Hidden Gem Guidebook

Charlotte

Hidden Gem Guidebook

Neighborhood Vibes
"Jax Beach" (or JB for short) is a home to sprawling white sandy beaches just steps from the Hidden Gem. The area's authentic and casual vibes set it apart from typical touristy beach towns. From the Hidden Gem, it is a quick 10 block bike ride directly into the 'downtown' area of Jax Beach which includes casual Restaurants, Bars, and Night Life as well as a few shops for fun trinkets and beach attire. Check out the Food Scene in the guidebook for some of our favorites. Family Friendly options to google in the area are Salt Life, Mellow Mushroom, and Margaritaville. Late night bars/ younger crowd vibes are The Ritz, The Brix, Shim Sham, Tavern (lots of arcade games, head all the way to the "back" ie beachfront for pool and another bar)
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Jacksonville Beach
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"Jax Beach" (or JB for short) is a home to sprawling white sandy beaches just steps from the Hidden Gem. The area's authentic and casual vibes set it apart from typical touristy beach towns. From the Hidden Gem, it is a quick 10 block bike ride directly into the 'downtown' area of Jax Beach which includes casual Restaurants, Bars, and Night Life as well as a few shops for fun trinkets and beach attire. Check out the Food Scene in the guidebook for some of our favorites. Family Friendly options to google in the area are Salt Life, Mellow Mushroom, and Margaritaville. Late night bars/ younger crowd vibes are The Ritz, The Brix, Shim Sham, Tavern (lots of arcade games, head all the way to the "back" ie beachfront for pool and another bar) 
"AB" Grab the bikes and head down First Street for about 15 minutes to find yourself at the Atlantic Beach Town Center. This very picturesque cobblestone area is packed with Restaurants, both casual and fine dining, upscale boutique shopping, Yoga, and more. You won't find any chain Restaurants. Keep biking past the town center for traffic free scenic views of beachfront homes and oak trees.
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Atlantic Beach
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"AB" Grab the bikes and head down First Street for about 15 minutes to find yourself at the Atlantic Beach Town Center. This very picturesque cobblestone area is packed with Restaurants, both casual and fine dining, upscale boutique shopping, Yoga, and more. You won't find any chain Restaurants. Keep biking past the town center for traffic free scenic views of beachfront homes and oak trees.
"Neptune" (or NB for short) The little town of Neptune Beach sits just north of the Hidden Gem between Jax Beach and the Atlantic Beach Town Center. This mostly residential area likely has more bike traffic than cars if you follow First Street north. There are plenty of of cute beachy homes to see on the way to AB.
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Neptune Beach
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"Neptune" (or NB for short) The little town of Neptune Beach sits just north of the Hidden Gem between Jax Beach and the Atlantic Beach Town Center. This mostly residential area likely has more bike traffic than cars if you follow First Street north. There are plenty of of cute beachy homes to see on the way to AB.
Beach Rentals
Located on the sand just south of the 16th Ave North Beach access between the Marriott and Hampton hotels, East Coast Sports Rentals is available if you'd like to rent beach lounge chairs, umbrellas, paddle boards, surf boards, kayaks, bikes etc. You can walk up or call ahead if you' like to reserve (904) 349-0997. All prices and info are on their website https://www.eastcoastsportrentals.info
East Coast Sport Rentals
1617 1st Street North
Located on the sand just south of the 16th Ave North Beach access between the Marriott and Hampton hotels, East Coast Sports Rentals is available if you'd like to rent beach lounge chairs, umbrellas, paddle boards, surf boards, kayaks, bikes etc. You can walk up or call ahead if you' like to reserve (904) 349-0997. All prices and info are on their website https://www.eastcoastsportrentals.info
Food scene
JB / upscale casual - This boutique hotel has a 3rd story rooftop lounge and patio with great cocktails and even better views. Dress up or down and set your vibe. They have a light menu, but we go for martinis and baked brie. The Sunday Brunch downstairs in the ocean front banquet room is fabulous, bring an appetite, brunch reservations suggested.
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Casa Marina Hotel and Restaurant
691 1st Street North
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JB / upscale casual - This boutique hotel has a 3rd story rooftop lounge and patio with great cocktails and even better views. Dress up or down and set your vibe. They have a light menu, but we go for martinis and baked brie. The Sunday Brunch downstairs in the ocean front banquet room is fabulous, bring an appetite, brunch reservations suggested.
JB / casual - V's is some of the best authentic OO flour Italian pizza in Jacksonville. Locally owned. The location in Jax Beach is connected to the bar & restaurant Flask & Cannon, who have a strong cocktail list and a great menu including spectacular wings. You can order from either (or both) and chose where you sit!
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V Pizza - Jax Beach
528 1st St N
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JB / casual - V's is some of the best authentic OO flour Italian pizza in Jacksonville. Locally owned. The location in Jax Beach is connected to the bar & restaurant Flask & Cannon, who have a strong cocktail list and a great menu including spectacular wings. You can order from either (or both) and chose where you sit!
JB / casual - Bier Garden & Sausage House...need we say more? Very casual, open air bar with a few games and lots (and lots) of beers on tap. This is a great place to check out local brewery options. If sausages aren't your thing, we recommend the 'Burger Roulette' Chef's Choice burger...live life on the edge!
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Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House
333 1st Street North
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JB / casual - Bier Garden & Sausage House...need we say more? Very casual, open air bar with a few games and lots (and lots) of beers on tap. This is a great place to check out local brewery options. If sausages aren't your thing, we recommend the 'Burger Roulette' Chef's Choice burger...live life on the edge!
JB / Casual - Jax Beach locals were thrilled when Surfer Magazine chose us for one of their limited Bar concept locations. Downstairs is funky casual, live music is typical, and they have a permanent food truck for grub next to their outdoor patio area. Upstairs is more modern and has a wrap around patio for great views and beach breezes.
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Surfer [The Bar]
200 1st St N
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JB / Casual - Jax Beach locals were thrilled when Surfer Magazine chose us for one of their limited Bar concept locations. Downstairs is funky casual, live music is typical, and they have a permanent food truck for grub next to their outdoor patio area. Upstairs is more modern and has a wrap around patio for great views and beach breezes.
JB / mid-range - This petite venue is made for wine enthusiasts who enjoy an intimate atmosphere. They have some bites, a little outdoor area, and often invite a singer/guitarist to add to the atmosphere.
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The Wine Bar
320 1st Street North
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JB / mid-range - This petite venue is made for wine enthusiasts who enjoy an intimate atmosphere. They have some bites, a little outdoor area, and often invite a singer/guitarist to add to the atmosphere.
AB / very casual - This is the best spot for drinks and bites if you want to be right off the sand dunes. Mostly outdoors with a small covered bar, this sunny spot often has music and always ensures a great time. It's one of those rare places that is a 'must' for both locals and visitors. Bike parking right out front. Sunscreen in the summer is a must.
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Lemon Bar
2 Lemon Street
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AB / very casual - This is the best spot for drinks and bites if you want to be right off the sand dunes. Mostly outdoors with a small covered bar, this sunny spot often has music and always ensures a great time. It's one of those rare places that is a 'must' for both locals and visitors. Bike parking right out front. Sunscreen in the summer is a must.
AB / fine dining - Mezza was originally an upscale nod to old Italian cuisine with its mastery of simple dishes, but over the years has added exciting new twists to its offerings. The wine menu is stellar. The atmosphere is romantic and moody. *chef's kiss*
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Mezza Luna Ristorante
110 1st Street
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AB / fine dining - Mezza was originally an upscale nod to old Italian cuisine with its mastery of simple dishes, but over the years has added exciting new twists to its offerings. The wine menu is stellar. The atmosphere is romantic and moody. *chef's kiss*
AB / casual - Flying Iguana has the best margaritas, wonderful tacos, a killer tortilla soup, and fresh table-side guac.
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Flying Iguana Taqueria & Tequila Bar
207 Atlantic Boulevard
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AB / casual - Flying Iguana has the best margaritas, wonderful tacos, a killer tortilla soup, and fresh table-side guac.
AB / casual - Whitt's is simple walk-up custard perfection offering Chocolate, Vanilla, and a Flavor of the Day. Check their website for the month's schedule!
Whit's Frozen Custard of Atlantic Beach
38 Ocean Boulevard
AB / casual - Whitt's is simple walk-up custard perfection offering Chocolate, Vanilla, and a Flavor of the Day. Check their website for the month's schedule!
AB / casual - Ragtime is a bit seafood, a bit southern, a bit New Orleans, and a lot of fun. They often have 60's 70's and 80's cover bands, which lends itself to being a great evening spot for the more mature party crowds.
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RagTime Tavern, Seafood & Grille
207 Atlantic Boulevard
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AB / casual - Ragtime is a bit seafood, a bit southern, a bit New Orleans, and a lot of fun. They often have 60's 70's and 80's cover bands, which lends itself to being a great evening spot for the more mature party crowds.
AB / casual - The Local is the newest addition to the AB Town Center and boasts a great brunch menu as well as every day food options, including some unique salads. Enjoy the open air industrial chic vibes at the bar, a table, or on the patio.
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The Local
301 Atlantic Blvd
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AB / casual - The Local is the newest addition to the AB Town Center and boasts a great brunch menu as well as every day food options, including some unique salads. Enjoy the open air industrial chic vibes at the bar, a table, or on the patio.
AB / mid range - North Beach has a fantastic and creative menu for all things fresh seafood. The dining atmosphere is crisp, clean, and coastal. Tip- they also have an upstairs section with wide windows for ocean views.
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North Beach Fish Camp
100 1st Street
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AB / mid range - North Beach has a fantastic and creative menu for all things fresh seafood. The dining atmosphere is crisp, clean, and coastal. Tip- they also have an upstairs section with wide windows for ocean views.
AB / mid-range - Hawkers has an energetic quick paced atmosphere offering small plates and entrées, perfect for those that like flavor, variety, and sharing. They have boas, dumplings, curry, noodles, you name it.... and the house sake goes well with everything.
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Hawkers Asian Street Fare
241 Atlantic Blvd
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AB / mid-range - Hawkers has an energetic quick paced atmosphere offering small plates and entrées, perfect for those that like flavor, variety, and sharing. They have boas, dumplings, curry, noodles, you name it.... and the house sake goes well with everything.
AB / mid-range - Coop turned southern stables into an upscale dining experience. Unique menu items and modern funky decor throughout their 4+ dining and bar areas makes this place an experience.
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Coop 303
303 Atlantic Blvd
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AB / mid-range - Coop turned southern stables into an upscale dining experience. Unique menu items and modern funky decor throughout their 4+ dining and bar areas makes this place an experience.
AB / upscale - Ocean60 is consistently awarded Jax's 'Best Martini' for a reason, so it is no surprise that the Martini Bar there is a local favorite. On weekdays you'll find ladies nights, bar menu specials, and musicians. The Restaurant side of Ocean 60 is not to be forgotten as they have an elegant dining experience inspired by the ocean and California cuisine, while staying true to Florida. Reservations for dining encouraged.
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Ocean 60 Restaurant
60 Ocean Boulevard
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AB / upscale - Ocean60 is consistently awarded Jax's 'Best Martini' for a reason, so it is no surprise that the Martini Bar there is a local favorite. On weekdays you'll find ladies nights, bar menu specials, and musicians. The Restaurant side of Ocean 60 is not to be forgotten as they have an elegant dining experience inspired by the ocean and California cuisine, while staying true to Florida. Reservations for dining encouraged.
AB/ fine dining - Azurea Restaurant and Lounge is located within One Ocean Resort and is an experience like no other.  Between the seasonal menus, decor, inventive cocktails, and elegant staff, you may forget to look out to enjoy the ocean views. Reservations encouraged.
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Azurea
1 Ocean Blvd
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AB/ fine dining - Azurea Restaurant and Lounge is located within One Ocean Resort and is an experience like no other.  Between the seasonal menus, decor, inventive cocktails, and elegant staff, you may forget to look out to enjoy the ocean views. Reservations encouraged.
AB / upscale - Doro is ultra small and ultra minimalistic, made for modern adventurous and refined pallets who appreciate flavor > volume. It's simply very, very cool. Reservation encouraged.
Doro
106 1st St
AB / upscale - Doro is ultra small and ultra minimalistic, made for modern adventurous and refined pallets who appreciate flavor > volume. It's simply very, very cool. Reservation encouraged.
Health & Wellness
Catch a Hot Vinyasa Power Yoga class at MBody with some of the most experienced instructors in the area.
MBody Yoga - Neptune Beach
217 First Street
Catch a Hot Vinyasa Power Yoga class at MBody with some of the most experienced instructors in the area.
The traditional Hatha classes along with juicy Yin and Slow Flow classes give this studio a tranquil authentic vibe. See schedule on their website. If you can catch one of their event classes on the courtyard, its a treat! They are also on class pass.
Bella Vida Yoga
510 Shetter Avenue
The traditional Hatha classes along with juicy Yin and Slow Flow classes give this studio a tranquil authentic vibe. See schedule on their website. If you can catch one of their event classes on the courtyard, its a treat! They are also on class pass.
If Pilates is your thing, this studio is close and boasts experienced instructors and quality reformers. Check their website for drop in rates, and they are also on class pass.
Pilates on 3rd
319 10th Avenue North
If Pilates is your thing, this studio is close and boasts experienced instructors and quality reformers. Check their website for drop in rates, and they are also on class pass.
Outdoor fun
Rent or launch from Kayak Amelia to explore the waterways that are just inland from the ocean.
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Kayak Amelia
13030 Heckscher Drive
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Rent or launch from Kayak Amelia to explore the waterways that are just inland from the ocean.
This park has is all: playgrounds, a splash pad, walking trails, a basketball court, a skate park, and picnic areas.
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South Beach Park and Sunshine Playground
2514 S Beach Pkwy
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This park has is all: playgrounds, a splash pad, walking trails, a basketball court, a skate park, and picnic areas.
The closest "hike" to the Hidden Gem, this short trail quickly transports you into nature as you head west towards a dock overlooking the intercoastal waterway. Great views for sunsets!
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Cradle Creek Preserve
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The closest "hike" to the Hidden Gem, this short trail quickly transports you into nature as you head west towards a dock overlooking the intercoastal waterway. Great views for sunsets!
Hanna Park is a great place to explore for the day with the family or solo. Surf at the beach or cruise the hiking trails trails. They also have a beginner level mountain bike trail.
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Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
500 Wonderwood Drive
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Hanna Park is a great place to explore for the day with the family or solo. Surf at the beach or cruise the hiking trails trails. They also have a beginner level mountain bike trail.
Sightseeing
About 45 minutes south is the "Oldest City" St. Augustine, which has something for everyone....sightseeing, history, shopping, food, drinks, tours and rentals. -Check out The Amp (St Augustine Amphitheater) schedule to catch a show. -Visit the Conch House for waterfront blended drinks and coastal comfort food. -A1A Ale Works is a historic brewery with waterfront dining. -The Ice Plant has the areas best mixologists. -St George Street is the famous car-free tourist street with unique shops and fun street performers. -The Colombia Restaurant is always a good choice if you're hungry for something a bit upscale
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St. Augustine
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About 45 minutes south is the "Oldest City" St. Augustine, which has something for everyone....sightseeing, history, shopping, food, drinks, tours and rentals. -Check out The Amp (St Augustine Amphitheater) schedule to catch a show. -Visit the Conch House for waterfront blended drinks and coastal comfort food. -A1A Ale Works is a historic brewery with waterfront dining. -The Ice Plant has the areas best mixologists. -St George Street is the famous car-free tourist street with unique shops and fun street performers. -The Colombia Restaurant is always a good choice if you're hungry for something a bit upscale
Visit Big Talbot, Little Talbot, and Huguenot State Parks as you head north via the Mayport Ferry (see website for schedule). These beachfront State Parks make for a great day trip by yourself or with the family. 4x4 vehicles are permitted to drive on the sand at Huguenot, just mind the tides. A hidden gem in this area is "boneyard beach," nicknamed after the picturesque driftwood trees and branches that are frozen in time. It's an easy short 'hike' from the road and can be found on google maps.
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Big Talbot Island State Park
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Visit Big Talbot, Little Talbot, and Huguenot State Parks as you head north via the Mayport Ferry (see website for schedule). These beachfront State Parks make for a great day trip by yourself or with the family. 4x4 vehicles are permitted to drive on the sand at Huguenot, just mind the tides. A hidden gem in this area is "boneyard beach," nicknamed after the picturesque driftwood trees and branches that are frozen in time. It's an easy short 'hike' from the road and can be found on google maps.