I recently spoke with a former mayor of Atlantic Beach who told me that Secret Beach IS for me. And you. And all taxpayers. But there are some problems.
1. Finding Secret Beach
The local residents seem to have gotten the beach removed from Google Maps. I have to wonder how a taxpayer-funded, state-mandated public beach access got removed from Google Maps. Until I drive around the area of Atlantic Beach near the parking lot, and I then assume Google was dealing with angry lawyers and CEOs who would rather their city within Duval County (with publicly-funded roads, sidewalks, police, and fire) be treated more like a gated neighborhood. The thinking is that the only scourge to this haven is the parking lot that allows my family to have access to the beach in the otherwise Utopian bubble. It's the only blemish keeping the area from being as elite as parts of Ponte Beers.
I understand. In my own enclave of an un-gated neighborhood, I want to keep the riffraff out as much as possible. Luckily, there's nothing in my neighborhood that is guaranteed by the state for others to use, so the only outsiders that show up are porch pirates. And Jehovah's Witnesses.
Those who know the secret don't want everyone to know. With 10,000 new residents a year and newly-created paid parking near the local beaches, a free and relatively exclusive parking/beach in Atlantic Beach is a secret for a reason, even for those of us who know it exists. I'm not listing the location here for that very reason. Just ask someone if you want to know. If Google can't stand up to the moneybags keeping it a secret, I, sure as summer rain, can't.
Even though he lived in the area, the former mayor I talked to invited me and my family to use the beach. That's not the attitude of most of his neighbors, but he is a nice person who also understands public funding and laws. I am sure you will get dirty looks when you park and be monitored by Atlantic Beach's finest as you leave the area, but it's your right to be there, and those who hold office understand that.
2. Health Risks (2021)
The other reason you might not want to visit Secret Beach in 2021 (and maybe beyond) is the ecological disaster waiting to happen just off the coast. I was told it's a garbage boat that's been sitting there stuck for too long in the hopes it might not leak garbage or completely sink when a hurricane hits. This isn't a small Colombian cocaine boat or a cruise ship with nothing worse than bottles of Malibu on board. It's a garbage barge with tons of waste ready to pollute our relatively nice beaches, and nothing was done about it for months.
Honestly, I've seen enough people get their vehicles stuck trying to cross medians to know that Cletus and Rosco with a pickup can generally get-r-done, so why is it that we can't move a garbage boat off the sandbar? The freaking US Navy is stationed a few miles away. Get them some shovels and ropes, and then let a couple of Littoral Combat Ships tow the boat out to sea. It's not like those are useful for actual combat missions, anyhow. If Egyptians in gallibayas can unblock the Suez Canal, Jacksonville's best wearing wife-beaters can do just as well.
Anyhow, if we don't get the garbage boat out of there or it's found to have leaked garbage, I'd stay away from Secret Beach for the next two decades.
Because the roads are slow and parking is very limited, Secret Beach may end up wasting more time than it's worth. A country club means access from A1A is off Plaza, and that means police-enforced 25mph roads for several miles. Or cutting through fancy-pants neighborhoods. Either way, it's often just as fast to find a spot in Neptune Beach or Jax Beach. If your goal is to pretend not to stare at throngs of pretty girls and/or pretty boys in thongs, then the more populated beaches are for you, anyhow.