Originally Cowford, where the cows cross, Jacksonville measures 845 square miles and is the largest city in the contiguous United States. Originally part of St. Johns County, August 12, 1822 established Duval County as a separate entity. A single governmental structure covering all of Duval County, except the beaches and Baldwin, was born when the City of Jacksonville and Duval County merged in 1968.
Jacksonville hosts the third largest naval concentration in the world and serves as the industry headquarters for Johnson & Johnson's Vistakon, CSX Transportation, Bank of America, Bellsouth, Merrill Lynch, Convergys and Citibank. Home to the Cecil Commerce Center and the famous Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville boasts two regional shopping centers and downtown riverfront amenities at The Jacksonville Landing. Downtown facilities include: The Prime Osborne Convention Center, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, historical Florida Theater, TIAA Bank Field and upscale residential Berkman Plaza and fabulously renovated One Shipyard Place. Free city park facilities downtown are specifically designed for children and a new $95 million downtown library is incorporated in the Better Jacksonville Plan.
Water is a major attraction and plays a large role in the Jacksonville economy. In addition to the oceanfront and Intracoastal Waterway, the St. Johns River continues for 310 miles before connecting with the Atlantic Ocean near Mayport Naval Station. The St. Johns River is one of only 12 rivers in the U.S. that flows north and is designated as one of 10 American Heritage Rivers. The longest river sailboat race in the world is the Annual Mug Race held each spring, and runs 42 miles from Palatka to Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. Among the area's approximate 215 bridges, the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge, Dames Point Bridge, is the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in the United States and is two miles long rising 175 feet above the St. Johns River. Country club enthusiasts will appreciate the exclusive communities of Queen's Harbour Yacht & Country Club, Sawgrass Country Club, The Plantation at Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Jax Golf & Country Club, Marsh Landing Country Club, Serenata Beach of South Ponte Vedra Beach and the custom homes found in the coastal communities of Coquina/Tradewinds, Broadwater, Pablo Bay and Amelia View.
Atlantic and Neptune Beaches are just south of Mayport, bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. United by the Atlantic Beach Towne Center, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach residents share a love of the beaches and a casual, contemporary atmosphere with entertainment, shopping and great dining readily available. Predominantly residential, both beaches have a fabulous blend of home styles with a resident mix of Jacksonville natives to East Coast transplants. Jacksonville Beach is further south along A1A and is the oldest beach community in Jacksonville. A greater mix of residential and commercial, Jacksonville Beach is a popular site for festivals and fairs to volleyball tournaments.
Flowing together between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, southern Duval County meets northeastern St. Johns County. Ponte Vedra Beach and Sawgrass are in the northeast corner of St. Johns County, south of Jacksonville Beach along A1A. A blend of neighborhoods and nature with sea oat-covered sand dunes and beaches stretching five miles along the Atlantic Ocean through wetland preserves, Ponte Vedra Beach is headquarters to both the PGA Tour and Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). This upscale area is popular with internationally savvy professionals and beach lovers alike.
A popular vacation destination, St. Johns County is rich with history and beaches. St. Augustine is St. Johns County and America's oldest city. North of St. Augustine and 20 minutes south of Jacksonville is St. Johns, a 6,300-acre community and one of the nation s largest mixed-use planned communities. Central to this community is the World Golf Village, home to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Guana State Park and Nocatee, a nearby planned community, enhance and invite the public to participate in St. Johns County's naturally beautiful Intracoastal shoreline and wildlife corridors.