Where To Stay in Jacksonville, FL (Best Areas and Places)

Updated at : 19 Jan, 2024

Deciding where to stay in Jacksonville can be a tough decision. Without all, this is a massive municipality in the USA. From trendy waterfront towns to popping nightlife vibes, the Jacksonville zone truly has it all. It’s perfect for families, couples, adventurers, and everyone in between, no matter when you visit.

When I first moved to Jax, it took me a few months to get my situation and wrap my throne virtually the variegated areas of the city. But once I did, I realized just how unique, fun, and mannerly Jacksonville truly is. Each neighborhood offers something different.

Jacksonville is the largest municipality by land mass in the lower 48 states, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. Deciding where to stay in Jacksonville can finger overwhelming and troublemaking due to its size – but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Best Areas to Stay in Jacksonville

Quick Look: Weightier Areas to Stay in Jacksonville

  • Best For First-Time Visitor: Jacksonville Waterfront (Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Waterfront Oceanfront)
  • Best for Families: Southside (Renu at Jacksonville)
  • Best On a Budget: Mandarin (Tru By Hilton Jacksonville South Mandarin)
  • Best For Nightlife: Downtown (Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront)
  • Best Trendy / Coolest Area: Neptune Waterfront (Salt Air Inn & Suites)
  • Best Place for Couples: Ponte Vedra (The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach)
  • Best For Foodies: San Marco (Hilton Garden Inn Jacksonville Downtown Southbank)
  • Best For History: Riverside Avondale (Upscale Condo Full Kitchen Balcony Rooftop Pool)
  • Best For Beaches: Jacksonville Waterfront (Element Jacksonville Beach)

Where To Stay in Jacksonville

Looking for unconfined food? Jacksonville has a neighborhood for that. A relaxing waterfront getaway? You can find that too. A bustling, hip zone with bars and galleries? Yep, Jax has it. Here are some of the weightier neighborhoods in Jacksonville:

Jacksonville Waterfront (Best for For-Time Visitors)

A waterfront with well-spoken undecorous sea at sunset.

If it’s your first time visiting Jacksonville, you’ll definitely want to stay in Jacksonville Waterfront – it’s by far one of my favorite areas in the unshortened city. It’s got a little bit of everything for visitors of all ages, and the sprawling waterfront is postcard-worthy.

You’ll find bars, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping in Jacksonville Beach, and it’s just a short momentum to downtown Jacksonville if you want to spend a day at the museums or a Jags game. This little section of town offers both non-stop fun or total relaxation – depending on how you play it.

Pros of Staying in Jacksonville Beach

  • White sandy waterfront just steps away
  • Great variety of restaurants and bars
  • Nightlife and dancing
  • Family-friendly activities
  • Cute suit boutiques

Cons of Staying in Jacksonville Beach

  • 20-minute momentum to downtown
  • Can be noisy during peak months (summer)
  • Expensive during peak months
  • Can be crowded during peak months
  • 40 minutes from the airport

Best Places to Stay in Jacksonville Beach

Here are some of the weightier hotels in Jacksonville Waterfront – private stays are moreover included:

1. Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Waterfront Oceanfront: Located directly on the beach, this hotel is an wool dream for first-time visitors. There are moreover two swimming pools and a restaurant, and it’s within walking loftiness of everything. Click here for details.

2. Jacksonville Waterfront Home: For your first time in Jax Beach, why not treat yourself to an unshortened home? This gorgeous home is just a short walk to the beach, restaurants, and bars. If you’re looking for an uneaten layer of luxury, you can plane unify your own private chef. Click here for details.

3. Margaritaville Jacksonville Beach: Nothing says “Florida” increasingly than Jimmy Buffet (RIP) and Margaritaville. This super fun hotel sits directly between Jacksonville Waterfront and Neptune Beach. Click here for details.

Top Things To Do in Jacksonville Beach

Colorful waterpark tubes and pool in a tropical climate.

There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Jacksonville Waterfront – here are some of my personal favorite activities:

1. Adventure Landing & Shipwreck Island Water Park: Sometimes you want a unravel from the waterfront for some other water activities, and this water park is the place to go when you do. You’ll find water slides, a wave pool, and cabana rentals. It’s non-stop smiles. Click here for directions.

2. Beach Life Rentals: A stay at the waterfront isn’t well-constructed without a velocipede trip or a day practicing your SUP skills. At Waterfront Life Rentals, you can rent waterfront trip bikes, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, or plane waterfront chairs. Click here for directions.

3. Jacksonville Ghosts and Ghouls Tour By US Ghost Adventures: After a day in the sun, wits the spooky side of Jax Waterfront with a guided ghost tour. You’ll take a walking tour of some of the most haunted sites in this unassuming beachside town and learn a lot well-nigh its past withal the way. Click here to learn increasingly and book.

Where to Eat and Drink in Jacksonville Beach

No matter what you’re starving – Jacksonville Waterfront has a restaurant or pub to satisfy it. Here are some of the tastiest restaurants I’ve tried so far (there are so many!):

1. V Pizza: It’s never long surpassing I get a hankering for succulent pizza. Thankfully, V Pizza makes some of the best. They moreover have a fantastic cocktail bar that makes a deliciously perfect Manhattan. Find directions here.

2. Salt Life Supplies Shack: If it’s your first time in Florida, you’ll notice that tons of cars have ‘Salt Life’ bumper stickers, and people are wearing ‘Salt Life’ t-shirts on every block. It’s a trademark that represents a way of life here in Florida, and they moreover have a killer restaurant with unconfined food. Find directions here.

3. Maple Street Oatmeal Company: As far as breakfast goes, this spot might be the tastiest in the city. You’ll find a variety of biscuits and gravy, as well as oatmeal sandwiches, waffles, grits, and more. It’s a unconfined place to fuel up for a day of exploration. Find directions here.

Downtown (Best Zone for Nightlife)

Having picnic pork sparerib, fried potatoes, and craft beer, sitting at the table in a pub with friends.

If it’s late-night drinks, dancing, live music, and DJs that you’re after, you’ll want to wiring yourself downtown. There are some incredible bars and nightclubs that can’t be missed. The restaurant choices are top-notch as well.

Pros of Staying in Downtown

  • Walking loftiness to bars and restaurants
  • Close to museums, venues, and the stadium
  • Delicious restaurants and cafes
  • Close to the riverfront
  • Easy wangle to other tomfool neighborhoods

Cons of Staying in Downtown

  • Many places are sealed during the day
  • 20-minute momentum to the beach
  • Parking can be expensive (especially during concerts, events, or game days)
  • Bars and restaurants are expensive

Best Places to Stay in Downtown

There are some unconfined options for hotels near Jacksonville nightlife. Here are the ones I unchangingly recommend to friends and family:

1. Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront: A gorgeous riverfront view? Yes, please! How well-nigh a rooftop pool? All day. This hotel is perfectly situated for all things and places downtown. Plus, they offer a self-ruling shuttle anywhere within a 3-mile radius. Click here for increasingly details.

SEE ALSO: 15 Weightier FREE Things To Do in Jacksonville (By a Municipality Local)

2. Residence Inn by Marriott Jacksonville Downtown: If you’re wondering where to stay in Jacksonville for nightlife, this is flipside unconfined option in the “Brooklyn” zone of downtown. They have a pool, and it’s within walking loftiness of the Florida Theater and the Cummers Museum. Click here for details.

3. DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Riverfront: This fantastic option is located just over the walkable underpass from downtown. They have an outdoor pool, a riverfront view, and two restaurants. Click here for details.

Top Things To Do in Downtown

Along the towers side, the Jacksonville Riverwalk is wipe and lovely.

Downtown Jacksonville is a mecca for all things arts, culture, and nightlife. Here are some of the spots that can’t be missed:

1. MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art): Before you throne out on the town at night, you’ll want to spend a few hours at MOCA. With increasingly than 500 artists representing over 1,000 works of art, it’s definitely a treat for the eyes. Click here for directions.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Instead of a night of bar-hopping, why not go to a Jaguars game? The fans have some of the weightier energy, and the stadium itself is incredible. Click here for directions.

3. Half-Day Municipality Tour in Downtown Jacksonville: Hop in a tuk-tuk and explore the city’s tracery and history on this fun guided tour. I took my family on this tour, and everyone was in awe; I highly recommend it. Click here for directions.

Where to Eat and Drink in Downtown

Downtown is one of the weightier neighborhoods in Jacksonville to find mouthwatering supplies and perfectly crafted cocktails. Here are my top picks for supplies and drinks in Jax:

1. Cowford Chophouse: One of the most incredible meals I’ve had in Jacksonville was at Cowford Chophouse. It’s expensive, but worth every dollar. Try the roasted unorthodoxy marrow and filet with foie gras and salary jam. Get directions here.

2. The Volstead: This speakeasy-style bar is my favorite in the unshortened downtown area. They make incredible handcrafted cocktails including an veritably perfect Old Fashioned. Get directions here.

3. Myth Nightclub: Myth is the weightier nomination for late-night dancing and drinks. They have a quiet cocktail bar for conversation, an outdoor terrace, and a high-energy club. Get directions here.

Neptune Waterfront (Coolest Place to Stay in Jacksonville)

Waves hitting the sugar white waterfront on a windy day. Vivid sky colors.

Neptune Waterfront is my FAVORITE zone of Jacksonville. It boasts that tropical “beachy” finger with palm trees lining the narrow, cobblestone downtown streets. There are tons of unconfined restaurants, tomfool bars, and trendy boutiques. Plus, the waterfront itself offers the platonic place for sunbathing all day.

Pros of Staying in Neptune Beach

  • Lots of succulent supplies options
  • Cool bars (including the oldest in Jacksonville, increasingly on that below)
  • Trendy and hip boutiques and galleries
  • Beautiful beach
  • Quiet at night

Cons of Staying in Neptune Beach

  • Not many places unshut late
  • Not a ton of hotel options
  • 20-25 minutes to downtown
  • Crowded during peak season (summer)
  • Hard-to-find parking

Best Places to Stay in Neptune Beach

With the worthier Jacksonville Waterfront as its neighboring community, most hotels are located there. However, here are some tomfool places to stay in Neptune Waterfront (or within walking distance):

1. One Ocean Resort and Spa: If you’re looking to splurge and spoil yourself, this is the spot to stay. This gorgeous beachfront resort features a stunning pool, fantastic restaurant, and spa with indulgent treatments. Click here for details.

2. Salt Air Inn and Suites: Super cute and mannerly is how I would describe this hotel. This five-star property is surprisingly affordable and has that perfect seaside feel. Click here for details.

3. Beachfront Getaway: If you’d prefer to rent an unshortened home, this gorgeous rental is perfect for a group. It’s steps from the waterfront and is within walking loftiness of plenty of unconfined bars and restaurants. Click here for details.

Top Things To Do in Neptune Beach

Red workbench for stand-up paddle surfing on the sea beach.

Even though I don’t live near Neptune Beach, I make it a point to visit the zone at least once a month. Here are some of my favorite recommendations:

1. BrewHound Dog Park and Bar: Each time I visit Neptune Beach, I bring my pup and throne to BrewHound. This wondrous spot is a place where you can let your dog run self-ruling on astroturf with other dogs while you sip on a beer or kombucha. I would still love to hang out here, plane if I didn’t have a dog! Click here for directions.

2. Southern Breeze Cart Rental: Neptune Waterfront is fun just to explore and trip the waterfront town streets – and Florida is basically synonymous with golf carts. Rent a cart for the day and trammels out variegated spots in the area. Click here for directions.

3. Jax Surf and Paddle: Rent a surfboard or paddleboard and hit the water for the day. And if you’re unskilled (like myself), you can take lessons for both. Click here for directions.

Where to Eat and Drink in Neptune Beach

Neptune Waterfront is home to some of my favorite restaurants in all of Jax. If you’re in the zone and seeking out elevated and creative cuisine – you put these spots on your radar:

1. Hawker’s: I swoon every time I get to eat bao, dumplings, or noodles. This trendy location offers all that and more. I moreover love their saké flight. Get directions here.

2. Mezza Luna: If you’re looking for something a little increasingly upscale, this Italian restaurant is a divine choice. Try their fresh pappardelle with braised short rib ragu and the wild mushroom pizza. Get directions here.

3. Pete’s Bar: This historic swoop bar was the first to legally unshut in Duval County without the prohibition. It has laidback vibes with pool tables and bar sports but stays unshut late for live music and DJs. Get directions here.

San Marco (Best Zone for Foodies)

Aerial of Castillo De San Marcos St Augustine Florida

I don’t know well-nigh you, but sometimes I wiring my travel plans solely virtually food. If you’re that type of person, you’ll want to stay in the San Marco zone of town – it’s a foodies’ paradise. It has tomfool street art, trappy architecture, and some seriously wondrous restaurants. It’s moreover one of the increasingly upmarket areas of Jacksonville.

Pros of Staying in San Marco

  • Very walkable
  • Awesome street art and murals
  • Historic neighborhood
  • Lots of noteworthy restaurants and cafes
  • Up-and-coming breweries and cocktail bars

Cons of Staying in San Marco

  • 25-30 minutes from the beach
  • Not a ton of walk-up options
  • Crowded during peak season (summer)
  • Difficult to find parking

Best Places to Stay in San Marco

Even though San Marco is one of the most popular Jacksonville neighborhoods, it has a limited value of local accommodations. These are some of the weightier in the area:

1. Hilton Garden Inn Jacksonville Downtown Southbank: Located in the heart of San Marco, this hotel is within walking loftiness of everything you may want to see during your stay. It moreover has a unconfined pool. Click here for details.

2. Southbank Hotel by Marriott Jacksonville Riverwalk: My family stayed here during their last visit, and it’s gorgeous. It’s a little longer of a walk to the part-way of San Marco but is still very close. Click here for details.

3. Farmhouse by the River: This trappy home is perfect if you plan on visiting the San Marco zone with your family. This two-bedroom house is super tropical to the river and in a very unscratched neighborhood in Jacksonville. Click here for details.

Top Things To Do in San Marco

Street Art on Brick Wall. A man and a woman sitting on the side street.

Of course, supplies is the main focus of the San Marco area, but it moreover has a lot increasingly to offer. Definitely trammels these ideas out if you’re in the area:

1. Self-Guided Art Walk Tour: The San Marco zone of Jacksonville is home to lots of trappy and eccentric street art and murals. Spend the day cruising virtually the neighborhood and taking Instagram-worthy pictures. Click here to download the art map.

2. Architecture and History Tour in San Marco: With roots dating when to 1793, San Marco has a rich history. This 3-hour tour will take you on a tuk-tuk ride through the neighborhood with a knowledgeable guide. Click here to learn increasingly and book.

3. Savoring San Marco: A visit to San Marco would be a waste if you didn’t try out a walking supplies tour. This 3-hour tour will stop at five of the neighborhood’s weightier restaurants. I loved this tour considering it was like a sample platter of all the weightier places. Click here to learn increasingly and book.

Where to Eat and Drink in San Marco

Now for the good stuff! San Marco is famous for its supplies and drink, so it was nonflexible to segregate the weightier places – but these are my favorites:

1. Bar Molino: I stopped in here for dinner surpassing a concert and was squandered away. They offer some beautifully presented and succulent Spanish tapas dishes, slantingly a fantastic wine selection. Get directions here.

2. Rue Saint-Marc: French dining at its finest is what you’ll find at this lovely establishment. Menu items include Maine Scallops, Roasted Venison Loin, and Pistachio Cake. They moreover have an impressive cocktail menu. Get directions here.

3. Town Hall: Fresh local ingredients, thoughtful, elevated recipes, and a cocktail list to die for. Their happy hour is one of my favorites in the south Jacksonville area. Get directions here.

Mandarin (Best Place in Jacksonville on a Budget)

On a sunny day, a underpass and a tree on the way to the lake.

Sometimes, you need to travel on a budget. Thankfully, when thinking well-nigh where to stay in Jacksonville, the Mandarin zone has many wallet-friendly activities and accommodations. It’s a quiet and wipe neighborhood with a lot of character, historical sites, and river activities.

Pros of Staying in Mandarin

  • Near the St. Johns River
  • A lot of nature (large oak trees with Spanish moss)
  • Beautiful parks
  • Historic neighborhood
  • Good restaurant options

Cons of Staying in Mandarin

  • About 25 minutes from downtown
  • 30-35 minutes to the beach
  • Mostly residential area
  • Limited activities

Best Places to Stay in Mandarin

The biggest perk well-nigh staying in the Mandarin zone of Jacksonville is that you can stay on a budget. Here are some options that won’t unravel the bank:

1. Tru By Hilton Jacksonville South Mandarin: With rooms under $150, this hotel is quite a unseemly place to stay in Jacksonville. They have a swimming pool and fitness part-way as well. Click here for details.

2. Cush Jax Baymeadows Ranch: If you’re traveling with your family or a group, this house is spacious, affordable, and has a trappy patio. Click here for details.

3. Embassy Suites by Hilton Jacksonville Baymeadows: This hotel has trappy rooms, and an indoor swimming pool, and is conveniently located, just a short momentum to Mandarin and other neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Click here for details.

Top Things To Do in Mandarin

A long underpass leading to a vast sea, with a pole light on the side.

Despite stuff a mostly residential area, Mandarin has some interesting and fun things to do on a budget. Trammels out my top choices if you’re in the neighborhood:

1. Walter Jones Historical Park: Get some fresh air while taking in the eyeful and tranquility of this park. Stop by the Mandarin Museum to learn well-nigh the area’s history in the Civil War. Click here for directions.

2. Sugar Bear Antiques Mall: Spend an hour or two perusing my favorite reversion shop in South Jacksonville. There are so many fun trinkets and collectibles to find. Click here for directions.

3. Breakout Games: Test your puzzle-solving skills in an escape room! My friends and I did this one night and had such a wham in the “Runaway Train” room. Click here for directions.

Where to Eat and Drink in Mandarin

There are some tasty places to eat in this quiet zone of Jacksonville. These are some unconfined options to try:

1. Julington Creek Fish Camp: I veritably love going to a fish camp, and this is one of the weightier ones in Jacksonville. Their affordable menu includes grilled octopus, sandwiches, seafood platters, and more. Get directions here.

2. Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe: This local uniting is a unconfined nomination when you’re on a budget. My favorite items are the chargrilled lamb, lemon yellow soup, and the spicy yellow gyro. Get directions here.

3. Clara’s Tidbits Restaurant Mandarin: Flipside local chain, this sideboard is seriously delicious. They’re known for their sandwiches but moreover have soups and salads as well. Get directions here.

Tips Well-nigh Staying in Jacksonville

After exploring Jacksonville for nearly five years, I’ve learned some tips well-nigh where to stay in Jacksonville and ways to navigate and explore the Bold City. Read on to find out how to make your trip run as smoothly as possible.

Avoid Rush Hour

Jacksonville has an expansive turnpike system, however, the rush hour traffic can be brutal. Stave those morning and afternoon commute hours on the roads if you can. It’s worth checking on maps surpassing setting off to trammels for high-traffic volumes withal your intended route.

Call for Seasonal Prices

Many hotels and attractions transpiration their prices per season. Call virtually directly to see if there’s a seasonal difference, and plan your trip accordingly. Try and typesetting as far in whop as you’re worldly-wise to.

Always Bring a Chair to the Beach

Jacksonville Beaches are veritably beautiful, and the sand is soft and perfect – but they can moreover be a bit windy. If you’re laying on just a towel or blanket, you might get sand whipped in your face. Buy or rent a waterfront chair when you can to make your wits increasingly comfortable.

Careful to Stave Tolls

Lots of Jacksonville freeways offer expressways to shirk traffic if you have a specific pass. Be shielding not to wangle these expressways without the pass, or you could end up with an unwanted bill.

Summer Bugs Are No Joke

If you’re visiting during the wet, hot summer months, be sure to alimony some bug spray on hand. The mosquitoes virtually sunset can be relentless.

FAQ’s Well-nigh Where To Stay in Jacksonville

Here are some wontedly asked questions that I often hear from my friends and family. Without spending five years as a tourist and one year as a full-time resident of Jacksonville, I know the municipality like the when of my hand. I hope these answers help prepare you for your stay:

What zone of Jacksonville is weightier for tourists?

The weightier zone of Jacksonville for tourists truly depends on what type of visit you’re trying to have. I would highly recommend Jacksonville Waterfront if you want to sunbathe, relax during the day, and go out at night. If you want to wits increasingly arts and culture, like museums and architecture, I’d suggest staying downtown.

Where should I stave staying? (Where NOT to stay in Jacksonville)

Tourists should stave staying in the neighborhoods of 29th and Chase, Mid-Westside, and Springfield. These areas tend to have higher treason rates; besides, none of these neighborhoods offer anything that would be of interest to tourists.

What is the safest place to stay in Jacksonville?

The safest places to stay in Jacksonville are the areas of Baymeadows (Southside), Mandarin, and Eagle Bend (Northeast Jacksonville).

Does it matter where I stay in Jacksonville?

It will matter where you stay in Jacksonville based on your interest and vacation goals. The municipality offers museums, restaurants, architecture, and history, while the waterfront towns offer white sandy beaches, pubs, restaurants, and festivals.

Which part of Jacksonville is most beautiful?

The part of Jacksonville that I find the most trappy is in Northeast Jacksonville at the Timucuan Ecological Preserve. It’s peaceful and veritably gorgeous, I highly suggest a walk through the nature paths.

Should I stay in downtown Jacksonville?

You should stay in downtown Jacksonville if you want wangle to the city’s famous museums, tracery tours, and sporting events.

Is Jacksonville walkable?

Jacksonville is a very walkable municipality when you’re in each neighborhood. Jacksonville is the largest municipality by land mass in the lower 48, so it’s untellable to walk from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Where to stay in Jacksonville to be tropical to everything?

There isn’t any particular place in Jacksonville to be tropical to everything. Since it’s the largest municipality by land mass in the first-hand U.S., it’s very spread out. I’d suggest staying downtown or in Jacksonville Beach.

What’s the weightier way to get virtually Jacksonville?

The weightier way to get virtually Jacksonville is definitely by car. Since the municipality is so big, a car allows you to explore all the variegated areas. However, if you’re staying in a waterfront town, you can get virtually by velocipede or golf cart.

Why do people visit Jacksonville?

People visit Jacksonville for its 22 miles of beaches, trappy park system, historic neighborhoods, interesting museums, and thriving arts scene.

In Conclusion

Each neighborhood of Jacksonville has something unique to offer – it’s one of the many reasons why I love this municipality so much. It’s huge and sprawling, but that only allows for variegated communities in each nook. There’s unchangingly somewhere fun to discover.

When deciding where to stay in Jacksonville, consider how you want to spend your time and decide from there. You won’t be disappointed with whatever zone you choose.