Once the place where cattle forded the St. Johns River, Jacksonville is now the most sprawling city in the contiguous United States. It’s come a long way.

Jacksonville could not have come from more humble beginnings as a stop along the King’s Road from the all-important port of St. Augustine into Georgia, where the river happened to narrow enough to be forded. But by the time the Civil War began, Jacksonville had become so important to the Southern economy that it was blockaded by Union forces and traded back and forth several times as nearby battles were won and lost on both sides.

Today it’s the third-largest port in the state, but more importantly, it’s home to beautiful beaches that call to visitors from all over the world. Dip your toes into the warm Gulfstream waters. If you’ve done the same on the West Coast, take a moment to ponder the major differences—a comfortable temperature nearly year-round is one of them.

If you’re wondering what to do in Jacksonville, you could always get hitched. With no waiting period for out-of-staters to get a license, Jacksonville has become a quickie-marriage capital that rivals Las Vegas. Not quite ready to take the plunge? Instead, take that special someone for dinner, drinks, and a movie—all at once—at San Marco Theatre, the oldest first-run, single-screen cinema in the city.

Speaking of movies, one of our favorite things to do in Jacksonville is to catch a silent flick at the Jacksonville Silent Film Museum at Norman Studios. Back before Hollywood was, well, Hollywood, Jacksonville was known as the Winter Film Capital of the World. At one point, there were 30 film studios here.

When it comes to our Jacksonville vacation packages, there’s no need to keep quiet. They’re so good, you’ll want to spread the word far and wide—after you snatch yours up, of course.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jacksonville

When was Jacksonville established?

French Huguenots built the earliest European settlements at the St. Johns River in 1562, but it was overtaken by the Spanish along with the rest of the French Territory. It wasn't until the United States gained Florida in 1763 that the town was "properly" established and named. "Jacksonville" was meant to honor the territory's first provisional governor, Andrew Jackson.

What is Jacksonville known for?

The city is known for being a large, sprawling metropolis. It's the most populous city in Florida and has a larger area than any other city in the nation. It also boasts two big naval bases and an eclectic skyline full of bridges and a variety of architectural styles.

Where do the Jacksonville Jaguars play?

The Jaguars' home stadium is EverBank Field at 1 Everbank Field Drive, near Metropolitan Park and Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Downtown. Originally named Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, it was built in 1995 and hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.