Why We Love Living in Jacksonville

August 7, 2015

best things about JacksonvilleLiving in Jacksonville, and working here, is a dream come true for many people. And while others would say “Well, of course, it’s the Sunshine State, what’s not to love,” the reality is that there are many cities and towns in Florida to choose from and most of them do not offer the advantages of Jacksonville, or as locals refer to it, Jax. To try and get an idea of what is truly appealing about the biggest city in Northeast Florida, I asked my colleagues. Here is our list of the best things about working and living in Jacksonville.

  1. Beaches – True, it’s a given, any coastal Florida community is going to have the beach as a major draw, but notice I used the word beaches – plural. That’s because Jacksonville has several beaches, each with their own personality, and residents tend to have their favorites, because each really does offer something different. The beaches here can offer you: traditional beach fun of soaking up the sun and swimming, fishing, surfing, shark tooth collecting, parasailing, kayaking, and even camping beside the beach. We also have a drive-on beach for the ultimate easy day at the beach.
  2. Weather – Yes, again another advantage that almost goes without saying. But we are more than 12 months of sunshine. Jacksonville does get significantly cooler in the winter than much of Florida, which most residents truly appreciate. Yet we don’t get snow, so no worries about all that comes with dealing with the white stuff. What’s more, while Florida is perceived as being a high risk hurricane target, Northeast Florida has a statistically low chance of being hit by one. In fact, it’s been more than 50 years since a hurricane directly hit here.
  3. Sports – Jacksonville has a great variety of sports teams, including professional football, baseball, soccer and more. The baseball grounds, arena and Everbank stadium, found in downtown Jacksonville, are all well-built, modern venues. We are also home to the PGA Tour.
  4. Outdoor Activities – The impressive park system (111,000 acres in total) in Jacksonville and the variety of scenic locations throughout Northeast Florida offer a variety of exciting outdoor activities year-round. Residents enjoy mountain biking on the beach at Hanna Park; kayaking in the St. John’s River, as well as the creeks and tributaries that wind throughout the city; and so much more.
  5. Distinct Areas– Jacksonville is rich in history and has neighborhoods throughout the city with their own distinct culture and feel. The areas of Riverside/Avondale, Five Points and San Marco are particularly appealing with their own nightlife, style and appeal. These areas regularly appear in nationwide lists of outstanding neighborhoods. The beaches area offers a laid back beach feel. Areas like Springfield and downtown are also creating their own distinct identities.
  6. Culture – Jacksonville is a hub of culture in this area, with multiple venues playing host to music performers of all genres, festivals, plays, performances and more. The Art Walk, Riverside Arts Market and multiple art museums here ensure that our residents can enjoy the best in culture. There are also impressive historic sites, including forts, plantations and all that the nation’s oldest city – St. Augustine – has to offer within a one-hour drive.
  7. Zoo – Located on the St.Johns River, the Jacksonville Zoo is one of the biggest and most impressive zoos in the country. Home to hundreds of animals, big and small, exotic and domestic, the zoo is constantly growing and regularly offers guest exhibits to keep visitors coming back.
  8. Schools – The Duval County School Board oversees the impressively vast public school system in Jacksonville. In addition to traditional schools, it offers a highly coveted magnet program with schools that feature everything from the arts to technology, language, international business and more. Private schools – both secular and non-secular, charter schools, and a rich homeschooling network ensure that the families here can easily find a perfect fit in education for their children. An array of colleges and universities located here make post-secondary education easily accessible for all.
  9. Shopping – Continual growth and development means a constant influx of new stores. Jacksonville offers some of the best shopping in the area with high-end stores primarily located in the St. John’s Town Center, and major retailers sprinkled throughout the city. Outlet lovers enjoy the proximity to two outlet malls in St. Augustine, a mere half-hour away.
  10. Business – The Jacksonville Business scene is vibrant, featuring innovative companies with incredible growth. There is an enormous passion here for start-ups, as evidenced by the fact that we are host to the largest crowdfunding festival in the world – OneSpark. The entrepreneurship bug has caught and spread quickly here, making it a great place to work and do business.
  11. Proximity to Major Destinations – One cannot tout the advantages of Jacksonville without mentioning its proximity to major tourist destinations. With Orlando only two and a half hours away, it makes it easy to enjoy Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and more. In fact, with an international airport and a cruise port here, anywhere you want to go is at hand.
  12. Affordable Cost of Living – With advantages such as these, you would expect Jacksonville to be a costly area in which to live. However, this is not the case. The cost of living in this city is significantly lower than comparable cities of its size. Housing prices are very low and apartment rental cost is less than two-thirds the national average. Plus did we mention that Florida residents don’t pay state income tax, a major advantage over most places in the nation.

This list could go on and on, but we’ve kept it to just the absolute best things. For the young professional, growing families, or even those on the cusp of retirement, Jacksonville is a great place to live and work. The quality of life simply can’t be beat.

Jacksonville Beach