Like a magnet, Florida's Northeast offers bipolar diversity, continually attracting clients from all walks of life. Encompassing 11 counties, Northeast Florida offers visitors a glimpse of the past while staying on track with the future. Although the entire Northeast offers vacation opportunities for all sorts, the bulk of the tourist market frequents St. Johns, Clay, Duval, Nassau and Baker counties - what is considered Florida's first coast.
As with almost any top vacation destination, Northeast Florida's properties cover a full spectrum of options. Duval County alone has nearly 12,000 rooms. Bed and breakfast inns are a hot trend in Jacksonville, while the wider expanses of neighboring communities offer excellent golf and tennis resorts. A few of the top resorts in the area include the Marriott at Sawgrass, Amelia Island Plantation, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
In Florida's Northeast visitors will find preserved historical districts of a Florida that once was. Some of the nation's most important historic sites are found here, such as St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th century Spanish stone fortress, and the Restored Spanish Quarter. And, while St. Augustine is long-respected as a historic destination, its neighboring St. Augustine Beach is an up and coming beach, golf and family vacation destination.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville is not simply a young city full of gleaming steel and glass skyscrapers, but is a microcosm of the entire First Coast, embracing its historical past while forging ahead as a city of the future. The Jacksonville Riverwalk, Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Museum of Science and History are just a few examples of popular places to visit. Metropolitan Park, located in downtown Jacksonville, is the site of many free annual events such as the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the Riverfest concert series.
Farther north, the Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach area offers vacationers a more secluded retreat, and Ponte Vedra Beach is considered the “Pebble Beach of the East” for its fine golf facilities.
Southwest of the First Coast, the Alachua County town of Gainesville is home to the University of Florida. The county also offers an assortment of interesting natural and manmade attractions. Included are the Samuel P. Harm Museum of Art, the Florida Museum of Natural History and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site, to name but a few.
Although surrounded by the past, Northeast Florida's transportation facilities take on a futuristic quality. The $100 million dollar Jacksonville International Airport is served by 10 major carriers offering more than 100 operations daily with non-stop flights to and from 55 cities. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Automated Skyway Express makes getting around downtown convenient.