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The pastel-colored town of Atlantic Beach is worth the drive


South of Jacksonville and north of St. Augustine about two and a half hours from Orlando is a little town called Atlantic Beach. Drive until you reach the beach, and you’ll find rows of pastel-colored cottages mixed with a little history and a lot of local life and delicious food.


Atlantic Beach

Go to the beach. That's why you came here. Right? It's the Atlantic. Dark. Mysterious. Occasionally shark-filled. Brave the waves or sun yourself on the shore.

Beaches Museum

381 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, beachesmuseum.org

Henry Flagler ruled this state's history for a time because of his passion for (and domination in the building of) railroads. Find out how Atlantic Beach fared compared to neighbor St. Augustine.

Adventure Landing

1944 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, jacksonville-beach. adventurelanding.com

Water park, arcade, alligator pond, roller coasters, mini-golf, laser tag, go-karts. All the hyphenated fun things to do for kids and those who want to be kids.



1013 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach, plantologycafe.com

Beach mama and papa serve up vegan treats, juices and weekend specials that are hearty and wholesome. The thin mint smoothie and golden spiced bowl are our faves.

Pie Heaven Bakery Café

1980 Mayport Road, Atlantic Beach, pieheavencafe.com

These ladies bake up the best pies in the region. The Key lime comes boozy or non-boozy and both are worth having seconds. Tip: If available get a chicken pot pie. They sell out FAST.

V Pizza

528 N. First St., Jacksonville Beach, vpizza.com

Head to this place for your fill of the other kind of perfect pie: pizza. This is where the locals go for lunch, dinner and late-night snacking.

The Mini Bar Donuts + Coffee

1300 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, minibardonuts.com

So tiny and so cute, you'll get to taste every flavor. Bring the kiddos for a peek into the kitchen, fill 'em up with sugar and let them run around in the courtyard while you relax on a sofa with your coffee. Our pick: the pop-tart donut.


241 N. Atlantic Blvd., Neptune Beach, eathawkers.com

If you know, you know. If you don't, then go. But it gets crowded, so go early or you'll end up UberEats-ing McDonald's fries while you wait for your food. Not like we really did that or anything.


Hotel Palms

28 Sherry Drive, Atlantic Beach, thehotelpalms.com

This 1940s motor court was reborn as a vintage-modern beach motel where each room is different, but all are equally breezy. The proprietors offer surfboards, bikes, events and other amenities (just ask). Don't miss resident Show Pigeon Coffee's fancy coffee-based breakfast drinks on weekends. Do we still say "mocktails" if it's breakfast?

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