Guide to Jax Beach: A Spring Break Experience


Photo by Kiara Griffin

Araya Jackson

Sometimes when you’re a broke college kid, you have to face the facts that spring break may not be as tropical as you wish it would be.

I wasn’t sippin’ on a fruity drink by a swim-up pool bar, sailing on a massive cruise ship, or getting my hair braided by a local. However, I had such a kick-ass spring break, that I couldn’t care less about what I may have missed out on.

I took 18 of my closest friends and packed us all into one beach house in Jacksonville, Florida. The weather wasn’t ideal, but we ate at some fire local restaurants and had roughly 25 different liquor bottles in the house. When you have good food, great company, and endless alcohol, it’s hard not to have a damn good time.

Jacksonville may not be the first place that comes to your mind when you think “vacation,” but this little town is actually full of hidden gems and must-go places. Here is my top list of the restaurants, stores, and bars we visited. If you ever take the three-hour trek to Jax Beach/ Neptune Beach, I highly recommend stopping by at least one of these!

Surfer [The Bar]

Photo from Surfer [The Bar] website

A product of the award-winning publication, SURFER Magazine, this bar held up to the highest standards. Located on a corner with brick and mortar style service, this place is restaurant by day and popping bar by night. The two story building had a line of people flooding down the street, all awaiting to get it [it was about 11 at night]. There was a live jam-band, long-counter bar tops, and they still had an open kitchen. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a

weekend night spot


Lemon Bar

Photo from the Lemon Bar website

Ah, Lemon Bar. Probably our favorite place of the trip. This outdoor, beachside restaurant and bar will have you feeling just as tropical as those on the islands. They have $3 happy hour basically all day Monday-Friday, and I just can’t say no to a $3 Bacardi beverage, ya know? The food menu is also so fresh. I ate a blackened fish sandwich with fries– probably top best fish sandwiches I’ve ever had. Not to mention the workers were fun and threw us hella free drinks.

Bali Cargo Company

Photo screenshotted from a Google Review submission

After getting a few drinks from the Lemon Bar, a few of us took a stroll to browse at some of the shops on the mini-strip, we came across Bali Cargo Company. This place is filled from top to bottom with jewelry, home furniture and decor, and clothing– all hand made in Bali. The owner literally travels to different markets and small shops in Bali and brings back unique pieces. I bought four bracelets, two rings, and an anklet (I’m a sucker for some cultural jewelry).

Monkey’s Uncle Tavern

Photo screenshotted from a Google Review submission

While going on all these excursions, we would ask our Uber drivers where the locals like to go. We were directed here– to Monkey’s Uncle Tavern. They had dart boards, pool tables, Wednesday night karaoke, happy hour, and a bomb menu. I split different appetizers with only two other people because we just had to try them all. They had burgers, wings, salads, seafood– the works. Plus, you just can’t beat a vibe of a bunch of beach locals. I left there not remembering much, except how happy my taste buds were.

*We also visited a strip club for a friend’s 21st, but I’ll leave that review out. 🙂