My first visit to Jacksonville as an adult was in 2016 and I was not really impressed. At the time I lived on the Florida Panhandle so I already had the beach. And the parts of Jacksonville I saw were kind of suburban-ish. I think I just did not know how to “do” Jacksonville. I did not know the ins and outs and I’m still learning each time I go.
These days, I am always excited to go! Here are a few reasons why I always enjoy visiting Jacksonville:
1. The Food
True, I now live in Atlanta and we have some excellent chefs here but the food scene in Jacksonville has really grown in recent years. I’m always up for trying out new places in a different city and Jacksonville delivers an inspired food experience.
Jacksonville is home to hundreds of food trucks and in fact, on that first visit, we were lucky enough to be there for a food truck festival. There were so many enticing options that it was hard to decide what to get!
A couple of places that I really enjoy when I am visiting Jacksonville are Pink Salt Restaurant and Wine Bar in Baymeadows and Escape Restaurant and Bar in Historic 5 Points. Both offer delicious, global-inspired, fresh-made food. Pink Salt is Caribbean fusion and Escape’s menu leans toward the Mediterranean.
2. The Beaches
The beaches of Jacksonville are all situated on a barrier island. You cross the intercoastal waterway to reach them. I always find myself at the main beach, called “Jacksonville Beach” because that is where GPS takes me and I know that there is plenty of parking there. Other nearby beaches are Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach, and Atlantic Beach. I love watching people fishing from the pier, walking the stretch of sand or playing in the waves.
3. The Waterways
Jacksonville has the most shoreline of any city in the US! How cool is that?
The St. John’s River flows right through downtown Jacksonville. The intercoastal waterway divides the city from the beaches. Just about anywhere you are in Jacksonville, water is not far away. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing or just being near water of some kind, Jacksonville has plenty!
4. Live Music
Whether at the beach or downtown there is usually live music to be found. Bands these days are often streaming their shows but I am hoping that next time I visit, shows will be live again.
5. The Riverside Arts Market
Combine three of the above: food, water, and music and add in art! What’s not to love? Enjoy strolling the market on Saturdays checking out the handmade items, art and selecting produce from local farmers.
There are plenty of other reasons to love spending time in Jacksonville. I look forward to my next trip to explore it some more!