Located on the “flip side” of Florida, Jacksonville is the perfect destination for beach lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, sports fanatics, and more. At more than 840 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city by landmass in the Continental United States. The area boasts 22 miles of beaches and is home to the largest urban park system in the nation. Jacksonville’s sports scene is sure to keep fans cheering year-round, regardless of the sport in season. If eating well is your thing, Jacksonville is filled with restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines that are sure to leave your stomach full and your appetite satisfied. The city has something to offer everyone and is well worth a visit.
Consider these reasons to book your trip:
Jacksonville’s Sports and Recreation Scene
Jacksonville has 10 state and national parks, all offering their unique aspects. The nation’s largest urban park system has over 80,000 acres of parks, more than 400 city parks, and dozens of gardens and an arboretum. Hanna Park is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. It is one of the best surfing spots in the city as it has 1.5 miles of public beach. There are also over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, camping grounds, and a 60-acre lake for kayaking, paddle-boarding, and fishing bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you’re a sports fan or a casual athlete, Jacksonville provides a range of experiences. From NFL football to college football, hockey, and even soccer, there is always a reason to cheer. The excitement of live-action hockey is nonstop at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena where the ECHL team the Jacksonville Icemen play. The team has many themed nights including ‘Ugly Sweater Night’ during the holidays adding even more fun for spectators. Game days at Everbank Stadium, home of the Jaguars are unmatched. Hours before the game, parking lots are filled with tailgaters of all ages. The Fan Shop at Everbank offers endless Jaguars merchandise to get you in the spirit before kickoff. When gates open, the Bud Light Zone in the south end zone is the social scene to party and be seen. It is accessible with any ticket in the stadium two hours before kickoff. If a trip to the bowling alley is your thing, yea to the Black-owned King Pins Bowling Center and challenge friends or family to a game of fun at the lanes. Fore Score Golf Tavern in San Marco is Jacksonville’s premier golf simulator sports bar and restaurant. There are also venues offering indoor skydiving and axe throwing.
Food and Drinks For Every Palate
The food scene in Jacksonville easily satisfies the taste buds of even the pickiest of eaters. With its wide variety of cuisines from cultures throughout the world, whatever you desire, you are sure to find. From small and casual family establishments to elegant five-star dining, foodies will rejoice! For delicious BBQ and amazing craft local beer, swing by Strings Sports Brewery located in Historic Springfield. While dining, admire the building which was originally built in 1838 as a service station. Venture out to Beaches Town Center to Pete’s Bar, the first bar to open in Duval County after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Hop over to local favorite Lemon Bar for unbeatable ocean views and creative cocktails. For breakfast and lunch offerings, Cool Moose Cafe is a popular place where the friendly staff provides a warm welcome to accompany the warm meals. Tavern, located in the Hyatt Regency, is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day or before heading out for a night on the town. On game days they offer many specials to get you in the mood to root for your favorite sports team.
Rich History and Culture
Jacksonville has an amazing amount of history and culture to discover and explore. The city is truly a melting pot of cultures and races. There are more than a dozen museums, historical sites used in movie productions as well as a Black Heritage Trail. Famous author Zora Neale Hurston lived in Jacksonville in the years following the Great Fire of 1901 as well as other prominent African-Americans including Ma Rainy and James Weldon Johnson. Johnson who taught at the Stanton school for Black students found time to write the famous “Lift Every Voice and Sing” while in Jacksonville. Yollie Copeland owns and operates Explore Jax Core, a private shuttle tour exploring historic districts and sites with an emphasis on Black Heritage. Stops include murals, churches, and JP Small Park, a baseball stadium built between 1936 and 1937. It was once home to the Negro League and minor league baseball teams. It now includes a museum which should not be missed.
With an average annual temperature of 70 degrees, Jacksonville is one destination that can be visited at any time throughout the year. Sunshine, beaches, waterways, and endless fun await. While planning this years travel adventures, be sure to include Jacksonville at the top of your list!