Jacksonville & the Beaches offer a natural escape for the traveler seeking a decidedly different Florida vacation destination. A world away from the neon glare and commercial flair associated with many of the Floridian hotspots, Jacksonville captures the authentic essence of a lifestyle and landscape reflecting the real Florida.
An unmatched adventure in contrast, the sprawling northeast region of the state delivers a flawless display of breathtaking natural beauty balanced by a polished metropolitan flair. History, culture, sports and nature intersect at a regional crossroads of southern charm and coastal cool.
St. Johns Riverfront
Along the stunning St. Johns riverfront, a burgeoning arts district rises from a diverse downtown landscape, illuminating the heart of the city with sophisticated style, while endless stretches of pristine white sand beaches foster relaxation and revelry in the salty seaside air. At the northern and southern borders, lavish resorts offer luxurious amenities infused with an historic old world flavor. And in the secret niches far from the worn avenues of the beaten path, diverse neighborhoods are thriving in their unique individuality, adding to the character of the community and the joy of discovery for any visitor.
For decades, Jacksonville has quietly cultivated a loyal fan base captivated by the warm hospitality and vast array of diverse activities found within the vibrant oceanfront community. Though once considered Florida’s best-kept secret, the word is out and there is no greater time than now to experience the dynamic possibilities of Jacksonville & the Beaches.
From the quiet solitude of Talbot Islands’ seaside wilderness to the boardwalk and nightlife of Jacksonville Beach, over 20 miles of stunning coastline provide ample opportunity for reflection or recreation.
St. Johns River
Water, water everywhere…. the St. Johns River runs through the heart of the city, setting the stage for a striking downtown riverfront, highlighted by the entertainment hub of the urban core, the Jacksonville Landing. Miles of public paths on the North and Southbank Riverwalk encourage public access and enjoyment.
The most historically rich region in the state, Jacksonville’s Ft. Caroline marks the site of the earliest colonization attempt in Florida, Kingsley Plantation provides a glimpse of life on a cotton plantation, and the Ritz Theatre & La Villa Museum chronicle the significant contributions of the local African-American community.
Walk in the footsteps of champions on one of Jacksonville’s 72 golf courses, or simply admire their accomplishments at the World Golf Hall of Fame. The region is also home to the headquarters of the PGA Tour and host of The Players Championship.
With 57,373 acres of parks, including the 46,000 acre Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the country, taking pride in protecting the natural beauty of the area for all visitors to enjoy.
Cultural activities are abundant, from the edgy exhibits at the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art in the heart of downtown’s historic Hemming Plaza, to the classic displays at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, on the banks of the St. Johns River.
Year-round special events offer exciting entertainment options for visiting guests. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Springing the Blues and the Sea & Sky Spectacular are some of the many events that are free and open to the public.
Jacksonville stakes its claim as the athletic capital of the Atlantic coast, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jacksonville Suns double-A baseball team and the World Hockey Association’s Jacksonville Barracudas.
Shopping opportunities are everywhere, with something for every taste. Vintage and antiques in the eclectic Five Points, upscale chic and trendy boutiques in Avondale and San Marco combined with the latest in must-have retail at the newly opened St. Johns Town Center.
With a diverse group of young, urban professionals, Jacksonville nightlife is a vibrant scene, from laidback local pubs to martini mania for the hip and beautiful. The restaurant scene is thriving, with the finest culinary creations as popular as the waterfront fish camps or a table piled high with southern comfort food.
The natural surroundings make outdoor activities a regular component of the Jacksonville lifestyle, from hiking and biking the many recreational trails to kayaking and boating the salt marshes, lakes and waterways.
Family fun is all around, both educational and entertaining. Kids Kampus is a free downtown public recreational facility with a water park and miniature versions of historic local landmarks, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens recently opened the award-winning “Range of the Jaguar” and “Savannah Plains” exhibits, and local chocolatier, Peterbrooke, offers daily tours of their chocolate factory.
A Caribbean vacation has never been easier, now that JAXPORT serves as a home port for Carnival Cruise Lines.