Jacksonville defines itself by its historic past and its location where the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean meet. A key crossroads for more than 200 years, Jacksonville lured Northerners in search of sunshine.
Downtown Jacksonville is a bustling urban center, filled with many interesting restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. The Jacksonville Museum of Science and History, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Friendship Park and Fountain can all be found in this district. Browse these offerings that sit alongside the River, a picturesque reminder of the city's historic ties to river life.
Home to nature areas like Guana River State Park and the Ravine State Gardens, Jacksonville Beach is mainly a resort and residential community. Tucked away restaurants and quaint shops flavor the personality of this area, where visitors mainly come to swim, surf, fish or just lay out on the beach and relax. The Players Championship, part of the PGA tour takes place here annually.
St. Augustine is the country's oldest city, where historic homes line cobblestone streets in the Colonial Spanish Quarter. The Castillo de San Marcos is located here. It's the oldest European fort in the US. The Fountain of Youth archaeological park marks St. Augustine's significance as the place that Ponce de Leon landed in 1513. Families spend hours at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Potter's Wax Museum, two lighthearted entertainment options.
Mayport/Fort George Island and North
The area around the Mayport Naval Station and Fort George Island is home to many attractions, and is known for its beach life and many wildlife preserves. Huguenot Memorial Park, with its bird observatory and many hiking trails, as well as Fort Clinch State Park, attract visitors drawn to the great outdoors. Nearby Amelia Island, home to the tucked-away Amelia Island Plantation and the 200-acre Amelia Island State Recreation Area, is a good destination for those looking to enjoy a private vacation.