New York City and other urban centers may have larger populations than Jacksonville, Florida, but when it comes to sheer size, we are the first in the country. Jacksonville’s large footprint has naturally spawned a number of neighborhoods, each with a different flavor. Several areas outside of the city proper still have a connection with Jacksonville, but they are known for their own unique qualities. From oceanfront to inland neighborhoods, Jacksonville is surrounded by a large variety of close-knit, diverse communities, each with its own cultural identity.
The Beach Communities
As you would guess, these small towns are located right on the Atlantic Ocean and offer instant access to boating, fishing, and other water sports. Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach all combine to make up one general community near the Mayport Naval Station. They boast excellent public schools, exciting nightlife, and the expected focus on outdoor activities. Owing to the temperate climate, water activities, camping, hiking, biking, and tennis are popular pastimes, as are jogging and cycling.
The neighborhood of San Marco is slightly outside of the city center, perched on the banks of the St. Johns river. This quaint and tranquil community is known for its artistic feeling and resemblance to classic Italian cities. The centerpiece of the town is a fountain in the middle of the town square which was modeled after the fountain in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The European architecture and elegant design have made the San Marco neighborhood one of the most desired in the entire Jacksonville area. Brick-paved roads lead to trendy stores and chic restaurants in the neighborhood center; the schools are among the best in the area; and well-known medical facilities are gathered here.
Those who treasure a quiet life, safe neighborhoods, and excellent schools flock to the Mandarin area. This neighborhood is perhaps best known as the home of American abolitionist and celebrated author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote about the area in great detail in her book, Palmetto Leaves. Situated in the southeasternmost part of Duval County, Mandarin is a mecca for history buffs, with its antique post office and the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society. The entire area has excellent public and private schools and several neighborhood parks and marinas. Mandarin boasts more waterfront views than any other neighborhood in the Jacksonville area, so lovely scenery will be the backdrop to almost any home you care to occupy.