Jacksonville Beach vs St. Augustine Beach
There are many factors that go into making decisions when picking the best place to live for us and our families. These decisions consist of things such as, prices for homes, cost of living, lifestyle, medical facilities and schools. So how do we go about it? Simple, we compare one place to the next.
For those of you looking for a beach town, I’m going to be comparing two coastal towns in Northeast Florida – Jacksonville Beach vs St Augustine Beach. These two coastal towns are very similar in many ways but of course have some unique differences. So, let’s dive in and compare!
Living in Jacksonville Beach
Jax Beach has a population of about 23,000 people and offers residents a vibrant and bustling coastal area to live and enjoy. In Jacksonville Beach there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. This coastal town has a very laid-back vibe. Widely known for its surfing, water sports, beach volleyball and fishing. If you are a dog person and love bringing fido to the beach, then you’re in luck because they are allowed from October to March, as long as they are leashed. When it comes to parking at the beach, you will find plenty of options scattered along the way. Keep in mind, you may have a tough time finding a spot when it’s peak beach season! A few fun things to do at Jax Beach include Beaches Museum, Cradle Creek Preserve and Adventure Landing Water Park.
Living in St Augustine Beach
The city of St Augustine Beach has a population of about 7,000 and is also known for its laid-back atmosphere. Similarly, to Jax Beach, offering surfing, water sports, beach volleyball and fishing, it does have a few more perks. You don’t have to worry too much about the beach parking filling up because you are able to drive on the beach with a permit in designated areas. For those dog lovers, St Augustine Beach allows dogs on the beach year-round.
Cost of Living in these two Florida Cities
When it comes to housing, you can find various styles of homes in both of these beach towns from condo living to mid-century modern ranches and luxury homes. In Jax beach, the median sale price for a single-family home is 697k and $591k for a condo.
While in St Augustine Beach the median price for a single family is 790k and $400k for a condo. Both areas are great spots to invest in vacation rentals.
According to PayScale, the cost of living in Jax Beach is about 7% higher than the national average, housing is 44% higher and groceries are 10% higher. In St Augustine Beach, the cost of living is about 1% lower than the national average. Housing is 30% higher than the national average and groceries are also 10% higher. However, in both coastal towns, utilities are 3% lower and healthcare is 16% lower than the national average.
Dining and Shopping
Now let’s get into everyone’s favorite topic of discussion, food!
It’s no secret that Jax Beach is known for its seafood. Some of the local top favorites are, Dockside; known for its ambiance, local seafood, great service and outdoor seating. Another favorite is Beachside Seafood. This is more of a chill, bar-vibe establishment with great food ranging from seafood to burgers and even better drinks. Rating #5 of 26 Bars and #10 of 95 Restaurants, according to Trip Advisor.
St Augustine Beach has some good options as well. The Beachcomber Restaurant is one of the top favorites. Known for local seafood, awesome burgers, Beachcomber is also vegetarian friendly. It’s also the only restaurant directly on the ocean in St Augustine Beach with great food, cold beer, and daily specials. A top favorite amongst the tourists is the Sunset Grille since it has balconies with peeks of the ocean. The highly recommended, must try appetizer, is the coconut shrimp. If you like tacos, then A1A Burrito Works & Taco shop at the corner of A1A Beach Blvd and A street is really good and a longtime local favorite.
Though the shopping scene may be limited in both Jacksonville Beach and St Augustine Beach, they do offer some cool options for your weekend outings. Jax Beach has a few local specialty gift shops which are fun to explore! One of Each Gifts is one of my personal favorites where they sell some really fun and unique items. St Augustine Beach has some nice shops as well, such as locally made bathing suit shops. Let’s not forget the Farmers Market on the pier which takes place every Wednesday, where they offer locally grown fruits, vegetables, handmade crafts and art.
For more guides to some local favorites check out my locals guide here.
Now let’s touch on healthcare. When thinking about where you would like to live, I know healthcare for you and your family, are usually one of the top priorities. North Florida is known for having some of the best healthcare facilities and professionals in the state. Baptist Medical Center, located in Jacksonville Beach provides residents with easy access to comprehensive, high-tech medical and surgical care close to home. Baptist is the only hospital-based, 24-hour emergency service on Jacksonville Beach. Another top-of-the-line medical care facility is Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is regularly acknowledged as one of the very best in the nation. Although the Mayo Clinic is not physically located in Jax Beach, it’s only a 15-minute drive to see some of the best doctors in the state.
When considering healthcare in the St Augustine Beach area, you do need to head off the island to the highly recommended Flagler Hospital, which is only a 10-minute drive. Being named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals in 2020 by Healthgrades, they are considered a total healthcare enterprise. Aimed at advancing the physical, social and economic health of Northeast Florida communities. This hospital and care facility is a one stop shop for all your medical needs. If you want more information on the newest additions to St. Augustine’s healthcare system, check out this video here.
Lastly, let’s talk about school districts. The #1 school district in the area is the St Johns County School district which is where St Augustine Beach is located. However, the school district for Jax Beach is also A rated. Being that they have similar rankings, either would be a good option.
When it comes down to picking out a place to live, the final question is, what is the very best for your family?
If you have questions, reach out. I love connecting with new people and would love to connect and help assist you on your home buying journey!