Jacksonville or JAX?
"JAX" may be the official abbreviation for the city's international airport but it has also been embraced by locals as the city's nickname, much like "LA" or "NYC." Therefore, if you ask people how to get to JAX, don't be surprised if they say that you're already here! After all, the locals refer to the airport as JIA, not JAX. And, on this same note, if you hear someone refer to "Jax Beach," they are really talking about Jacksonville Beach.
Kona - the oldest skateboard park in the U.S.
While Jacksonville's abundant coastline gives surfers a lot to gloat about, the city's skateboarding community also has a reason to be proud. That's because Jacksonville is home to Kona, which now reigns as the oldest operating skateboard park in the country. Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who occasionally makes an appearance at Kona, even included the park in one of his popular video games. The park is located in a neighborhood southwest of Regency Square Mall in the Arlington area of town.
Best Crabcakes this side of Baltimore!
Known for it's casual family style atmosphere, Barbara Jean's is always good, always dependable and has a great view (when the boats are running) of the Intracoastal. Don't dress up - it's definitely low-key. The crabcakes are some of the best I've ever had and the she-crab soup is amazing (with a kick!). Landlubbers love the comfort food - fried fish. pot roast, and meatloaf. Small but adequate wine list and the kids can howl and no one will notice - they've also got their own menu at a good price for the quantity. Ask your hotel concierge for directions - it's back a few miles off A1A and the chic part of Ponte Vedra, but worth the drive. Crab cakes, crab cakes, crab cakes - did I mention the crab cakes?
San Marco Square: Where the trendy people go
San Marco Square, an artsy shopping, dining and entertainment district just south of downtown, is one of Jacksonville's trendiest destinations. Its historic Italian influenced architecture stretches along the Y-shaped intersection of Atlantic and San Marco Boulevards just west of Hendricks. At the center of the Square, a giant statue of three lions watches over Bails Park and its classic white bandstand.
In the Square you can stroll through art galleries, boutiques, independent bookstores and upscale gift shops while trying to decide if you want to dine in class (e.g.: at a two-story Thai bistro and live music club, a sushi bar, an eclectic sidewalk cafe with absolutely fabulous desserts or at an elegant wine grotto) or if you would rather enjoy cheaper treats (e.g.: at a casual, pet-friendly sidewalk pizza parlor, a Chicago-style bar & grill or at a popular local hot subs chain). There's even a chocolate boutique to drool over. Don?t forget to enjoy the latest art film or first run release showing at the old-fashioned art deco San Marco Theatre as well. If live performances are more to your liking, catch the latest production of Florida?s longest running community theatre at the playhouse.
Further exploration of San Marco will uncover numerous other fine dining and trendy casual restaurants, along with nightclubs and day spas. The streets south of the Square are lined with stately old estates and riverfront mansions certainly worth a look. Peterbrooke Chocolates also offers tours of their chocolate factory located on San Marco Ave.
San Marco Square gets very busy during the lunch hour, when executives and yuppies hop over from downtown to grab a bite, and again when they return for a happy hour or dinner. Behind the shops and restaurants lining Atlantic Blvd. is a large parking lot -- good to know in case all of the on-street parking spaces are taken. A free trolley also shuttles people back and forth between downtown and San Marco Square during the day.
~ Deland ~
If your an active outdoor person and love nature then this is the place to visit where you can go hunting and fishing in the lakes and rivers. There are opportunities for water skiing, boating and scuba diving. If your not into water sports then there is golf, tennis and skydiving. For the bird enthusiast there are opportunities to hike around the nature trails.
Shopping is a delight in this small town where they have recently refurbished and modernised the area. Lots of small local shops offering goods ranging from baked goods to craft items.
DeLand is located in Volusia County southwest of Daytona Beach along Highway 92 near Lake Woodruff. PO Box 629, 336 N.Woodland Blvd, DeLand FL 32720
We stayed in Deland for 3 days driving out to various other localities to do our siteseeing.