When I first parked by the Jacksonville Beach Pier, I had to watch out for the fishermen and surfers that seem to call this historic landmark a second home.

The morning sun shined warm, but not hot. The warm light of the sun splashed my surroundings on the quiet street. Dark rain clouds lingered off the coast, spilling rainbows onto the waves many miles away.

I stepped onto the muted blue, brown and gray cobblestone street heading toward Joe’s Crab Shack. Lynch’s Irish Pub played music as workers started to set up for today’s patrons. As I continued walking, I watched families put their beach toys in carts and roll them across the pavement to the white sand beyond the dunes.

Countless bar stools sat empty along the way. The energy was almost palpable as I walked along the street. I could feel the weekends happening — hear the sounds of a band, laughter and shouts of praise—as I walked along the empty road. I even caught a hint of beer in the humid air. Colorful posters hung in windows advertising future games, events and shows.

Local surf shops and tourist stores tended to customers who walked out with new towels, bikinis and sunscreen. They headed toward the cool breeze coming off the water.

A salt spray produced a haze far down the beach road I tread on. I heard once that salty air is really good for your lungs. I took a deep breath.

I walked up to one of the boardwalks that overlook the beach, and think to myself: the beach really is one of the most peaceful places on earth.