Southern Charm, Big City Amenities and Outdoor Adventure: Jacksonville, Florida Offers It All
If you’ve accepted a healthcare travel assignment in Jacksonville, Florida, or are thinking about doing so, you may be wondering what you’ll have to do during your off-time. This city that’s the largest by area in the continental U.S., stretching all the way from the St. Johns River to the Atlantic, boasts a lively riverside downtown, thriving arts scene, a host of outstanding restaurants and easy access to a spectacular coastline with beautiful white sand beaches. It offers the ideal combination, with its Southern charms, big city amenities and the opportunity for outdoor adventure.
Stroll the Southbank Riverwalk
The quarter-mile-long boardwalk that winds alongside the St. Johns River is an ideal place to unwind at the end of the day on your travel healthcare assignment. Enjoy a peaceful stroll, or quiet contemplation on a bench, where you can soak up the scene and a picturesque view. Locals and visitors alike also come here to take advantage of the myriad of dining options that range from casual cafes to upscale eateries, along with a smattering of bars and lounges for sipping cocktails.
Shop the Riverside Arts Market
This lively weekend market is a place where artists, farmers and other vendors sell their wares, including a wealth of handcrafted items, fresh produce and homemade foods like jam. You may even be able to find the perfect item to personalize your temporary abode while you’re working on your Jacksonville travel job. While you shop you can listen to live music, or stop and take a break to check out the talented performers which include everything from fire-eaters to belly dancers and barbershop quartets. It’s a great place for lunch too, with all sorts of food trucks and venders offering a wide range of regional and international cuisine.
Catch a Show at the Historic Florida Theatre
The Florida Theatre opened its doors back in 1927 during the Art Deco era. It’s one of just four movie palaces still standing from the period and is the premier spot for arts and culture in the city. The magnificent building is worth visiting itself, with its extravagant Italian-, Spanish- and French-style décor, but it’s even better for catching a show, which includes everything from live concerts to ballet and movies.
Wander Through the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
One of the top art museums in Florida, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens overlooks the St. Johns River and hosts more than 6,000 works of art, dating all the way back to 2,100 B.C. through the present, making it an ideal place for an art lover to spend an afternoon. It also boasts two-and-a-half acres of impeccably manicured gardens, some that were planted around the turn-of-the-century and were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The highlight is the alluring Cummer oak tree, one of the oldest in the city estimated to be between 175 and 200 years old with a canopy that spans over 150 feet.
Take a Hike in the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
The arboretum is a true hidden treasure in the city that feels as if it’s world’s away from the hustle and bustle. It’s home to all sorts of wildlife and a number of scenic trails, like the Ravine Trail which leads hikers around the rim of the deep, 800-foot-long ravine with tranquil streams, and the Live Oak Trail, that’s lined with majestic old oak trees.
Embark on a Day Trip to Amelia Island
Amelia Island makes for a great day trip, Just 30 miles from Jacksonville. The barrier island is home to 12 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and the town of Fernandina Beach has a lovely historic downtown with locally-owned boutiques, art galleries and lots of great restaurants where the menu is focused on fresh, local seafood. The island also hosts Fort Clinch State Park, which has the largest natural shoreline area on the island, both on the riverbank and the Atlantic coast, as well as one of the most well-preserved 19th-century forts in the entire country. Stand on its outer walls and take in the breathtaking views of Cumberland Sound and the Atlantic shoreline.