There’s a reason why Jacksonville has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Fashionably referred to as “Jax” by locals, the city boasts an array of cultural gems, professional sports, and world-class beaches. But it’s the personality that brims from each of Jacksonville’s distinct neighborhoods that give the city its fresh and fun vibe. There are pockets catering to all types, but a handful of neighborhoods rise above the rest in terms of family-friendliness. Read on to find our list of five neighborhoods in Jacksonville families are flocking to.
The neighborhood known as Northside was once a sleepy industrial area, but in more recent years, it’s given way to a boom of residential development. Because of its proximity to downtown, Northside represents an excellent opportunity for parents who want a little more space for a growing family but still prefer to be near the city’s center. Additionally, Northsiders have easy access to Interstates 95 and 295 and the Jacksonville International Airport. Recreationally, the area has an abundance of nature preserves and state parks that help to cement its rural, “Old Florida” feel.
Families who don’t want to go up (Northside), can always choose to go down (Southside). The Southside area is another attractive neighborhood for families, especially those with small children. Southsiders are treated to a variety of architectural designs, from bungalows to Cape Cod houses, in addition to several new development neighborhoods and gated golf communities. This section of the city is also home to the enormous (and enormously popular) St. Johns Town Center, an outdoor lifestyle center made up of endless amounts of retail and dining options.
3. The Beaches
For many families moving to Jacksonville, particularly those departing colder climates, the allure of the beach is one of the city’s main attractions. Fortunately, Jacksonville offers a string of beach communities up and down the coast that offer housing options at nearly all price points and sizes. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach and further south into neighboring St. Johns County, Ponte Vedra Beach, all have ample recreation, shopping and dining nearby. And, of course, the benefit of living in the beaches area is proximity to the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
4. San Marco
Chock full of history and charm, San Marco has been thriving for more than a century and is a perfect landing spot for families with flair. Augmented by the neighborhood’s many hip boutiques and shops owned by creatives, it’s easy to become enveloped in the artsy aura San Marco puts off. Dining options are plentiful, as is a burgeoning craft cocktail and brewery scene that is perfect for parents’ night out. Conveniently located just minutes from downtown, San Marco’s architecture takes its cues from Venice, Italy.
One of the top-selling master-planned communities in the entire country, Nocatee is a massive residential and commercial development that actually spans across both Jacksonville and the adjacent city of Ponte Vedra. Families are astounded by the amenities Nocatee presents, from its expansive water parks with slides, splash pads and pools galore, to events like Food Truck Friday, the monthly farmers market, and movies in the park. Nocatee is also a designated golf cart community, an added bit of fun and a perk that most families take advantage of by zipping around in customized carts en route to the pool, dinner or even grocery shopping.