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Labor Day Golf Getaway Weekend on Florida’s First Coast

Early September means “endless summer” in northeast Florida, with plenty of sunshine and an occasional cooling rainshower. It’s a great time to get outside and play a few more rounds of summer golf before fall kicks off into high gear. If you like the idea of a quick escape to northeast Florida over Labor Day for a golf getaway weekend, then this blog is for you! To make things easier, we have created this step-by-step guide—a recipe of sorts—for you to plan and carry out the perfect Labor Day getaway weekend on Florida’s First Coast of Golf.

Amelia Island golf course

 

Step 1: Assemble Your Basic Ingredients: Choose a Place to Stay in NE Florida

The main ingredient in your getaway weekend is your home base in northeast Florida. Where would you like to be? Near the city action? On a beach? Up to your ears in golf, golf, golf? This part of Florida has some of the state’s top hotels and resorts, and the sheer number of options can be mind-boggling. First, you should know that northeast Florida consists of five distinct destinations: Amelia Island, Jacksonville & the Beaches, Clay County, Palm Coast / Flagler Beaches, and St. Augustine / Ponte Vedra Beaches. Read on to get a feel for which area most appeals to you. 

  • Amelia Island has 13 miles of uncrowded white sand beaches, sparklingly clean waters, abundant wildlife, and world-class resorts and spas. It was voted #6 among the Top 10 North American Islands by Conde Nast Traveler’s 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards. 
  • Jacksonville & the Beaches: Jacksonville, a bustling port city and naval base, is Florida’s largest city. In addition to its cultural richness and cosmopolitan nightlife, Jacksonville also has the largest urban park system in the United States. 
  • Clay County is home to trendy suburbs and quite a few award-winning golf courses. If you want a quieter setting but one that’s only a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Jacksonville, this area is calling your name. 
  • Palm Coast / Flagler Beaches is a serious golfer’s wildest dream come true. This location is for players who want to hone their craft in a breathtakingly beautiful natural setting. 
  • St. Augustine / Ponte Vedra Beaches blends fascinating historic cities, 42 miles of stunning coastline, more than a dozen championship golf courses, and accommodations ranging from quaint B&Bs to premier golf resort communities such as World Golf Village.  

Another important factor to consider when selecting a home base for your weekend getaway is the quality and quantity of on-course and off-course amenities available at the property. GIven the sheer number of vacation properties strung along the 75 miles of Florida’s First Coast, finding the place that best suits your needs can be quite daunting. 

That’s why we recommend using our convenient booking tool, where you can search for accommodations based on location in NE Florida, accommodation type (resort or hotel), and price. When you click on a specific accommodation, you can learn more about its amenities, such as onsite and nearby golf courses and pool, beach, and spa access. You can also browse any packages that are available, which often include lodging, several rounds of golf, and even car rental. 

Step 2: Spice is Nice: Iconic First Coast Dining & Drinking Options

After an invigorating day of golf, delight your palate with a meal at an iconic northeast Florida eatery. Afterwards, you’ll find plenty of places to quench your thirst, too. Allow us to suggest a few ways to add some spice and ice to your golf getaway weekend. 

Being the passionate golfer that you are, you can’t leave Northeast Florida without paying homage to the authentic CaddyShack restaurant, owned and operated by the Murray brothers, where you can “Eat, Drink, and be Murray” all night long. And while you are frolicking on Florida’s First Coast, at some point you’ll want to try some fresh local seafood. There’s no better place to do this than at an authentic “fish camp,” which could take the form of a seafood stand at a local farmer’s market, an open air dining deck, or a hip eatery run by culinary school grads. The one thing all these places have in common is the freshest of fish, and plenty of it. 

A few famous fish camps to try are Palm Valley Fish Camp in Ponta Vedra, Julington Creek Fish Camp in Jacksonville, and Whitey’s Fish Camp in Fleming Island just south of Jacksonville. If seafood is not your thing, never fear, our dining blogs are here. Click here to read more about it: The 19th Hole: From Greens to Good Eats in Clay County, Best Places to Eat Off-Course in Jacksonville, and  Best Places to Eat Off-Course in Palm Coast & Flagler County

We guarantee you’ll be thirsty after all that seafood, so here are a few ways to quench your thirst. If you are a craft beer lover and you can tolerate a golf-free afternoon or early evening during your getaway weekend, hit the Jax Ale Trail with your buddies or significant other. On this trail, you won’t do much walking and your taste buds will do all the talking as you sample beers from famous local breweries such as Bold City Brewery and Intuition Ale Works

 

Jax craft beer tasting

 

If beer is not your thing, head to Manifest Distilling for a tasting tour of Jacksonville’s only full-scale organic distillery or  sip on one of Ice Plant’s signature craft cocktails —such as a Florida Mule— in a historic distillery in downtown St. Augustine. You can also wet your whistle at Florida’s oldest bar, the Palace Saloon, on Amelia Island. Read about other iconic First Coast watering holes here.

Step 3: Stir in More Liquid. Go to the Beach!

No visit to the First Coast is complete without a visit to one of its white, sandy beaches. Fortunately, there is a beach for everyone in northeast Florida, whether you are a nature lover, a water sports enthusiast, or a family with young children. For example, Jax Beach is the place to be for all the action. This beach hosts a series of summer festivals and concerts, has a famous fishing pier, and offers a boatload of other land and sea activities. 

If you are a nature lover or you prefer quieter, less crowded beach scenes, a rustic beach such as Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island may be just the place for you. For a relaxing beach experience on the St. Augustine side, we recommend Anastasia State Park, with 1600 acres of spectacular dunes, pristine beaches, and nature trails. 

Step 4: The Topping: A Unique First Coast Experience

There are some experiences that you can have in northeast Florida that you just can’t have anywhere else, and we think that you should top off your Labor Day weekend with one of them. Here are 4 First Coast experiences that are totally unique. 

  1. For a golf-themed experience like no other, visit the World Golf Village’s World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, which celebrates the game of golf and commemorates 160 of its greatest players. Wander through 35,000 square feet of exhibition space that features thousands of historic artifacts and personal memorabilia from the Hall of Famers. The museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. 
  2. For a unique historical experience, take an old town trolley tour of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. Visit sites such as the old jail, the city gates, the colonial center, and even the original Fountain of Youth! You can also tour important historic sites such as the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Castillo de San Marcos, or go fishing or shopping. If you stay in the city into the evening, take advantage of the city’s rich dining scene and nightlife, and be on the lookout for ghosts!
  3. For a stand-out cultural experience, pay a visit to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, the largest fine arts museum in northeast Florida. Spend some time wandering through the magnificent gardens, which are among the most impressive in the entire state of Florida.   
  4. Embark on a water tour of Florida’s First Coast in a kayak or giant war canoe with Adventures Up The Creek. There is no better way to experience the coast than from the water. 

To read about more unique things to do in northeast Florida, click here

If you have followed this recipe closely, taking care to add and mix all the ingredients, you are now ready to bake, I mean BOOK, your Labor Day golf getaway on Florida’s First Coast. 

We hope you enjoy every delicious moment!