Set beside the ocean about 20 miles east of downtown, Atlantic Beach and the adjacent Neptune Beach are filled with beach cruisers and yoga retreats. Start where the locals do with an iced latte and a fruit Danish or croissant breakfast sandwich at Lillie's Coffee Bar before stocking up on sensibly priced gifts at Bali Cargo Company (904/270-2254), a colorful shop with housewares, jewelry, and accessories made exclusively by Balinese craftspeople. For dinner, dine at Azurea restaurant, located in the One Ocean Resort. This spring, the elegant eatery was the city's first restaurant to host a Friends of James Beard benefit dinner. Its crab cakes entrée with sweet corn rémoulade over apple cider-braised collard greens combines some of the best of Georgia and Florida cuisine.
Continue your Jacksonville journey at these calmer seaside counterparts to the usually crowded Jacksonville Beach.