The Scoop on Moving to Jacksonville
Founded in: 1562
Population: Approx. 1.3 million people
Miami is noteworthy because of its exciting nightlife and famous residents, and Orlando is famous because of Disney World and other nearby theme-parks, but what's so great about Jacksonville that has enabled it to become the largest city in Florida? You're probably thinking that so many people move to Jacksonville because of its consistently warm weather or its thriving business climate which has created jobs in a diverse range of industries from financial services to imports. But in reality, Jacksonville is a great place to live because of its convenience, interesting local attractions and affordable, family-friendly housing options.
Although Jacksonville was voted among the top 3 Hottest Cities by Expansion Magazine in 2004, its public transportation system has not expanded to meet the city's growing popularity. Still, most people living in Jacksonville can make use of Highway 295 which circles the city almost entirely. When moving to Jacksonville, you may want to find a neighborhood that has convenient access to the places that you plan on working, visiting or going to school, so that you can avoid any potential traffic as best as possible.
Jacksonville offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, from the beach communities of Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach to ritzy vacation destinations such as Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. If you're moving to Jacksonville in the hopes of finding an affordable, family-friend neighborhood, you should have no problem finding one that suits your needs. Among the most popular communities are:
- Argyle - Located on the west side of the city, this relatively new neighborhood is popular among young families because of its affordable prices and comfortable homes.
- Arlington - A waterfront community with homes that range in price from reasonable to sky-high, this neighborhood offers convenient access to Downtown Jacksonville and scenic overlooks that must be seen to be believed.
- Clay County/Orange Park - This neighborhood has a highly-rated school system, great shopping opportunities and scenic landscapes.
- Mandarin - If you're looking for a neighborhood with some of the best public and private schools in Jacksonville, this may be the community for you. Home prices may be higher in Mandarin than they are in other areas, but it's definitely worth a look if you're interested in moving to Jacksonville with a family, as in addition to a celebrated school system, the area has the largest number of parks in Jacksonville.
- Southside - Southside offers a range of homes from single-family units to condos and townhouses, making it ideal for people with all preferences and budgets. Architectural style varies greatly from home to home which adds interest to the neighborhood. Southside offers convenient access to Jacksonville's business areas, shopping, golf courses and parks.
Finally, it's worthwhile to note that while Jacksonville may not be close to theme parks like San Diego or Los Angeles are, it offers numerous local attractions that are noteworthy (and extremely affordable!). Huguenot Memorial Park has extremely cheap admission fees ($1 per person, or $3 for a car of up to 6 people). The park offers a bird observatory, a recreational beach, picnic areas, surfing areas, swimming and fishing. Riverwalk offers 1.2 miles of shops, museums and eateries, each with a gorgeous view of the St. Johns River. Friendship Park and Fountain is one of the world's tallest fountains, with is eye-catching during the day and truly breathtaking at night.
Exploring your options for housing and recreational activities before you move to Jacksonville will give you a good idea of what to expect upon your arrival, and will increase your excitement about living in Jacksonville. But even if you don't have time for a trip in advance, this guide should give you some things to look forward to. Enjoy living in Jacksonville!