Ponte Vedra Beach is an unincorporated community in northern St. Johns County. It is the third wealthiest county behind Palm Beach and Naples. The area is not part of any municipality and the community has historically resisted the many attempts at incorporation. Ponte Vedra Beach includes about 34 square miles of land. Ponte Vedra Beach is located to the east of the Intracoastal Waterway, south of Duval County and north of Vilano Beach.
Ponte Vedra Communities
The Ponte Vedra Beach area includes Ponte Vedra, Old Ponte Vedra Beach, South Ponte Vedra, Sawgrass, Palm Valley and Nocatee. Between 1980 and 1990, the population of Ponte Vedra roughly doubled, but growth slowed after that decade and even more so in the 2000s. The development of Nocatee is projected to take about two decades and will add about 15,000 households to Ponte Vedra Beach.
Daily living at the beach
The average commute time of Ponte Vedra Beach residents is 25 minutes, 3 minutes shorter than the national average. The average temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees.
The history of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Minerals were discovered in the area in 1914. These minerals were important in the production of poison gas during World War I, an industry largely dominated by the Germans. This lead to much mining during the early 19th Century. Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard created a private firm in Ponte Vedra, dubbed the National Lead Company, in order to capitalize on the available minerals. The formation of National Lead created the foundation for some of Ponte Vedra Beach’s most famous features, as the company created a 9-hole golf course for its workers followed by a log clubhouse in the 1920s that would later become the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The community that sprang up around the mining operation was called Mineral City. The Mineral City name was abandoned after demand for strategic minerals dropped and the name of the area changed to Ponte Vedra.
Mortgage, real estate and insurance firm Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co. moved in to develop Ponte Vedra Beach in the early 1930s. This influential firm also lead development of San Marco and the Deerwood County Club, one of the most exclusive gated communities in Jacksonville during the 1960s and 70s. The evolution of the Ponte Vedra community centered on golf and the country club atmosphere, and as the community grew, more roadways were developed for easy flow of traffic into the town.
Ponte Vedra and THE PLAYERS
Developer James Stockton Jr. broke land on Sawgrass in 1972. Sawgrass became famous six years later for two other developers’ “one dollar deal” with the the PGA Tour. Developing duo Jerome and Paul Fletcher offered 415 acres of land at Sawgrass to PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Berman that year for just one dollar as a way to entice the tour to call Ponte Vedra Beach home. The deal worked, and Sawgrass has been home to THE PLAYERS Championship since the 1970s. THE PLAYERS Championship started at Sawgrass County Club and later moved to The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
The beaches’ natural beauty
To the south of Ponte Vedra Beach lies the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, part of a network of 26 protected coastal areas across the United States. The reserve includes more than 80,000 acres of marshes and tidal wetlands which form a critical coastal habitat on the First Coast for marine life. The National Estuarine Reserve has managed Guana River State Park since 2004. This park includes more than 60,000 acres of beaches, sand dunes, tidal wetlands and freshwater marshes. The land for the park was purchased from Gate Petroleum in 1984 by the state of Florida. The reserve is home to abundant Florida wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, tortoises, alligators, snakes and river otters. The area is also frequented by falcons, bald eagles, pelicans, wood storks, roseate spoonbills and an endangered species of beach mouse. Amenities at the park include more than nine miles of nature trails and numerous waterways that can be utilized for picturesque kayaking and canoeing.
Other parks in the community include Anastasia State Recreation Area on southern A1A, Davis Park off of CR 210, Faver-Dykes State Park near St. Augustine, Huguenot Park in Jacksonville Beach, Kathryn Abbey Hannah Park in Atlantic Beach and Mickler’s Landing, a oceanfront park in Ponte Vedra Beach with more than 200 parking spaces for beach access.
Living—and working—in Ponte Vedra Beach
Like many residents of this coastal community, Jack and Margarita McCarthy moved to Ponte Vedra Beach because they wanted to live in a beautiful small town where they could watch their son, Matt, grow up.
“We love our sunny climate and our ability to play golf or tennis regularly because of the great weather,” said Margarita McCarthy. “Spending time on our gorgeous beaches hunting for sharks’ teeth is one of my favorite pastimes.”
The McCarthy’s see the friendly, small community as one of the main assets of the area—where you’ll quickly meet friends and neighbors at The Fresh Market and Publix. Connecting with the same people around town and at local events fosters wonderful relationships that can last a lifetime.
For more information about living in Ponte Vedra Beach, contact Jack McCarthy today at 904.607.4196.