• Did you know the world-famous Blue Angels flight demonstration team began at Jacksonville's Naval Air Station? Find fun things to do on your Jacksonville trip.
    Blue Angels

    The Westside is the Home of the Blue Angels.

    Did you know the world-famous Blue Angels flight demonstration team began at Jacksonville's Naval Air Station? Find fun things to do on your Jacksonville trip. Learn More

  • Check the calendar for a wide-range of events at Jacksonville Equestrian Center. It's one of the premiere equestrian facilities on the East coast.
    Jacksonville Equestrian Center

    Prepping for a concert at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

    Check the calendar for a wide-range of events at Jacksonville Equestrian Center. It's one of the premiere equestrian facilities on the East coast. Learn More

  • Enjoy access to Doctor's Lake, Black Creek, and the St. Johns River in Orange Park. Find out more about Jax water activities.
    Boating in Orange Park

    Orange Park offers easy water access.

    Enjoy access to Doctor's Lake, Black Creek, and the St. Johns River in Orange Park. Find out more about Jax water activities. Learn More


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 The Poker Rooms at Orange Park Kennel Club.

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!

Getting Here: 

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.



City-Wide EventsFeatured Events
Visit Jacksonville

Cumberland Island Tour

Amelia River Cruises

One of our most popular tours, this excursion offers an extensive and rich history of Amelia and Cumberland Island with views of wildlife along the way. We cruise by Fernandina’s shrimp boats, historic Old Towne and Ft. Clinch to the wild horses of Cumberland Island, ruins of the Carnegie Dungeoness Mansion and the Greyfield Inn. Our historians will share the colorful stories that define the character of this unique part of the world. Reservations are recommended.

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    SUPY (Yoga) with Kayak Amelia

    Imagine a yoga mat that is floating across the crystal blue waters, the sounds of birds chirping while relaxing in down-dog and white puffy clouds forming shapes while…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Seussical the Musical

    Experience this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Based on the Dr. Seuss books, Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and other characters from the whimsical…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    ArtFusion in Hemming Park

    This MOCA Jacksonville favorite family pastime moves to the outdoors on the first Sunday of each month. Join one of MOCA Jacksonville's professional art educators in…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Floral Arranging

    Instructor Ann Evans with Cypress Creative Floral Design will host two afternoon flower arranging workshops. Each workshop will include all arrangement supplies,…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Beach Creek Tour

    2:30 pm, 7 days per week This afternoon tour is a nice blend of history and nature, including a trip up Beach Creek with a beautiful view of the salt marshes and bird…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Reggae Jammin’ on the River

    Live music on the Coca-Cola Riverfront Stage. Cool off your weekend with live reggae music every Sunday in July, August and September on the Coca-Cola Riverfront Stage…

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Seussical the Musical

    Experience this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Based on the Dr. Seuss books, Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and other characters from the whimsical…

    More
  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Chattanooga vs Jacksonville Suns

    For more information, please visit: www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t564

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Family Friendly Sunset Cruise

    7 days per week This tour offers a relaxing way for the whole family to take in Florida’s first sunset and hear an abbreviated history of the area. Reservations are…

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The Visit Jacksonville Blog

  • Gary Sass
  • Patty
  • Denise M. Reagan
  • Becky
  • Katie
Blogs by Gary Sass
  • Booming in Jacksonville

    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.

  • It’s 1903 at the Merrill House

    June 16, 2015 11:49 am EDT

    Walk into Downtown Jacksonville’s Merrill House and step back in time to the year 1903

  • Greetings from Riverside’s Historic B&B

    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

  • Holiday Festivals Surrounded by History

    December 01, 2014 11:47 am EST

    The local historical societies celebrate the holidays and offer fun activities. It is also a chance to buy unique gifts for history buffs.

  • Maritime Museum Jacksonville

    History That’s Free in Jacksonville

    November 05, 2014 3:12 pm EST

    We call it the “First Coast”, home of the first European settlements and a region steeped in history.

Blogs by Patty
  • Don’t Miss Jacksonville’s Spring Line-Up of Festivals

    March 27, 2015 1:22 pm EDT

    Whether you’re looking for a family friendly spring-break destination, or the ideal spot for a quick fun getaway, Jacksonville has the perfect mix of Florida Flair, Southern Hospitality, and exciting festivals to put a spring in your step this new season!

  • I RUN this city

    March 10, 2015 1:22 pm EDT

    Running. You either love it or you hate it, but sometimes you hate a little less and get the inspiration you need from a city and its running paths.

  • Top 5 Romantic Things to do In Jacksonville

    February 06, 2015 7:01 pm EST

    Every day can be Valentine's Day, create your perfect romantic getaway to Jacksonville, the “River City by the Sea.” Whether you’re looking for romantic strolls on the beach, candlelit dinners, or an eco-adventure for two, couples can craft a picture-perfect time together in Jax!

  • Five Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Jax

    October 20, 2014 10:17 am EDT

    Unless you’re an expert on our fine city (and who knows, you might be - it is pretty awesome here) here are some things you probably didn’t know about Jacksonville, Florida.

  • 6 Tips when planning your kid-friendly vacation

    August 08, 2014 1:10 pm EDT

    Planning a getaway with your fam? Be sure you are prepared prior to departure!

Blogs by Denise M. Reagan
Blogs by Becky
  • July Trip Worthy Events

    June 28, 2015 10:32 am EDT

    Fireworks, fishing, festivals and fun abound this July in Jacksonville.

  • Experience a beachside music festival that defines the local culture in Jacksonville. Come have fun in the sun this June in Jax!

    Jacksonville Trip Worthy Events: June

    June 04, 2015 2:53 pm EDT

    June in Jax is action packed. With the heartpumping speeds of powerboats zipping along the mighty St. Johns at the P1 Jacksonville Grand Prix and the aerial acrobatics performed by daring skateboarders in honor of Go Skate Day, there’s plenty of excitement to go around.

  • Jacksonville Tripworthy Events: May

    May 01, 2015 8:43 am EDT

    There are plenty of reasons to visit Jacksonville in May. The weather is warm, the ocean is inviting, the flowers are in bloom, and the farm-to-table restaurants are getting ready to change their seasonal menus from Spring to Summer.

  • Brews and Broads – Jacksonville’s Women in Craft Beer

    April 08, 2015 5:21 pm EDT

    It’s no secret we love beer here in Jacksonville. With eight local breweries all part of the Jax Ale Trail, Jacksonville is one of Florida’s best spots to grab a pint (or two).

  • Go Al Fresco – Outdoor Dining in Jacksonville

    March 02, 2015 12:21 pm EST

    Two of the greatest things about Jacksonville? Our weather and our food.

Blogs by Katie

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