In Depth Jacksonville embraces more than 500 neighborhoods within more than 800 square miles, an impressive expanse that makes this busy seaport the biggest city in the contiguous United States. Its size inflated by a consolidation of city and county governments in 1968, the mammoth destination also boasts the largest population in Florida.
History of Jacksonville
The vicinity was home to the Mocama Indians when French Protestants known as Huguenots arrived in 1562 and founded Fort Caroline. Spanish troops from nearby St. Augustine destroyed the ill-fated Huguenot village just three years later.
Spanish control of the area ended in 1763, when Spain traded Florida to Britain. Under British rule, The King's Road between Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine was completed. A settlement developed where the road crossed the St. Johns River, roughly where downtown Jacksonville is today.
As a result of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Britain returned Florida to Spain. Despite Spanish ownership, citizens of the new United States of America began settling in northern Florida. In 1819, Spain struck a deal with the U. S., trading its interests in the Oregon Country and Florida in exchange for recognition of Spanish sovereignty over Texas. Soon after the U.S. took formal possession of the Florida Territory, Jacksonville—named after the region's first military governor, Gen. Andrew Jackson—was founded.
The town prospered as a port of entry until the Civil War, during which it was burned and abandoned several times. Though the city was resurrected as a winter resort for wealthy tourists in the 1880s, by the end of the 19th century, Jacksonville's status as a popular vacation destination had declined, partly due to yellow fever outbreaks. In 1901 tragedy visited the city again when a fire destroyed nearly the entire downtown area.
But the resilient city rebounded. During the early 20th century, more than 300 silent movies were shot in the area. Naval bases built during World War II contributed to the city's further growth. Today, three Fortune 500 companies—CSX Corp., Fidelity National Financial and Fidelity National Information Service Inc.—are headquartered in this distribution hub set in the double loop of the St. Johns River. And the armed forces' presence is still strong, with military bases, including Naval Station Mayport and the Marine Corps' Blount Island Command, contributing about $6.1 billion annually to the local economy.
Things to Do in Jacksonville Today
While the Jacksonville Jaguars have yet to bring home the Lombardi Trophy, the city's first professional football franchise has won two division championships and made several trips to the playoffs since joining the NFL in 1995. Gridiron fans in this rivalry-loving destination cheer on the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field, Super Bowl XXXIX venue and continuing host to such annual college games as the Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic and the Gator Bowl Classic. Nearby Ponte Vedra Beach, home to the PGA Tour, also attracts golfers with THE PLAYERS Championship in March.
But while touchdowns and eagles electrify the city, the St. Johns River remains at the heart of modern-day Jacksonville, with downtown's opposing Riverwalks attracting sightseers and natives year-round with fun things to do. The Museum of Science & History is the highlight of the 1.2-mile Southbank Riverwalk, which also shelters Friendship Fountain. Across the river, the downtown Sports and Entertainment Complex is home to TIAA Bank Field, the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Daily's Place Amphitheater and Intuition Ale Works, the first brewery in the state of Florida to can its beer.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The sales tax is 7 percent in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties and 6.5 percent in St. Johns County. The bed tax is 4 to 6 percent in St. Johns County and 6 percent in Duval County; the tourist development tax is 5 percent in Clay County and 4 percent in Nassau and St. Johns counties.
Baptist Medical Center, (904) 202-2000; Mayo Clinic, (904) 953-2000; Memorial Hospital of Jacksonville, (904) 399-6111; St. Vincent's Medical Center Southside, (904) 296-3700; UF Health Jacksonville, (904) 244-0411.
208 N. Laura St. Suite 102 Jacksonville, FL 32202. Phone:(904)798-9111 or (800)733-2668
More than a dozen major and regional carriers serve
Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (904) 741-2151.
The Amtrak station is at 3570 Clifford Ln., 5 miles northwest of downtown. For arrival information phone (904) 766-5110; for reservations and information phone (800) 872-7245.
The main Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 10 N. Pearl St.; phone (904) 356-9976.
Major cab companies are Checker Yellow Cab Co., (904) 345-3333 or (904) 765-9999; Coastal Cab, (904) 246-9999; and Gator City Taxi, (904) 999-9999. Base fare is $2 with a rate of $2 per mile.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority operates a system of buses, trolleys and shuttles that serves Jacksonville and the beaches. A Baldwin Wildcat Commuter Shuttle offers weekday service to Baldwin and Macclenny. The Skyway, an automated monorail system, provides downtown transportation between the Prime Osborn Convention Center, Hemming Plaza and Rosa L. Parks Transit Station on the Northbank and San Marco and Kings Avenue Station across the river.
River taxi service between points along the St. Johns River is available from Jacksonville Water Taxi, departing every half-hour Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. (also holidays) 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; phone (904) 630-2489. A daily pass is $10; $8 (ages 3-12 and 65+). Fare to the stadium or Downtown Loop during football games and special events is $10 (round-trip); $20 (unlimited all day); cash only.