Posted November 2, 2009 by Jamie Moore
Think east coast Florida and images of sandy beaches come to mind. But Jacksonville is also blessed with an ecosystem of salt marshes, creeks, and the scenic St. Johns River. You can easily spend a weekend or more exploring the largest urban park system in the country. Paddle the salt marshes in a state park, catch scenic sunsets from a riverside B&B, sip a fancy martini at the Landing, and never even miss the ocean.
Kayak Amelia: Between the ocean and IntraCoastal Waterway lies a magical salt marsh ecosystem that Jacksonville's beach-bound visitors never see. Paddle the creeks on a guided tour ($55) with Kayak Amelia and you'll learn about ecology, history, and the dolphins and manatees that live in and around Amelia Island State Park. Kayak Amelia also leads bike eco-tours in other nearby state parks.
House on Cherry Street: Jacksonville's most picturesque sunrises might be over the ocean, but its best sunsets are on the St. Johns River. This charming riverside B&B is an ideal place to end the day. From the dock you can see herons gliding over the water and snowy egrets swooping back to their roost. Downtown attractions are only a short walk away. Antiques grace the inn's two guest rooms, $105 or $115 per night, which includes a full breakfast and afternoon tea.
Twisted Martini: Girls flaunting tans and guys flexing brawn flock to this swank martini bar at the Jacksonville Landing. Along the St. Johns River, high style and designer cocktails are standard issue at Twisted Martini. You can even get bottle service and VIP treatment in a specially designated chic lounge, but instead save the cash and opt for daily happy hour specials.
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