• 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

SUP Intro Class with Kayak Amelia

Kayak Amelia

Find out what Stand Up Paddleboarding is all about. This one hour class will get you comfortable on the SUP board and introduce the basic strokes. You will paddle in a quiet lagoon area, no long distances. Just enough to get you ready for cruising. Once you complete the Intro class you can come back another day to rent or go on a SUP tour. Please NOTE: Minimum age is 12 yr old. Meet at Kayak Amelia office

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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Eco-Shrimping Tour

    An interactive exploration of the St. Marys River Basin, our guests will be coached on the operation of an Otter Trawl shrimp net. Historically developed in Fernandina,…

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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    $5 Fridays at MOSH

    $5 Fridays at MOSH

    Every Friday, come to MOSH to enjoy $5 admission and extended hours.

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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Cumberland Island Tour

    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…

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  • Friday, July 31, 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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  • Friday, July 31, 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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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Adult Twilight “BYOB” Cruise

    Departure time varies seasonally*, Thursday through Saturday This sunset cruise is designed especially for adults and is one of the finest ways to end the day or begin…

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  • Friday, July 31, 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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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    The Wizard of Oz - The 10th Annual High School Summer Musical Theatre Experience

    The Summer Musical Theatre Experience (SMTE) provides the opportunity for local area high school students to work hands-on with some of the highest recognized local…

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  • Friday, July 31, 2015
    Visit Jacksonville

    Miss International Preliminary

    What Is Miss International®? A FAMILY AFFAIR... The International Pageant system has been developed to promote today's young women and their accomplishments.

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The Visit Jacksonville Blog

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  • Denise M. Reagan
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  • Kacie Couch
Blogs by Jacksonville Moms Blog
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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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