If your destination is Florida’s Ponte Vedra beach, Amelia Island or perhaps a Carnival cruise, you may find yourself using Jacksonville as a jumping off point. And although this sprawling city doesn’t boast theme parks, beaches that you find in Miami, or picturesque Key West architecture, it offers plenty to see and do. Here’s a little about Jacksonville FL if you are planning a visit.

What to do in jacksonville

If culture is your thing, the area is home to several excellent museums, including one showcasing contemporary art and a collection that’s considered one of the best in the southeast, the Cummer Museum of Art and its gardens. The Kingsley Plantation is an important historic site, while if you are visiting with children, the Museum of Science and History and the Jacksonville Zoo are not to be missed.

History of Jacksonville

During the 18th and 19th centuries this area was an important center for agriculture, and Jacksonville is also known for being the country’s first year round settlement for Native Americans. During recent years, the city has been on a definite rise, attracting not only new business, but tourists who come here for the growing art scene, its unique Southern charm and the picturesque Tudor homes of downtown. Hotel rates tend to be less here than in more established tourist destinations, although most hotels are operated by the well known chains. And Jacksonville can also be less crowded than other Florida hotspots.

Jacksonville Florida Weather

If you like fewer crowds and lower prices as well as warmer – but not too hot – weather, the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to November are perfect times to visit. Expect to experience crowded beaches and of course high temperatures if you come to Florida in June, July or August. Prices tend to drop even further if you visit during the winter months when temperatures hover in the 40s. And you may just have the beach to yourself. Visiting Jacksonville during the cooler weather is the best time to snag a travel deal.

Around JAX

If you are visiting the beach communities of Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and Amelia Island, it’s about a 30 mile trip from downtown. And the city itself covers about 840 square miles, making a car an ideal way of getting around. JAX (Jacksonville Airport ) is about 15 miles north of the city and is home to several of the well known car rental companies. Taxis will also take you to the beach resorts if you don’t want to tackle the highway traffic yourself.