Located less than 30 miles from Jacksonville in Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Valley residents can take advantage of all that Jacksonville has to offer. Yet, living in this picturesque coastal community provides residents with a laid-back atmosphere focused on resort style living near the beach. Notoriously one of Northeast Florida’s most affluent communities, Palm Valley is close to miles of sandy Atlantic beaches, PGA golf courses, boutique shopping, and world-class dining, making it a great place to call home.
The History of Palm Valley
Like many of the surrounding areas, Palm Valley’s history is rooted in Spanish and British control from centuries ago. Yet, long before the first Spaniards arrived, Palm Valley was home to Native Americans. Today’s Palm Valley was once known as Diego Plains when it was settled by Don Diego Espinoza in 1703. Over the years, Diego Plains served as agricultural land for raising cattle and logging. The areas numerous palm trees caused later settlers to name the community of Palm Valley. Except for some moonshine production during prohibition, Palm Valley has remained a quiet enclave along the coast. While the farms in the valley no longer exist, they left spaces to build the beautiful homes in the area.
Shopping in Palm Valley
Residents of Palm Valley will need to head towards Jacksonville for shopping malls and big-box retailers, but the area continues to develop and plenty of small local businesses and boutique shopping fill the needs of residents. Here are some local favorites:
- Sawgrass Village is a small community shopping facility that serves as the center of Ponte Vedra Beach. It’s home to several distinctive boutiques and art galleries, so you can find an outfit for a night out on the town or great pieces to decorate your home. Some retailers include the Lemon Twist Boutique, Chicos, Mon Amie, Pineapple Post, and Scout & Molly’s boutique.
- Palm Valley Outdoors offers everything that you need for a day on the boat, whether relaxing or fishing. Located right under the Palm Valley Bridge, Palm Valley Outdoors is a bait and tackle that also has kayak rentals, paddle board rentals, fishing charters, and boat ramps.
- Shoppes at Palm Valley is home to the closest grocery store, Publix. The space also has some other convenient businesses including Wells Fargo, a veterinarian, dry cleaners, and places to get take-out Chinese food or sushi.
Dining in Palm Valley
Palm Valley residents who want a large selection of dining will head to some of the resorts and restaurants located along Ponte Vedra Beach on A1A, but some hidden gems lie in Palm Valley along the Intracoastal Waterway. They include:
- Valley Smoke Restaurant is an upscale BBQ joint that serves fabulous cocktails and favorites like beef brisket, pulled pork, and St. Louis style ribs. The restaurant has a library bar and outdoor seating in addition to their main seating area.
- Barbara Jean’s Restaurant is a St. Simon’s Island staple that has a location in Palm Valley too. The relaxed atmosphere offers fresh local seafood as well as home-style Southern comfort food. The award-winning restaurant is especially famous for their crab cakes.
- Palm Valley Fish Camp is also owned by the same duo who owns Valley Smoke. The couple hoped to create a restaurant with a neighborhood feel, fresh seafood, great views, and classic food with a new twist. Palm Valley Fish Camp’s location presents an opportunity for residents of the area to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Intracoastal.
Palm Valley Recreation
Residents of Palm Valley live close enough to Jacksonville to enjoy San Marco’s arts and culture scene, but they need not venture far to find some outdoor recreation. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the close proximity to GTM Research Reserve, more than 70,000 acres of marshes and mangroves with oyster bars and lagoons. The reserve boasts three beach access parking lots, ten miles of hiking trails, and two boat launches.
Golf enthusiasts will love living close to TPC Sawgrass, one of the world’s most famous PGA golf courses. The course has a driving range, club rental, and practice greens for those who want to work on their golf swing. Each May, TPC Sawgrass hosts the Players Championship, which boasts the highest purse of all the golf tournaments in the world.
Those who choose to join the prestigious Sawgrass Country Club have access to several amenities beyond golf, including their dining and social gatherings and their highly ranked racquet club. Members also have access to the Sawgrass Country Club Beach Club which includes a family pool, an adult-only pool, outdoor deck, a few bars, and a dining room. Fitness enthusiasts can take advantage of the Sawgrass Country Club Fitness Center and multiple pools for laps and exercise classes.
Palm Valley Real Estate
The vast majority of Palm Valley residents are wealthy educated executives that own stately homes that don’t often depreciate in value; in fact, this area has the highest income in Florida. This neighborhood attracts those who have families with school-aged children, active retirees, and professionals looking to get away from the crowd. Palm Valley stands out from other neighborhoods because of the homogeneity of its housing. Most of the real estate in the area was built between 1970 and 2000, so not new housing, but not old either. Along the Intracoastal Waterway, you will see oceanfront estates on one side and gated communities with country clubs.
K-12 Schools in St. Augustine
Palm Valley residents with school-age children are served by St. Johns County Schools. Ocean Palms Elementary School and Alice B. Landon Middle School serve most young children in Palm Valley, but some also travel across the bridge to Palm Valley Academy who serves grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Most high school students will attend Ponte Vedra High School. Private and parochial schools in the area include College Day School and The Bolles School for elementary students through the fifth grade. Palmer Catholic Academy is part of the diocese of St. Augustine and holds classes for preschool through eighth grade.