AIRPORT & NORTHSIDE
Jacksonville International Airport, the city's Amtrak station and JAXPORT's Dames Point Cruise Terminal are located on the Northside.
If you're looking for a way to quickly put the stress of travel behind you, head to the Talbot Island State Parks. Located just 20 miles northeast of the city, these parks provide a not-to be-missed ecotourism opportunity.
Just off I-95, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Budweiser Brewery are open for tours. You'll have a ton of options before the day is history. Speaking of history, there's another noteworthy stop to see on Jacksonville's Northside. Kingsley Plantation, within the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve offers visitors a glance back in time to the antebellum South.
Don't be fooled. At first glance, Arlington may seem like little more than typical suburbia.
But on its outskirts, the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve continues to be heralded by as one of the most beautiful and magical natural settings. Make sure to stop at Tree Hill Nature Center or Fort Caroline National Park, established in 1564 by French Huguenots. Bring your gear for the biking and hiking trails in the parks.
BEACHES / MAYPORT
Just over the sprawling Intracoastal Waterway are the beaches, with over 20 miles of white sand.
There Are Four Separate Areas, Each With Its Own Unique Characteristics:
Farthest north, the quaint, historic village of Mayport is home to casino boats and seafood restaurants, offering their freshest catch. Head over to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, providing what many consider to be Jacksonville's favorite biking and hiking trails. The park also offers camping and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding wilderness.
South of Mayport are the communities of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach. The intersection of Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach is a hot spot that seems to keep getting hotter. Enjoy casual and upscale dining, diverse shopping options and most of all a very happening nightlife scene.
Rounding things out is Jacksonville Beach. The Sea Walk Pavilion, an outdoor amphitheater, hosts concerts, movies and festivals year round. Get a tan, catch a wave on a boogie board or have a picnic on the beach. Nightlife is also hot in Jacksonville Beach with oceanfront clubs and intimate pubs. For a good, wholesome time, try water slides, go-cart racing and laser tag at nearby Adventure Landing.
Surrounded on both sides by an ever-growing skyline, the gorgeous St. Johns River continues to be one of Jacksonville's most recognizable icons.
Long stretches of the Riverwalk were added to the South and Northbanks. The crowning jewel, however, is the Jacksonville Landing. The Landing, a centerpiece for shopping, fine dining and nightlife is just one of the area's hotspots. Waterfront dining can be found all throughout the area.
There are also a variety of museums, including the Ritz Theatre & La Villa Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the Museum of Science and History.
And taking it all in couldn't be easier. River taxis are constantly on the go, transporting visitors back and forth between the Northbank and Southbank. If you prefer a more romantic river experience, take a moonlit cruise on one of the old-fashioned paddle wheel riverboats that wind their way along the St. Johns with River Cruises, Inc.
In the late 1800s, wealthy citizens began building homes in the quaint neighborhood of Riverside.This historic district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated a local historic district by the City of Jacksonville.
The Riverside's Five Points area is an artsy neighborhood with funky coffee shops, outdoor cafés, one-of-a-kind shopping, nightclubs, antique stores and more. For a slower speed, visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
You'll also find nearby Avondale is a great place to shop for antiques or enjoy a meal. Many of the area's bed and breakfasts are also located in this historic neighborhood.
Located just minutes away from Downtown's Southbank is the historic neighborhood of San Marco. Stroll along San Marco Square and you'll discover incredible dining of every kind, upscale clothing boutiques and sensational art galleries.
Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theatre in the country dating back to 1938, is also located within the square. Don't miss the San Marco fountain of lions that reflect the neighborhood's association with the Venice, Italy business district!
ORANGE PARK / ORTEGA / WESTSIDE
With a focus on camping, hiking and water sports, Orange Park is located just south of Jacksonville and west of the St. Johns River.
In addition to the river, the Orange Park area is home to Doctor's Lake and Black Creek providing boaters the perfect area for wakeboarding, fishing or just relaxing on the water.
If you're feeling lucky, try and pick a winner at the Orange Park Kennel Club.
Back in Jacksonville is the historic community of Ortega. Come to Ortega for a stroll along the St. Johns River and take in what many consider to be the best views of the Downtown skyline.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center, located conveniently on Jacksonville's Westside is home to premiere facilities for horse shows and recreational horse events as well as facilities to accommodate a range of community events.
SOUTHSIDE & MANDARIN
The Southside is the latest up and coming section of Jacksonville and it's blossomed into a bustling business center.
The Tinseltown area is hopping with a movie theater, restaurants, specialty shops and thriving nightlife.
The area is also home to the large yet elegant Avenues Mall, as well as the St. Johns Town Center - a 1.1 million-square-foot, open-air lifestyle center offering innovative new retail, residential, hotel and dining choices for Jacksonville shoppers.
Along the St. Johns River and south of San Marco, you'll find the Mandarin neighborhood.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as painter Lee Adams once lived here.The mostly residential area is brimming with history and nature. Don't miss the Mandarin Museum and Walter Jones Historical Park. The 10-acre riverfront site is home to an 1876 farm complex with picnic areas as well as a citrus grove.
Additional places to visit within a close proximity to the Jacksonville area.
Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach:
Located less than 30 minutes north of the Jacksonville International Airport is Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island is a golf and spa haven for leisure and business travelers. Fernandina Beach to the north is a quaint historic town known for its artwork, antiques and boutiques. Some must see attractions on Amelia Island are Fort Clinch State Park which served as a military post during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War II; Amelia Island Lighthouse which began operating in 1839 and still operates today and American Beach, which was founded in 1935 by A.L. Lewis, Florida's first African-American millionaire. It served as the only beach opened to African-Americans until the late 1960s.
Palm Coast/Flagler County:
Flanked by the Atlantic and bisected by the Intracoastal Waterway you'll find Palm Coast, approximately 45 minutes south of Jacksonville. The area has slowly evolved into a fully functional resort community with its own natural elegance. Whether it's a golf course view or an ocean view you're sure to find a resort to suit your taste. Looking for a relaxing getaway filled with great golf and spa treatments? Don't miss the Hammock Beach Resort, located along the oceanfront with golf courses designed by Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.
St. Augustine/Ponte Vedra Beach:
St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, features magnificent attractions and historic landmarks at virtually every turn. Guided tours on buses and trams are a great way to appreciate the city's splendor and stop at all the major points of interest that include an authentic Spanish fort and the Fountain of Youth.
You'll also want to consider a scenic boat ride or helicopter tour. Just off I-95 in St. Augustine is a bargain hunter's dream, the St. Augustine Premium Outlets and the Prime Outlets. Nearby, a golfer's paradise awaits at the World Golf Village with two exhilarating golf courses, the World Golf Hall of Fame and an IMAX® Theater. Haven't had enough time on the greens? Stop in Ponte Vedra, host to THE PLAYERS Championship. Away from the tee box are upscale restaurants and shops.