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Locals’ Guide to Jacksonville

Every part of Florida’s extensive coastline has its own personality. Along the Sunshine State’s First Coast, including the Jacksonville metro area, that personality is a uniquely relaxed one. This city on the sea is a perfect blend of southern charm and big-city bustle. It’s not only a top vacation destination, residents have long known about the city’s appeal too; new homes in Jacksonville are filling as quickly as they’re being built.

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When you’re ready to see a different side of Florida beyond Miami’s nightlife and the Gulf Coast’s sugar-sand beaches, Jacksonville has a wealth of hidden delights to sample. Jacksonville residents recommend these highlights for visitors and locals alike.

Where to Eat

If you’re looking for a taste of the real Jacksonville, the Metro Diner makes a wonderful place to start the day. The down-to-earth diner’s pancakes are even more famous after being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but locals always knew the restaurant served up something special to its patrons. With its rustic charm, generous portions and outstanding southern food, it’s an experience rather than just a meal.


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After enjoying breakfast at the Metro Diner, you may not need lunch for some time; when you do, you might enjoy a relatively new addition to the Jacksonville dining scene, the Aardwolf Brewing Company. A combination microbrewery and grill, Aardwolf takes a fresh approach to classic pub food and pairs it with some of the country’s best craft beers.

Locals applaud one of the city’s most unusual restaurants, Clark’s Fish Camp. While most of the fish camps dotting the coast have their own delicious take on southern comfort food, Clark’s puts a unique twist on the theme with a special Call of the Wild menu featuring antelope, ostrich and other exotic entrees. If you aren’t sure you’re in the mood for alligator, Clark’s also features outstanding local seafood and beef.

Places to Play

Spread out along the Atlantic coast, Jacksonville’s broad beach is ideal for swimming, sandcastles and daydreaming. Watercraft rentals and windsurfing give active vacationers something exciting to do at the beach. Whether you charter a boat for blue-water fishing off the coast or schedule a backwater fishing adventure in one of the many waterways off the St. Johns River, you can enjoy some of Florida’s best fishing.

College football is a way of life in Jacksonville. The annual Gator Bowl and the Florida-Georgia game with the Florida Gators’ nearby rivals, the Georgia Bulldogs, are always hot tickets for Jacksonville residents and visitors. For NFL fans, tickets to Jacksonville Jaguars games are usually available, but you may want to make reservations at local restaurants well in advance for game days, as locals often like to dine out while celebrating a victory.

From the Alhambra Dinner Theater to country concerts at The Landing in the heart of downtown, live entertainment in Jacksonville is everywhere. If you prefer visual arts to performing arts, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is worth a visit. The family-friendly museum’s eclectic mix of art spans centuries with its collections of Native American art and modern pieces. You may want to leave time to visit the Museum of Science and History too. The two museums are close enough together that you can probably fit them into a single busy day.

Places to Live

Jacksonville is more than just beautiful beaches. Each neighborhood within the city of nearly 1.4 million people has its own style. Varied neighborhoods mean that new homes in Florida share streets with historic buildings that are among the oldest in the state. Whether you enjoy a quaint and quiet neighborhood rich in history or an ultra-modern metropolis, Jacksonville has the neighborhood for you.

When the first European settlers put down roots in Jacksonville, they built along the St. Johns River. Today, that neighborhood is Riverside. Although some historic buildings were lost in 1901 to a large fire that swept through the area, Riverside and Avondale residents have carefully preserved the homes and offices that were spared.

Nowhere in Florida is farther than 90 miles from a coast, but only the First Coast has such a long and colorful history. Jacksonville is a study in contrasts; you can start your day in an ultra-modern hotel, spend your afternoon enjoying the region’s timeless natural beauty and end your evening with the latest in live music. No wonder it’s one of Florida’s most rapidly growing cities.

Keywords/Byline: new homes in Jacksonville, New Homes in Florida

Byline: Kate Reusink, on behalf of Richmond American Homes


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