We are home to 22 miles of beaches, 40 miles of the Intracoastal Waterway, 50 public boat ramps, and the longest stretch of the St. Johns River in the state of Florida. Jacksonville is the birthplace of the Salt Life movement and Florida’s best watersports getaway! Read more on How to Experience Jacksonville’s Local Waters.
22 Miles of Beaches
These are not your grandparents’ beaches. Come surf, kayak, paddleboard, swim, dive, boat, fish and explore Jacksonville’s unique coastal shores. The city’s main beaches are Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach and Atlantic Beach. They are public, and pet friendly, plus they are home to surf shops, fresh seafood restaurants, quaint beach boutiques, and parks like Hanna Park and Dutton Island Preserve. In the city’s Northside, unspoiled barrier islands offer must-see beaches like Blackrock Beach, Boneyard Beach, Little Talbot Island, and Huguenot Park. All accessible by taking a short ferry ride from the beaches or driving down the picturesque Heckscher Drive from Downtown. Jacksonville also has a very active diving scene, with more than 30 offshore reefs off our Atlantic coast. Try out some of these unique water sports like kayaking and diving in Jacksonville.
The St. Johns River
This mighty Florida river is one of the largest recreational sports in Jacksonville. The St. Johns’ is one of fewer than 30 rivers in the United States that flow northward. Most of the river in our area is part seawater, making it a unique ecosystem where dolphins, manatees and even sharks swim freely. The St. Johns River is ideal for boating and fishing, with fish such as mullet, flounder, shad, and blue crabs migrating from the ocean to freshwater springs upriver to spawn. In Downtown Jacksonville, the river provides tons of attractions opportunities including the Riverwalk, and sporting events like the P1 Powerboats and kayaking excursions. There are dozens of public water access ramps along the St. Johns River.
The Intracoastal Waterways
This natural body of water flows along the East Coast and divides Jacksonville’s Southside from the beaches area. Fisherman and boating enthusiast enjoy the more than 40 miles of ICW’s canals, marshes and channels in Jacksonville every day. Public access ramps make it easier to enjoy a paddleboard adventure, or a leisure kayak trip. The mouths of the larger creeks on the ICW are where the fish run hard. Spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum and redfish call this brackish tributary home.