Whether it’s for the first time or just a return trip, a visit to the First Coast is never complete without experiencing the wonders of its waterways. From the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean, there are countless adventures and experiences just waiting to be had on and along the waves.
Sightsee in St. Augustine
As the oldest city in North America, St. Augustine is steeped in history. The perfect destination for tourists with an appreciation for culture and antiquity, the city offers endless opportunities for experiential enlightenment — and all with a gorgeous waterfront view.
At the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, visitors can learn about marine science and the history behind the city’s oldest surviving brick structure, as well as see for themselves if the ghostly rumors surrounding it are true. Then, after sipping from the Fountain of Youth and taking in the shops of St. George Street, visitors can also explore the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fortress in the United States, or hop aboard the Pirate Ship Black Raven and learn about St. Augustine’s rich pirate history as they sail down the Matanzas River.
Visitors to Amelia Island will love the many opportunities the island offers for appreciating the natural beauty of the First Coast. Couples can spend a romantic evening riding horseback along the beach, or they can rent a kayak and paddle down the scenic Amelia River and the surrounding creeks. Thrill-seekers will love activities such as jet skiing and surfing, meanwhile others can enjoy a peaceful day of fishing.
Dine on the Intracoastal
When traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Valley, there are multiple restaurants for the hungry sailor to choose from. For a casual seafood lunch with friends, dock your boat at Palm Valley Outdoors Bar & Grill, or outside Palm Valley Fish Camp to the north. Then again, if southern cuisine is what you’re craving, you can stop by Valley Smoke BBQ for some brisket and pulled pork or head over to Barbara Jean’s for an authentic, down-home country meal. With so many options to choose from, this stretch of waterfront eateries is sure to satisfy.
Explore Jacksonville’s Beaches
While Jacksonville’s Beaches are perfect for those simply looking to enjoy a day in the sand and sun, they also offer a unique cultural experience for both tourists and locals alike. Located at the heart of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, Beaches Town Center offers visitors an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants within walking distance of the beach, in addition to special events, live music, art openings and more. Visit the monthly Art Walk and view the works of local artists, or attend a book signing and meet a local author at The BookMark. Taste the ethnic cuisine at restaurants like Hawkers Asian Street Fare and the Flying Iguana Taqueria & Tequila Bar or enjoy the live music at Ragtime Tavern. Take in the vibrant culture of Jacksonville’s beach communities and your trip to the First Coast certainly won’t be your last.