• 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

The Lightning Thief

Florida Theatre

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life.

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  • Monday, May 4, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    The Lightning Thief

    Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus…

    More
  • Monday, May 4, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

    This is a great class for chocolate lovers of all ages! Learn the art of tempering chocolate with a hands on demonstration. Choose from many decadent toppings to create…

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  • Monday, May 4, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Movie Mondays at The Volstead

    Movie Mondays at the Volstead. Downtown Jacksonville’s Newest Lounge The Volstead Featuring High End Bourbon, Whiskey, and Craft Cocktails.

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  • Monday, May 4, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Rock N Roll Karaoke at Dos Gatos

    Rock N' Roll Karaoke with DJ Randall! Be a rockstar or just point and laugh! From 9pm. The best Monday night party in Jax for sure!

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  • Monday, May 4, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Musicians Monday

    Every Monday is Musicians Monday, open mic night at 1904 Music Hall

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  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    On Golden Pond

    Mike Farrell of MASH stars in On Golden Pond, the Tony Award winning play by Ernest Thompson. The play explores the often turbulent relationship of a young woman and her…

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  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    On Golden Pond

    Mike Farrell of MASH stars in On Golden Pond, the Tony Award winning play by Ernest Thompson. The play explores the often turbulent relationship of a young woman and her…

    More
  • Sunday, April 26, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    On Golden Pond

    Mike Farrell of MASH stars in On Golden Pond, the Tony Award winning play by Ernest Thompson. The play explores the often turbulent relationship of a young woman and her…

    More
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    On Golden Pond

    Mike Farrell of MASH stars in On Golden Pond, the Tony Award winning play by Ernest Thompson. The play explores the often turbulent relationship of a young woman and her…

    More

The Visit Jacksonville Blog

  • Local Expert Guest
  • Gary Sass
  • Denise M. Reagan
  • Void Magazine
  • Kacie Couch
Blogs by Local Expert Guest
Blogs by Gary Sass
  • 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.

  • Pioneers of Aviation – The Blue Angels Are Still Flying High

    October 10, 2014 2:56 pm EDT

    The Blue Angels, the most spectacular annual air show, happens right here in Jacksonville! The Naval Air Station in Jacksonville (NAS Jax) has the distinction of being the “Birthplace of the Blue Angels”.

  • Main production building - photo courtesy of Norman Studios

    Jacksonville in the Movies

    August 13, 2014 11:05 am EDT

    “On location in Jacksonville”, has been part of movie production history for over one hundred years. From the silent movie era to today’s modern films, it is entertaining to watch scenes with Jacksonville in the background.

Blogs by Denise M. Reagan
  • Project Atrium at MOCA Jacksonville

    ‘Project Atrium’ Photographer Focuses on Details

    December 12, 2014 4:18 pm EST

    Angela Strassheim creates images that are more like paintings than photographs. “I don’t take pictures. I make photographs,” Strassheim said. “Everything in a photograph is there because I decided it would be there.”

  • Moca Jacksonville exhibit

    Catalogue Helps Visitors Get Behind ‘Get Real’

    October 22, 2014 12:32 pm EDT

    Artists have been working in the realist style for centuries. In this age of technology, what would inspire contemporary painters to embark on the painstaking process of creating art in this style?

  • A Declaration of Independent Theater

    October 16, 2014 1:45 pm EDT

    A small theater in the heart of the Five Points neighborhood has made a big impact on Jacksonville’s movie tastes.

  • moca jacksonville art of the brain

    The Art of the Brain

    September 30, 2014 12:05 pm EDT

    MOCA Jacksonville ‘Project Atrium’ artist explores the mind’s circuitry in a monumental textile installation

  • jax art walk

    We’ve Got Art Walks All the Time

    September 22, 2014 2:05 pm EDT

    Pick a day and a neighborhood and you’ll find a place to enjoy local art.

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.

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.


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