13 Fun Things to Do in Atlantic Beach, Florida, on the Weekend

Steve Cummings

Atlantic Beach Florida

Are you planning a weekend getaway to Atlantic Beach, Florida, and wondering what to do there? No worries, this article is for you! 

Atlantic Beach, located in Duval County, is the second largest of the Jacksonville Beaches Communities. This beautiful beach town is home to miles of beaches, historic preserves, family parks, serene nature spots, and endless outdoor activities. Whether planning a solo adventure, a family getaway, or a romantic escape, Atlantic Beach is a must-visit destination. From spending a day at the beach to enjoying water sports and trying local food, Atlantic Beach has something for all visitors. 

Read on to learn the 13 fun things to do in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for your weekend getaway! Here we go!

Why is Atlantic Beach, FL, Worth Visiting?

Atlantic Beach is a small town in northeastern Florida. It sits on a barrier island just off the coast of Jacksonville (only 15 miles away). Atlantic Beach is famous for its beautiful beaches, laid-back lifestyle, and excellent dining options. The soft sandy shores and crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. 

The town is also close to several popular destinations, including the historic city of St. Augustine ( just 33 miles), the Amelia Island State Park (just 19 miles), Neptune Beach (1.8 miles away), and Ponte Vedra Beach (just 17 miles away). Whether you're a beach bum, history buff, or foodie, Atlantic Beach is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

13 Fun Things to Do in Atlantic Beach, FL

Below are the 13 fun things to do in Atlantic Beach, Florida!

1. Visit Dutton Island Preserve

Location: 793 Dutton Island Rd W, Atlantic Beach, FL

Open Hours: 8 am to 6 pm

Start your weekend with a nature-filled adventure at Dutton Island Preserve, located west of Mayport Road! The preserve is home to saltwater marshes, coastal dunes, and maritime forests. It has 9000-foot-long nature trails and 3 3 miles of hiking trails winding through the forest and the marshes. You can wander along the boardwalk and hiking trails. 

The best way to explore the park is by kayaking or paddleboarding, with launch points available for both. You can enjoy fishing here as it has a fishing pier. You can appreciate the exceptional views of marshes on the observation deck. The marshes are home to various bird species, including herons, egrets, and ospreys, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers.  

The park also has covered picnic areas, making it a great spot for a family picnic or outdoor gathering. If you want to extend your visit, the preserve has camping areas and restrooms. Don't forget to bring your furry friend, as the preserve is pet-friendly.

2. Visit Howell Park

Location: 810 Seminole Rd, Atlantic Beach

Open Time: 7 am to 8 pm

If you're looking for a spot to escape the bustling crowds, visit Howell Park. This small but popular park is located between Seminole Road and East Coast Drive, across the road from Jack Russel Park. It is named after the former mayor of Atlantic Beach, William S. Billy Howell.

 With different recreational activities, the park is a perfect spot for families to spend a day outdoors. It has a 2500-foot natural trail where you can wander and feel how calm and peaceful this place is amidst the bustling life. You will find wildlife while roaming here, either turtles in the small pond or magnificent birds on the oak tree. 

One of the main features of Howell Park is the large playground, perfect for children to climb, swing, and play on. The playground is surrounded by picnic tables and benches for parents to relax and keep an eye on their little ones. 

3. Enjoy Skating at Jack Russell Park

Location: 850 Seminole Rd, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233

Open Time: 7 am to 9 pm

Jack Russell Park is one of the most popular parks at Atlantic Beach, Florida. This 12-acre state park has a large picnic pavilion for families and a concession stand open on weekends. If you are a sports person, it has much to offer. Jack Russell Park has two playgrounds, six tennis courts, two racquetball courts, two ballfields, and soccer fields. 

One of the park's main attractions is the Oceanside Rotary Skate Park, a popular spot for skateboarders and inline skaters. The skate park features a variety of ramps, rails, and other obstacles. Jack Russell Park is home to the Atlantic Beach Athletic Association. It hosts fun events like the annual Bowl Bash, a Fun Day, and a Camp Out. Whether you're a skateboarder, tennis player, or just looking for a beautiful place to enjoy nature, this park is a must-visit.

4. Visit Atlantic Beach Farmers' Market

Location: 800 Seminole Rd, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233

Hours: Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm

If you visit Atlantic Beach on weekends, you shouldn't miss the weekly Farmers' Market. The market is held at Jack Russell Park every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Vendors offer everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to homemade baked goods and artisanal cheeses. You can sample the goods, chat with the friendly vendors, and even learn a thing or two about sustainable agriculture. 

In addition to fresh produce, the market also offers handmade crafts and unique gifts. You can find everything from handcrafted jewelry to pottery and artwork. These items make great souvenirs to take home and remind you of your trip to Atlantic Beach. 

But the main attraction of the Farmers' Market is the food. From fresh seafood to gourmet sandwiches, there's something for every taste bud. You can grab a bite from one of the many food vendors and enjoy it under the shade of the oak trees in Jack Russell Park. So come and experience the local flavor, support the farmers, and want a relaxing day in the sun.

5. Shop at Atlantic Beach Arts Market

Location: Address: 1805 Mayport Rd, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233, United States

Time: 10 am to 5 pm

Atlantic Beach Arts Market is a must-visit place for artists and art lovers. You will find all things according to your artistic desires. This 5000-square-foot creative place is home to over 100 local artists and vendors, along with a learning studio and vintage. It was established in 2018. It offers a variety of artifacts, from fascinating wall art, classic paintings, pottery, and vintage items to glass, handmade gifts, jewelry, and much more.

6. Enjoy a River Ride Through St. Johns River Ferry.

Boarding Location: Mayport Village4680 Ocean Street, Atlantic Beach, FL), Fort George (9618 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32226) 

If you're going to Atlantic Beach, you must take the St. Johns River Ferry. The ferry ride is like a mini adventure where you can also learn about the area's history and connect with the local community. The ferry service operates between Mayport Village and Fort George Island, across the mouth of the St. Johns River. It provides a scenic and relaxing trip that takes only a few minutes. 

The ferries go every half-hour, from Monday to Friday during the day, and they have more trips from Friday to Sunday. While onboard, you can enjoy stunning views of the river and spot local wildlife like dolphins, manatees, and some bird species. You will have a lot to do after getting on the other side of the river. It is a fun and budget-friendly experience. 

7. Enjoy a Round of Golf at Atlantic Beach Country Club

Location: 1600 Selva Marina Dr., Atlantic Beach, FL

Open Hours: Monday: Closed, Tue: 7 am – 8 pm, Wed-Thur: 7 am – 10 pm, Fri-Sat: 7 am – 11 pm, and Sun: 7 am – 9 pm. 

If you're a golf lover looking for a challenging course, you must go to Atlantic Beach Country Club. It is only three blocks from the ocean and a great spot for families and friends. The club features a beautifully designed 18-hole course with beautiful ocean views and surrounding landscapes. Famous golf course architect Erik Larsen designed the course. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, you'll find plenty of challenges and opportunities to improve your golfing skills.

Whether you're a member or guest, the club offers various amenities and services, including a pro shop, practice facilities, and a clubhouse with a restaurant and bar. After your game, you can have a nice meal at the restaurant or enjoy beautiful sunset views while sipping on craft cocktails and trying specialty beers. It is a great way to end your day at the club.

8. Visit Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Location: 500 Wonderwood Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32233, US

Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 am – 6 pm

To have a good time by the ocean, visit Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. This oceanfront park is spread across almost 450 acres on the northern side of Atlantic Beach, near Mayport Village.

Whether you're a family looking for stuff to do in Atlantic Beach or just want to be in nature, this park is perfect. One of the most popular activities in the park is hiking. The park has 20 miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through its natural wooded areas. 

Inside Hanna Park, you'll see a beautiful freshwater lake where you can kayak or canoe. If you like fishing, you can bring your fishing gear. The park has 1.5 miles of beautiful beaches without buildings, just wooden walkways on the sand and the endless ocean. Here, you can take a swim, play beach volleyball, or simply bask in the sun.

If you want more fun, the park has a campground with RV and tent camping options. The campground is situated near the park's lake and features modern amenities like showers and restrooms. It is a perfect spot to spend a day or a weekend.

9. Wander through the Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve

Location: 12713 Fort Caroline Rd, Jacksonville, FL, 32225, US

Open Hours: Wed-Sun: 8 am – 5 pm, Mon-Tue: Closed 

If you're planning a weekend getaway to Atlantic Beach, FL, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a must-visit spot. This historical preserve is only 9 miles away from Atlantic Beach. The preserve was named after the Timucua Native Americans who once inhabited the surrounding area and southern Georgia. This 46,000-acre preserve is home to salt marshes, coastal dunes, waterways, and hardwood hammocks. 

One of the preserve's highlights is the historic Fort Caroline National Memorial. This site commemorates the short-lived French presence in Florida in the 16th century and includes a replica of the original fort. Visitors can visit the fort, learn about its history, and enjoy beautiful views of the St. Johns River. 

Another must-visit attraction in the preserve is the Kingsley Plantation. Visitors can explore the plantation house, slave quarters, and other historic structures and learn about the history of slavery in Florida. Be sure to add this historical site to your itinerary!

10. Spend a Day on the Beach

If you're looking for a family activity in Atlantic Beach, FL, spend a day at the beach. Atlantic Beach has a two-mile-long sandy shoreline. The beach has a calm, peaceful vibe with fewer crowds and is a good spot for friends and families to hang out. 

You can dip in the ocean and enjoy the refreshing waves or relax under an umbrella with a good book. There is also a small fishing pier where you can fish when the tide is high. But many people prefer finding a quiet spot on the sand for fishing. The beach doesn't have many things like shops or hotels, but you'll find some bars and restaurants in Beaches Town Center at walking distance. Unlike other beaches around Jacksonville, you can bring your dog to Atlantic Beach. 

11. Beaches Town Center

Location: 0 Atlantic Blvd, Neptune Beach, FL 32266, US

If you want a truly memorable experience, consider visiting Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach, FL. Located between Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach, the town center is perfect for walking with palm-lined streets. Whether you're in the mood for shopping, dining, entertainment, or relaxation, you'll find everything you need here. The town center has something for tourists and locals from trendy boutiques, a yoga studio, and a watersports outfitter to oceanfront hotels, restaurants, and cafes. And if you're a beer lover, you can't miss the Atlantic Beach Brewing Company. 

You can explore the charming courtyards, stroll along the brick walkways, and enjoy the outdoor seating areas while enjoying the refreshing ocean breeze. Whether you're here for a day trip or a longer stay, you'll feel right at home among the friendly locals.

12. Eat Like a Local 

If you're in Atlantic Beach, FL, you can't skip trying the local food. This little beach town is home to some fantastic restaurants serving delicious food made with fresh, local ingredients. Whether you're looking for seafood, barbecue, or something more international, you'll find a restaurant to satisfy your cravings. Here are some of the best restaurants in Atlantic Beach you must try:

  • Poe's Tavern (363 Atlantic Blvd)

This dog-friendly small restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Named after the famous writer Edgar Allan Poe, Poe's Tavern serves up some of the best burgers and beer in town. They also have a great selection of sandwiches, fish tacos, salads, appetizers, and specialty cocktails.

  • Ragtime Tavern- Seafood & Grill (207 Atlantic Blvd)

If you're in the mood for seafood, you must check out Ragtime Tavern. Be sure to try their famous Shrimp Tacos and their delicious Mae's Key Lime Cheesecake. This popular spot also hosts live music. 

  • Cantina Louie (725 Atlantic Blvd)

Cantina Louie is the right place if you want tasty Mexican street food. Their must-try dishes include spicy watermelon cocktails, unique tacos, carne asada, grave digger nachos, and fajita burritos. 

13. Tide Views Preserve

Location: 1 Begonia Street, Atlantic Beach, FL

Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 am – 8 pm

Last but certainly not least! If you want a nature retreat in Atlantic Beach, FL, consider visiting Tide Views Preserve. The preserve is located on the scenic Intracoastal Waterway near the bustling Atlantic Blvd. This 8-acre park is home to salt marshes, tidal creeks, and maritime forests. You will find restrooms and 2,500 feet of walking trails and boardwalks when you enter the park. The trails go through a hardwood hammock and provide excellent views of the marshlands. Along the way, you'll find different signs to guide you. You can also rent kayaks or canoes to explore the waterways and observe the wildlife up close. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, but the hours may vary depending on the time of year.

Wrapping Up

Atlantic Beach, FL, is the perfect destination if you're looking for a fun and exciting weekend getaway. From relaxing at the beach, visiting parks, enjoying food, and joining outdoor adventures, you'll never find a dull moment in this coastal town. Whether you're traveling with family or friends, there are plenty of fun things to do that will keep everyone entertained. So why wait? Pack your bags and head to this beautiful beach town for a memorable weekend adventure!

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