The Westside & Orange Park
The Westside provides convenient access to the water for boating and fishing enthusiasts.
The 3-mile-long Buckman Bridge across the St. Johns River links Mandarin with The Westside. With its beginnings dating back to 1763, The Westside area features waterfront mansions, Tudor-style homes, and modest wooden-frame houses dating back to the early 1900s. The Westside is well-known for its full-service marinas like The Marina at Ortega Landing, nautical outfitters, and boating facilities. It is also the home of Naval Air Station Jacksonville the birthplace of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s world-renowned flight demonstration team.
The Ortega community is one of the wealthiest in the nation. Come to Ortega for a stroll along the St. Johns River and take in what many consider to be the best views of the Downtown skyline.
Just south of Jacksonville and west of the St. Johns River, Orange Park offers camping, hiking, and water activities for all. In need of a boat, rent one for the day or for the night with Boat Florida Rentals. The Orange Park area is home to Doctor's Lake and Black Creek providing boaters the perfect place to wakeboard, fish, or just relax on the water. If you're feeling lucky, try and pick a winner at the bestbet Orange Park.
Here are four Westside attractions you just can't miss.
1. Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Regarded as one of the best equestrian centers on the East coast, Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a premiere facility for regional and national events showcasing the best in horse competitions. When horse shows are not in town, the Equestrian Center hosts a wide range of entertainment events like concerts, mud-runs, and athletic competitions.
2. Rails and Trails
Once part of Naval Air Station's Cecil Field, this trail system includes more than 30 miles of unpaved roads that traverse through the pine flatwoods. The shaded and beautiful Cecil Recreational Trails are available to hikers, horseback riders, and off-road cyclists. The Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail, is part of a nation-wide, federally initiated “Rails to Trails” program. The Trail is a 100 foot wide Right-of-Way (ROW) currently extending approximately 14.5 miles from Imeson Road in Jacksonville to the Town of Baldwin. A 12’ wide paved trail currently exists for hikers, bikers and roller-bladers to enjoy. An equestrian trail also parallels the paved trail.
3. Herlong Airport
Skydiving anyone? Who wouldn't want to see Jacksonville from 10,000 feet? Home to Jacksonville’s aviation enthusiasts since the 1960s, Herlong Recreational Airport (HEG) is Northeast Florida’s primary location for light sport aircraft, skydiving, gliders, and other experimental aircraft.
4. Pinglehead Brewing Company
Pinglehead Brewing Company has been serving the Jacksonville and Orange Park community since 2011. Their craftsmen make BIG BEER, full of flavor with the best ingredients money can buy. They call it “Beer with Attitude!” and are committed to creating beer that will always be made with quality ingredients and our strong commitment to the craft! It will never be rushed. Do you collect tap handles; purchase a Pinglehead handle before leaving the brewery!
Head south on Interstate 1-95, follow directions for I-295 west over the Buckman Bridge. From there you can exit on Roosevelt Blvd. or Blanding Blvd. for Orange Park or continue on 1-295 for the rest of the area.
Blogs by Gary Sass
October 09, 2015 9:36 am EDT
One nickname you could attach to Jacksonville is the “City of Bridges”.
September 21, 2015 12:30 pm EDT
On Saturday October 10th, 2015 at 12:30pm, there is a special Memorial Marker Dedication Ceremony in Mayport, Florida. Congratulations to St. Augustine on their 450th celebration, however, It All Began in Mayport!
June 25, 2015 2:57 pm EDT
This year’s Downtown Fourth of July celebration and fireworks display is on the actual anniversary, Saturday July 4, 2015.
June 16, 2015 11:49 am EDT
Walk into Downtown Jacksonville’s Merrill House and step back in time to the year 1903
April 09, 2015 3:47 pm EDT
If the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville had a greeting card, the Riverdale Inn would be on the cover
Blogs by Void Magazine
September 12, 2014 3:08 pm EDT
Jacksonville boasts plenty of delicious farmers markets. So get out there and support your local farms with this guide to regional markets.
September 12, 2014 2:49 pm EDT
Over the past two years, Shad Khan and the leadership of the Jacksonville Jaguars have made extensive efforts to transform the team from relative obscurity (for those outside Duval) into one of the most visible franchises in the league.
July 10, 2014 4:55 pm EDT
Out with the old, in with the bold! Bold Bean Coffee Roasters has just opened its second location in South Jacksonville Beach, ironically where the old Starbucks was located. Bold Bean specializes in handmade, single-origin coffee, espresso beverages, craft beer and a community-orientated atmosphere.
June 10, 2014 5:31 pm EDT
What makes a restaurant romantic? If you’re not sure, you probably ought to ask someone female. When I asked my husband for his suggestions for this article, he said, “Is Guzzle Pipes and Gutty Works open yet?” Having an excellent beer list is not usually high on the list of most women’s romance requirements.
June 02, 2014 12:02 pm EDT
We all love a nice summer night with friends and a cool beer in our hand. This list will be your locally-brewed beer guide for the summer, no matter the occasion.
Blogs by Jacksonville Moms Blog
September 21, 2015 12:13 pm EDT
Many people visiting or new to the Jacksonville area don't realize the awesome assortment of outdoor activities our city has to offer.
September 04, 2015 10:50 am EDT
Lately, there have been lots of innovative ideas put forward regarding Downtown Jacksonville. It seems as though every creative thinker and successful business owner in town has a fabulous idea for making over the under utilized portions of the area.
July 29, 2015 11:09 am EDT
Like every city in Florida, Jacksonville can get HOT.
Blogs by Becky
November 20, 2015 2:03 pm EST
Spend your Winter on the Water in Jacksonville with a month of festive days and nights.
September 18, 2015 3:35 pm EDT
Fall doesn’t just mark the return of pumpkin spice season, fall in Jacksonville is beer lovers season with a wide variety of fun events that feature national and local craft brews.
September 04, 2015 9:14 am EDT
September strikes the perfect balance between Summer and Fall in Jacksonville.
August 01, 2015 9:18 am EDT
Need one last trip to finish out your summer? Not ready to send the kids back to school yet? Well Summer is going strong in Jacksonville, and August is the perfect time for one last hurrah!
July 05, 2015 1:44 pm EDT
Apex predators, misunderstood sea creatures, oversized fish – the shark gets called a lot of things these days, but one thing is for sure, people are fascinated by them.
Blogs by Sip & Savor Jax Blog
September 22, 2015 12:37 pm EDT
Sometimes finding a place where the kids can eat can cause parents nightmares. You find a spot with a kids menu, but the adult choices are not so hot. Or you see a fabulous menu in a spot that’s just a bit too hoity-toity to accommodate your grilled cheese needs. Fortunately Jacksonville is full of great spots to make the whole family happy.
September 21, 2015 12:13 pm EDT
In recent years, craft beer has exploded in popularity, and more and more great restaurants are adding craft beer to their drink selections.
September 17, 2015 12:04 pm EDT
Dinner and drinks, a combination that goes together like… well, red wine and red meat. Whether you like to cozy up to your favorite Cabernet, sip on a classic Manhattan or partake in a fine Belgian Tripel, Jacksonville is full of restaurants that pair delicious food menus with top-notch wine, beer or cocktail lists.
September 17, 2015 11:32 am EDT
They say great dining experiences engage more than just your sense of taste. The way the scent of cookies baking will make your dessert that much more delightful, or how just the sizzling of bacon will make your mouth water.
August 14, 2015 12:49 pm EDT
From down home fish camps by the sea to trendy gastropubs in hip neighborhoods, you’re sure to find a delightful meal in any corner of the city.