The first time I went to a beach was when I turned 18 years old. The reason was that my parents were a little overprotective of me, their only child. Whenever they thought of the ocean, they assumed that a tsunami would occur, and the water would take me. But the older I became, the more I insisted on going to the beach until my folks eventually gave in.
Now, I can never claim to be a beach expert, but I can tell you about a couple of beaches in Florida that your family may like.
Atlantic Beach Area
During the 1900s, Atlantic Beach was a small residential community located by the shore. Then, Henry Flagler of Florida East Coast Railway decided to construct the Mayport division of the Railway and put up a station where Adele Grage Cultural Center is presently positioned. More or less halfway between the railroad distance of Jacksonville Beach and the depot, the Continental Hotel—with approximately 300 rooms—was made. The area around it was sold to people who wanted to build their summer houses on the seaside.
Changes took place in 1913 when Atlantic Beach Corporation, the company that bought a large portion of the land, started installing lights and sewers on the newly paved streets. When the corporation went bankrupt due to World War I, parts of the property had been resold. This time, Atlantic Beach became a real town in 1926 and finally, a city in 1957.
The city of Atlantic Beach further developed when the Matthews Bridge and the Mayport Naval Station were created and opened to the public. From then on, the inhabitants made it possible to build a water plant, a sewer plant, a fire station, a police station, and a garbage collection system–all with paid workers and the right equipment.
Overall, this city had been faring well financial-wise. They had a manager who regularly reported to the commissioners and the mayor. More than a decade ago, the commissioners saw the need to buy and develop more land for recreational purposes. So, in 1994, the Tideviews Preserve came to life. In 1998, together with Jacksonville City, Atlantic Beach City increased its parkland by acquiring Dutton Island Preserve with the Florida Barge Canals funds.
Atlantic Beach City covers three square miles of land area and two miles of the beach. Its northern boundary was stretched out in 1987 by taking over the Seminole Beach area, while its western edge extends to the Intercoastal Waterway. Roughly 14,000 residents currently inhabit this new residential city.
Ponte Vedra Beach
Before it was even called Ponte Vedra Beach, a seaside area was not as populated as the other communities nearby. St. Augustine had been established here during the 16th century, and Juan Ponce de Leon might have seen the place, but there was not enough evidence to prove this idea.
In 1914, it was popularly known as the Mineral City because of the National Lead Company’s mining operations conducted there. With Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard at the helm, the people started recovering titanium, rutile, and zircon from the sand. These minerals’ sales were high during World War I, especially for the titanium, because it was previously used in manufacturing poison gas. However, when the war ended and the need for such minerals reduced, the National Lead Company ventured into another business. That’s when Buckman and Pritchard hired Telfair Stockton Company to develop the area.
With the development came the necessity to change the name of the community. At that time, there was a literary piece about Spain’s Ponte Vedra Beach where the infamous Christopher Columbus was said to be born, and so Mineral City turned into the Ponte Vedra Beach.
Even with its new name, though, they had a hard time selling some parts of the land. Hence, the developers cut back initially with their asking price. As more buyers came to buy a piece of the land and build an inn there or their residential home, Florida finished constructing the road that connected St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach. Hence, it gave the owners a lucrative idea of converting the whole place into a large resort.
In 1942, the National Lead Company sold its shares to the Ponte Vedra Beach Corporation. What has once been a small golf course has been developed into a resort that operates all year round. Some families still live permanently, but tourists frequent Ponte Vedra Beach because of its immense golf course, approximately five dozens of tennis courts, and a beautiful strip of beaches with white sand.
Once it is safe to sunbathe or swim with strangers on the beach again, you should take your family to either place. After all, if beach newbies like us loved them, there is a high chance that you will also feel the same way.