Any tips on enjoying Jacksonville Beach for students living in UNF apartments?

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Ocean Park of Ponte Vedra
Ocean Park of Ponte Vedra offers a beautiful pool and is located near the ocean.

Of all the major public universities in Florida, UNF has the advantage of being in a prime location for beach lovers. Located just 7 miles from the nearest beach entrance, and with plenty of available apartments near the ocean UNF students commonly frequent Jacksonville Beach. If you're from a beach town in Florida or elsewhere, you probably already have your go-to beach habits. If not, here's a few tips for making the most out of a day at Jacksonville beach. 

Pack Accordingly

Novice beach-goers often forget certain essential items when preparing for a day at the beach. Depending on your affinity towards sunshine, you might want to bring a beach umbrella. Everyone should pack sunscreen, and re-apply regularly. According to some experts SPF values of over 60 are often misleading, so be careful when picking out a brand of sunscreen. 

It's also smart to bring a cooler filled with ice, water, and snacks. Note that Jacksonville beaches do not permit alcohol consumption, so leave your alcoholic beverages at home. You may want to include a bag with a book, change of clothes, sunglasses, or a hat to keep your face out of the sun. Remember that you may be spending a lot of time out on the beach, so it's smart to pack along any entertainment that you might want to use during your day. It's common to see people passing a football or frisbee, so try to keep in mind your planned activities and the interests of your shared company. 

If you live in a pet-friendly apartment and have a dog that you want to bring along, feel free to do so in Jacksonville! Jacksonville Beach allows dogs at all times between October 1st and March 31st, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. between April 1st and September 30th. As long as you are within these allotted time frames and keep your dog on a leash, feel free to bring your furry friend along with you. Try to keep in mind the comfort of your pet, and bring a water bowl as well as shade to help your dog avoid heat exhaustion or dehydration. 

Learn Beach-Friendly Hobbies

One of the most popular activities at Jacksonville Beach is surfing. If you've never surfed before, becoming a UNF student and moving to Jacksonville is the perfect opportunity to learn. In fact, UNF has a surf club in which beginners can get some pointers from more experienced students. Advanced student surfers can also try out for UNF's renowned surf team, which placed second nationally in 2019. Be sure to rent an apartment with storage space to hold your boards.

If surfing isn't quite your style, consider surf fishing as your form of beach entertainment. Unrelated to the more extreme surf boards, surf fishing is the relaxing act of standing in the shallow part of the water and casting a line outwards. This form of fishing is permitted on Jacksonville Beach, as long as you are careful to stay out of the way of swimmers and surfers. The beach also has a 1300 foot long fishing pier which offers a bait shop and fish cleaning stations. 

Bring Friends

Although it's not impossible to have a nice day at the beach by yourself, it's like they say- the more the merrier! A day at the beach can be a good way to spend time with the people you care about, so be sure to invite people to join you in the sun. No matter how you choose to enjoy the ocean, friends can enhance your experience. I wish all Jacksonville beachgoers a good and safe experience, and hope that my tips can help to ensure that you enjoy your days by the water.

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