Jacksonville Florida is, for many travelers, an unexpectedly great destination. If someone asked you if you wanted to visit the country's largest city by land area, you would probably start packing your bags for Los Angeles or New York City, or even Chicago, Houston or Atlanta. The only problem would be that those cities would not be where you are going. Instead, you would be on your way to Jacksonville Florida. You might also be surprised to know that after New York City and Philadelphia, Jacksonville is the most populated city on America's east coast. The city is also the financial and insurance hub of Florida and home to several U.S. Navy bases. Jacksonville travel has blossomed in recent history, and the city is well served by a number of Interstate Highways and major U.S. Highways. The newly added cruise port has joined three other modern seaport facilities to help establish Jacksonville as a shipping giant. The city is also well served by the Jacksonville International Airport, which lies just a 15-minute ride from downtown. Travelers can find a flight to Jacksonville from most major American cities, and popular Orlando is just 45 minutes away by air.
Jacksonville Florida rests just 25 miles south of the Georgia border and enjoys positioning along the St. Johns River. It was founded in the year 1791 as a settlement, originally carrying the name of Cowford, due to the fact that cattle were previously driven along the area. In 1822, the city changed its name to honor seventh President Andrew Jackson, who had served as the Florida Territory's first military governor. Due to its prime location, however, Jacksonville had already had a long history before then. In the early 1560's, the area of present day Jacksonville was settled by French explorers who established Fort Caroline there. However, this settlement attempt would be short-lived. Spanish forces would go on to obliterate the French fort, effectively ending French colonization attempts along the New World's east coast.
Jacksonville Florida earned a reference as the "Winter Film Capital of the World" in the 1910's, as over 30 silent film studios made their bases there. Jacksonville's film heyday may have passed when film makers made their eventual moves to Hollywood, California, but film fans will still enjoy the Jacksonville Film Festival, which takes place in May. The city also hosts the nation's second largest jazz festival every year in April. Jacksonville travel is ideal year round, with temperate weather in the winter, pleasant spring and fall temperatures and hot summer days that are ideally spent at the wide and sandy Jacksonville area beaches. The city is surrounded with natural beauty, offering nature trails for walking and wildlife watching and plenty of water to explore whether fishing or simply pleasure-cruising. Visitors to this great southern city will find ample choices among Jacksonville hotels ranging from upscale area resorts to charming Florida bed & breakfasts. Jacksonville Florida dining certainly features fresh seafood from the nearby Atlantic, but you'll also find plenty in the way of savory steaks and southern-fried chicken.
Jacksonville travel is growing in popularity and the addition of the city's JAXPORT Cruise Terminal has added a list of Jacksonville cruises that service Key West and the Bahamas. Visitors to northeast Florida will find plenty of options for things to do in Jacksonville, including various cruises within the city, an array of museum options, fine Florida beaches, the country's largest urban park system and so much more. In nearby Ponte Vedra, golf enthusiasts will find the most recognizable of all Florida golf courses, TPC at Sawgrass. This famous course joins an array of other quality golf courses in the area to make a golfing vacation here ideal. In fact, the PGA tour makes its headquarters in nearby Ponte Vedra, and golf fans can find the World Golf Village and the World Golf Hall of Fame in nearby St. Augustine. St. Augustine is just a half-hour's drive away, and other exciting day trips from Jacksonville could include Daytona Beach, the Kennedy Space Center, Savannah, Georgia and Florida's beautiful Amelia Island.
Jacksonville travel further rewards visitors with other attractions, such as the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the Jacksonville Landing shopping center, the Riverwalk and Jacksonville Beach. The Jacksonville Zoo houses the second largest collection of animals in Florida and shopping, dining and strolling at the Landing, the Riverwalk and Jacksonville Beach are great ways to have fun in Jacksonville. For those who enjoy seeing shows or taking in concerts, they will be happy to know that Jacksonville offers a variety of options for the performing arts. The Florida Theatre, the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena provide the city with a full schedule of entertainment options from the Jacksonville Symphony to a list of national acts. For exciting nightlife and some of Jacksonville's best beaches, Jacksonville Beach is sure to deliver. In Jacksonville Beach, visitors will find a nice array of oceanfront Jacksonville hotels that compliment this upcoming and trendy district.
Top image: James Willamor (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0