• 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

Arts & Crafts Gift Shopping Event

Taverna Yamas

Shop unique gifts for all ages from local artisans. Enjoy $4 Martinis and Happy Hour until 7 pm*. *Happy Hour is from 3 pm - 7 pm | Event is from 5 pm - 8 pm.

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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

    An eclectic group of teens vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Spelling their way through a series of words, they hope to avoid the soul crushing, life…

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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Melt Banana

    Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise rock band that is known for playing extremely fast grindcore styled music and noise music mixed with experimental, electronica and…

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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    TRIVIA

    Trivia every Wednesday!

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Free Thursday Tours at MOCA Jacksonville

    MOCA Jacksonville is partnering with FIS™—a global leader in banking and payments technology solutions as well as consulting and outsourcing solutions—and Fidelity…

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Marlon Wayans at the Comedy Zone

    Marlon Wayans made his acting debut in 1989 in the film “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” followed by a role in the Emmy Award winning series “In Living Color.”

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Indie Pop Dance Party at the Loft

    TheLOFT Thursdays Indie.Pop.Dance.Party. with DJ Wes Reed & Josh Kemp

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Grand Opening of Xclusive Xcessive Ladies Night @ Taste!

    Newest upscale Thursday night to hit Jacksonville!! XCLUSIVE XCESSIVE LADIES NIGHT brought to you by Taste!! DJ SHOTGUN spinning the best House, Top 40 Remixes &…

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    UNF Mens Track & Field (NCAA East Preliminary)

    For more information, please visit: www.unfospreys.com

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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    UNF Womens Track & Field (NCAA East Preliminary)

    For more information, please visit: www.unfospreys.com

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The Visit Jacksonville Blog

  • Patty
  • Sarah
  • First Coast Magazine
  • Kacie Couch
  • Void Magazine
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 Sarah
  • where to golf in jacksonville

    An Overview of Where to Golf in Jacksonville

    October 30, 2014 12:36 pm EDT

    Take your pick between dozens of world-class golf courses throughout the Jacksonville area. Visit the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club or Windsor Parke, or venture out to the The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. Learn more about all the great places to golf near Jacksonville.

  • jacksonville fishing

    Plan A Fall Fishing Trip in Jacksonville

    October 06, 2014 12:17 pm EDT

    Fall is the perfect time for a Jacksonville, Florida inshore fishing trip. Read Captain Dave Sipler's tips for a fun and successful fall fishing trip!

  • golf in jacksonville

    488,000 Yards of Golf Greens In Jacksonville

    September 23, 2014 12:36 pm EDT

    From easy to hard, historic to championship, beach to river – Northeast Florida offers more than 1,200 holes of golf on 70 public and private courses, pristine course conditions, affordable rates, great fall deals and comfortable weather all year.

  • jacksonville on a budget

    Weekend Getaway on a Budget

    August 31, 2014 1:14 pm EDT

    Music, art, food, beer, sports, adventure, and fun await you in Jacksonville on any given day, and the best part? We guarantee it won’t break your bank!

  • Get Hooked in Jax!

    August 19, 2014 12:47 pm EDT

    Some people might call them fish shacks, holes in the wall, dives- but here in Jax we call them Fish Camps!

Blogs by First Coast Magazine
Blogs by Kacie Couch
  • Think pink!

    July 30, 2014 5:02 pm EDT

    When you think of a pink bird, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For most people, it would be a flamingo. The flamingo is a very beautiful (and very pink) bird, but it is not a local species to say the least. Lucky for us, we have our own species of pink bird wading in our North Florida waters!

  • Fort Clinch Offers ‘Step into the Past,’ Great Eco-Adventure

    May 29, 2014 4:56 pm EDT

    “What a strange looking bird!” exclaimed the bearded man as we looked up at the helicopter flying overhead. It was a beautiful day in July and we were standing outside. I was wearing a sundress that came down to my knees and he was decked out in a woolen long-sleeved uniform. In JULY… In Florida. This was right after he called me a “jezebel,” no less.

Blogs by Void Magazine
  • fresh produce florida

    Growing Jax – A Guide to Our Regional Farmers Markets

    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.

  • gameday food

    Eat Like A Local on Gameday in Jacksonville

    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.

  • Coffee Shop Review – Bold Bean Coffee Roasters

    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.

  • Top Ten Romantic Restaurants in Jacksonville

    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.

  • Locally Brewed Beers Perfect for The Summer

    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.


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