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Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the United States and the most populated place in the state of Florida. It sprawls along three twisting rivers that help to soften the high-rise buildings that border them. The city’s Southern hospitality provides plenty of excellent restaurants and its museums and restored historic districts are well worth a visit. It is its beaches, however, that are its main draw and they can be found just 30 minutes away from Downtown. Here you can live the good life as you enjoy a spot of fishing or scuba dive to your heart’s content.
Downtown – For a little retail therapy the Jacksonville Landing, located on the bank of the St. Johns River, is Jacksonville's retail centre and offers scenic waterfront dining, lively nightclubs and a unique shopping experience. For a spot of culture nearby Hemming Plaza is a large park that is fringed by monuments, museums and some stunning architecture.
Riverside – This historic neighbourhood can be found a mile southwest of Downtown on the banks of the St. Johns River. Built between 1910 and 1930 it makes for wonderful, atmospheric strolls, punctuated, of course, by a spot of bohemian dining in the Five Points district.
Avondale – Located next to Riverside, Avondale was built during the Florida land boom of the Roaring Twenties and features stately historic houses constructed in an eclectic mix of styles that include Tudor, Georgian Revival, Prairie, Shingle and Mediterranean Revival. If it’s upscale dining you seek you will find it here.
Jacksonville Area Beaches – If history, the buzz of the city or shopping aren’t high on your agenda then the beaches around Jacksonville feel a world apart but place you in easy reach of the city’s facilities. Here you will find a slower pace of life - and much more space to enjoy it in. Naturally there are plenty of water sports and water-based activities available in the turquoise waters. Or you could just lie back in that white sand and dream the day away.
Fort Caroline National Memorial is a modern recreation of the destroyed fort that once stood on the riverbank. Today it hosts a fascinating museum dedicated to the first French settlers. Bringing you bang up to date is the Museum of Science and History, which is perfect for kids and adults with enquiring minds. There are also some excellent art galleries in Jacksonville. Further afield, a trip to the atmospheric city of St. Augustine is an enjoyable day out that allows you to take in all the history offered by the oldest permanent settlement in the United States, founded by Spanish colonists in 1565.
If the retail opportunities of the Landing don’t appeal maybe those offered by the Riverside Arts Market will. More than 100 sellers tempt you with handmade art, creative crafts and specialty foods every Saturday (March through to December). You can get away from it all on the Riverwalk that offers scenic strolls along the southern banks of the St. John's river. And you can get even further away from it by visiting the beautiful Amelia Island about an hour north of Jacksonville along FL-A1A. Today the island is home to upscale houses but once it was a pirate base. Ahoy me hearties!