In northeast Florida, about 140 miles south of Savannah, GA, and 140 miles north of Orlando, “Jax” (also the shorthand for its airport) is bordered by the great Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its massive urban sprawl spreads west and takes up 840 square miles, the biggest city land area in the contiguous United States. With such a large area to explore, it’s best to book an RV in Jacksonville to enjoy the many wonderful things the city has to offer.
Named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, Jacksonville has history going as far back as the mid-16th century when it was the site of a French colony, although the downtown area appears much younger than that. Few downtown buildings survived the Great Fire of 1901, but Jacksonville managed to preserve a few historic districts that form part of the city's major tourist draw. The other is the beach and the accompanying seafood, making it easy to enjoy Jacksonville's urban offerings while your RV rental in Jacksonville, FL is a stone's throw away from nature.
Beaches and Wetlands
Hanna Park's 60-acre lake offers a fitting introduction to flex your arm muscles, but if you prefer to catch the waves instead of glide peacefully on flat water, Jacksonville has 22 miles of white sand beaches to get lost in. Neptune Beach is popular among surfers, Jacksonville Beach for kitesurfers, and laidback Atlantic Beach for anglers.
Also within city limits, about 13 miles northeast of downtown, you will find one of the last frontiers of coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast, with 6,000 years of human history to go with it. Drive your Jacksonville motorhome rental to Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve to witness a primeval place where the waters meet, and also to see the historic location at Fort Caroline National Memorial, where the French made their presence felt in 16th-century Florida. Territorial battles, religious struggles, and tales of exploration and survival, along with stories of the earliest contact between American Indians and Europeans, abound here.
Farther out of town is the Osceola National Forest, where 21 miles of Florida's National Scenic Trail and more than 50 miles of equestrian trail await hikers and horseback riders adventurous enough to brave cypress swamps, open pine flatwoods, and sandhills. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as the forest is home to songbirds and a population of Florida black bear, red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, gopher tortoise, and bobcats, among others.
Take your Jacksonville camper rental 60 miles to the northwest to the giant, Eden-like swamp of Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, where migratory birds make routine stopovers and threatened and endangered species like red-cockaded woodpecker and wood storks feel at home. It's a RAMSAR wetland (a wetland of global importance) as it's one of the planet's largest intact freshwater ecosystems teeming with amphibian populations essential to the planet's health.
Where to Park Your RV
Many RV parks lie within 20 miles of Jacksonville's downtown area, with the closest about seven miles south along I-95. If you wish to be close to water, Riverfront, Pelican Roost, and Osprey Cove RV Parks are some of the choices. To have the best of both ocean and lake, take the travel trailer rental in Jacksonville at Hanna Park. It offers a wide range of amenities and full modern hookups without intrusive noise at the end of the day. The closest gas station is five miles away, with many more within 10 miles down the coast.
Staying a night or two in a state park is definitely an option, and Osceola National Forest, 50 miles west of downtown Jacksonville, is one of the closest. At Ocean Pond Campground, make the most of their electric hookups and hot showers, and be within striking distance of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Beyond the state line, just outside Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge's east entrance, you'll find a full hookup RV campground with a dump station and a decent selection of amenities such as toilets, showers, charcoal grills and a dedicated space for campfires.
History, Arts and Ales
Jacksonville has 500 neighborhoods, but the history buff may want to put Springfield and San Marco high on their list, with the former of particular interest to those keen on seeing 19th and early 20th-century architecture. Southwest of downtown, you'll encounter charming 19th-century homes of the contiguous Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods.
Those keen on arts may want to check the exhibits on display in Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens and Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. The Museum of Science and History not only tickles your creative fancy but also provides interactive displays that adults and kids alike will love.
Explore the arts, boutique and bistros scene of Jacksonville in San Marco, Five Points and Atlantic Beach, where you can have your Jacksonville rental RV parked nearby for convenience. Seafood is, of course, ubiquitous and if you want some produce to go with it, the Jacksonville Farmers Market, a few minutes west of downtown, is a must-visit. The local craft beer scene is also on the rise, and you may want to hop on the Jax Ale Trail, brewery passport in hand, to sample the brews.
Jacksonville Skyway could shuttle you around downtown on a 2.5-mile route. It connects both banks of the St. Johns River, but unless your destination is close by, you may want to make good use of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority or JTA buses that cover a more extensive network of routes. Given the city's sprawl, it might be more efficient to drive around the RV trailer rental in Jacksonville and park in nearby Walmart Supercenters that are aplenty on both sides of the river.
Of course, there are always wide open beaches to escape to if you’ve had enough of downtown, so search for an RV rental in Jacksonville, FL now and get ready for a wonderful adventure. You’ll discover that at Jacksonville, “it’s easier here!”
Jacksonville, FL is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Jacksonville. Outdoorsy's Jacksonville RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.