There’s no doubt that Florida’s charms are many. From amusement parks and non-stop nightlight to beaches and wildlife reserves, Florida is a state with a destination for every type of traveler. Those who love big city life, oceanfront views and a healthy dose of culture will find plenty to enjoy during a visit to Jacksonville.
As the largest city by area in the continental U.S., Jacksonville packs a big punch. Towering skyscrapers define the skyline of this oceanfront city, but it’s worth starting a day in Jacksonville early to catch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. From there, travelers can explore the historic Riverside neighborhood, where some of the city’s oldest architecture and funkiest shops await, and the St. Johns River for which the neighborhood was named.
A wealth of museums also greets visitors to Jacksonville. Art, in particular, is plentiful. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville are two popular choices for an afternoon of art appreciation, as is the weekly Riverside Arts Market, which is filled with works by local artists.
Perhaps surprising for a major city is the amount of natural beauty that can be found in and around Jacksonville. From the miles of beaches just outside the city proper to the pristine riverfronts and numerous urban parks, visitors will find ample opportunity to enjoy the natural side of Jacksonville during their vacation. Plus, the city has a thriving nightlife scene with plenty of bars and clubs to enjoy as night falls on Jacksonville.
May kicks off the peak travel season in Jacksonville, which generally runs through August. Jacksonville sees increased tourism during these months thanks to warm, sunny weather and families taking advantage of summer vacation time. November, December, January and February bring the coldest weather to Jacksonville, but even so, temperatures remain in the 50s and 60s. Cheap flights to Jacksonville can be found during this time, and it can be a good time to visit, so long as the beaches aren’t on your list of must-dos. The shoulder season months of March, April, September and October are a good time to visit, too, as the weather is warm enough to enjoy Jacksonville’s outdoor activities without the crowds of peak season.
Jacksonville boasts the largest area of any city in the continental U.S., so walking is not a viable option to getting around the city. Public buses connect riders with destinations throughout the city, but there are typically long waits between buses. The Skyway monorail shuttles riders throughout downtown Jacksonville, but for travelers venturing beyond downtown, renting a car is the most convenient option for getting around Jacksonville.