Jacksonville is a big city that's both beach and well, big city. Edged on the east side by the Atlantic Ocean, spliced down the middle by the St. John River and shaped by a further clutch of meandering waterways, Jacksonville is a city defined by wet stuff, from its waterfront to its busy naval base. Though there's a lot about downtown Jacksonville that's business as usual there is also a respectable range of cultural sights on hand as well as a clutch of state parks which cumulatively offer visitors a pleasantly varied prospectus.
Perched on the St. John's shore is Jacksonville Landing, where restaurants and shops greet visitors strolling through the heart of town and live music regularly draws an evening crowd. Within easy reach of the city center are cultural attractions like the Museum of Science and History, the Karpeles Manuscript Museum and the Cummer Museum of Art, the latter of note for its varied exhibit space and peaceful gardens. Jacksonville's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) isn't overly large, but it does boast a collection of works by well name 20th-century artists as well as a broad selection of changing exhibits.
Tucked away on a barrier island between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean is Jacksonville Beach. It's the land of the beach bum -- a paradise for beachcombers, shell collectors, and anyone seeking solace from the buzz of city life. Find in the general area a municipal 18-hole green and Adventure Landing, which appeals particularly to the younger set with its miniature golf, batting cage and fun-packed water park.
With both river and ocean access, fishing is easily the number one "sport" in this East Coast city. There are numerous fishing holes, but one of the more exotic ones is Pablo Creek, a little-known tributary on the west end of the Intracoastal Waterway where Largemouth bass and redfish live in the brackish waters. Along the edges of its winding path grows towering bulrush grasses, home to many forms of wildlife including snakes, alligators, birds and manatees.Though Jacksonville presents a fairly traditional city-face at first glance, closer inspection reveals that this easily accessible city is also a hop-skip from other more rural attractions. Jacksonville is about 90 miles from Daytona Beach.