In March, LPGA golfer Savannah Vilaubi (@savannahvilaubi) spent the week in JAX living and working as a local. When you can work anywhere, JAX is where you want to be – with an average of 220 days of sunshine a year, endless outdoor recreation, affordable cost of living, diverse communities and so much more, it’s the perfect place for a digital nomad to call home. Keep reading to check out Savannah’s adventures throughout the region for just a glimpse of what JAX has to offer.
Any golf enthusiast – and especially a LPGA professional – would find an abundance of links at their disposal. So, not surprisingly, Savannah hit the greens at the The Golf Club at South Hampton in St. Augustine, a signature Mark McCumber-designed golf course and one of Northeast Florida’s most-player friendly to start off her week in JAX. South Hampton is one of 70+ courses in Northeast Florida.
Once she hit the downtown St. Augustine scene, Savannah headed straight to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Listed as one of the top ‘Urban Parks and Trails for City-Dwellers Seeking Green Spaces,’ Castillo is a great place for visitors and locals alike to sit and enjoy the breeze or take a leisurely stroll to soak in the history.
If you’ve got an appetite for experiencing the best food and wine St. Augustine has to offer, then get ready for this unique foodie tour – Savannah said The Corks & Forks Culinary Tour was a highlight of her time as a JAX resident! She spent some time in some of the city’s hottest dining destinations led by a restaurant insider and enjoyed a diverse range of culinary options. Some of Savannah’s favorites included the Ancient City Brunch Bar, Athena Greek Restaurant and the Old City House Inn & Restaurant.
After wrapping up a great day in St. Augustine, Savannah headed north to her “surf shack-styled” Airbnb in Jacksonville Beach. Along with her brother, Aaron, they kicked off their evening at TacoLu. Lovingly known by locals as “The Lu,” this quirky Baja-styled taco joint not only has delicious food and tequila cocktails but is adorned with colorful murals and décor from tin Petalos stars and Day of the Dead artwork.
Friday, Savannah got to escape the hustle of the city shore and explore a wilder side of Jacksonville at a one-of-a-kind beach and hiking trails at Big Talbot Island State Park before adventuring through the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve National Park. Boneyard Beach provides the trunks of driftwood trees, bleached from decades of sun, wind and sand while the Timucuan Preserve offers sites of historic, cultural and ecological interest that was once home to the region’s earliest residents, the Timucua Indians.
To finish the day, the two headed back to JAX Beach to dine at The G.O.A.T. Tapas & Bar. With cuisine from across the globe, the restaurant’s purpose is to stay authentic by using ingredients from Northeast Florida that feature a modern flair.
As a professional golfer, it’s no surprise we had Savannah kick off the weekend at THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. THE PLAYERS Championship is golf’s unofficial “fifth major,” welcoming spectators to experience the greatest field of PGA TOUR professional golfers, the largest purse on the TOUR and the iconic 17th Island Green. From the excitement surrounding the island green, the delicious eats & drinks and the camaraderie of the fans, THE PLAYERS Championship is a beloved tradition for locals and visitors.
After a long day of golf, Savannah experienced one of the newest restaurants to hit the beaches’ dining scene: O-Ku. With a fresh and innovative take on traditional Japanese sushi and cuisine, this beachside location with waterfront and rooftop dining offers traditional sashimi and specialty rolls, sourcing seafood from the finest fish markets in Tokyo and Hawaii alongside local and seasonal ingredients.
Savannah and Aaron quickly found their groove at paddleboard yoga with Florida Yoga and Paddle. Hitting the water at Goodbys Creek, off the Wicked Barley beer garden, the siblings got to test their balance and their patience while soaking in the sun.
To finish off the day, Savannah and Aaron headed back to THE PLAYERS Championship to enjoy Championship Sunday – with great game play going on throughout the day, everyone cheered as American golfer Scottie Scheffler clinched a win and took home the Crystal trophy.
Before leaving her home away from home Monday, she grabbed breakfast and coffee at local fave Southern Grounds and shopped the Beaches Town Center , a lifestyle center with retail, dining, hotels and more on the Neptune and Atlantic Beach border, before one last walk down the beach.
From exploring the nation’s oldest city to hiking along the beach, indulging in JAX’s great eats and watching some stellar golf at TPC, Savannah got to find her JAX and live like a local. “JAX feels like my East Coast home,” says Savannah. “I already can’t wait to be back!”