Moving to Jacksonville Beach, FL? Read our Ultimate Moving Guide

You’re moving to beautiful Jacksonville, Florida, but you want a relaxed, beach town vibe. Who could blame you?

Just a quick 30 minutes outside of downtown Jacksonville (going 60 MPH down Butler Blvd) is Jacksonville’s largest coastal city, Jacksonville Beach. It was ranked #16 best place to live and #29 on a list of best places to retire in U.S. World and News’ annual list, and is a popular place for a Jaxon to call home.

If you’ve already read our Guide to Moving to Jacksonville, FL and decided Jacksonville Beach is the right area of town for you, this guide will go in-depth on what life is like.

A laid-back, family-friendly location, Jacksonville Beach is a town for those who appreciate an outdoor lifestyle. With its gorgeous shoreline and sunny days year-round, you’ll never be short on activities both on and off the water. “Jax Beach,” as it’s called by the locals, stretches along scenic Highway A1A from its southernmost point, Ponte Vedra, to its northernmost point in Neptune Beach.

Jax Beach Local’s Choice: Activities

Jacksonville Beach Pier

The quarter-mile-long, wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is a must for anyone moving to the Jacksonville Beach area. Anglers post up at this local haunt from dawn to dusk pulling up that evening’s dinner, and the fishermen are happy to show off their catch to families’ taking a stroll. Surrounded by beach volleyball courts, surf shops, and beachside restaurants, the pier is in the heart of the laid-back town center of Jacksonville Beach.

Attend a SeaWalk Pavilion Festival

The SeaWalk Pavilion is home to live music, outdoor movies, festivals, food, and all kinds of family fun. There are events almost every weekend at the Pavilion and in the larger Charlie Latham Plaza area, with some of the most popular being:

  • SeaWalk Music Festival: The Community First Seawalk Music Festival is a free, family-friendly event in Jax Beach. It features local favorite bands as well as attracting national talent such as Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
  • Springing the Blues: Springing the Blues is an annual blues festival and Beaches favorite. It is one of the largest and oldest blues festivals on the East Coast of the United States, having started in 1990. It is held yearly on the first weekend of April.
  • Beaches Oktoberfest: Jax Beach boasts Florida’s Largest Oktoberfest, which attracts over 45,000 attendees annually each year.
  • Deck the Chairs: More than forty American Red Cross lifeguard chairs are sponsored by local businesses and decorated each year in coastal-themed designs and lights in Downtown Jacksonville Beach. This local favorite free event runs from Thanksgiving weekend through the end of December and raises money for children’s art education.
  • Moonlight Movies: Moonlight Movies are a Beaches family favorite, with past movies such as Encanto, Jaws and The Goonies. Wash up from a beach day to the SeaWalk Pavilion and picnic under the stars while watching classic flicks as a community to the sound of ocean waves just over the dunes.

Beach Bowl  

A Jacksonville Beach staple that was recently torn down and completely renovated in a $7.5 million overhaul project, Beach Bowl has gone from a shabby local haunt to a chic hangout. The renovation expanded its footprint by 6,200 square feet, adding a two-story restaurant with rooftop dining.

Caffeinated Cat Cafe

The Caffeinated Cat is Jacksonville’s first and only feline coffee shop. Here you can have a cup of Joe while playing with the shop’s (adoptable!) resident cat and kittens.

Rent a beach chair, paddle board, kayak or electric bike

Beach Life Rentals, just a block away from the Jax Beach Pier (which they also run) rents beach cruiser bicycles, paddle boards, kayaks and surf boards, alongside chairs and umbrellas.

Jacksonville Beach Grocery Stores


Publix is every Floridian’s favorite grocery store, and Jax Beach residents have not one, but two Publix’s to choose from. There are two more in neighboring Neptune Beach as well. Get yourself a Pub Sub and a sweet tea and head to a day at the beach!

Native Sun

Jacksonville Beaches’ community natural market, Native Sun provides organic and local fare to the Beaches community. They also offer a delicious food hall serving up both grilled cheese, smoothies and ramen, as well as a local alcohol-free Kava bar, Wildcrafters.

Trader Joe’s

The viral, much-beloved grocery store opened a location in Jacksonville Beach in 2014 and has been a local favorite ever since. Stop by to do your weekly grocery shopping, and when you’re done pick up a bagel from local favorite Bagels R Us, which is right next door!

Whole Foods

A recent addition to the Jacksonville Beach grocery scene, Whole Foods Market opened up in Pablo Plaza in South Jacksonville Beach in late 2020. This eco-minded chain with natural and organic grocery items also sells housewares and other products.

Jacksonville Beach Schools

Jacksonville Beach Elementary School 

Ranked No. 1 out of 4,212 public elementary schools in Florida rated by U.S. News & World Report. Jacksonville Beach Elementary School is a magnet school. The student population of Jacksonville Beach Elementary School is 598 and the school serves children aged kindergarten through 5th grade. At Jacksonville Beach Elementary School, 100% of students scored at or above the proficient level for math, and 100% scored at or above that level for reading. The school’s minority student enrollment is 65%, and the student population is 50/50 female and male students. The student-teacher ratio is 17:1, surpassing the school district’s ratio.

The Discovery School

The Discovery School, located on Shetter Avenue in Jacksonville Beach, offers a unique educational experience through a gradual evolution from pure Montessori to a blended curriculum, to pure International Baccalaureate over the course of the child’s academic career. Serves children ages 18 months through 8th grade.

Montessori Tides School

Montessori Tides is a nationally recognized Montessori School located in Jacksonville Beach, FL which has operated for over 30 years. Montessori Tides began as a privately owned and operated Montessori school for children ages 3-6 years old, following the traditional Montessori philosophy.

Montessori Tides expanded its existing 3-6 program and currently serves students from age 18 months through 3rd grade.

Seabreeze Elementary

Founded in 1963, Seabreeze Elementary is at 1400 Seabreeze Ave, with a student population of 495, serving grades K-5. The school’s minority student enrollment is 33%, and the student-teacher ratio is 16:1, which is better than that of the district. The student population is made up of 43% female students and 57% male students.

St. Paul’s Catholic School

St. Paul’s Catholic School located just a few blocks from the ocean and “has a tradition of inspiring faith and excellence in students for 75 years.” With 650 students, St. Paul’s offers a fully accredited Catholic education for children of all faiths including PreK-3, PreK-4 (which participates in the free State of Florida Voluntary VPK Program), Transitional Kindergarten (a transition between VPK and Kindergarten) and Kindergarten through Grade 8.

Fletcher Middle and High School

 Although technically located in neighboring Neptune Beach, Fletcher Middle and High School have served the Beaches communities since 1937. The school’s mascot, the Senators, is also derived from their namesake, Senator Duncan U. Fletcher, the man who obtained the federal grant to open the school.

Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach Parks

Sunshine Park

Hailed by Jacksonville parents as one of the best parks in the city, The playground at Sunshine Park was completely torn down and rebuilt in 2022 to be even bigger and better. The new structure includes local design nods such as a kids lifeguard tower, and tons of climbing, swinging, and sliding equipment.

There’s a separate tot-lot for little ones and artificial turf throughout, with other amenities such as:

  • Multi-purpose turf field
  • A basketball court
  • Two pickleball courts
  • Fitness trail with exercise stations
  • Six picnic shelters and grills
  • A 23,000 square foot skate park
  • Splash pad (seasonal)
  • Tennis court
  • Three sand volleyball courts

Penman Park Green Market

Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local farmers and artisans set up shop in Penman Park along Penman Road, which is the main thoroughfare for residents from Beach Blvd. to Atlantic Blvd.

Vendors like Dave the Plant Man, Alvarez Farms and Gnarbucha Kombucha, among others, sell a wide selection of goods each week. This includes in-season, local and organic produce, local all-natural meats, free-range eggs, cut flowers, locally roasted organic coffees, edible plants and trees, orchids, handcrafted teas, gluten-free and vegan foods, handcrafted cheeses, locally made desserts, freshly baked breads, local honey and other seasonal delights. 

Oceanfront Park

This 2-acre oceanfront park has four sheltered picnic areas and is known for its sand volleyball court. It also features a small children’s playground, a handicapped-accessible ramp and a bronze statue, Sea Express. This statue of a young boy riding the back of a dolphin was created by sculptress Kristen Visbal, and symbolizes the city’s dedication to preserving public access to the ocean for future generations.

Jax Beach Shopping

Eco Eclectic

Eco Eclectic is a local refill store, where customers can get eco-friendly products and plastic-free refills on items such as laundry detergent, hand soap, vinegar and more. It also houses a small used bookshop and vintage clothing section.

Cottage by the Sea

Cottage by the Sea has been furnishing Jacksonville Beach homes with beautiful, distressed coastal inspired furniture and accessories since 1995. Today, Cottage by the Sea continues to offer a tasteful selection of coastal-inspired furnishings including hand-painted, reclaimed and distressed wood pieces, chandeliers, lamps, artwork, and decorative elements. If you’re lucky, you might find something for your new beach home at one of their famous container sales!

Sunrise Surf Shop

Sunrise Surf Shop opened for business in 1976 and has been a Jacksonville Beach staple ever since. It seems like having a Sunrise t-shirt in your wardrobe is almost a requirement for calling yourself a local. The store is owned and operated as a small family business and has provided North Florida surfers and skaters a place to go and find everything they need.

Target, Nordstrom Rack and Home Depot

Aside from locally owned shopping opportunities, Jacksonville Beach is home to many popular national chains. There is a little bit of everything you could need for your new home and new beach wardrobe!

Jacksonville Beach Volunteer Opportunities

Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM)

Founded in 1985 by representatives of local churches who received many personal appeals for emergency financial assistance, The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, or BEAM, was created to provide coordinated guidance toward self-reliance. Today the community support for BEAM has extended well beyond the faith community to include individuals, businesses, local organizations, and local foundations.

BEAM offers nutrition education, assistance with applications for SNAP benefits and Medicaid, and case management for single mothers working to break the cycle of poverty. Their seasonal programs include Back To School with BEAM and Thanksgiving baskets for families.

BEAM relies on more than 200 outstanding volunteers who commit to volunteering every week in support of daily operations. These weekly volunteers support BEAM food pantries, food bank, thrift stores, senior program, front desk, and financial assistance areas. 

Mission House

Mission House exists to empower individuals in the Beaches area affected by homelessness by providing food, clothing, medical care and support services with an avenue to self-sufficiency.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Companion volunteers who meet and connect with Clients for two hours before lunch or dinner, providing a listening ear for individuals needing encouragement and support. 
  • Kulik’s Closet volunteers distribute clean clothing, towels and new toiletries to Crisis Care clients. 
  • Mission House serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Cooking and serving volunteers (individuals and groups) are welcome to cook and serve in the Mission House kitchen.
  • Donation and pantry organizing
  • Clinic volunteers, including: physicians of all specialties, APRNs & Pas, Nurses, MAs & CNAs, and Pharmacists

Beaches Go Green

Beaches Go Green provides awareness and education around waste, particularly single-use items and plastic pollution, and how it affects our planet and oceans. The organization works to simplify complex environmental issues so everyone can make changes in their own lives for the betterment of the planet.

Beaches Go Green offers free monthly speaking engagements through the Be the Change series, PSAs, a quarterly environmental-themed Movies that Matter series with the North Florida Green Building Council (USGBCNFL). In addition, several single-use plastic awareness art installations, including Jellyfish Park and Octopus Garden at Deck the Chairs each year in December. The organization also partners with local businesses and events to encourage less wasteful practices.



Recreational sports leagues, tournaments and pick-up games for adults. Whether you’re a free agent looking for a team or a captain already in charge, Jax FRAY offers opportunities to play rec sports from ultimate frisbee, basketball, volleyball, axe throwing, pickleball and more.

Jacksonville Beach Baseball Association

Serving boys ages 4 to 16, games are played at Wingate Park, which has two lit baseball fields and two lit t-ball fields. For JBBA players, spring season is March- June. Sign-ups are in January/February. Fall season is September- November with sign-ups in August.

Northeast Florida Girls’ Softball Association

  • Ages 4 to 18
  • Spring season is January – May
  • Fall season is August – November

Jacksonville Beach Pop Warner Football & Cheerleading

  • Season is early September – end of October.
  • Sign-ups begin April – June.
  • Ages 5 to 15
  • $190 registration fee per person
  • Season is early September – end of October. Sign-ups begin April – June.

Best Jax Beach Breakfast & Lunch

Dockside Seafood

Perched along the east edge of the Jacksonville Beach Boat ramp, you’ll be entertained with views of the marsh and lively boating scene. Dockside has high-quality, fresh seafood and is such a local favorite that during peak hours on a beautiful Florida day you’ll often see the ordering line go out the door!

Sierra Grille

A longtime staple of the South Beach Parkway Plaza, Sierra Grille serves fast, fresh and casual southwestern fare. Locals love their daily specials, as well as the Mexican pizza and surf and turf burrito.

Metro Diner

A Jacksonville breakfast staple, Metro Diner quickly became the go-to local restaurant for comforting classics and brunch in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville. It even earned a slot on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Fieri raved about many Metro signature items including the Fried Chicken & Waffles and Iron City Meatloaf.

When Metro Diner expanded and opened a location on 3rd Street in Jacksonville Beach, locals were quick to make it a must for Sunday Brunch.

Angie’s Subs & Angie’s Grom

Angie’s Subs (and its little sister location, Angie’s Grom) is famous for some of the best subs and sweet tea in town, as well as a fun, beach bum vibe on the inside. Angie’s is known for its Peruvian sub that combines ham, Genoa salami, bacon, Italian sausage, provolone and Angie’s Subs Peruvian sauce.

The shop is so popular, they recently opened up a location in the Jacksonville International Airport.

Jax Beach Brunch Haus

When you step inside Jax Beach Brunch House, you’ll be greeted by the smell of cooking bacon, eggs benedict and opera. That’s right, owner Dan Altman is a classically trained opera singer, and frequently delivers bottles of champagne for bottomless mimosas with an aria. The menu hits all of the breakfast favorites, with pancakes, crepes, eggs benedict and is influenced by some of the places he has traveled and worked singing opera and performing.


A block from the ocean, Delicomb is a locally owned and operatednatural and organic scratch kitchen. Açai bowls, 2-egg sandwiches, super tuna salad, kimchi, wraps, chai lattes and panini melts are all staples on the Delicomb menu. Locals swear by the Mr. Loco breakfast sandwich after surfing the Pier.

Best Jax Beach Dinner

The Refinery

A fine dining restaurant located on the second story so there is a sweeping view of the ocean, Refinery offers fresh, flavorful, chef-inspired cuisine. You can come up for a drink at the ocean-side bar, or dine upstairs for a more formal occasion.

O-Ku Sushi

With other locations in Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville, among others, O-Ku resides in a two-story building with a rooftop deck overlooking the Jacksonville Beach Pier. O-Ku provides a fresh and innovative take on traditional Japanese sushi and cuisine, with an innovative menu comprised of signature starters, contemporary Japanese entrees and seasonal traditional sushi. 

Eleven South

Located in South Jacksonville Beach, Eleven South is a neighborhood institution, providing a warm and elegant setting to enjoy seasonally inspired world cuisine by an award-winning team. Named for its location on 11th Street South, just blocks from the ocean, Eleven South balances a casual environment, professional service and an exceptional menu offering with a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

Oaxaca Club

Recently opened in a newly constructed corner in downtown Jacksonville Beach, Oaxaca Club pays homage to the cuisine of the city of Oaxaca, located in Southwest Mexico. The menu features local, seasonal ingredients and mixes Oaxaca cuisine like tacos, moles, tamales and fresh seafood dishes with a nod to North Florida’s coastal lifestyle.

Oaxaca Club also features an elevated cocktail menu with a variety of mezcal-based libations (as well as Oaxaca Club’s privately labeled mezcal) plus tequila-based options, classics and flights. 


JaxSpice specializes in North Indian and Nepali Cuisine, and food offerings range from vegetarian cuisine to exotic meat dishes layered with texture and flavor. True to its name, JaxSpice’s menu features no shortage of saffron, chilies, mustard seeds, gram flour, coconut, yogurt and ghee. Food is prepared based on your tolerance level, from mild to spicy to hot. Popular dishes are Masala Chai, Dal, a lentil dish, fish curry, Vindaloo, samosas, a spicy turnover stuffed with potatoes and peas and a puffy rice, yogurt, tamarind – everything is prepared fresh in this scratch kitchen.


No list of Jacksonville Beach hotspots would be complete without the ‘Lu! TacoLu opened in 2008 in a little building on Beach Boulevard that longtime Beaches residents knew as “The Old Homestead Restaurant.” Great for brunch on the weekends or lunch every day of the week, there is just something special about grabbing a Bangin’ Shrimp taco or quesadilla for dinner at TacoLu and sitting under their famous mural on the back deck.

Jacksonville Beach Nightlife

Blue Jay Listening Room

For those with a passion for music, there is no better spot at the beach, or maybe in all of Jacksonville, than Blue Jay. An intimate venue serving wine and beer cocktails, you can come to Blue Jay most days of the week to listen to local musicians in a carefully curated environment. The venue gives people an “opportunity to take a deep breath, be present, connect, feel and to be inspired. Blue Jay Listening Room encourages community and togetherness through the gift of live music.”

Tuesday Jazz Night is a local favorite – be sure to arrive early before it sells out!

Green Room Brewing

Green Room Brewing was Jacksonville Beach’s first microbrewery, bringing great, locally made beer to the Beaches with over 24 taps, Green Room became a must-stop with its relaxed interior, dog-friendly atmosphere and tap room ping pong table and giant Jenga. You can bring your own food in, sit with friends and enjoy a Jags game on the TV or board game.

Mango’s Beach Bar

Located in the heart of the Jax Beach Bar District for over 65 years, Mango’s is a fun beach dive bar with a great outside deck and bar to enjoy the ocean breezes and fantastic people watching. The bar boasts Happy Hour specials all day every day and fun pub games like Golden Tee, Pac Man, darts and pool tables.

Casa Marina

The Historic Casa Marina Hotel is the grande dame of Jacksonville Beach. Opening her doors in 1925, Casa Marina is a member property of Historic Hotels of America and was recognized in 2005 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The stucco Spanish-style design features a rooftop deck that is a local happy hour favorite.

With a stunning view of the North Florida coastline, Jax Beach locals love to indulge in a signature martini while watching the sun set. Casa Marina will take you from Friday night to Sunday morning, as their signature brunch is perfection.

Important Jacksonville Beach Websites


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