Jacksonville Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in JacksonvilleWhere to Stay
Jacksonville contains a number of options for accommodations. Large chain hotels include the Omni and Hilton. Larger resorts include the Ponte Vedra Resort, a historic hotel with tennis courts, swimming pools and onsite restaurants and luxury stores, and the Mariott Sawgrass Beach Resort, with 8 world class golf courses. The Holiday Inn offers a more moderate option, while The Oak Street Inn is a bed and breakfast set in the city's historic and artistic district.
Caution: The area has a hotel tax, so be prepared to pay an additional percentage.
What to Eat
A number of restaurants are located along the Southbank Riverwalk, with high-end steakhouses like Ruth's Chris Steak house and Morton's and wine bars like the Wine Cellar. A number of other cafes are located in San Marco Square and the Avondale neighborhood. Other eating venues include Town Center, a beach village with several bar and restaurants, and Jacksonville Landing, with a food court and several full-service restaurants.
Take It or Leave It: The visitors bureau puts out a guide with a complete listing of restaurants
Things to See
The Tumucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a 46,000-acre national park that contains wilderness, exhibits and historic buildings. The Theodore Roosevelt Area is another such park where visitors can spot a number of flora and fauna including hawks and storks. The Zephaniah Kingsley Plantation north of the river is a preserved 19th-century plantation.
Caution: If you want to visit the plantation, be sure to call ahead to confirm.
Places to Party
Jacksonville offers a number of nightlife options. Pubs like Lynche's Irish Pub, Shantytown, and Culhane's offer a selection of beers on tap and often have live music. Pete's Bar on Neptune Beach is one of the oldest bars in the area and offers cheap beer and pool. Lillie's Coffee Bar is also located on Neptune Beach and serves up beer, coffee and desserts and food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hot Tips: Lillie's Coffee Bar hosts musicians on Friday and Saturday nights.
Where to Shop
Jacksonville's shopping venues include The Avenues, with high-end stores and the flea markets of St. John's. The Beach Boulevard Farmer's Market is another such flea market open on weekends with over 600 vendors. The Riverside district contains a number of boutiques, antique shops and art stores amidst historic buildings and cafes.
Best Local Souvenir: Jacksonville is famous for stores selling chocolate, especially chocolate-covered popcorn pretzels.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
Located along the scenic St. Johns River, Jacksonville is a thriving port town and one of the Southeast's major cultural, commercial, industrial and financial centers. As the largest city in land area in the U.S., Jacksonville offers a wealth of attractions and recreational opportunities. A prominent waterfront gives convenient access to boat cruises, riverfront boardwalks, fish camps, and offshore fishing. For sports fans, Jacksonville is the home of the NFL Jaguars, as well as college football's Gator Bowl Classic. Golfers can hit the links on a number of premier courses, including The Players Championship Course (TPC) in Ponte Verda. Other points of interest include: Jacksonville Landing, a waterfront marketplace with unique shops and restaurants; the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens; Adventure Landing amusement park; plus a number of local museums and historical sites. And don't forget, the golden sand of Jacksonville Beach is just a short drive away.