They slept most of the two-hour drive there and when we arrived at around 11 a.m. just about all the shops and restaurants were closed. It’s the off season, I guess, though it’s still fairly warm here.
Though I had read online that Jacksonville Beach is dog-friendly there were signs posted everywhere saying no dogs between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. What to do?
We strolled down the sidewalk near the shops and restaurants and found one that was open. Well, it wasn’t open yet, but the man who was sweeping the alfresco dining area invited us in – dogs, too. I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they were.
With a thick accent I didn’t recognize he said we could sit anywhere we wanted in their outdoor dining area and then he disappeared. There was no one else there. We were their only patrons.
A few minutes later he resurfaced carrying a metal bowl filled with ice water for the girls. Moments later a server appeared and took our order. We ordered what we wanted and then I asked for a hamburger to split between Dottie and Miss Sara. “Sure, no problem,” she said. Our meal came out complete with two doggie boxes for them to eat out of. Dottie and Miss Sara scarfed down their burger, which had been prepared sans bun, while we sipped on our pitcher of Stella and ate our Gyros.
When we asked our server about a place on the beach we could carry our dogs she said we should just ignore the signs. “Nobody pays attention to that. There are always dogs on the beach,” we were assured. With that advice we paid our bill, gave her a nice tip, left caution to the wind, and headed over the boardwalk to the sugar white sand.
It was the girls’ first trip to the beach and they didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. They were confused as to why they were chasing the water one minute and the next the water was chasing them. Miss Sara recoiled from the chasing waves. Dottie pawed at them for a bit. Then I took their leads and we ran out as the waves retreated into the ocean and ran back to the shore when the waves chased us back.
I think they had a pretty good time. I know The Tour Guide and I did!