You'll find the best of two worlds in Jacksonville, a metropolitan giant with urban amenities that's bordered to the east by miles of wide Atlantic beaches. This busy city is a magnet for those who want big-city thrills, such as greyhound racing, sporting events, and a spirited night life. The Jacksonville Landing is a bonanza of shopping, dining, and entertainment from morning 'til evening.
Nearby is the 1.2 mile (2 km) Riverwalk where you can take in the beauty of the river and catch a performance at an entertainment pavilion. The 61- acre Jacksonville Zoo and Anheuser-Busch Brewery are worthy of a tour. Minutes away from this bustling activity, Jacksonville Beach beckons those who seek the simpler pleasures of swimming, surf- casting, boating and off-shore fishing.
To the north, Amelia Island has a flavor more like its Carolina cousins than Florida -- both in climate and hospitality. Fernandina Beach, its only town, exudes pure charm. Here you'll count over 450 ornate Victorian structures built before 1927. Miles of beaches, sand dunes and marshes add to the unique character of Amelia Island.
To the west of Jacksonville, the rich rural flavor of Clay County contrasts sharply with the city's urban demeanor. Its beautiful lakes and rustic wooded terrain are little known to outsiders.
And to the south is St. Augustine, America's oldest permanently settled European city.
Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Commerce