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Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Bristol, TN
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Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

We are stopping for the night on our way to south Florida and I'm looking for some suggestions for dinner. We will have our three small kids as well as my in-laws in tow. We are staying near the airport and I was considering going over to Amelia for the evening. From what I can tell they have alot to choose from and I would like to see the island (it was one of my choices for our vacation, but lost out this year). However, we will have been in the car for eight hours that day and we might not feel like making the half an hour drive out to the island, so I'm open to anything on the northside of Jax. We like all foods, but they need to have something that the kids will eat.

Thanks,

Jon

Neptune Beach, FL
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1. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

If you’re coming down Interstate 95 you could cut over to Fernandina/Amelia, see if you want to come back for a vacation there some other time, have dinner in one of the restaurants in Fernandina, and then drive back to I 95 and on to your hotel in the airport area.

There are restaurants in the hotel area where you are spending the night. Ruby Tuesday, Denny’s, and Longhorn Steak House are some names that I remember.

Or you could have dinner at The Landing which is in the middle of downtown Jacksonville on the river, 20 minutes from the airport area hotels. The Landing has restaurants that are suitable for families. The Landing has nice views of the river and bridges and the south bank. It’s a popular place.

Jacksonville, FL
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2. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

If you end up having dinner in Fernandina, I could suggest the Beech Street Grill. It's very good. It's located in a beautiful old house and you would probably enjoy it. I think you'd be able to find something for the kids to eat there. It's more upscale than a chain restaurant, but not so fancy that you wouldn't want to take your kids. Here's the description:

It's located at 801 Beech St. Fernandina Beach, FL (904)277-3662. "The grand dame of Fernandina restaurants, Beech Street's Victorian Facade is an Amelia Island landmark. Serving macadamia nut grouper with mango chile salsa, mustard lamb loin with apple mint salsa and chocolate truffle torte for dessert. Piano entertainment thursday to Saturday." Okay...maybe it's not for the kids after all. (Unless you want to really give them a taste of the good life!)

The Landing, suggested by Spirit, has 8 restaurants including American Cafe, Mongo's Flat Hot Grill, Dona Maria's, Hooters (now there's a place you don't want to take the kids!), The Twisted Martini, Koja's and Vito's Italian. Something for everybody.

Again in Fernandina, you may want to consider Joe's 2nd Street Bistro, 14 South 2nd Street, Fernandina Beach. (904)321-2558. Offerings include shrimp and scallop spring rolls, pesto linguini, filet mignon, rum-glazed pork loin and local seafood. This may be a bit more kid-friendly.

Enjoy your trip!

Bristol, TN
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3. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Thanks for the advice! After thinkin' about it, I believe we will go out to the island for the evening and the next morning after our trip to the jax zoo, we could maybe stop at the landing for lunch before heading to points south. How's the parking on saturdays around noon? Anything else "we must see"?

Vicki - The Beech Street Grille sounds great for just me and my wife, but my kids idea of fine dining is a happy meal!

I was loooking at an advertisement for "Down Under", which is off A1a on the ICW. It looked like good food with a kid friendly atmosphere? Has anyone been there? If so how's the food and the view? Also, It will be between 6 and 7 getting out there on a holiday weekend friday night. Do you think getting a table will be an issue? I hate to wait with the kids, especially when they've been in a car all day!

I'm still open to whatever, so feel free to keep them coming everyone!

Jacksonville, FL
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4. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Hi Jon,

I'm not familiar with this restaurant, but here's a Fodor's review. It may give you some info that will help.

Down Under

Seafood, $15 to $30, Fernandina Beach

Diner Rating:

4.8

Rate It

Fresh local fish is the specialty of this casual place beneath the overpass of the A1A bridge. Enjoy the glorious views of the tranquil Intracoastal Waterway and order baskets of fried shrimp or fried oysters; dine on stuffed tuna, shrimp scampi, or grilled tuna; or go for the seafood platter. For landlubbers, chicken and steak are available. AE, D, MC, V. No lunch.

Address: Intracoastal Waterway, under the Rte. A1A bridge, Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

Phone: 904/261-1001

Jacksonville, FL
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5. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

One more option, Jon. Depending upon how much time you have on Saturday, you might want to take the kids to Adventure Landing instead of the Zoo and the Jacksonville Landing. The Jacksonville Landing is really not that much to speak of. The zoo is good, but if you have 4 or 5 hours, your kids would have a ball at Adventure Landing. It's a huge water park with slides and loads of things for kids: here's a few -

The Pirate's Play Village: This three-story, interactive water play area has 12 slides, nozzles that squirt and spray water, waterfalls and lots of nooks and crannies for exploring.

The Rage: This uphill water-coaster was the first of its kind in Northern Florida. Thousands of gallons of water propel the rider up to 18 MPH!

The Hydro Halfpipe: A water thrill ride reaching 35 feet. Just like the skater’s halfpipe, but on water!

The Eye of the Storm: This extreme body slide rises over 40 feet, and riders are challenged to see how many revolutions they can make before dropping into 8 feet of water.

The Wave Pool: Over 500,000 gallons of fun with 3-4 foot waves

The Lil' St. John's River: Single and double tubes float along the 720 feet of river at a relaxing 5 miles per hour, allowing riders to view much of the action happening at Shipwreck Island.

Kiddie Cove: This area is designed to entertain toddlers, featuring two small slides.

They also have miniature golf, laser tag, a roller coaster (mild) a few more rides, go-karts, virtual rides and a Teddy Bear Factory.

Here's a link for their website:

adventurelanding.com/jaxbeach/index.html

Tickets are $20 to $25 dollars and you can purchase them online. There are also web specials. Just a thought!

Bristol, TN
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6. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Vicki- I had thought about the water park, but we've got another 4 hours plus of driving after we leave Jax and I'd like to be on the road with a full stomach by 1:00. The kids love a zoo and I've heard that you have a good one. It opens @ 9:00 and we could see it all by lunch. The landing was just going to be somewhere to stop for lunch before getting back on the interstate. We really weren't going shopping or sight seeing. I just thought it would be good place to stop for lunch and see downtown and the river at the same time. . . . . maybe or maybe not. Maybe there is a better place to eat and see it without going to the landing? I'm definitely undecided on that. My wife calls me the vacation nazi, because I always have a plan or agenda!!! The truth is I really just hate to find out I've missed out on something better while I was there!!

Jacksonville, FL
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7. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Jon, I completely understand what you mean about planning! I'm the same way. You just KNOW there's something better around the corner. The Jacksonville Landing will certainly give you some really nice views of the city, and the zoo is very enjoyable. Actually, we had the top national exhibit last year - the Wayne Weaver Jaguar Exhibit. Wayne Weaver is the owner of our Jacksonville Jaguar NFL team, so the Jaguar exhibit was near and dear to him. You and your family will certainly enjoy the zoo. There aren't too many places downtown on the river that are really kid friendly, so the Jacksonville Landing is probably your best bet. The others are a bit pricey, although one you may want to check into is called the River City Brewing Company. It's nice, but extremely reasonable for lunch and is right on the river. It's one that we enjoy.

If you can get to Fernandina/Amelia early enough in the day, Center Street is delighful. Lots of cool little shops that you and your wife would enjoy, ice cream places, fudge places and a great atmosphere. Some would be closed at night, though. Have a great trip, and feel free to post again if you have further questions.

Jacksonville
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8. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Zoo is good, but I would definitely advise against going to the Landing. It has turned into more of a nightclub spot. The only real places to eat during the day are Hooters, American Cafe and a run-down food court.

If you were planning on heading down that way, I suggest going over the river to San Marco.

There are plenty of places to eat including The Loop (now a chain, but started in San Marco - they have a wide selection of burgers, pizza and amazing salads); San Marco Diner; Pizza Palace (another local joint). Plus there is a Smoothie King, Starbucks and just off the main square a local coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds. Great coffee!

If you head to san marco, there are many side streets that take you to the river, including River Road which is by a park where the kids can play and you can park and be right next to the river. If you are really looking for fun - grab a pizza or some burgers from the Loop and bring them to the river to eat!

There are also plenty of little shops to walk around, including Peterbrooke Chocolatier, another local establishment!

Hope this helps - if you need directions or anything - just post back!

Jacksonville, FL
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9. Re: Overnight visit 5/26. . .Where to eat?

Ewcstats gave you some great advice. I would definitely choose the San Marco area over The Jacksonville Landing. You can't beat the calzone's at Pizza Palace or the burgers at the Loop. The Loop also has some amazing tomato bisque. http://www.looppizzagrill.com/

If you're up for a place that's just a little more expensive (but still moderate for lunch and really not too bad for dinner - average dinner price $20 but many entrees for less) try Cafe Carmon. Everything is good there and the desserts cannot be described. It's right there in San Marco, too.

PeterBrooke Chocolatier has become so successful it's unbelievable. They make their own chocolate. The store was named after the owner's children, Peter and Brooke, and now there are several in town; all extremely successful. One of their biggest sellers? Popcorn with milk chocolate mixed throughout. It may sound different, but it's awesome. www.peterbrooke.com.

The little shops in San Marco are delightful, too. Go into Edward's Pipe and Tobacco. They are actually more of a really neat gift shop. The owner is a friend of mine and she takes great pride in offering unique and creative items. Hope your short stay with us makes you want to come back!

Vicki