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    Jacksonville Beach Hotels: Oceanfront Lodging at its Best
    by Michael Talbert

    Travelers to Jacksonville Florida have many options for lodging in the area. If you are traveling to Jacksonville on business or pleasure and need a place to stay, don't overlook the Jacksonville Beach hotels. Located about a half hour from downtown Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach has more hotels than any of the other local beaches, and most of them are oceanfront - serving up our beautiful wide sandy beaches as your playground away from home. All of the Jax Beach hotels are within walking distance, or a short $5 cab drive from some of the best restaurants and nightlife Jacksonville has to offer.

    From Beach Blvd. north to 16th Ave, 1st Street is the place to be for hotels, dining and dancing, shopping, and just hanging out in general. For the traveler, Jacksonville Beach hotels include such well knowns as Quality Suites, Best Western, the Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, and the Fairfield by Marriot. For the adventurous, a vanishing breed of mom and pop hotels still exist, for now, on the strip. Paradise Alley and the Surfside Inn offer somewhat cheaper lodging than the big boys, and also seem to have less of a corporate feel.

    Join me as we review the Jacksonville Beach hotels one by one, and you'll see the variety of lodging possibilities the Jacksonville hotel scene has to offer. Jax Beach: oceanfront lodging at it's best!

    With 143 rooms, the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort at Jax Beach is one of the larger hotels in the area. Recognizable by the huge whale and tropical sunset murals facing 1st Street, the Sunspree is a full service family resort, with the "Windows on the Ocean" restaurant offering oceanfront dining for breakfast and dinner. There is the "Marketessant" in the lobby that offers snacks and souvenirs, and the Reef Lounge is a favorite of locals to come in and shoot some pool. The large swimming pool is just in front of the lounge, and a few steps down and you're on the beach! As a Sunspree resort, during the summer months there is an activities program for the kids. This Jacksonville Beach hotel landmark is at the top of our tour, located between 15th and 16th Avenues North.

    Just behind the Holiday Inn, and owned by the same Shaner Hotel Group, is the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites. Not being on the ocean, the Fairfield caters to the traveling business person. Equipped with high speed internet access in the rooms and lobby, there are also several Jacuzzi Suites available to help you relax after a hard days work. A swimming pool and hot tub outside, the Fairfield and Holiday Inn encourage their guests to share their amenities.

    Next door is the Comfort Inn, best known for its huge faux rock waterfall swimming pool. Plenty of fun for the kids, the Comfort Inn Oceanfront also caters to adults, with the famous Kokomo's lounge, for shooting pool and weekly Karaoke. Out of towners can really get to know the locals here. The Tiki Bar and deck, between Kokomo's and the sand dunes, is a great place to hang out in the sun with your favorite cold beverage. Summer weekends commence with live local bands outside, accompanied by plenty of dancing beach goers on the deck.

    Continuing south down 1st Street we come to a pink one story "motel" type building called Paradise Alley, on 8th Ave N. A mom & pop establishment, the Paradise is owned by a lady that refuses to sell out. The rooms are theme based, and are decorated with a nautical flair. Dinner and lunch is served on the outside deck on 1st Street, a popular hang out in the summer offering live music and over 100 domestic and imported beers. Paradise Alley's southern neighbor used to be the popular watering hole First Street Grill, but will soon be another towering oceanfront condominium.

    Another place that you can't miss is the elegant Casa Marina. A great place to get married, the Casa is right behind the dunes at 6th Ave., and is the north end beginning of the boardwalk Old world charm, elegance, and romanticism sum up this Spanish looking castle like structure. Dining at the Casa includes an inside formal dining room, and an oceanfront courtyard and veranda, serving a "new beach cuisine" for lunch and dinner, and a killer Sunday Brunch (in season). The Casa's newest addition is the Penthouse Lounge and Restaurant. Sitting on top of the north wing with an outdoors covered deck, the Penthouse has some excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean and the boardwalk, and is becoming a favorite happy hour destination. Even if you don't stay at the Casa Marina, you gotta check it out!

    If you want to be where the action is, the Best Western is smack dab in the middle of it. One of the smaller hotels in Jax Beach, its oceanfront rooms all have balconies right above the Boardwalk. A great ocean view and a great place for people watching! Being in the middle of the Strip, you can park your car inside their ground floor garage and walk to all the great restaurants, clubs, and shops that JB has to offer. High speed Internet access, an outdoor swimming pool, and whirlpool tub rooms are also available.

    Located oceanfront on the southern end of the Seawalk Pavilion, the Quality Suites is the newest hotel in Jacksonville Beach. Their pool is on the south side nestled between the hotel and the lifeguard station (no drowning here), and across the street is the ever popular Sneakers Sports Bar. All of the 72 rooms are 2 room suites with oceanfront balconies, and some of them are whirlpool suites. High speed Internet and a business center make this upscale Jacksonville hotel a favorite of corporate travelers.

    For business or pleasure, if you're looking for some great Jacksonville hotels, Jacksonville Beach is the place to be. Conveniently located, Jacksonville Beach hotels will make your stay in Jacksonville fun and memorable. Find out why Jax Beach is oceanfront lodging at it's best!

    About the Author
    Jacksonville native Michael Talbert lives, works, and plays in Jax Beach. A web developer by profession, visit Mike's hometown at http://JaxBeach-Pier.com .


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