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Mayport Florida – home of shrimp, ferry boats, arts, and the Navy!


What do you know about Mayport? You’ve likely ridden the ferry, connecting it with Fort George Island. Or maybe you’ve just driven out there to buy fresh shrimp. But there is more to Mayport than meets the eye. Read on for a quick history lesson AND an opportunity to fall back in love with wonderful Mayport.

 

Like so many of Florida’s fishing lands, Mayport was Native American territory until the 1600’s when Jean Ribault claimed it in the name of France. It has lived many colorful lives since that time… a huge orange plantation, a sawmill town, and, always, a fishing village. It was once called Hazard (thanks to the hazardous sandbars that made river navigation difficult) and Mayport Mills after the sawmills. In the 1900’s, a railroad came to Mayport and then the jetties were built. Those two improvements brought tourists to town, and many more residents as well. Then came the World Wars, and the United States Navy came calling. Today we live next door to the third largest Fleet Concentration Area in the United States. This land is perfect for the Navy with a harbor that accommodates 34 ships and an 8,000-foot runway capable of handling any aircraft in the DoD inventory.

 

At the north end of the beach communities that form a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, modern Mayport has more to offer than you might think…

 

First, it remains a working fishing village. There is nowhere locally that you will find fresher and better seafood. The local fleet carries in the best shrimp on the east coast every day and you can buy them fresh all over Mayport. Check out Safe Harbor Seafood – a veritable seafood superstore and watch the shrimp load in from right across the street where the fleet lands.

 

The St. John’s River Ferry operates out of Mayport every day and takes you across the busy waterway to Fort George Island where you can head off to Amelia Island or to Big Talbot Island – our local “boneyard beach”, or to the historic Kingsley Plantation.

 

And right in the middle of Mayport/Atlantic Beach is an area called the Cultural Corridor – a hub for the arts and creativity. Check out the Atlantic Beach Arts Market, the food truck roundup, or one of many fun and funky bars, restaurants, and shops in the area like Grey Matter Distillery where vodka, whiskey, moonshine, and rum are locally distilled right in the fun cocktail bar onsite. The establishment shares a shopping center with Reve, an excellent beer brewery AND pizza joint, and the exquisite Elizabeth Sarah Gallery where you can find locally crafted fine jewelry and art.

 

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Mayport, please stop by – and then let me know YOUR favorite place!

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