Jacksonville is Florida's largest city, and the sprawling metropolitan area has a wide variety of attractions that makes it an ideal base for travelers to The Sunshine State. From the musical delights of the country's second-largest jazz festival, to year-round lounging on beautiful sandy beaches, Jacksonville has many compelling reasons for guests to pay a visit. This vibrant, modern city is home to a healthy blend of permanent entertainment venues and regular special events.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens contain thousands of animal and plant species from around the world. The zoo features the continent's largest jaguar exhibit and the largest zoo aviary. One of the most popular exhibits is a wetland habitat that features many of Florida's native creatures, including animals that no longer reside in their natural wetland environments.
Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach offer 22 miles of gorgeous sandy stretches. You can swim in the clear blue water of the Atlantic, or just relax with a good book. Other waterfront attractions include water sports and wildlife tours. This area is also home to the Adventure Landing theme park and the Shipwreck Island Waterpark.
On the first Wednesday of each month, the Art Walk proudly displays the contributions of the local creative community. The monthly event also features food, live music and an outdoor market. The event spans several blocks of Downtown Jacksonville.
Downtown Jacksonville hotels offer luxury and convenient access to many of the city's most popular attractions. Downtown accommodations can be more expensive than some other areas of the city, but many of the hotels offer a broader selection of modern amenities.
The Jacksonville beaches are home to a wide selection of accommodations. Charming bed and breakfast spots are available for guests who are seeking peace and quiet. Many hotels in the area offer direct beach access and stunning views of the ocean.
Riverside and Avondale are two of Jacksonville's historic districts. Residential structures dominate the area, but thriving commercial districts and elegant accommodations are also present. Many guests flock to Riverside and Avondale to enjoy the peaceful settings and the diverse architectural styles.
The Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) serves its namesake city. Many of the nation's top airlines connect the airport to popular domestic destinations. The Jacksonville Airport Hotel and the Microtel Inn and Suites are located on the airport property. Other hotels in the area include Jacksonville Plaza Hotel and Suites, and Hyatt Place Jacksonville Airport.
The summer months are perfect for beach fun in the sun, but that perfection will draw a very large crowd. Jacksonville is busy during the summer months, and hotels will charge high seasonal rates. The city is surprisingly cold during the winter months, so planning for outdoor activities can be tricky during that time. If all your plans feature indoor venues, you can find great hotel rates during the winter season.
The best times to stay in Jacksonville fall between the peak season and the winter slump. March, April and May offer mild temperatures and discounted hotel rates. Cool temperatures will occasionally occur during the spring months, so planning a few activities that do not revolve around the beach is advisable. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival will draw crowds in May, but most other venues will be relatively quiet. September and October feature warm days and cool evenings. The summer rush will be over, so visitors can enjoy the beaches and other attractions without battling the crowds or the travel season hotel prices.