Corky Bell's Seafood
Clark's Fish Camp
Safe Harbor Seafood
Atlantic Beach, FL
Singletons Seafood Shack
Atlantic Beach, FL
After passing the Ocala National Forest, the St. Johns widens as it enters a section of the river known as the Devil's Bend (Palatka FL). Flowing north, the river turns eastward as it nears Jacksonville and continues east, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport. While the south side of the river at Mayport is a military base and bustling urban area, visitors will discover several State Parks and a National Preserve along the coast north of the river. There is no bridge over the river here; a National Park ferry service operates at Mayport.
Corky Bell's Seafood... www.corkybellsseafood.com/ 185 South Highway 17, East Palatka, FL 32131
This is a beautiful location overlooking the "devil's elbow" section of the St. Johns. The restaurant is spacious. The owners have been at this for awhile. We found the food to be excellent. Large deck and outside bar, shadded by big moss-draped oaks. One of our favorites. Check it out on a cool, sunny afternoon. Expect crowds on weekends.
Clark's Fish Camp... www.clarksfishcamp.com/ 12903 Hood Landing Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32258
Sadly, our visit to Clark's was delayed by Hurricane Irma. The restaurants gets rave reviews on social media and we look forward to our first official visit this spring.
Safe Harbor Seafood... www.safeharborseafoodmayport.com/ 4378 Ocean St #3, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
A popular seafood market that does a huge to-go lunch business. A few small tables, but no table service. We stopped by twice, before and after prime lunch hours. In both cases the lines were still almost out the door. Obviously the seafood is great. If you're on the go, this is the place. For a more relaxed meal, check out Singleton's just up the street.
Singleton's Seafood Shack... www.facebook.com/singletonsmayport/ 4728 Ocean St, Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233
Seafood market, restaurant, and working boat dock. A funky, laid-back place; the seafood may not be as popular as up the street, but full table service, and their coleslaw is great. Nothing fancy; plastic ware, wooden tables, and bar. Some outside seating. Seasonal weekend live music. Surprise Bonus: tucked to the side is a free carved wooden boat museum, featuring work by the original owner. Unique & enjoyable.
Sandollar Restaurant... www.sandollarrestaurantjax.com/ 9716 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32226
Located on the quiet north shore of the river (near ferry), the location has some challenges. State Parks and preserves dominate the area, so far fewer people. The restaurant layout seemed a little quirky (pink chairs?), but the outside deck is huge. Live music Friday-Sunday (weather permitting). The deck was closed during our summertime visit. Lot's of outdoor recreational opportunities nearby, so after a day of fun, we're looking forward to a return visit when cooler.
Note: downtown Jacksonville... there are a couple of restaurants along the river downtown, but not flip-flop friendly, so we omit them here.