Jacksonville - description of the city:

Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida. It also has the largest area of any city in the US. The consolidation that occurred in 1968 gave the city its large size and put most of the population of the city within city limits. In 2012, the estimated population for Jacksonville was 836,507. 

The city of Jacksonville is centered on the St. Johns River banks and is located just 25 miles south of the Georgia border. It is about 340 miles north of the city of Miami. The beach communities of the city are situated along the Atlantic coast. The Timucua people originally inhabited the area and in the year 1564 it was the location of Fort Caroline, a French colony. This was one of the earliest settlements by the Europeans in the continental US. The settlement grew under rule by the British to the narrow point called Wacca Palatka, which is where the cattle crossed the river. A town was established in the area in the year 1822; just one year after the US gained the state of Florida from Spain. The city was named for Andrew Jackson, who was the first military governor for the territory and the 7th president of the United States. 

Improvements to the harbor that started in the late part of the 19th century have made the city a major civilian and military deep water port. There are two United States navy bases as well as the port of Jacksonville located there. The port is the 3rd largest seaport in the state of Florida. Some of the more significant economic factors for the area include; insurance, healthcare, logistics, and banking services. Tourism also plays an extremely important role in the city’s economics. Golf is extremely popular in the area and many people from around the world come to the city to play at one of its premier golf courses.


The area that is now the city of Jacksonville has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. A team from the University of Florida discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery within the US, at Black Hammock Island, which is a part of the Timucua Ecological and Historic Preserve. The pottery dates to 2500 BC. 

During the 16th century, the Mocama lived in the area. This is a coastal subgroup of Timucua. When the Europeans landed in the area the Mocama villages were part of the Saturiwa, which was a powerful chiefdom. One of the earliest maps of the area show a village named Ossachite located where downtown Jacksonville now lies. It is possible that Ossachite is the earliest recorded name for the area. 

Explorers from Europe first arrived in the area in 1562. Jean Ribault, a French explorer, explored the St. Johns River. The first European settlement was established by Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere in 1564. It was named Fort Caroline. Fort Caroline was attacked by a Spanish settlement from nearby St. Augustine in September of 1565 and nearly all of the French soldiers who were defending the settlement were killed. The fort was renamed San Mateo by the Spanish after the French were ejected from the area. 

Florida was ceded from Spain to Britain in 1763 when the French and Indian war concluded. The British then made King’s Road, which connected St. Augustine to the state of Georgia. This road crossed the river at a narrow point, which was called Wacca Palatka by the Seminoles. In 1783, the British ceded the land back to the Spanish after they were defeated in the Revolutionary War. 

During the Civil War, Jacksonville was a main supplier for cattle and hogs that were shipped from the area to help the confederates. Union forces blockaded the area when they gained control of Fort Clinch located nearby. The Union controlled the city for most of the time during the war. There were no battles in the city, but power over it changed hands between the confederate and the union several times. 

During the Gilded age, the city became a popular destination for the rich as well as the famous. Visitors to the area would arrive by steamboat and then later by railroad. President Cleveland visited the city in 1888 to attend the Sub-Tropical exposition. This visit highlighted Florida as a worthy place to visit. However, tourism in the city was dealt a major blow by an outbreak of yellow fever during the 19th century. 

Throughout the years the city of Jacksonville has become a center for banking and insurance. Some of the companies that have established headquarters in the area include Independent Life, American Heritage Life, Afro-American Insurance, Gulf Life, Prudential, Florida National Bank, Atlantic National Bank, and Barnett Bank. The Navy is also a large employer for the area as there are 3 naval bases located in the city. 


The art and cultural community of Jacksonville is not to be missed as the city offers great museums, wonderful boutique galleries, and many performing arts. The cultural scene of the city is growing rapidly for both visitors and residents of the area to enjoy. 

There are several galleries located in the downtown area that are somewhat off the grid. These combined with the surrounding arts community show just how passionate the city is about the arts. The historic multicultural film industry roots combined with world class festivals, as well as Broadway productions, symphonic events, and hip art galleries and world renowned museums that host renaissance, contemporary, as well as up and coming artist masterpieces, allow you to experience cultural enlightenment in the north eastern part of the state of Florida. 

There are several highly regarded art institutions located in Jacksonville as well. These are a pillar for the diverse arts community. There are celebrations of the arts woven into many Jacksonville neighborhoods with weekly and yearly festivities taking place. 

The visual arts community is budding and is the inspiration for the performing arts. The Times-Union center located in downtown Jacksonville is home to Broadway shows and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. There are also popular rock tours and comedy shows at the venue.


The dining choices in this part of the state range from down home fish camps to upscale bistros and everything in between. All of these are infused with the warm southern hospitality that we have come to know and love.

The city of Jacksonville has become quite a foodie destination over the past several years. There are new dining districts popping up throughout the city. There is also a food truck revolution taking place. Most of the dining options in the city are fairly casual and laid back. There are romantic restaurants for couples as well as many family friendly dining options. Food is definitely done right in this city. 

Once you have completed dinner you may want to spend the evening at one of the wonderful night life venues. There are great bars available in the Riverside district as well as in the Core. On the beach you will find many eclectic entertainment options available as well. There is a perfect establishment just waiting for you.

Reasons to Visit 

Jacksonville offers stretches of waterways and stunning beaches combined with a downtown renaissance that offers experiences that will engross the body, mind, and inner adventurer. From great romantic getaway to fun family vacations, to unique cultural offerings, Jacksonville has something to offer everyone. 

Couples who are looking for a place to get away on a romantic vacation will love all that Jacksonville has to offer. The great weather combined with the beautiful beaches is the perfect setting for some quiet romance. There is exquisite cuisine available over candle light and a chance to enjoy wonderful performances by dance and opera ensembles, as well as time to just simply frolic in the Atlantic Ocean. There are also several great spas located in the area so that you can pamper yourself and your loved one while you are there. Romance is inspired when you are visiting the city. 

If you are looking for fun for the whole family, Jacksonville has a lot to offer. You can visit the wonderful Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Here you will find a great new Asia Bamboo Garden and a new penguin exhibit to enjoy. There is a splash pad to help cool you off. If you are looking for nature combined with history, the St. Johns River Ferry is a great choice as it connects May port to the island of Fort George. Some of the other places that you may want to consider visiting while in Jacksonville include the Museum of Science and History and Adventure Landing. You can even take in a baseball game if you visit during the summer as Jacksonville is home to the Suns Double A minor league baseball team. 

From romance to a fun family get away, Jacksonville has something for everyone. These are just a few of the great attractions that you will find in this great Florida city.

Country United States
International title Jacksonville
Population 821,784 people
Timezone America/New_York
State Florida
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 30.33218 x Longitude: -81.65565

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