Print
  • Hold down Ctrl key and select the sections you want to print. If using a Mac, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Use Ctrl + A or on Mac, Cmd + A to select all sections (if you are using the Chrome browser).
  • Click "Apply" and the site will customise your print guide in the preview below.
  • Click the "Print" button and a print pop up should appear to print to your printer of choice.

Moving to Jacksonville

Located in Duval County, along the scenic banks of the St Johns River, is the seaport city of Jacksonville. It's Florida’s most populous destination, and is an attractive proposition for both travellers and those keen to make it their permanent home. 

Jacksonville continues to draw large numbers of new residents each year. Young professionals pursuing career success, newlywed couples looking to get a foot on the property ladder, families wanting to be close to good schools, and retirees who want to enjoy their twilight years in the famous Florida sun, all see value in relocating to Jacksonville.

Living in Jacksonville as an expat

Jacksonville boasts a growing economy where job opportunities abound in a variety of different industries including finance, healthcare and logistics. Residents not only report enjoying job security, but Jacksonville employers in the city are known to emphasise the importance of a healthy work-life balance, which allows workers to capitalise on all the enticing lifestyle offerings available in the city. 

New residents won’t ever be at a loss when it comes to leisure activities in the city. Outdoor enthusiasts will be in their element as they enjoy the hiking, biking and running trails of nearby Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve or Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. If history, arts and culture are of interest, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cummer Museum and the Museum of Science and History are just a few of the attractions to be found in Jacksonville.

Cost of living in Jacksonville

Unlike many of the more well-known US expat destinations such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Jacksonville’s cost of living is incredibly affordable. There's also an abundant supply of accommodation and new arrivals will be able to take their pick from modern apartments, plush condos and humble family homes.

Expat families and children

Those moving to Jacksonville with kids in tow will soon learn that this is a truly wonderful place to raise a family. Home to a number of good public and private schools, the city offers a good standard of education. Beyond its selection of schools, Jacksonville is just generally a family-friendly city. Whether it's a family day out at one of the city’s urban parks, a wildlife encounter at Jacksonville Zoo, or a fun-filled afternoon at the beach, there's plenty for the kids to get stuck into.

As with life in any new city, there are also downsides to living in Jacksonville. One of the most noticeable is the limited nature of the city’s public transport infrastructure. While buses, trolleys and the Skyline suffice for commuting within the downtown area, in reality investing in a car is an expense that can’t be avoided here. It’s a vast city and getting around is infinitely easier with a set of wheels.

Climate in Jacksonville

Jacksonville's climate is one of its strong points. Jacksonville is famous for its beaches, and the all-year-round good weather means that there are plenty of opportunities to top up that tan and enjoy time on the coast.

All in all, Jacksonville’s favourable Sunshine State location, the strength of its economy, and the terrific quality of life it offers its residents serve to attract newcomers from all over the US and beyond. Whether enticed by the city’s stunning coastline, eclectic entertainment options, or proximity to nature, Jacksonville appeals to anyone looking to start a new chapter. 

Weather in Jacksonville

Located in Florida, aptly nicknamed the Sunshine State, Jacksonville unsurprisingly experiences a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons.

Residents should expect mild winters (December to February) where temperatures range between 41°F (5°C) and 68°F (20°C).  Summers, from June to August, are hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 91°F (33°C). Thunderstorms, caused by high levels of humidity, bring heavy rainfall during the summer months. 

Hurricanes and tropical storms can occur in Jacksonville and may be dangerous. In the case of a storm or hurricane, it's important to follow any warnings or directives issued by local authorities.

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Jacksonville

A low cost of living, beautiful weather and great quality of life are just a few of the things that serve to attract new arrivals to Jacksonville. But, as is the case with any new destination, there are both advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed up before deciding to make the move. 

Below are few of the broad pros and cons than come with living in Jacksonville. 


Accommodation in Jacksonville

+ PRO: Lots of choices and diverse neighbourhoods

There really is something for everyone in Jacksonville, from young professionals looking to be close to the action of downtown Jacksonville, to families who need access to good public schools, and retirees looking for communal living options close to the sea. Regardless of whether prospective residents are looking for a spacious family home, a modern apartment or luxury condo, there is wide a range of housing options in Jacksonville. 

- CON: It can get expensive

There is no doubt that there is a lot of investment potential when it comes to property in Jacksonville. While it is certainly possible to find affordable housing in the city, those who are looking to live in sought-after locations near downtown Jacksonville can expect to fork out for the privilege. Riverside living and ocean views don’t come cheap either. 


Getting around in Jacksonville

+ PRO: Public transport is cheap

For those living close to the city centre, getting around doesn’t cost much at all. Anyone who uses public transport regularly can save money by buying a weekly or monthly STAR card, which offers a further discount. 

- CON: Driving is a necessity

Although public transport in Jacksonville is affordable, the system in place isn’t really efficient for a city this size. Buses rarely run on time and services travelling outside central areas are downright slow. For anyone living a little further away from the downtown area, public transport just isn’t a viable option. Having a car makes life infinitely easier and gives residents the freedom to explore at their own pace.

- CON: Traffic is a nightmare

Jacksonville is home to over a million people, all of whom are trying to get somewhere. With a growing population, construction and roadworks are also a constant presence. This all means that traffic is a major headache for Jacksonvillians. Those looking to move to the city for work should try to negotiate for flexi-time work hours to avoid rush hours, or just get ready to sit tight as travelling always takes a while.


Working in Jacksonville

+ PRO: Jacksonville’s economy is on the up

Jacksonville is one of the USA’s ‘boomtowns’; and the city’s rapid expansion has led to the creation of new jobs. The fact that many established companies have seen value in the city has meant the economic prospects of the area are going from strength to strength. Unemployment is low and prospective residents with experience in finance, logistics and manufacturing should have no real difficulty finding a job.

- CON: Lower salaries

Although Jacksonville residents have job security, salaries are lower than those found in bigger economic hubs such as Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. While it is a great place for those starting out in their career, experienced professionals with sought-after skills might find that employment packages here aren’t as lucrative. On balance, even though salaries are low, so is the general cost of living in Jacksonville, which means that people can still afford to live quite comfortably. 


Cost of living in Jacksonville

+ PRO: One of the most affordable places to live in Florida

Each year the Sunshine State draws new residents from other parts of the US and beyond. The all-year-round good weather and the excellent lifestyle benefits are part of what draws people to Florida. Unlike other Floridian cities, the size of Jacksonville has meant it can accommodate all these newcomers without increasing prices. So everyone can enjoy all the best elements of the Floridian lifestyle without the hefty price tag. 

- CON: There are some expenses that can’t be avoided

Having a car in Jacksonville is pretty much a necessity and most people living here end up buying their own vehicles. While cars themselves are reasonably priced, petrol (gas) prices in Jacksonville are some of the highest in the US and, when one considers the long distances people have to travel on a daily basis, this is an expense that can easily mount up. 


Education and schools in Jacksonville

+ PRO:  Good public schools

Jacksonville is home to some of America's best public schools. Be warned, though, admission (often area-based) won’t be easy so parents who want to take advantage of the quality of schools will need to make sure they live in close proximity to top-performing institutions.

+ PRO: Lots of alternative learning paths

The attitude towards education in Jacksonville is pretty progressive. Students who aren’t academically gifted in the traditional sense will find that there are systems in place to support them should they be more suited to an alternative path. Magnet schools nurture children that have shown an aptitude for sports, performing arts and music and the support in place for those with disabilities and learning difficulties is also excellent.

- CON: No international schools

The expat community in Jacksonville is relatively small so parents won’t find schools here that follow the curricula of foreign countries. That said, there are a number of public and private schools that offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Foreign residents of Jacksonville may also want to explore options in wider Florida.


Lifestyle in Jacksonville

+ PRO: Lots of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors

It isn’t just Florida’s great weather and idyllic beaches that draw people to Jacksonville. Those who want to explore the city’s amazing surrounds can hit one of the many hiking and biking trails, and being based along the St John’s River means that Jacksonville is great for a whole array of water sports including boating and fishing.

+ PRO: Vibrant music scene

Jacksonville is said to be the birthplace of Southern rock. The city also has a strong jazz and blues tradition. Those who enjoy live music will love living in Jacksonville. From music festivals to classical concerts, the options are endless. The Jacksonville Jazz Fest is one of the USA’s largest music events and not to be missed. 

Working in Jacksonville

Prospective residents of Jacksonville may be surprised to learn that this Sunshine State city has plenty to offer in terms of exciting job prospects across a wide range of industries.

Jacksonville is one of America’s thriving 'boom towns' – cities where rapid growth has led to the creation of new jobs which in turn have served to attract new residents to the area. Large numbers of young professionals find themselves drawn to Jacksonville for the mix of exciting job offerings teamed with a lifestyle that prioritises a healthy work-life balance.

Prominent employers in Jacksonville include Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools, as well as major healthcare companies such as Baptist Health and the Mayo Clinic.


Job market in Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s favourable location on the Atlantic Coast and along the St John’s River has been a key factor in the growth of the city’s economy. Historically, much of Jacksonville’s economic activity has centred around its large deepwater port, which has been instrumental in the USA’s automobile import industry.

Today, the city's largest employer is the US military owing to the numerous military bases in and around Jacksonville. Other major industries include financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, healthcare, education and manufacturing all play significant roles in Jacksonville's economy.

As the job market in Jacksonville is somewhat less competitive than those in more well-established economic hubs, Jacksonville is ideal for new arrivals looking for career progression. 

Salaries in Jacksonville may not be as enticing as those found elsewhere but, with a low cost of living, most people can afford to live well. Also, the fact that Jacksonville has managed to attract so many national and global companies has meant that people report having a high level of job security. 


Finding a job in Jacksonville

For those who aren’t moving to Jacksonville with a job offer in hand, the best place to start the search would be online. Most companies will list their job openings on their own website or on local job portals. Recruitment agents are also a good option. These professionals have unique insights into their specific industry and are well placed to link up qualified candidates with employers. 

Networking is another viable way to make business connections and get some insider tips on local industries and the job market in Jacksonville. This is also a great way for new arrivals to make friends and establish themselves in their new community. 


Work culture in Jacksonville

Generally speaking, the pace of life in Jacksonville is relatively relaxed in comparison to major US cities such as New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles. While success in the workplace is taken seriously in Jacksonville, this isn’t the sole focus. 

On the whole, new arrivals will find the workplace in Jacksonville to be less competitive than elsewhere. Many companies encourage their workers to have a healthy work-life balance and employ measures to ensure that people are happy at work. Depending on an individual company as well as the industry in question, flexible working hours and remote working are relatively common features in Jacksonville. 

Cost of Living in Jacksonville

Before taking the leap and making the commitment to move to a new place, it's important for prospective residents to consider the cost of living and compare this to their earning potential and the lifestyle benefits that their new home offers.

Those with Jacksonville in their sights will be pleased to learn that the River City's cost of living is one of the lowest in Florida. It also consistently falls below the national average for the USA as a whole.

Those weighing up a move to Jacksonville should bear in mind a number of different factors when drawing up a budget. These include the cost of accommodation, transport options, healthcare expenses, lifestyle choices and, if they have children, the price of schooling. This should all be compared alongside one's earning potential as well as the expenses of physically relocating, which in itself can be a costly exercise. 

Below is a broad breakdown of the expenses new arrivals should expect to incur when living in Jacksonville.


Cost of accommodation in Jacksonville

Most people relocating to Jacksonville will start by renting property until they find their feet. The fact that the city's rental market is so robust also increases investment potential when it comes to buying a place.

In general, housing prices are quite a bit lower in Jacksonville than both the American national and Florida state averages. Across the board, the standard of accommodation is high so new arrivals are bound to get good value for money.


Cost of education in Jacksonville

The cost of education in Jacksonville varies considerably depending on an individual child's schooling path. The city is home to many public and private schools, so parents will have much to ponder.

The cost of attending a public school is next to nothing, whereas private schools set their own fees. These are generally high and increase as the child progresses through the grades. Parents who opt to send their child to a private school should also budget for additional expenses such as uniforms, textbooks, extra-curricular activities and field trips.


Cost of healthcare in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is home to a number of excellent hospitals and healthcare facilities. While the cost of healthcare here is slightly lower than the national average, it is still expensive – this will be especially noticeable to those relocating from countries with free or heavily subsidised public healthcare systems. 

Foreigners and newcomers relocating from elsewhere in the USA should invest time researching health insurance schemes. There are plenty of competitive packages available but it’ll be up to the individual to find a policy that not only meets their own health needs and those of their family members, but also realistically fits into their monthly budget. 

Anyone moving to Jacksonville for a job should try to negotiate a health insurance contribution into their employment contract as this will allow for significant saving on these expenses.


Cost of transportation in Jacksonville

As the largest city in the continental US, Jacksonville is huge. Public transport in Jacksonville is cheap, especially if commuters opt to purchase a STAR Card. That said, the public transport network doesn’t sufficiently cover areas beyond the city centre.  For this reason, the vast majority of long-term Jacksonville residents will opt to drive. 

As is the case throughout Florida, cars are reasonably priced. In fact, used vehicles in the Sunshine State cost around 10 percent less than the national average. On the flip side, maintaining a car won’t come cheap in Jacksonville. Petrol (gas) prices are some of the highest in the USA. When one considers the long distances locals drive daily, it makes sense that these expenses can add up. Similarly, car insurance premiums in Jacksonville are also above average. 


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Jacksonville

Lifestyle expenses really do depend on an individual's taste, preferences and priorities. Jacksonville residents can spend as much or as little as they like when it comes to keeping themselves entertained. On one hand, the city has its fair share of fine dining restaurants, fancy wine bars and exclusive cocktail lounges for those who are looking to splash some cash. On the other hand, there is plenty to see and do in Jacksonville without breaking the bank.

Spending a day with family and friends on one of Jacksonville’s many famous beaches is a popular low-budget activity. After all, holidaymakers travel from all over to get a bit of the Florida sun, while Jacksonville residents have it on their doorstep. The year-round good weather presents opportunities to get outdoors by hiking and biking along various trails or exploring one of the city’s many parks and gardens.


Cost of living in Jacksonville chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Jacksonville in February 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,200

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,500

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.30

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.95

Rice (1kg)

USD 3

Loaf of bread

USD 3

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 9.30

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 8

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 8

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2

Cappuccino

USD 4.60

Local beer (500ml)

USD 5

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 60

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.08

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 71

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 145

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.20

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 1.60

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.75

Accommodation in Jacksonville

New arrivals looking to settle down in Jacksonville will be pleased to know that the city offers a huge range of housing for just about every budget. Most newcomers tend to rent initially while they find their feet and get a feel for the city and its neighbourhoods before settling on a more permanent situation. 

Those who do decide to buy property in Jacksonville further down the line will find that the city has great investment potential. Not only is the property market robust but the city continues to attract more and more people each year, which in turn increases the demand for housing. 


Types of accommodation in Jacksonville

Prospective residents will find that the standard of accommodation in Jacksonville is generally quite good. Most buildings are well maintained and property sizes are more generous than in more densely populated US cities. New arrivals searching for a new home will have a range of options to choose from, including apartments, condos and larger houses.

Apartments

These are modern self-contained units within a larger building, and can be found all over Jacksonville. They tend to be one of the most affordable options, and are a particularly popular choice within the downtown area where space is limited.

Condos

Condos are a happy medium between houses and apartments. New arrivals will find this option allows them to have a little extra space along with the benefits of communal living. Condos are self-contained units within a bigger complex where residents share a range of amenities including communal swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities. 

Houses

Newcomers looking for a house in Jacksonville will find a huge variety, particularly towards the outskirts of town. From classic and colonial-style mansions filled with character, to minimalist modern designs, there is something to suit everyone's tastes. Most of the newer housing will be found in outlying suburbs.


Finding accommodation in Jacksonville

The best place to begin the hunt for a home in Jacksonville will be online. Consulting reputable property portals is a good way for prospective residents of Jacksonville to get a feel for the different types of property available in each neighbourhood, and how much to budget.

Estate agents with knowledge of Jacksonville are also a really useful source of information and can help new arrivals familiarise themselves with different parts of the city in their search for the perfect home. 

Important things to consider when looking for a home in Jacksonville include proximity to amenities, shopping hubs, transport infrastructure and one's place of work. Lifestyle considerations will also come into play.


Renting accommodation in Jacksonville

Though Jacksonville’s economy is on the up and more people are seeing the potential lifestyle benefits of moving to the city, the demand for property is relatively stable and new arrivals won’t find it too difficult to secure a rental contract.  

Making an application

Once prospective tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. Credit and reference checks will then need to be carried out. Once these have been verified, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. For those moving to Jacksonville from outside the US, it's best to try and open a US bank account and have a social security number set up before applying for a rental property.

Leases

Rental contracts in Jacksonville are most commonly valid for a year, but tenants will have the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease. For tenants who are wanting to negotiate any aspect of their lease, it is better to do so outside peak holiday season when there isn't as much demand for holiday rentals. 

Utilities

Renters need to pore over the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included. In most cases, the landlord covers standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.

Deposits

Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit to secure the lease on a property, typically the equivalent of one or two months' rent. These rental deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is important to carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will be deducted from the deposit.

Areas and Suburbs in Jacksonville

The best places to live in Jacksonville

One of the most challenging elements of relocating to a new city is finding a neighbourhood where a person and their family will feel at home. Finding the perfect area or suburb in Jacksonville will be heavily dependent on the newcomer's lifestyle, their budget and their priorities. Young professionals and those with a sizeable income tend to live close to downtown Jacksonville, where they have access to the best amenities. New arrivals with families, or retirees moving to Florida for a slower pace of life, may prefer to find a home in the suburbs. 

Here is a breakdown of some of Jacksonville’s prominent neighbourhoods.


City living in Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville

San Marco

Tree-lined San Marco, just south of the city centre, is a historic district of Jacksonville that dates back to the 1920s. Residents benefit from the short commute downtown as well as vibrant entertainment offerings. Eclectic boutiques and a distinctive arts scene are also major draws for the area. Accommodation here mainly comes in the form of apartments and condos, none of which come particularly cheap. A lot of single professionals and creative types call San Marco home.

Riverside and Avondale

Historic Riverside and Avondale present a unique mix of culture, charm and modern design. Home to the fabulous dining options of the Five Points district, vibey bars and quirky thrift shops on every corner, the area has plenty for residents to see and do. The neighbourhood's population is predominantly younger people with the disposable income to take full advantage of the neighbourhood’s amenities and attractions. While luxury waterfront homes and upscale apartment buildings are the norm here, there is still a strong sense of community and urban charm about the place. 

Arlington

Arlington, located on the east side of Jacksonville, is adjacent to the beautiful wetlands and forests of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. Despite being quite close to downtown Jacksonville, Arlington retains a typically suburban sense. That said, arrivals will quickly learn that there is much to discover in this historic district, including a solid range of dining options, busy bars and evening entertainment offerings. Arlington residents tend to be young couples, families and people who generally enjoy spending time outdoors.


Suburban life in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Beach

Westside and Orange Park

Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Jacksonville are the family-friendly suburbs of Westside and Orange Park. The area's good public and private schools, plus the fact that there are parks dotted throughout, usually attract families to the area. It's also quite popular among retirees, who are drawn to the area for its leisurely and laid-back pace of daily life. Waterfront mansions, Tudor style-family homes and humble wooden-framed buildings are just some of the housing options available. Bear in mind though, that property in the area doesn’t come cheap due to the neighbourhood's prime riverside location and stunning city views. 

Springfield

Springfield is one of the Jacksonville's most attractive suburbs. Much of its housing was built during the late 19th and early 20th century. Stunning architecture, well-maintained streets and walkability are major drawcards for the area. Home to a number of good public schools, Springfield is another popular choice for families.

Nocatee

Nocatee is a planned community situated on the Jacksonville coastline and is home to a diverse demographic, from young couples and families to retirees. Within Nocatee, there are several neighbourhoods, each of which has its own feel and style. From luxury condos to humble abodes for first-time buyers, there are accommodation options galore in Nocatee, and the development is continually expanding.

Jacksonville Beach

If one's main motivation for moving to Florida is to indulge in beach life, the oceanfront suburbs of Jacksonville are an ideal spot to settle in. An array of properties can be found here, from beachside cottages to modern townhouses and luxury condos.

Whichever option a prospective resident has in mind, one thing's for sure: they can expect to pay top dollar for the privilege of an ocean view. Beachfront property is highly desirable and prices are among the highest in Jacksonville. Beyond the beaches themselves, residents will have plenty of amenities close by, from restaurants and bars to parks and community events. The demographic make-up of these areas is fairly mixed, from young professionals to retirees.

Healthcare in Jacksonville

New arrivals can rest assured that their healthcare needs will be well taken care of in Jacksonville. The city is home to some excellent hospitals. The standard of medical facilities in the city is exceptional, and it continues to attract high-caliber medical professionals thanks to the abundance of career opportunities in the health sector. 

Newcomers to Jacksonville won’t struggle to find a pharmacy. They are readily available throughout the city and many are open 24/7. Pharmacies in Jacksonville tend to be well-stocked and staff are on hand to give patrons advice. 

The cost of healthcare in Jacksonville isn’t cheap, so it's important that new arrivals have comprehensive private health insurance in place. 


Hospitals in Jacksonville

Baptist Medical Centre

Website: www.baptistjax.com
Address: 800 Prudential Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32207

HCA Florida Memorial Hospital

Website: www.memorialhospitaljax.com
Address: 3625 University Blvd S, Jacksonville, FL 32216

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville

Website: www.mayoclinic.org
Address: 4500 San Pablo Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32224

Wolfson Children's Hospital

Website: www.wolfsonchildrens.com
Address: 800 Prudential Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32207

Education and Schools in Jacksonville

In line with the US standard, the schooling system in Jacksonville is split between three levels: elementary school – Kindergarten to Grade 5; middle school – Grade 6 to Grade 8; and high school – Grade 9 to 12.

Anyone planning a move to Jacksonville with children will need to factor in schooling options when deciding which area or suburb they’d like to live in. The Duval County Schools District is one of the largest in the US and, with more than a hundred schools to choose from, deciding on a school can be difficult.

Factors to consider when picking a school in Jacksonville include the type of school, the standard of teaching, the cost of tuition fees, extra-curricular activities and proximity.


Public schools in Jacksonville

The Duval County School Board (DCSB), one of the largest school districts in the state of Florida, is the authority that oversees public schools in Jacksonville. Residents of Jacksonville can have their children attend a public school at little to no cost. Public school admission is based on catchment areas, which is something worth bearing in mind when deciding on where in the city to put down roots. 

As is the case in most US cities, the standard of public schools varies quite dramatically. Some public schools are excellent and provide a standard of education that falls in line with those at fee-paying private schools. On the other hand, there are also failing schools that suffer from underfunding and staff shortages. In general, though, the standard of public school education is Jacksonville is fairly good and the city boasts some of the USA’s top-performing public education institutions.

Charter schools 

Jacksonville is home to around 30 charter schools. These are a subset of public schools that are overseen by outside bodies. While charter schools teach the same curriculum as standard public schools, they have more freedom in teaching style and methodology.

Each of these institutions will have a charter that details the school's operations, programme, goals and methods of assessment. While catchment areas don't apply to charter schools, proximity to home should still be factored in as Jacksonville is a huge city and long daily commutes have the potential to hamper a student's learning experience. 

Magnet schools 

Jacksonville also boasts more than 50 magnet schools. Like charter schools these are state-funded to a great extent, but because they do receive an element of external funding, magnet schools have more autonomy when it comes to shaping their curriculum. The advantage of these schools is that they allow students to pursue a more vocational pathway in accordance with individual strengths. 

Magnet schools generally focus on a particular area such as the performing arts, languages, sports or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).


Private schools in Jacksonville

There are a fair few private schools in Jacksonville, many of which have a religious affiliation, mostly Roman Catholic or Christian faiths. Generally speaking, these schools offer a higher standard of teaching and better facilities than the average public school. They also offer more advanced placement and honours programmes for academically gifted students, as well as sports, music and arts programmes for children that show an aptitude in those areas. 

The downside to private education is the cost. Parents who choose to send their kids to a private school in Jacksonville should be prepared to fork out a small fortune in terms of tuition fees. On top of that, they’ll need to factor in other expenses such as the cost of uniforms, school transport, textbooks, extra-curricular pursuits and field trips. For those who don’t live close to the private school of their choice, many offer boarding options at an additional fee.


International schools in Jacksonville

Unfortunately for foreigners moving to Jacksonville, there are no schools in the city that follow the national curricula of other countries. Those who are intent on having their child continue studying the curriculum of their home country in order to maintain a degree of stability can explore options in wider Florida, where there are a small number of international schools that do provide boarding facilities for their students

Another option that internationally-minded families might want to look into are the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes offered at a small number of Jacksonville public and private schools. The IB is highly respected and easily transferable, since it is taught all over the world.


Special-needs education in Jacksonville

Jacksonville’s education system is well equipped to provide for students with learning and developmental disabilities. There are multiple federal and state laws in place to ensure that children with disabilities have fair access to quality education at no cost. 

Both public and private schools in Jacksonville have special programmes in place to support students with learning difficulties. In most cases, the goal is to successfully integrate the special-needs student into mainstream schooling. However, in cases where a person’s disability is too severe for them to benefit from mainstream education, there are also several special education facilities that are able to offer students with special needs a programme tailored to meet their specific requirements.


Tutors in Jacksonville

Whether a child has fallen behind in maths class or is in need of additional support to excel in their college entrance exams, there are plenty of private tutors on hand to help in Jacksonville. 

It’s wise to start by asking one's school and other parents in the area for a recommendation. There are also established tutoring services, which offer an array of packages from subject-specific intensive programmes to one-on-one home tuition and small group sessions. 

Enlisting the services of a private tutor is an excellent opportunity for students to address any gaps in their knowledge, excel at a certain subject, or simply build confidence in their own abilities. Expat children whose first language isn't English can also benefit from a tutor to help them hone their English-language skills.

Lifestyle in Jacksonville

A huge part of what draws people to Jacksonville is the lifestyle the city offers. As is the case throughout much of Florida, the pace of life in Jacksonville is somewhat slower than elsewhere in the US. Jacksonvillians ‘work to live’ rather than ‘live to work’.

Jacksonville has a wide range of options when it comes to making good use of leisure time. Sports fans, outdoor enthusiasts, and culture vultures alike are bound to find plenty to keep them busy in the city.


Sports and outdoor activities in Jacksonville

Sports enthusiasts will be in their element in Jacksonville. The city is something of a sports hub and residents will find a local team to support no matter which sport they choose to follow. Football fans can take their picks of the Florida Gators, the Seminoles, or the Jacksonville Jaguars. Those who follow baseball can get behind the Jacksonville Suns.

For those who are looking to participate in sporting activities, rather than just cheering from the bleachers, living in Jacksonville provides endless opportunities.

Jacksonville also proudly boasts the USA’s largest urban park system where visitors can hike, bike, or take a jog along miles of dedicated trails. With pleasant weather all year round, a day at one of Jacksonville’s many beaches is always a great option. Whether its surfing, swimming, fishing, boating or simply catching some rays on the beach, Jacksonville really does have it all.


Arts and culture in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a real treasure trove when it comes to arts and culture. From the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science History to the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival, live performances at the Everbank Stadium, or catching a show at the historic Ritz theatre, there’s never a dull moment in Jacksonville.

Prospective residents planning a move to Jacksonville with the kids in tow will be pleased to learn that most of the city’s attractions have a child-friendly element to them. Come November kids are spoilt rotten as the city’s museums and galleries put on special events with families in mind, most of which are free for children under 12. 


Nightlife in Jacksonville

For night owls looking to let their hair down, Jacksonville’s diverse nightlife options won’t disappoint. Head to ‘The Elbow’, a cluster of bars and clubs in downtown Jacksonville, for a fun night on the town where revellers can indulge in local beers and craft cocktails while enjoying live music. 

Jacksonville has a long-standing tradition of vibey beach bars where one can take in a view of the ocean while sipping a tropical cocktail. At Beaches Town Center, visitors will find a range of nightlife venues from upscale champagne bars to historic waterholes.


Eating out in Jacksonville

A melting pot of cultures and tastes, foodies won’t be disappointed with Jacksonville’s culinary offerings. The food scene is eclectic; from a wide range of international fare to classic Southern soul food, Jacksonville residents will always find something to satisfy a craving.

Newcomers should be sure to test the Jacksonville staple, Mayport Shrimp – a dish made up of the four types of shrimp found off the Jacksonville coast. Whether paired with date pepper in ceviche, served over grits or deep-fried on a po'boy, seafood lovers are sure to be in for a treat.


See and do in Jacksonville

New arrivals and expats in Jacksonville will find a wide-ranging mix of attractions that appeal to all kinds of tastes and interests. Exploring the city like a tourist is a wonderful way to get acquainted with one’s new home.

Here is a list of just some of the noteworthy attractions and activities in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville’s beaches

The city’s best known attraction – the beach – draws thousands of holidaymakers to Jacksonville each summer, while the city's residents are lucky enough to enjoy the Atlantic coast all year round. Fishing along Jacksonville Beach’s 1,000-foot pier is a popular pastime, while Neptune and Atlantic Beach are also beautiful spots for a day by the sea.

Museum of Science and History (MOSH)

Formerly known as the Jacksonville Children’s Museum, MOSH is home to the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium and seven permanent exhibits, which cover themes spanning various aspects of nature and science. Much of the museum has been curated with kids in mind, but there is no doubt that the grown-ups will find the displays fascinating too. 

The Jax Ale Trail

Jacksonville is one of Florida’s premier beer destinations and home to a bevy of breweries including Engine 15, Veterans United and Bold City Brewing. Craft beer enthusiasts are in for a real treat as they head off on a self-guided tour with the Jax Ale Trail Passport. 

Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens

Head to the historic neighbourhood of Arlington to discover one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Visitors can explore the hiking trails, spot local wildlife or get lost in thought at the peaceful lily pond. The gardens are pet-friendly too so this is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day out with the whole family.


What's on in Jacksonville

Jacksonville has a full calendar of exciting events for residents of all ages and persuasions. Whether it's live music, sport or family-focused fun, there is sure to be something to tickle a newcomer's fancy. Here are some of the city's best annual events.

World of Nations Celebration (February)

This festival celebrates the multicultural population of Jacksonville, with stalls showing off the culture, food and language of particular countries. In the Parade of Flags, country representatives dress in traditional garb and proudly carry their country's flag beside fellow participants.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival (May)

Each May, over the Memorial Day weekend, Jacksonville hosts one of America's largest free jazz events. Attracting over 100,000 jazz fans, the whole of downtown Jacksonville shakes, rattles and rolls to life during this three-day music extravaganza.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations (December)

See the year out in style at Jacksonville’s riverfront, which is the place to be on New Year’s Eve. Head out to enjoy live music, food stalls, a festive fireworks display and some festive cheer as they welcome in a new year. 


Where to make friends and meet people

It can be difficult to make friends in a new city. Hobby and social clubs are a great place to start as the common interest helps to break the ice and find like-minded people.

JAX Fray

JAX Fray is a sports social club that organises leagues, tournaments and special events. Sports on offer include the likes of basketball and cross-country, alongside the somewhat less conventional sports of skeeball and cornhole.

Southside Women's Club

With more than 100 years of history, the Southside Women's Club is comprised of volunteers who aim to serve and assist the local community. This includes fundraising and collection projects.

Queen's Harbor Yacht & Country Club

Jacksonville residents who enjoy the finer things in life will fit right in at the exclusive Queen's Harbor Yacht & Country Club. Members get access to exclusive social events and top-tier club facilities including the clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course.

Getting Around in Jacksonville

Newcomers relocating to Jacksonville from prominent US cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles with their sophisticated public transportation resources may find that getting around requires a bit more effort than they are accustomed to.

Jacksonville is a sprawling city and getting about without a car may prove difficult. The city’s public transport networks are fairly limited and really only serve the downtown area sufficiently.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are well established in Jacksonville and provide an excellent alternative for those who don’t drive.


Public transport in Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) oversees the city’s public transport network. The system consists of a fairly extensive bus network and a monorail system.

Buses

Although Jacksonville’s bus service connects much of this massive city, the system has limitations. Buses in Jacksonville rarely run on time and commuters can expect to wait between 30 minutes to an hour between services, which can be incredibly frustrating.

While operating hours are occasionally extended to accommodate special events, generally speaking, buses in Jacksonville stop running at around 8pm or 9pm, depending on the particular route.

Bus fares are cheap, and those who are planning on using buses as their primary mode of transport should consider investing in a STAR Card, which offers daily and weekly passes at discounted rates.

Skyway

The Skyway is Jacksonville’s free elevated monorail service that connects particular points of interest in the city centre. There are eight stations across two lines: the Downtown line and the Southbank line.

The Skyway only operates during the week from 6am to 9pm. From time to time, additional weekend services will be made available if there is a special event taking place.

While the Skyway provides a great way to get around Jacksonville’s city centre, it is typically something that is used by visitors rather than long-term residents.


Taxis in Jacksonville

A number of traditional taxi services operate in Jacksonville but fares can quickly add up considering the size of the city and distance between places.

Taxis are readily available in the city centre, especially close to tourist hotspots. New residents may find it is more difficult to access taxi services in the suburbs, though, as most people opt to use their own cars to get about. It's therefore best to have a number on hand and book ahead of time when travelling from the suburbs.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have an established presence in Jacksonville. Rates are also generally more reasonable than the equivalent taxi ride. Users simply need to download the relevant app onto their smartphone and register for an account using their bank card.


Cycling in Jacksonville 

In recent years, cycling has become a popular pastime in Jacksonville. Cycling isn't really the most efficient way of commuting in a city as large as Jacksonville, but having a bike is useful when it comes to getting around the downtown area.

Cycling is not just a great way to stay active, but it provides an excellent opportunity to explore parts of Jacksonville that aren’t always accessible by car.


Walking in Jacksonville

While commuting on foot isn't practical, new arrivals will find that many of Jacksonville's suburbs are incredibly walkable and safe.

Once in the city centre, taking a walk is a great way to explore the hidden corners of Jacksonville at a leisurely pace. Areas such as Riverside, San Marco and Fairfax are rated as the city's most walkable.


Driving in Jacksonville

Given the size of the city, driving is the most practical way of getting around in Jacksonville. Having a car makes life infinitely easier and gives people the freedom to explore Jacksonville and its surrounds at leisure.

Most Jacksonville residents own a car, and investing in a vehicle will certainly help newcomers get acquainted with the city faster.

New arrivals to Florida can drive on their foreign or out-of-state driver's licence initially, but must get a Florida licence within 30 days of officially becoming resident.