Named after General (later President) Andrew Jackson in 1822, Jacksonville has grown from a small 16th century settlement to become the 15th largest city in the USA. There are 21 public golf courses, two Riverwalks, a terrific zoo, four forts, 20 miles of soft white sandy beaches and many historical sites in the area.
Home to many "firsts" in Florida (bridges, roads, hotels, etc.), Jacksonville is steeped in history, and offers much of interest to the history buff. The Buccaneer Trail is an interesting case in point. Starting to the north in charming Amelia Island, you can tour a 50 block enclave of victorian homes, antique shops and restaurants then head south to the Kingsley Plantation, the oldest free-standing antebellum home in Florida,
For sports enthusiasts the options are endless, with top-quality tennis and golf facilities that befit the headquarters of the PGA and ATP tours. Bikes are available to rent by the hor, day or week. Fishing excursions are plentiful, and inshore fishing is plentiful.
Shopping and entertainment can be found at Jacksonville Landing, a riverfront festival marketplace on the St John's river, while several outlet malls in the area offer exciting discounts on designer merchandise.
Amelia Island , 30 miles to the north, is only 2.5 miles wide but offers 13 miles of some of the world's most scenic beaches, with spectacular golf and recreation facilities. The historic district is extemely picturesque, as is nearby Fernandina Beach, while Fort Clinch State Park shows what life was like during the civil war.
Cultural events are plentiful, and the Cummer Museum hosts many important shows in addition to its own extensive collection of American and Old Master paintings. Music also abounds, with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra , Broadway Shows and visiting dance troupes.