Lakes of grass
Wetland areas can be found all throughout Jacksonville, particularly near the Intracoastal Waterway, the St. Johns River and in the Timucuan Preserve. Wetlands are easily identifiable as flat areas bordering bodies of water that are dotted with blades of green and brown sawgrass. Sawgrass is so common here it even inspired the name of the Jacksonville's famous golf course where the Tournament Players Championship is played each year.
Watch the winter whale migration at the beach
In the winter time those with a sharp eye may spot whales migrating just off the shores of Jacksonville's beaches. Last winter one whale made local headlines when it took a wrong turn and found itself swimming in the St. Johns River. Wildlife authorities kept patrol until the whale safely found its way back out to sea.
I liked their food and came here a couple of times. This is a cafeteria style diner so you go to the buffet bar and serve yourself. I loved their red velvet cake, most of their desserts, macaroni and cheese, corn bread, sweet tea and etc. I just don't remember the rest right now.
beaches history museum
for those interested in architecture and history the beaches history museum is a good first stop when visiting jacksonville beach. the museum has a collection of relics and photographs of the early history of jacksonville's beaches. see the attached web site for more information.
"Jacksonville is huge"
Jacksonville, my adopted city, is a huge, sprawling place (largest in terms of land size in the US) that only in the last ten years or so (actually more like the last two!) has really begun to develop a sense of itself. Its biggest claim to fame used to be the awful smell from its nearby paper plants (thankfully before my time here), but those plants have now been closed and things are much improved. The city is putting a lot of effort into revitalizing its downtown--by no means is it a hotspot yet, but there are encouraging signs, with the conversion of old office buildings into lofts and the opening of new eateries etc. As a Washington DC native, and a transplant from Manhattan, I've grown to appreciate being part of a young city that still has so many of its best years ahead of it.
Jacksonville isn't yet a destination spot--and probably won't ever be--(although we are hosting the Super Bowl in 2005--shocking). However, if you find yourself passing through, it's worth a stop, especially in the Beaches area, and the older historic neighborhoods of Avondale, Riverside, and San Marco. Jacksonville's rhythms are dictated by the enormous and beautiful river that flows through it; the St John's River is one of only two northward-flowing rivers in the US, and is the artery by which much of Florida was discovered. As I get time, I'll highlight some worthy stops.