Jacksonville is situated along northeast Florida’s coast and the St. Johns River. As the largest city in area in the continental United States, the “First Coast” is known for its diverse areas, outdoor attractions, mild climate, and business friendly environment. It is centrally located about 25 miles south of the Georgia line and 340 miles north of Miami, making its proximity to major cities close for easy travelling. Jacksonville’s navigable river also makes it one of the largest commercial ports in Florida. Jacksonville is the hottest city people are moving to in 2017. According to Trulia, Jacksonville has of the healthiest markets for employment opportunities in the state. Combined with its high affordability and more inbound home searches than outbound home searches, Jacksonville a premiere destination.
Jacksonville’s earliest settlements date back to 2500 BC. The Timucua, the largest indigenous group of Native American people in North Central Florida, were the first to occupy the area. In 1564, the French established the colony of Fort Caroline at the mouth of the St. Johns River, becoming one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States. Shortly after, Fort Caroline was taken by Spain to help solidify their presence in St. Augustine. In 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain, Jacksonville was born. Jacksonville is named after the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.
Jacksonville is home to multiple military facilities, and with Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay nearby, it is the third largest military presence in the country. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, is a multi-mission base hosting more than 100 tenant commands. One of the more interesting aspects of the base is the number of changes it has undergone through the years. During World War II, NAS Jax was commissioned before it was even completed. It was quickly developed into what amounts to a small town now, containing schools, a hospital, restaurants, churches, boat ramps, as well as gyms and a golf course. Naval Station Mayport is home to a busy seaport as well as an air facility. It’s operational composition is unique, with a busy harbor capable of accommodating 34 ships and an 8,000-foot runway capable of handling most any aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory. Naval Station Mayport is also home to the Navy’s 4th Fleet. Jacksonville is a transient city that accommodates all military persons.
Jacksonville is also home to over 15 reputable hospitals, two of which hold the #1 and #4 spots in U.S. News and World Report‘s best-hospital rankings in Florida. Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is a 249-bed general medical and surgical facility with 12,355 admissions in the most recent year reported. UF Health at Jacksonville is an academic health center with a passion to explore, discover and innovate. It currently has more than 550 active studies and protocols being conducted by University of Florida faculty in Jacksonville. Their clinical trials and research studies allow for advances in medicine, new treatment identification, and safe and effective care for patients. Whether you are an experienced doctor, training in the medical professional, or potential patient, Jacksonville caters to the entire medical spectrum.
With a growing population, strong economy, diverse cultural and recreational opportunities and abundant natural resources, Jacksonville continues to distinguish itself as one of the nation’s most dynamic and progressive cities. One of Jacksonville’s many natural assets is its urban park systems. With over 80,000 acres, including 10 state and national parks, its preserved lands, marshes, and woods reveal Jacksonville’s quality of life. Beautiful beaches and waterways are a delight for kayaking, surfing, and boating enthusiasts. Swimming and surfing are popular at nearby barrier island beaches such as Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach.
Jacksonville boasts championship golf courses including Ponte Vedra Beach’s Tournament Player Club at Sawgrass, headquarters of the PGA Tour and annual host of The Players Championship. The TPC Sawgrass is one of the most recognizable and difficult courses in the world. Jacksonville also boasts a sports and entertainment complex downtown and a myriad of special events that this sports-loving city hosts each year. Home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the city welcomed its first Super Bowl in 2005. The Jaguars play Downtown at the Sports Complex, as does the city’s minor league teams including: 4-time ABA National Champions the Jacksonville Giants (basketball),the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (baseball), the Jacksonville IceMen (hockey), and the Jacksonville Sharks (arena football).
With over 850,000 residents in its limits, Jacksonville is a rapidly growing metropolitan city. As a regional business center, it is home to many corporate expansions and relocations. These businesses include: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, FIS, Landstar System, Ameris Bancorp, Atlantic Coast Financial, Black Knight Financial Services, EverBank, Rayonier Advanced Materials, Regency Centers, Stein Mart, Web.com, Fanatics, Gate Petroleum, Haskell Company, Venus, Interline Brands, Sally Corporation, and Southeastern Grocers. The city is a leading distribution center, with a transportation network embracing port and air cargo facilities as well as rail and trucking routes.
Jacksonville is increasing its reputation as a retail destination. The St. Johns Town Center is an upscale outdoor mecca that features 150 fashion retailers some of which include Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, and Apple. The Town Center also satiates diverse palates with numerous local and national restaurants. If the Town Center doesn’t satisfy your fashionista and foodie desires, Jacksonville is also home to The Avenues and the River City Marketplace. If you’re looking for a bargain, just 30 minutes away from Jacksonville’s center, the St. Augustine Premium Outlets boasts big names such as Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Kate Spade New York at reasonable prices.
Proof of Jacksonville’s development, growth, and attractiveness are exemplified in the city’s upcoming business additions and shopping and entertainment centers. Ikea and Amazon have recently solidified their presence and are expected to open for business towards the end of 2017. Redevelopment of Jacksonville’s shipyards are currently under negotiations. Jacksonville’s latest tourism data confirms the city is becoming a popular destination by outperforming the growth of every other Florida city and setting new records for the local tourism industry.
From its low tax burden to high quality of life, Jacksonville soars above other cities in side-by-side comparisons. Jacksonville has been highly ranked by numerous independent organizations and publications.
Here is just a sample of Jacksonville’s many rankings and accolades: