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Jacksonville

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Florida North Florida Jacksonville

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Introduction

Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida based on population, and the largest city by area in Florida and the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with a population of 827,908, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the eleventh most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Greater Jacksonville Metropolitan Area, with a population of 1,345,596 in 2010.

Bisected by the St. Johns River and flanked by four oceanfront barrier islands, Jacksonville is very much an aquatic city. Its string of beautiful beaches include undeveloped Hanna Park, idyllic Atlantic Beach, quiet Neptune Beach, lively Jacksonville Beach, and swanky Ponte Vedra Beach, all located on a long barrier island south of the St. Johns River. North of the St. Johns River, the Jacksonville city limits also encompass Fort George, Little Talbot, and Big Talbot Islands, all boasting city or state operated beach parks.

Downtown Jacksonville, a dozen miles inland, is split by the St. Johns River, which is crossed by a handful of distinctive bridges. Modern glassy skyscrapers and scenic riverwalks also line both banks of the river. Aside from the two riverwalks, other downtown attractions include the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, the Museum of Science & History (MOSH), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Friendship Fountain, water taxis, and the Jacksonville Landing entertainment and dining complex. The arena, the riverfront Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, and the historic Florida Theater also provide the stages for a wide variety of national and international music acts and theatrical performances.

Despite being the United States' eleventh largest city in population, ecotourism is a draw as Jacksonville boasts the nation's largest urban park system. Key nature areas include the expansive Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, which encompasses much of the city's northeastern quadrant. Two historically significant sites, Fort Caroline National Memorial and Kingsley Plantation, are located within the bounds of this preserve. The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens offers the city's coolest network of trails, and the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens has a continually expanding showcase of animal and plant species that make it suitable to be counted among the finest zoos in the Southeastern United States. Of course, for outdoor recreation, Jacksonville's warm climate makes the area a popular place for fishing, boating, sailing, surfing, kayaking, kite boarding, golf, and tennis as well. The World Golf Hall of Fame is even located just south of the city, and the Tournament Players Championship is played by professional golfers at Sawgrass, near Ponte Vedra Beach.

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Neighbourhoods

Centre

  • Downtown Riverfront (Northbank and Southbank)

East/South of the St. Johns River

  • San Marco
  • San Jose/Epping Forest
  • Mandarin
  • Baymeadows
  • Deerwood/Southside
  • Arlington
  • Fort Caroline/East Arlington
  • San Pablo/Intracoastal West
  • Beaches
  • Mayport

West/North of the St. Johns River

  • Riverside/Avondale
  • Murray Hill
  • Ortega
  • Oak Leaf
  • Argyle
  • Westside
  • Marietta
  • Whitehouse
  • Ribault
  • Oceanway
  • Northside

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Sights and Activities

Beaches

North to South: Big Talbot Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, Hugenot Park, Hanna Park, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Mickler's Landing, Guana River State Park

Museums

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Museum of Science & History (MOSH), Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), World Golf Hall of Fame, Fort Caroline National Memorial, Kingsley Plantation.

Sports

The city's sports complex is also located immediately east of downtown's Northbank business district. Here, Everbank Field plays home to the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville boasts the AA Jacksonville Suns, and the Veterans Memorial Arena hosts the Jacksonville Sharks arena football team, Jacksonville Giants ABA basketball team, and the Jacksonville University Dolphins NCAA basketball team.

Zoos/Animal Centers

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Catty Shack Ranch, B.E.A.K.S. (bird rehabilitation center), St. Augustine Alligator Farm (45 minutes south), Marineland Dolphin Adventure (1 hour south).

Other Sights and Activities

Northbank Riverwalk/Jacksonville Landing, Southbank Riverwalk/Friendship Fountain, Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Adventure Landing & Shipwreck Island Water Park, Sally Industries Tour (animatronics for amusement parks), Tree Hill Nature Center, UNF Nature Trails, St. Johns Town Center, St. Johns River Ferry, water taxis.

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Weather

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max17.9 °C19.4 °C22.8 °C26.2 °C29.3 °C31.8 °C33 °C32.6 °C30.7 °C26.8 °C23.1 °C19.3 °C
Avg Min4.7 °C6.3 °C9.6 °C12.7 °C16.7 °C20.6 °C22.2 °C22.1 °C20.6 °C15.2 °C10.1 °C6.3 °C
Rainfall84.1 mm99.8 mm93.5 mm70.4 mm90.2 mm144.5 mm142.2 mm201.4 mm179.1 mm73.7 mm55.6 mm69.1 mm
Rain Days7.36.66.75.16.610.611.612.410.15.94.95.9

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Getting There

By Plane

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) offers flights to/from Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, New York City, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Boston, Baltimore, San Juan, Birmingham, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Nashville, Norfolk, Las Vegas, Newark, Tampa, Washington, D.C., Charlotte and Philadelphia.

By Train

The Silver Service/Palmetto, operated by Amtrak, travels between New York and Jacksonville.

By Bus

Check Greyhound for options.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Americas Best Value Inn-Yulee/Jacksonville852380 US Highway 17 Nhostel-
Days Inn Neptune Beach1401 Atlantic Boulevard Neptune BeachHotel-
Red Roof Inn Jacksonville Southpoint6969 Lenoir Ave EastHotel-

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Learn

The aforementioned Jacksonville University (private), the much larger University of North Florida (state), and the variety of campuses that make up Florida State College (community college) are among the many options available for pursuing higher education in Jacksonville.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 30.332184
  • Longitude: -81.655651

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This is version 16. Last edited at 12:40 on Dec 23, 13 by Utrecht. 15 articles link to this page.

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