We had the best week in Jacksonville visiting my family! It was such a nice escape from the winter weather in Delaware/Pennsylvania. I flew in on Wednesday morning, and Greg came to meet me on Friday. We didn't end up getting home until late Monday night! The flight prices were a bit ridiculous with the current gas issues but it was well worth it to get to see my family! (p.s. I recommend using the Hopper app to track flight prices before booking) I want to share a few restaurants, things to do, and ideas for your next JAX trip!
Things to Do at the Beach & Local Eats
I love going down to Atlantic Beach & walking around Town Center there. I have spent plenty of time there over the years, and they continue to add on to this precious beach town! If you need a hotel recommendation in Jacksonville, the One Ocean Resort & Spa is incredible. I typically stay with family when in town, but have stayed at the hotel several times. I have also been to the spa there which is amazing for a self-care day! It is literally RIGHT on the beach and has amazing views. It is located right in the Town Center area which is my favorite spot. Ice cream shops, amazing restaurants, fun bars, & plenty of boutiques if you're in a shopping mood...
Lemon Bar is a must on your beach day! Right on the water, this little beach bar features amazing drinks and bar food. It has a super cute patio, usually live music, and such a fun vibe! Get a Pina Colada for me!
There are several restaurants to choose from but this time we tried something new at Slider's Oyster Bar! The vibe and food were both amazing. We sat outside so we could enjoy the weather, and luckily so many people had their puppies with them which made it even better! We tried so many different dishes, and I even had crawfish for the first time! We had the Ahi Tuna, Shrimp, and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops appetizers which were AMAZING! Seriously everything was so fresh and delicious. For our meals we both got platters with different types of fish and sides. I recommend the Blackened Mahi for sure! Greg had some sort of butternut coated fish which I had never heard of and wasn't adventurous enough to try... ha. The drink menu looked amazing, but being pregnant takes that luxury away. Greg had a Jalapeno Strawberry Marg... which he said was super spicy! Overall, totally want to eat here again! The wait was long so be sure to put your name in early!
P.s. Save some room for Whit's Ice Cream is a must for a treat on a hot day! Seriously the best ice cream... and build your own custard! It doesn't get any better.
There are so many cute shops, and if you're a mama you HAVE to stop in at KYDS which is the cutest children's' boutique! I wanted to buy everything but we settled on this super cute gown. Seriously, their stuff is adorable!
Ideas Aside from the Beach
We went for a 'leisurely walk' (nah, it was definitely a hiking trail) at Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. It was absolutely beautiful! We saw so many little creatures that Greg had to mess with.... literally the opposite of me. I avoid nature, he seeks it out.. good thing for our baby boy! He looked for snakes under every log, but we only found this teeny baby snake which is good news for people scared to hike because of the snakes! There were quite a few trails to go on and depending on your fitness level, you can pretty much find the perfect trail for you!
My grandparents live about 20-25 minutes from the airport near Monument Road. We were looking for a good dinner spot, and decided to go over to Cantina Louie! Y'all... they had the most amazing vibe! I loved the decor which I will share below. The decor held no candle to the food... their tacos were amazing! Even Greg was impressed and wanted to go back before we went home, which says loooottttsss. Their menu features so many cool tacos and you can order them 1 by 1, vs getting 3 of the same taco like most restaurants. We also had their guac and it was so good that Meme ordered 2! Ha! There are multiple locations, but I would recommend the Monument location because of the vibe of the restaurant!
We attempted a second hike at Spanish Pond Trail, because Fort Caroline Trails were closed on Monday. They are only open Wednesday to Sunday, FYI! The Spanish Pond Trail was right across the street! There are actually about 3-4 trails that all connect so I think we ended up doing 2-3 of them because we walked FAR! We went all the way back to a lookout which was beautiful. The hike back was intense, uphill, and on sand pretty much. It was harder than usual because of the extra pounds I'm carrying... but it was a great workout! In total we hiked about 4 miles! I wouldn't recommend going all the way back on the main trail if you aren't looking for a strenuous hike. There are lots of tree roots and it can be tough to navigate, but if you want a good workout outdoors this is a good spot and mostly shaded!
Greg wanted to golf before we went home, and my grandparents live right near Blue Sky Golf Club. I rode around on the cart with him while he played and it was such a nice course! Afterwards we had lunch there and they had a pretty big menu. Overall, if you are looking for a daytime activity for someone who enjoys golf, this is a good spot! You don't need collared shirts or to bring clubs, which I didn't know is typically necessary at courses!
Besides the above ideas we mostly spent time with family and relaxed around. It was such a nice get away from the cold Delaware weather! We were only there together for 4 days, but if we were there longer I would have opted to doing more beach days! I can't wait until we can go back! If you're looking for a vacation spot I would definitely look into Jacksonville! Picture of my favorite person who makes Jacksonville the most special:
Linked this outfit on my liketoknow.IT! Also linked all of my vacation outfits and maternity bathing suits!