City Profile: Jacksonville

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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Big city thrills and slower beach relaxation - the two sides of Jacksonville.

You'll find the best of two worlds in Jacksonville, a metropolitan giant with urban amenities bordered to the east by miles of wide Atlantic beaches. Boasting a sunny, year-round climate with average temperatures of 78 degrees, Jacksonville offers 20 miles of soft, white beaches and more than 70 golf courses. This lively urban area is a magnet for those who want big-city thrills such as greyhound racing, major sporting events and a spirited nightlife. The Jacksonville Landing is a bonanza of shopping, dining and entertainment from morning till evening. Visitors are likely to catch one of the many celebrations held throughout the year, including the annual Jazz Festival.

The St. Johns River, a sparkling waterway, slices through downtown Jacksonville. Nearby is the picturesque 1.2-mile (2 km) Riverwalk, where you can take in the beauty of the river and catch a performance at an entertainment pavilion. The 61-acre Jacksonville Zoo showcases a variety of animals and educational exhibits. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery is definitely worth a tour for beer lovers. Minutes away from this bustling activity, Jacksonville Beach beckons those who seek the simpler pleasures of swimming, sunning, surf-casting, boating and offshore fishing.

To the north, Amelia Island has a distinctly Southern flavor more like the Carolinas in attitude and climate. Fernandina Beach, its only town, exudes pure charm. Here you'll count over 450 ornate Victorian structures built before 1927. Miles of beaches, sand dunes and marshes add to the unique topography of Amelia Island. To the west of Jacksonville, the rich rural flavor of Clay County contrasts sharply with Jacksonville's slick urban demeanor. Its beautiful lakes and rustic wooded terrain are not known to many outsiders, but afford a tranquil respite from the big-city experience.

 

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