Although it was named one of the top five “Up and Coming” cities in the country by Good Morning America in 2006, Jacksonville challenges that moniker. Many people believe that Jacksonville has been “Up” for a very long time, and in terms of location/weather/attractions and other attributes, the city gives San Diego, California, stiff competition.
Located in northeastern Florida on the Atlantic Coast, Jacksonville holds the title of largest city – geographically – in the continental United States, at 840 square miles. Because of its exceptional terrain, temperatures and size, the city is home to 111,669 acres of parks; 72 golf courses; 22 miles of uninterrupted beaches; and endless restaurants, theaters, museums, theme parks and shopping districts. And for a list of campground and RV resorts in the city and surrounding areas, consult your 2009 Trailer Life RV Parks, Campgrounds & Services Directory.
The city was once the center of the silent-film era, producing more than 300 movies in the early 1900s. But long before that, Jacksonville earned its storied past. The Timucuan Indians settled the area and literally watched as North America’s early explorers reached Florida’s shores. Wars, occupation, slavery, reconstruction and fire all play a big role in Jacksonville’s history. Today, visitors can observe uniformed soldiers perform tasks from 1864 in Ft. Clinch State Park, once a Union-occupied Civil War garrison, on Amelia Island. Discover the oldest remaining plantation in Florida, Kingsley Plantation, on Ft. George Island along the Buccaneer Trail. Remnants of not only the native Americans, Union and Confederate soldiers can be found here, but also evidence of the Spanish and French adventurers who conquered the land.
But history is a small part of the appeal of the Sunshine State’s northern city. Sun, sand, water, boating, snorkeling and fishing top the charts. Anglers will rejoice in Jacksonville’s waters as they pull in redfish, speckled trout and flounder. For assistance, call Capt. Dave Sipler Sportfishing at (904) 642-9546. For sportfishing enthusiasts who choose to brave the saltwater in search of tarpon, barracuda, cobia and shark, consider contacting Capt. Brian Russel at (888) 562-8055 for expert help.
And visitors in search of almost flawless beauty need look no farther than Jacksonville’s beaches. The stunning coastline, the boardwalk, the St. Johns River and striking riverfront are reason enough to visit.
Golfers, on the other hand, will discover paradise on Jacksonville’s private and public golf courses. Real golfers should plan on spending the better part of a day at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, about 30 miles south.
Of course, if vacationers would rather head indoors, there are always the shopping outlets, the performing-arts centers and the incredible eateries.
Jacksonville offers a varied selection of indoor and outdoor attractions, of culture and eco-tourism, of adventure, wildlife, history and nature. It is, indeed, “Where Florida Begins.”
For more information, go to www.visitjacksonville.com.