With the Atlantic Ocean, St. Johns River, Intracoastal Waterway, numerours tributaries, and acres of wetlands, Jacksonville is most certainly an aquatic city. As a result, the area has more than 200 bridges of all sizes. Most notably, however, are the seven iconic bridges that cross the St. Johns River and serve as symbols of our great city. In fact, the official logo for Super Bowl XXXIX, which was held in Jacksonville in February 2005, even featured a bridge. Here is a brief run down of the big seven by their most commonly called names, as well as a listing of the causeway bridges that cross the Intracoastal Waterway to link the beaches to the mainland.
ST. JOHNS RIVER (from north to south):
1. Dames Point Bridge (6 lanes)
2. Matthews Bridge (4 lanes)
3. Hart Bridge (4 lanes)
4. Main Street Bridge (4 lanes, draw bridge)
5. Acosta Bridge (6 lanes)
6. Fuller Warren Bridge (I-95, 8 lanes)
7. Buckman Bridge (I-295, 8 lanes)
INTRACOASTAL (from north to south):
1. Heckscher Drive (2 lanes, draw bridge)
2. Wonderwood Connector (4 lanes)
3. Atlantic Blvd. (6 lanes)
4. Beach Blvd. (4 lanes, draw bridge)
5. Butler Blvd. (4 lanes)
6. Palm Valley Rd. (4 lanes, just S of Jax)
Numerous celebrities either live in, used to live in or are from the Jacksonville area. Here is a list of some of the notable names tied to Jacksonville:
Yellowcard, Limp Bizkit, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mase, Tim McGraw, Ray Charles, The Allman Brothers Band, .38 Special, Molly Hatchet, Slim Whitman, 95 South, Puddle of Mudd
David Hasselhoff, Oliver Hardy, Jay Thomas, Bill Murray (regular tourist)
Kim Alexis, Leeanza Cornett (former Miss America), the winner of Tyra Banks' supermodel search
Pat Summeral, numerous professional football, golf and tennis stars, "Bullet" Bob Hayes, Artis Gilmore
Stephen Crane, Harriett Beecher Stowe, James Weldon Johnson, John Grisham (regular tourist)
ALSO OF NOTE:
While never a resident, Elvis Presley performed his first on-stage concert at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre. He had a regular suite at the Hilton Downtown, which still exists as the "Elvis Suite"
Jacksonville's Raines High School has been a prolific supplier of NFL talent. Numerous players in the NFL today are graduates of this school.
Favorite thing: In 2003, Jacksonville joined the select group of U.S. cities offering regularly scheduled cruises to the Caribbean on major cruiselines. Both Carnival and Celebrity offer a variety of cruise packages from Jacksonville ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks. Check their web sites to learn how you can turn your Jacksonville vacation into a Jacksonville and the Caribbean vacation!
The entire Atlantic and Gulf shoreline of Florida is divided into seven "coasts," each with its own nickname that is indicative of the area. The "First Coast" is, essentially another name for Greater Jacksonville as it refers to the northeastern stretch of beaches that run from Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, down through Flagler Beach, located a little over an hour south of Jacksonville. This area is called the First Coast because a.) it is historically the first coast discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, b.) it is the first coast you reach when entering Florida from the north, and c.) some people argue that it is the state's best coast. Regardless of how you interpret the name, the First Coast is certainly a great place to be!
Jacksonville, of course, is the hub, but I have also created pages for 4 other cities located in the First Coast: Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, and Flagler Beach. Amelia Island and St. Augustine are considered part of the Jacksonville Metropolitan Area while Palm Coast and Flagler Beach are in small but rapidly growing Flagler County to the south.
The Greater Jacksonville Metropolitan Area covers four counties in the northeastern corner of Florida. As this destination is very rich in its tourism offerings I have split my coverage of metro Jax into three separate destination pages as follows:
includes the communities of atlantic beach, jacksonville, jacksonville beach, neptune beach, orange park and ponte vedra beach
AMELIA ISLAND (45 minutes north of downtown)
includes the communities of amelia island and fernandina beach
SAINT AUGUSTINE (45 minutes south of downtown)
includes the communities of crescent beach, saint augustine, saint augustine beach, vilano beach and world golf village
Be sure to visit all three pages and their accompanying tips to get the full story on what to see and do when visiting the Jacksonville area.
Favorite thing: This is a post card I picked up. If you visit the brewery, don't forget your ID. I forgot mine and they wouldn't let me taste any of the beer.
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