Neptune Beach is a small beach town in northeastern Florida. The city covers approximately 7 square miles and has fewer than 7,000 residents.
The small city of Neptune Beach experienced steady growth for many years but has recently seen a decrease in its number of new residents.
Neptune Beach is part of the Jacksonville metro area, and is generally considered to be a quiet beachfront suburb of Jacksonville. Neptune Beach is located in Duval County.
The city of Neptune Beach is located in northeast Florida. The city sits between two waterways; the Atlantic Ocean lies to the east, and the intracoastal waterway is located to the west.
Some of the largest cities near Neptune Beach include:
- Jacksonville is located approximately 17 miles west of Neptune Beach. Or, about a 30-minute drive.
- St. Augustine is located approximately 31 miles south of Neptune Beach. Or, about an one-hour’s drive along highway A1A.
Neptune Beach is located approximately 45 miles south of the Georgia border, making it one of the closest beaches near Atlanta, and a popular beach destination for Georgia beach vacationers.
What is Neptune Beach Known For?
Neptune Beach is known for its beautiful beaches, good surfing conditions, beautiful seaside homes and for being a quiet, peaceful beachfront suburb of Jacksonville.
Visiting Neptune Beach
Neptune Beach is a very laid-back, quiet town compared to many other beach towns in Florida.
Neptune Beach doesn’t have high-rise buildings or large hotels, giving the area a very nice, small-town feel. Visitors generally shouldn’t expect the city or beach to be packed with tourists.
With that said, visitors don’t usually stay in Neptune Beach itself because there are very few hotels in Neptune Beach.
Neptune Beach Visitors usually stay in neighboring towns and cities, including Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach.
Things to Do in Neptune Beach
Although it’s a small town, there are still many things to do in Neptune Beach. Some popular things to do in Neptune Beach include:
Beaches in Neptune Beach
The beaches in Neptune Beach are very nice, and are one of the top attractions in Neptune Beach. The beaches have powdery, hard-packed sand, clean water and nice waves.
Along with neighboring beach towns, Neptune Beach is one of the best places to surf in Florida.
Dogs are not allowed on the Neptune Beach beaches between 9AM-5PM, but are welcomed outside of those hours, as long as they are on a leash.
Castaway Island Preserve
Castaway Island Preserve is part of Jacksonville. It is only a short 10-minute drive from Neptune Beach; it’s well worth the drive.
The Castaway Island Preserve has over 300-acres of peaceful, protected land. The preserve feels very far from any big-city noise or chaos.
At the time of this writing, Castaway Island Preserve is free to access, and has free parking.
Although it’s not located inside Neptune Beach itself, Castaway Island Preserve is a great activity for families and is a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Castaway Island Preserve offers:
- A boardwalk
- Picnic tables with grills
- Bike trails
- Places to launch kayaks and canoes
Jarboe Park is a small local park in Neptune Beach. Jarboe Park is a favorite for both visitors and local families. The park is well maintained and has something for everyone.
Jarboe Park offers:
- A playground for the kids
- Pavilions with picnic tables
- A small lake
- Walking trail
- Volleyball courts
- Tennis/pickleball courts
BrewHound Dog Park & Bar
BrewHound Dog Park & Bar is a dog-friendly bar in Neptune Beach. The Brewhound is a perfect place for locals, and visitors who are traveling with dogs.
The Brewhound Dog Park and Bar sits on approximately one acre of land. Much of that space is dedicated to an off-leash dog park area.
There are also trails nearby for even more dog-friendly activities, and dogs are welcome on the bar’s patio, subject to rules.
The Brewhound Dog Park and Bar is membership based, but day passes are available for visitors. More information can be found on the Brewhound website.
Beaches Town Center
Beaches Town Center is an upscale outdoor shopping mall and town center in Neptune Beach.
The town center is located right along the water, between Neptune Beach and the neighboring Atlantic Beach.
While most of Neptune Beach is a small, quiet town, the Beaches Town Center is more busy, and begins to feel like a suburban city.
Beaches Town Center has a variety of different shops, restaurants, fitness centers and more. Visitors who forget to pack something for their trip will likely find it here.
The town center is a very nice place to visit. The complex is connected by nice brick walkways and there are several courtyards for guests to relax in.
There are several hotels located within walking distance of Beaches Town Center. More information can be found on the Beaches Town Center website.
Living in Neptune Beach
In general, residents say that Neptune Beach is a very nice place to live.
Living in Neptune Beach gives the best of both worlds; small Florida beach town relaxation, plus big-city convenience located nearby.
Neptune Beach is a great place to live for those who want to live outside of the big city, but still have some city convenience and nightlife nearby.
Neptune Beache’s town square, Beaches Town Center, offers many great restaurants to eat and drink, and there are other bars and restaurants nearby, as well.
Neptune Beach is a small town with a relatively high population density. A population of approximately 7,000 residents live in fewer than 7 square miles, which gives the town a tight-knit, close community feel.
Residents say that the town is generally very nice, and that residents are friendly with each other, and visitors.
Although Neptune Beach is a nice place to live, it may not appeal to everybody.
Neptune Beach is a very small town and may feel “too small” for many people’s tastes. And, prospective residents should know that life in Neptune Beach requires a lot of driving.
Folks who prefer a walkable city might find Neptune Beach to be unappealing because a car is required to reach almost every destination.
Cost of Living in Neptune Beach
The cost of living in Neptune Beach is relatively high, and is higher than many parts of Florida and the United States.
Like all of Florida, Neptune Beach struggles with high housing costs and rising costs of rent. Most people in this area own their homes, but a limited stock of rental homes are also available.
Is Neptune Beach Safe?
Neptune Beach is generally a safe place to live.
The crime rate in Neptune Beach is lower than the national average. Thanks to its small-town feel, most residents say that they know their neighbors.
Pros and Cons of Neptune Beach
Overall, Neptune Beach is a great place to visit, and is a lovely place to live. Residents say that Neptune Beach is a very friendly area.
- Neptune Beach has a very small-town feel, but is close to a big city
- Many convenient amenities are within driving distance
- Nice beaches, parks and outdoor areas
- Not a busy tourist destination
- Close community feel
- Dog-friendly area
- Great for families
- Low crime rate
- A high cost of living
- Housing is more expensive than the national average
- There aren’t many hotel options for visitors
- Few rental options for residents
- Limited amenities within walking distance
Neptune Beach has an interesting history, dating back to the early 1920s.
Neptune Beach was originally part of Jacksonville Beach, which was served by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway.
In 1922 a resident of modern-day Neptune Beach was tired of walking a long distance to catch his train on the East Coast Railway, which he used to travel to Jacksonville.
The resident, Dan G. Wheeler, decided to build his own railway station so the train would have to stop closer to his home.
Wheeler built the train station, named it “Neptune”, and the beginning of Neptune Beach was born.
Neptune Beach existed as part of Jacksonville Beach until it seceded to form its own city in 1931, as part of a tax dispute.
Overall, Neptune Beach is a great place to visit and a great place to live. It is a quiet, friendly and fun beach town in northeast Florida.
Neptune Beach offers a laid-back, relaxed beach town atmosphere, but with easy access to the convenience and excitement of big-city Jacksonville.
Cover photo by Haley Hogan