When planning a visit to Jacksonville, Florida, you must plan to check out the 22 miles of beautiful beaches within the city limits. While I would advise renting a car to see the incredible variety of neighbourhoods within Jacksonville, I would recommend staying at one of the best beachfront hotels in Jacksonville; One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.
Jacksonville, Florida is one of the largest cities in America spanning over 840 square miles. When visiting, make sure to check out its eclectic neighborhoods which include the downtown core, Riverside, San Marco and the Beaches. Each neighbourhood is unique and fun with great food, museums and activities for families.
The Beaches, Jacksonville
There are four separate beach areas within Jacksonville. The first is Mayport which is known for its casino boats and seafood restaurants. Second is Jacksonville Beach where surfers, fisherman and families gather for summer fun. After that there are the two separate communities of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach which are a unique mix of casual and luxury dining, hotels, shops, galleries and residential properties.
One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach
Located in the heart of Atlantic Beach, One Ocean Resort & Spa is one of the the best of the beachfront hotels in Jacksonville. A four star resort located right on the beach, One Ocean is known for its gorgeous rooms, upscale Azurea Restaurant, and breathtaking ocean views.
The rooms at One Ocean are completely renovated and have a luxurious and calm feel to them. The suites are some of the best I’ve seen with gorgeous art, spacious seating areas, and a view of the white sandy beaches of Jacksonville.
Located directly on the beach with a great patio, Azurea restaurant is a do not miss experience in Jacksonville whether or not you are a guest of One Ocean Resort and Spa. The food is prepared fresh to order and the seafood tastes like it literally just hopped out of the ocean. The restaurant also offers a variety of signature cocktails and the fruit infused mojitos are not to be missed. My favourite dish was the Cast Iron Seared Jumbo Blue Crab Cake topped with bacon. The desserts were also quite good. The kitchen is very accommodating to allergies as well as dietary preferences. I was blown away watching the chef create a stunning meal and 4 tempting desserts for my vegan dining partner. A must do in Jacksonville.
Sea Turtles Kid’s Club
Don’t let the luxurious surroundings deter you from visiting One Ocean with your kids. The hotel welcomes families and even offers a variety of kids activities at the Sea Turtles Kid’s Club. Depending on the day of the week, kids can join in on educational sessions featuring a variety of subjects like sea turtle research and habitats, cooking in the Azurea kitchen, and even a fitness day with yoga. Be prepared as the sessions aren’t cheap. A half day session will cost you $75 per child. This cost includes lunch or dinner as well as all the materials required for the session.
Not to Miss Places Near One Ocean Resort
While walking around the hotel, I found some pretty cool places to check out with your kids. The first is Peterbrooke Chocolatiers Atlantic Beach store. You are your kids will love trying their scrumptious chocolate creations. My favourite treat was a Hand Dipped Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker which was far better than it sounds.
After that head to Jacksonville Beach to check out Green Room Brewing. A local fixture and a stop on the Jax Ale Trail, Green Room Brewing is surprisingly cool to check out with kids. The brewery/bar is a small building that welcomes beer enthusiasts, local surfers and their dogs as well as families. The back room has a variety of games your kids will love including ping pong and a giant connect four board. There is no food available onsite but you are welcome to bring anything to eat that you like into Green Room Brewing. They also offer take-out menus from other local hot spots who deliver to the brewery.
For a local favourite, head to Taco Lu in Jacksonville Beach for some authentic baja mexican food. A family run restaurant which was originally a taco stand, Taco Lu offers great food selections at good prices for kids and adults. There’s plenty of artwork and cool graffiti paintings to look at and lots of delicious foods to share as a family.
Activities for Kids in Jacksonville
Beyond the beaches, there are tons of activities for kids in Jacksonville. To learn more, check out my article Family Fun in Jacksonville on Family Vacation Critic.