Casa Marina is a lovely hotel in Jacksonville Beach, FL. The 23 room spot, is the host of many a wedding. Being right on the beach it is the perfect backdrop for weddings. There are lovely hardwood floors in the rooms and quality furniture, though most guests do spend their time on the beach or in wedding festivities and merriment. As someone who was doing neither, I spent time exploring some of Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine.
After checking in around 2, I spotted an Irish pub called Lynch’s and decided to dine there for lunch. The staff couldn’t have been nicer – and the food was fantastic too! A lovely corned beef reuben piled high, hit the spot.
The Penthouse is what they call the rooftop restaurant located at Casa Marina. Besides the spectacular beach views, they also boast various live music, excellent martinis and tasty tapas. Although I didn’t much care for the jazz musician that evening, the next evening, I still returned the following evening. A lively and talented young singer turned out to be a highlight of our stay.
Martinis can be hit or miss, but I found Casa Marina’s to be on point. A mango gin martini was quite tasty, was was my cucumber lychee martini. Unfortunately there were out of two of the seven tapas offered but what I did have was delicious: Olive Tepanade (so says my hubs since I’m not a olive person) and Crab cakes.
Hearing good things about St. Augustine, we headed down to spend the afternoon, albeit a rainy one there. A cute spot to spend an afternoon, plan on about a 45 minute drive from Jacksonville. One of the most interesting things is the Lichtner museum. This used to be the site of the world’s oldest swimming pool. When they decided to end swimming there, they turned the top floor of the building into a museum and the bottom floor that was once a swimming pool is now a restaurant. Tip: Go visit the museum but don’t pay the entrance fee to the museum, just enter through the restaurant and take in the view.
For a unique lunch, skip the many chain restaurants and stop at the Floridian. Next, swing by Bon Ami for some tasty little treats. They have lovely French macaroons, cookies and brownies. We loved the double chocolate coconut and the vanilla cardamom marcaroons.
After returning to Casa Marina, plan for some beach time if weather allows, then walk down a couple blocks to Zeta Brewing, a casual restaurant featuring, flatbreads, pizzas, burgers and nachos. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by their cocktails. A basil mojito and a pineapple habanero were made well at a reasonable price: $7.
There is a shrimp curry on the menu that is divine and you must try it. It comes with four large shrimp and plantains in a spicy curry sauce. So good. It made up for me not being able to have any the night before at the Penthouse. I found the Caprese flatbread to be a bit disappointing however as the honey flatbread took away from the Caprese.
Noticing that Mahi was on the menu in some form or fashion in three different entrees, I decided on the Mahi nachos. These come with tomatoes, onions and dill in a slightly creamy creole sauce. So fantastic and so filling!
We headed up to the penthouse once again for a nightcap and weren’t disappointed with the entertainment. The next morning we headed off for our next adventure, but not before stopping at Maple Street Biscuit, for a sinfully delicious breakfast.
Besides making incredible biscuits from scratch, they also offer coffee with a hint of maple, hence the name. Two of us split the Five: A biscuit with fried chicken, pecan bacon, cheddar cheese and slathered with sausage gravy. We opted out of the cheddar cheese for good measure. Oh so good and you can buy coffee by the pound.
What a lovely jaunt we had at the Casa Marina Resort & Hotel. If you are looking for a spot that is intimate, charming and provides a bit of history, then Casa Marina is for you.
691 1st St N, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250