Jacksonville has a variety of homes and neighborhoods to suit every taste and budget.
Jacksonville feels like home no matter where you live: in a home on the river, a condominium at the beach, an apartment, or a town home in a quiet neighborhood.
Take a look at a brief description of Jacksonville’s communities, neighborhood by neighborhood.
SAINT JOHNS COUNTY
FRUITCOVE – SWITZERLAND South of Duval County, Switzerland and Fruit Cove are nestled along the east bank of the St. Johns River in St. Johns County. This area is a bedroom community for Jacksonville and St. Augustine. It is a prime location for single-family residences in a variety of subdivisions. The lack of commercial development, greenspace and the preservation of the scenic Bartram Trail (Highway 13) are appealing to many residents. For nature lovers St. Johns is home to a large array of wildlife, some of which include; deer, eagle, turkey, wild boar, panther, alligator, manatee, crab and many bird species.
PONTE VEDRA – SAWGRASS Ponte Vedra Beach and Sawgrass are located in the northeast corner of St. Johns County, south of Jacksonville Beach along A1A. The community stretches along five miles of the Atlantic Ocean, aside carefully preserved wetlands. Many new condominium communities have been built in this area in the last few years. Ponte Vedra Beach is the home of PGA TOUR and the ATP Association of Tennis Professionals headquarters. Annual golf and tennis tournaments attract people from around the world. Ponte Vedra Beach is home of The Players Championship tournament held each May at TPC Sawgrass. There are more than 150 holes of golf and 60 tennis courts. Public beach access is limited.
Ponte Vedra’s 40-foot sand dunes are among the highest in Florida. From their peak, they race down to white sand beaches made from Appalachian quartz and ancient coquina. Seaside resorts and private escapes can be found in the twisted oaks and hammocks of wild palmettos. Miles of fresh-water streams, creeks and lagoons course through the natural area. Of course, elegant shopping and fine dining also are widely available.
ST. AUGUSTINE The nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565, some 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and 42 years before the English colonized Jamestown. Rich with history, the city has more than 50 attractions, including the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Spanish Quarter, the Fountain of Youth and cobblestone streets. Single-family homes, condominiums and apartments are available. Features include fine dining, cafe-style eating, shopping and touring. On the outskirts of town are shopping malls and retail centers.
ARLINGTON This community has abundant waterfront property, surrounded by the St. Johns on the west and north and the Intracoastal on the east. Fort Caroline National Park overlooks the site of a former colony of French Huguenots. Jacksonville University, Jones College and a small airfield are located in Arlington. There are many apartment complexes; homes come in all styles and price ranges. Arlington has easy access to schools, churches and downtown.
Arlington’s main concentration of growth is occurring in an area known as Intracoastal West. Intracoastal West is the traditional dividing line between Jacksonville proper and the beaches.
The Beaches: Atlantic, Neptune, Jacksonville The beaches are bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic and Neptune beaches are made mainly residential with single-family homes and public beach access. Look for entertainment, shopping and dining along Atlantic Boulevard and A1A. Jacksonville Beach is further south and offers a mix of residential, commercial, retail and light industrial sites. Activities include festivals, concerts, surfing, fairs, volleyball tournaments, offshore boat races and pier fishing. The Jacksonville Navy’s Sea and Air Show is held every other year in Jacksonville Beach.
ATLANTIC BEACH Atlantic Beach was a small seaside community around 1900 when Henry Flagler, builder of the Florida East Coast Railway, built the Mayport branch of the railway and erected a station just north of the former Atlantic Beach City Hall (Now Adele Grage Cultural Center).
The Continental Hotel, with approximately 300 rooms, was built soon thereafter on a tract of land lying between the depot and the beach. The land surrounding the hotel was subdivided and sold for summer homes. Promotional activities to attract tourists included auto races on the beach and air shows and the area experienced considerable growth.
In 1913, the railroad sold most of the land to the Atlantic Beach Corporation, headed by Ernest R. Beckett, which began paving streets, installing lights and water and sewer lines. However, during World War I, people were afraid to come to the coast and the Atlantic Beach Corporation went into bankruptcy. After the war, land began to sell again and the settlement began to grow. The Town of Atlantic Beach was incorporated in 1926 and the Governor appointed Harcourt Bull, Sr., as the first Mayor.
A tract of land was purchased from the railroad and was developed as the Town Park and became the site of the first Town Hall. The building burned down in 1931 and a new Town Hall was built in 1932 at 716 Ocean Boulevard. The first Charter was adopted in 1929, and in addition to the Charter officials, the town had one additional employee. The town continued to grow and by 1940 there were 38 employees and a taxable value, after the homestead exemptions of $1 million dollars. A new Charter was adopted in 1957 making Atlantic Beach a city.
With the opening of the Mayport Naval Station in the 1940’s and the construction of the Matthews Bridge in the mid 1950’s, the area became ready for development. Atlantic Beach was getting its water from a private water plant under lease, which was inadequate for both domestic and fire use. With an annual budget of approximately $100,000, funds were not available for major capital improvements.
The citizens of Atlantic Beach approved the issuance of water revenue bonds and a two million gallon per day water plant was constructed. In 1957 and 1958 the Atlantic Beach water system received the Florida State Board of Health Merit Award for the best operated primary water treatment plant for cities under 10,000 population in the state. During that time, the city embarked on “Operation Bootstrap,” and within the next few years, with additional funds from a general obligation bond, the city constructed a sewer plant with the necessary lift stations and outfall lines, built a fire station, purchased 750 gallon per minute custom pumper and added three paid firemen to staff the station twenty-four hours a day. An air conditioned jail and police station with a radio system was constructed, the city purchased two new compaction garbage trucks and provided daily garbage collection, acquired a new city yard and constructed a storeroom and garage, paved streets and installed street lights.
The city boundaries were extended in 1987 by annexation of the Seminole Beach area to the north and again in 1996 by extending the westerly boundary to the Intracoastal Waterway. The city is approximately three square miles in area and has almost two miles of ocean beach.
The old fire station has been replaced by a public safety building located at 850 Seminole Road. The city maintains its own Police Department, and fire and emergency services are now provided by the City of Jacksonville from the 850 Seminole Road location.
In 1991, the city administrative offices moved to a new city hall located at 800 Seminole Road. Soon after this, the old city hall was turned into a community center and named the Adele Grage Community Center in honor of longtime City Clerk, Adele Grage, and came under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Department. Various community groups and organizations used the building for meetings and social activities. In 1993, the City Commission authorized the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theater (ABET) to use the former commission chambers and adjoining offices for a community theater. In 2002 a major renovation was completed and community rooms, a resource center, gallery, verandas and new restrooms were added. The building was renamed the Adele Grage Cultural Center and fulfilled the need for a facility capable of meeting the cultural and community needs of a growing and culturally enlightened population. Fundraisers were held and public and private donations paid for much of the renovation. In 2001, members of Beaches Habitat for Humanity constructed Jordan Park Community Center located at 1671 Francis Avenue with city-supplied building materials in exchange for permanent office space in the building.
Much of the development in the city has been residential, with single-family homes accounting for most of the developed land areas. The city is nearing build-out with less than 10% of the incorporated land area being undeveloped.
The city has a commission-manager form of government with an appointed manager who reports to the four commissioners and a mayor/commissioner. William S. Howell served twenty-seven years as mayor and holds the longest tenure, a record, which may remain unbroken since, in 1991, the city commission established term limits for elected officials. Regularly scheduled meetings of the city commission are held at City Hall at 7:15 on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.
Recent city commissions have recognized the need to acquire land to be developed for recreational purposes while a few large tracts of land were still available. In 1994, the city acquired approximately eight acres on the Intracoastal Waterway and with the use of grant funds, developed Tideviews Preserve as a passive park with trails, a boardwalk for viewing wildlife, canoe launch and picnic areas. In 1998, the City of Atlantic Beach, in a joint venture with the City of Jacksonville, acquired a twenty-seven acre island now known as Dutton Island Preserve. The City of Atlantic Beach’s portion of the purchase price was paid from Florida Barge Canal funds and no Atlantic Beach tax money was used for the purchase. The island is experiencing on-going development as a nature park to include trails, a floating dock for launching kayaks and canoes, a fishing pier, camping sites and pavilions. Residents may now enjoy more than sixty-five acres of parkland.
Today, Atlantic Beach is a mostly residential community whose approximately 14,000 citizens enjoy an enviable quality of life.
NEPTUNE BEACH Neptune Beachis a community of 7,500 residents located in Duval County on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west. The primary focus of the community is to protect the residential nature of the City and to maintain its high quality of life through strict growth management standards. Neptune Beach comprises approximately 2.5 square miles and is bounded by the City of Atlantic Beach to the north and the City of Jacksonville Beach to the south.
The name Neptune Beach has origins dating back to the year 1922 when Dan Wheeler built his own train station next to his home and named it Neptune. Mr. Wheeler had been informed that if he were to build a station, the train would be required to stop. The construction of the station eliminated his walking to Mayport in order to take the train to work in Jacksonville. The station was located where the Sea Turtle Inn is now located.
The area remained a part of Jacksonville Beach until the tax revolt of 1931, when on August 11, the residents of Neptune voted 113 to 31 to secede from Jacksonville Beach and incorporate the City of Neptune Beach.
The City operates under a City Manager-Council form of government. Residents elect a Mayor and four additional City Councilors which make up the City Council. The Council is responsible for enacting ordinances and resolutions which govern the City. The mayor presides over the council meetings. The City Council appoints a City Manager who serves as the chief executive officer and is charged with the enforcement of all ordinances and resolutions passed by the City Council. The Chief of Police, Public Services Director and Finance Director are appointed by the City Manager.
JACKSONVILLE BEACH Jacksonville Beach, discover northeast Florida’s best-kept secret, . Tucked away on a barrier island east of Jacksonville on Florida’s famous A1A, you’ll find miles of un-crowded white sandy beaches and lots to do. With the Intracoastal Waterway, St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean to choose from Jacksonville Beach offers lots of opportunities whether you are a fisherman, a golfer, or a family looking for good clean fun.
Jacksonville Beach offers some of the best sport fishing, boating and water sport opportunities in the country. Play in the ocean, walk or collect seashells along the beach, or stroll along the Sea Walk and watch for porpoise year-round or the northern right-whales that winter off our coast. At the Sea Walk Pavilion, you’ll find concerts or festivals nearly every weekend from April through October.
Jacksonville Beach is also known for its many great restaurants. Enjoy Florida’s finest seafood, local specialties, or ethnic cuisine. Dine on the oceanfront or along the Intracoastal Waterway and top off the evening with live music and entertainment at our local nightspots.
Get into the swing of things at our 18-hole municipal golf course, nearby daily fee courses or play a famous resort course such as Sawgrass or TPC. The Beaches area is home to more than 20 golf courses maintained year-round. Explore the new International Golf Hall of Fame and International Golf Library at the nearby World Golf Village.
If shopping is your idea of fun, our art galleries and antique shops will keep you busy. If history is your interest, then the northeast corner of Florida offers much to explore. Known as America’s First Coast, A1A takes you along the shores first discovered by Ponce de Leon from Amelia Island to St. Augustine.
Whether you are on a family vacation or on a business trip, Jacksonville Beach is a great place to anchor your stay. Only minutes away from Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Kennedy Space Center, or Orlando, Jacksonville Beach is chock full of fantastic fun.
MAYPORT Mayport is located at the mouth of the St. Johns River and is home to the Mayport Naval Station, commercial fishing and shrimping operations in addition to the St. Johns River Ferry which transports passengers and their cars from Mayport to the southern tip of Fort George Island. Some of the main attractions in Mayport are: rustic seafood restaurants such as Singleton’s, a local historical landmark where an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives from Food Network was filmed. You can buy fresh seafood just off the boats, go on deep-sea fishing excursions and even take Gambling cruises which depart daily from Mayport.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, provides what many consider to be Jacksonville’s favorite biking and hiking trails. The park also offers camping and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding wilderness.
MANDARIN Primarily rural until the end of the 1960s when developers discovered this area, Mandarin has grown steadily since. The Mandarin Community Club works diligently to maintain the community’s architectural integrity. Mandarin is rich in history, and for years different preservation groups have sought to maintain that history either in family holdings, trunks, church and school archives or through Mandarin Community Club involvement. Mandarin homes range from estates on the St. Johns River to small country homes with stables. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, established her residence in rural Mandarin in the 1860s, she was attracted by the area’s natural beauty and it’s flourishing citrus crops. Stowe, who in addition to farming established a school for former slaves. She also wrote about her life in Mandarin which she describes as “A Tropical Paradise,” in her book Palmetto-Leaves.
NORTH JACKSONVILLE North Jacksonville runs roughly from 20th Street north to the county border and from Interstate 295 on the west almost to the Atlantic Ocean. This is a vast area with waterways, new housing developments, and attractions, including the Anheuser Busch Brewery, the Bacardi Rum plant, the expanding Jacksonville Zoological Gardens, Huguenot Memorial Park and Little Talbot Island Park. Growth is due in part to the opening of the Dames Point Bridge in 1989, the expansion of the airport, and business activity in Imeson Industrial Park and the International Tradeport. North Jacksonville has convenient shopping, restaurants, medical facilities, schools, churches, and residential communities, and is only minutes from Downtown.
ORTEGA Bordered on the east by the St. Johns River, to the north and west by the Ortega River and south of Riverside, this community is a peninsula on the river. Convenient private schools, area churches, and small parks along the river contribute to Ortega’s charm. The Florida Yacht Club and Timuquana Country Club offer private social and recreational opportunities. Worth Magazine ranked Ortega 46th among the nation’s top 50 wealthiest neighborhoods. The area offers just about any style of architecture and homes range in size from average sites to stately, sprawling estates. The 1920s Ortega River Bridge is one of the oldest functioning drawbridges. “Old Ortega” is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
RIVERSIDE-AVONDALE This community is bordered to the west by Highway 17 and the river to the east, between Interstate 10 to the north and the Ortega River to the south. These are well-established, historic neighborhoods on the west bank of the St. Johns River. There are five public schools located within walking distance of both neighborhoods. Riverside has become an attractive spot for young professionals who want a short commute to work. Homes include modest duplexes to elegantly restored historic residences and waterfront estates. Riverside is a medical hub with the St. Vincent’s Medical Complex and private medical offices scattered along the river. Avondale is a traditional neighborhood with small boutique-type shopping, quaint streets and small-town charm. There are over a dozen parks with tennis courts, softball fields, and paths for jogging, walking or biking. Its close proximity to downtown makes it a great location for short commutes. Riverside/Avondale is home to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. The Riverside/Avondale Preservation Group keeps careful watch over proposed new projects and renovations.
SAN MARCO – SAN JOSE San Jose and San Marco are bordered to the west by the St. Johns River and by U.S. 1 to the east. A popular area for young professionals, San Jose and San Marco are close to the river and downtown. The area features boutique shopping and entertainment in San Marco Square, and private country clubs and private schools along San Jose Boulevard. Spanish architecture is most common in this area. A number of public schools are within these neighborhoods, enabling students to walk to school. San Marco’s proximity to downtown makes it popular for commuters, who can use the Kings Avenue Parking Garage and catch the Skyway into the city.
SOUTHSIDE Centrally located, the Southside is bordered by Arlington to the north and east, St. Johns County to the south and San Marco and I-95 to the west. This is literally the southernmost area of urban Jacksonville and is in the middle of all other Jacksonville communities. Southside has the area’s largest grouping of apartment communities. Many new developments are less than a year old. Commuting, shopping and recreation are convenient. Housing includes single-family homes, condominiums and apartment complexes. Residents enjoy local golf courses, abundant dining and entertainment, and easy access to the beaches via J. Turner Butler Boulevard. Located in Southside is The St. Johns Town Center. The outdoor lifestyle mall is home to 150 of the hottest stores, many exclusive in the market, including Dillard’s, Apple, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor as well as shops in the palm-lined streets of the Luxury Collection such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Mayors. As much a fashion-forward shopping hotspot as a dining destination, the diverse palate is represented with exciting options as The Cheesecake Factory, The Capital Grille and Cantina Laredo. Relax among the Florida sunshine at the Park Green’s turtle pond, life-sized chess board or dog park.
WESTSIDE The Westside is a large community starting just north of I-10 to Clay County, bordered on the east by I-295 and stretching west to Baker County and east to Riverside. Four small incorporated towns make up the Westside: Baldwin, Marietta, Maxville and Whitehouse. Other neighborhoods on this side of Jacksonville are Ortega Forest, Ortega Hills, Argyle, Lakeshore, Venetia, Cedar Hills, Hyde Grove, Murray Hill and Normandy. Much of the area is wooded, offering hunting and outdoor activities. Both NAS Jacksonville and NAS Cecil Field are located here, as well as Herlong Airport, a small, general aviation fixed base operation. Homes and apartments are available in all sizes and price ranges. Much of the Westside remains rural, offering opportunities for hunting, boating and fishing. Another Westside highlight is the 509-acre Westside Regional Park. The Cecil Commerce Center, formerly Cecil Field Naval Air Station until it was decommissioned in 1999, is home to the state-of-the-art Jacksonville Equestrian Center and a growing number of companies in the aerospace aviation and transportation industries.
SPRINGFIELD Historic Springfield and Downtown are defined by I-295 to the west, the Trout River to the north and the St. Johns River to the south and east. Downtown and Springfield offer opportunities for entertainment and the convenience of living near Jacksonville’s business district. Preservation has been a catalyst in the revitalization of Springfield, located just north of the Downtown business district. Springfield is the largest residential historic district in Florida with wide streets and blocks of architecturally distinguished houses.
Orange Park Located south of the city on the west side of the St. Johns River, Orange Park’s rural pastoral qualities and proximity to Jacksonville make it a popular residential area. Orange Park is home to St. Johns River Community College, one of the region’s major shopping malls, the Orange Park Kennel Club, country clubs, golf courses and medical facilities. Waterways are plentiful and easily accessible for boating, fishing, kayaking or jet skiing. Clay County has three other incorporated municipalities: Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights and Penney Farms. Middleburg offers rural areas for hunting and bird watching. Clay County is where the world famous legendary southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd originated from. Some of its current band members and lead singer, Johnny VanZant make Clay County their home.
The Town of Orange Park was founded in 1877 by the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company, with owners and trustees predominantly from Boston, Massachusetts. As a direct result of hard times following the Civil War, the old “McIntosh” plantation at Laurel Grove was in shambles and changed hands several times. After purchasing several thousand acres of property in the area, the Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company created a new town and called it Orange Park! The property was subdivided into building lots and small farm tracts, and the present street system was laid out which included Kingsley Avenue, River Road and Plainfield Avenue. To enhance the sale of the property that was marketed up north, many lots were planted in Orange Trees, a cash crop even in those days. Two years later, following a local referendum, the Town was incorporated by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature in 1879. A large hotel was built at the foot of Kingsley Avenue, along with a 1200 foot wooden pier which extended well into the river and could accommodate steamboats which attracted the northern tourist trade.
The Town has roots back to the 1780’s and 90’s during the second Spanish period in Florida history. At that time, Orange Park was known as “Laurel Grove”, a name that was given by Sarah and William Pengree who had received a land grant from the Spanish Governor. Following William’s death, the farm and plantation at Laurel Grove fell into disrepair until it was sold to a young energetic planter by the name of Zephaniah Kingsley. Beginning in 1803, Kingsley established his plantation at Laurel Grove and developed it into a model farming operation that flourished over the next 10 years.
As a young United States began to grow, it flexed its’ military muscle along the Spanish border which was also the Georgia frontier. By a secret act passed by the U.S. Congress, President Monroe was authorized to bring Spanish Florida under United States control. By the summer of 1813, General Matthews, using volunteers and the Georgia Militia, invaded Spanish East Florida which triggered the “Patriots Rebellion”. Reluctant at first, Kingsley and other wealthy planters along the St. Johns River joined the short lived revolt against Spanish authority. Several weeks later, Matthews and his volunteers vacated East Florida and Laurel Grove Laurel Grove was burned to the ground by Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley, wife of Zephaniah, to keep it out of the patriots hands. She then led Spanish authorities to her Mandarin home to destroy it as well.
Since those early days, Orange Park has grown dramatically and has developed as the northeastern gateway to Clay County. Commerce and business has flourished, not only in the Town, but in the greater Orange Park area as well. The Town and its government have continued to make a wide variety of improvements in an effort to meet the demands of its citizens and residents. The new Town Hall built in 1995 is a tribute to the Town of Orange Park and stands as an outstanding example of the character of residents and the farsightedness of those who call Orange Park home.
CLAY COUNTY INFO
CLAY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WEBSITE
TOWN OF ORANGE PARK WEBSITE
Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach Just north of Jacksonville on I-95 is Nassau County, where Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are located. This area is known around the globe as a resort destination with exclusive oceanfront properties and intracoastal waterfront property. Year-round residents have a variety of single family homes, apartments and condominiums to choose from at varying prices. Downtown Fernandina is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for late Victorian architecture preservation. The area features bed and breakfast inns, restaurants and recreational activities, historic Centre Street and Fort Clinch State Park. Fernandina is the home of the annual Shrimp Festival. Fernandina’s docks bring in nearly 80 percent of Florida’s sweet Atlantic white shrimp-nearly 2 million tons per day. Amelia Island Plantation hosts the annual Bausch & Lomb Championship tennis tournament. Visit the world famous Ritz-Carlton Resort, the newly 85 million dollar restyled Omni Amelia Resort or take a day cruise from downtown Fernandina.
Nassau County is a diverse place with 652 square miles of thick pine forests, quiet rivers and sandy beaches sandwiched between the banks of the meandering St. Mary’s River and the majestic Atlantic. This idyllic environment is home to over 70,000 residents and the businesses that serve them.
Extensive growth is occurring in the towns in the western area of Nassau County. Our organization is dedicated to representing the businesses in Callahan, Hilliard and Bryceville, as well as the bustling areas of Fernandina Beach and Yulee.
Rich in history and natural beauty, northeast Florida’s Amelia Island invites you to reconnect with the things that matter most and create moments that stay with you for life. With 13 miles of pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and clear, calm waters, Amelia Island and its quaint charm has been a beloved destination for generations. Her upscale resorts, world-class spas, championship golf courses and exclusive restaurants combine with a charming collection of bed and breakfasts, historic sites and captivating festivals for an experience that’s uniquely Floridian. Come experience why Amelia Island has consistently been one of Florida’s highest ranked island destinations. Consult our vacation planner for great trip ideas.
NASSAU COUNTY INFO
NASSAU COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH WEBSITE
AMELIA ISLAND WEBSITE
Jacksonville, located in Northeast Florida, has an overall average high temperature of 79° and an average low of 59°. On average Jacksonville’s warmest month is July and January is the average coldest month. The maximum average rainfall usually falls in September.