Download GPX file for this article
30.012918-81.866735Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The First Coast is a region in Florida. Also known as "Northeast Florida", it is the portion of the state north of the Daytona Beach area along the Atlantic coast, including the entire Jacksonville area. It includes Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, Nassau, and Clay counties.

Cities

[edit]

  • Metro Jacksonville — North Florida's principal urban area, with a population of over 1.3 million, encompassing:
  • 10 Butler Beach — beach town and site of Frank Butler County Park
  • 11 Crescent Beach — beach town with views of the Intracoastal Waterway near Fort Matanzas
  • 12 Flagler Beach — beach town between St. Augustine and Ormond Beach
  • 13 Hammock Beach — beach community and resort northeast of Palm Coast
  • 14 Palm Coast — largest city in Flagler County; primarily residential
  • 15 St. Augustine — old Spanish city with beautiful streets and architecture
  • 16 Vilano Beach — beach town east of St. Augustine
  • 17 Yulee — small town near Jacksonville and Amelia Island

Other destinations

[edit]
The Lightner Museum in St. Augustine

Understand

[edit]

This is the northeastern corner of Florida, on the border with Georgia. While barrier islands continue into Georgia, the series of easily accessible islands changes once you cross the state lines. Therefore, this is one of the northernmost tourist beach destinations until you get to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and some other places farther north on the East Coast.

Jacksonville and neighboring cities are united into a region by the St. John's River, which flows north from Central Florida, the western part of the Jacksonville/First Coast area, and out to the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. Jacksonville is the region's main city in terms of population, being a "consolidated city-county" — in plain English, a city that became large enough that itself and its county (Duval) are one. The merging of city and county, when cities such as Orlando and Tampa have seen suburban growth outside the city limits, gives Jacksonville the title of Florida's largest city, although in reality this is not true. It is around fourth largest in terms of metropolitan areas (so still large), after Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa/St. Pete. It is one of Florida's oldest cities, although Florida's population boom took place in the early 20th century, so this is not old like cities farther north such as Charleston and Savannah. However, there are some historic sites and of course Jacksonville Beach. Jacksonville metro is the location of the University of North Florida.

U.S. Navy operations in Jacksonville Beach

Going south is the small town of St. Augustine, the region's main tourist destination. Despite its small size, it is the oldest city on the Florida Peninsula and was for some time the largest settlement. Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, it is the oldest European settlement in the United States' current boundaries, and Spanish culture and historic sites abound in the town, making it a "must-see" for any tourist visiting the area.

Other towns include Flagler Beach and Palm Coast, both to the south. Flagler Beach is a small town, and Palm Coast is a growing suburb on I-95.

Like the Florida Panhandle, the First Coast experiences a winter unlike most other parts of the state. Flagler County in the south of this region is the beginning of the transition to the semitropical climate.

Get in

[edit]

By plane

[edit]

Regional Airports

[edit]

By bus

[edit]

By car

[edit]

Major highways entering the region include I-10, I-95, US-1, US-90, and FL-A1A.

By train

[edit]

By boat

[edit]

The Marineland Marina offers over 20 slips for vessels as well as full customer service, including restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.

Get around

[edit]

See

[edit]
Sunrise in Neptune Beach

Historic sites and nature reserves are common in this area, including the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Among the most popular state parks in the region is 1 Amelia Island State Park, which occupies the south half of Amelia Island south of Fernandina Beach.

Do

[edit]

There are many golf courses in the area. The region is also home to one major professional sports team, the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. FL-202 and US-90 go east from Jacksonville to the beach towns including Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach.

Events

[edit]
  • The Mug Race. A Pursuit Start sailboat race on St. Johns River. The world's largest river race, boater start at the Memorial Bridge in Palatka and end at the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville.

Eat

[edit]

Drink

[edit]

Stay safe

[edit]

As with most other regions of the USA, Northeast Florida has varying levels of crime. Jacksonville has much higher-than-average crime rates, and other large urban centers also have their share of crime.

Politically, this is one of the most staunchly Republican areas in the state.

Go next

[edit]
This region travel guide to First Coast is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.