The rich and famous have long traveled to Florida communities in order to sun themselves along beautiful shores that feature stunning vistas. If you take a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach—a 20 minute drive from Jacksonville—and strut through the city, you might feel as though you're a movie star yourself. Ponte Vedra Beach hotels and shops simply exude luxury. Even the area sand dunes are larger than life: they're among the tallest in the state.
Beyond the luxuries, Ponte Vedra is known for golf. The city hosts professional golf tournaments, and amateurs of all skill levels flock to its immaculate and challenging courses. Other sports that are popular in the area include tennis, surfing and wakeboarding.
To spend time with creatures that are even wilder than Florida spring breakers, you can visit the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, or GTM Research Reserve. It's more than 73,352 acres in area and protects around 44 mammal species, 358 types of birds, and 41 kinds of reptiles. Many different fish, amphibians and plants thrive here as well. Plus, the on-site GTM Environmental Education Center has informative displays for visitors.
If you're under the impression that all spas are similar, one visit to the Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club will show you just how ambitious things can get. It measures 30,000-square-feet and combines cutting-edge technologies with gorgeous surroundings. You can choose from more than 100 different services, and will feel your tension melt away in the spa's calming yet sophisticated atmosphere.
All of that pampering can work up an appetite. Fortunately, this spa serves a wide variety of food, including healthy and delicious gluten-free meals.
If you're bringing children to Ponte Vedra Beach, or if you're a fun-loving child at heart, a trip to nearby Adventure Landing and Shipwreck Island Water Park is a great way to spend a day. This facility offers laser tag, a flight simulator, batting cages, a massive arcade, two verdant miniature golf courses, a wave pool, water slides and a selection of thrilling rides.
When it comes to winning combinations, it's hard to beat food, wine and the beach. The Ponte Vedra Beach Food and Wine Fest is a three-day event in early November in which many of the region's most esteemed culinary artists share their cherished creations. Just as appealing, guests can sample hundreds of domestic and imported wines. This festival's location is the elegant Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa.
Jacksonville Beach's Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival takes place in late March, and it involves a surfing contest, craft booths, and spirited performances by blues, Zydeco and jazz bands. Naturally, the seafood dishes that are available at this mega-party are invariably fresh and succulent.
The weather in Ponte Vedra can be surprisingly cool in the winter. Thus, if you'll be going there in December, January or February, plan to visit a museum, theater, spa or shopping complex if it gets too chilly for swimming and sun tanning. Summers, on the other hand, are hot and humid which, of course, is delightful for lounging on the beach. Just be prepared to claim your portion of the sand early in the day, as the shorelines are crowded throughout the summertime.
Whether warm or cool, springtime almost always boasts low humidity. Moreover, save for spring break and Easter weekend, you'll find uncrowded beaches all season long. Autumn is warmer than spring, and Ponte Verde is especially uncongested in late September, all of October and early November, making it a perfect time to get away with the family, your significant other, friends, or even all by yourself.