What are some things to know before visiting Jacksonville?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Natalie Wearstler

Jacksonville is a wonderful city that can hold its own with other Florida travel destinations, and there are a few things you should know to make your visit perfect. For starters, you should know that getting to Jacksonville is a breeze. Jacksonville International Airport may be small, but it sends more than its fair share of planes to hubs all over the country. If you're hitting the road for your Sunshine State getaway, you'll appreciate Jacksonville's location in Northeast Florida all the more because of its proximity to the Georgia border. Once you see the "Welcome to Florida" sign, you can safely estimate that you'll arrive at your hotel within an hour or so.

Two key items should be within easy reach at all times when you're in Jacksonville: sunblock and an umbrella. Jacksonville locals often joke about how quickly (and often) the weather vacillates between clear and sunny or miserable and rainy, but there's nothing funny about being caught in a downpour with no protection during hurricane season. On the flip side, a deep sunburn is the last thing you want to bring home from your stay in Jacksonville. 

You'll have to work a little harder to uncover some of Jacksonville's best restaurants and bars than you would in more prominent tourism destinations like Miami or Key West. Resist the temptation to stop in at a franchise restaurant and get a taste of Jacksonville's expanding culinary scene in neighborhoods like Five Points, Avondale, San Marco and Downtown. Some of the best international cuisine (think Mediterranean, Thai and Indian) can be found in the Baymeadows area. And, for seafood, you just can't get any fresher than a plate of peel and eat shrimp on one of the waterfront restaurants in Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach or Atlantic Beach.

Oh, and if you're a football fan, keep in mind that locals root for more than just the Jags — if you want to really fit in at a sports bar, you'll have to choose whether you're a Gator (University of Florida) or Bulldog (University of Georgia), too. The two SEC powerhouses have a longstanding rivalry and each fall, the teams (and thousands of their fans) face off at EverBank Field for a year's worth of bragging rights.

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