentions this Neptune Beach landmark by name, but the author (in a story we found by First Coast News) was said to have actually written part of the novel in the bar. Pete’s Bar has been operated by the same family for more than 80 years and in 1933 when prohibition ended, was allegedly the first business in Duval County to receive a liquor license. The drinks here are strong and you can still shoot a game of pool for .25¢ but be warned; if you have the slightest aversion to smoked-filled rooms, you may not last long enough inside this landmark to finish ordering. If you decide to check it out, the address is 117 1st St, Neptune Beach, 32266.
Neptune Beach is comprised of approximately 2.5 square miles that’s bordered by the City of Atlantic Beach to the north and the City of Jacksonville Beach to the south. According to HistoicalTextArchive.com, in 1922 Dan G. Wheeler, Sr. had a cottage on the ocean front near where One Ocean Resort & Spa is today. Wheeler was manager of Smith, Richardson & Conroy “Fresh Meats and Provisions” in Jacksonville and he and his family spent summers at the beach. To get to work in Jacksonville, he had to walk almost to Mayport to catch the train. Told that the train would only stop at a station, he built one and called it Neptune. The area remained a part of Jacksonville Beach until the tax revolt of 1931, when on August 11, the residents of Neptune voted 113 to 31 to secede from Jacksonville Beach and incorporate as the City of Neptune Beach. And while this story seems to be the generally accepted version of the origins of Neptune Beach, we should note we found reference to an undated Atlantic Beach Corporation map that refers to Neptune that may have been drawn as early as 1917 and a Chamber of Commerce report listing a plat titled, “Plan of Town of Neptune Beach” recorded as early as 1902. We shot this pic on stunning Neptune Beach near the Lemon Bar and if you decide to come here and explore, head toward 120 Atlantic Blvd., 32266.
Following are few links you made find helpful (we certainly have). If you use the links, you’ll be leaving this website and will be redirected to another. Although we’ve found the links quite useful, we’re not making endorsements or claims about the accuracy or content of the information you’ll find there. They include Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park: Overview, Camping, Bike Trails, Surfing (Video); Atlantic Beach: Dutton Island Preserve; Atlantic Beach Ocean Access: Map; Atlantic Beach: Jack Russell Park; Neptune Beach: Beaches Green Market (Video); Atlantic/Neptune Beaches Shared Town Center: Beaches Town Center; and just because we couldn’t resist, here’s a Beaches Town Center Flash Mob (Video).