Getting Around Jacksonville
The best way to get around Jacksonville is by car. The greater Jacksonville area encompasses 840 square miles, and the nearby beach towns of Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Beach and Atlantic Beach are roughly 30 miles away from the downtown area. You'll find several big-name car rental agencies located in the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), which sits roughly 15 miles north of the downtown area. However, if you aren't a fan of heavy highway traffic, you can rely on several different public transportation methods to get around. You'll also find a number of taxi services operating in Jacksonville as well as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft offering rides between downtown, Amelia Island and the airport.
You will need a car if you hope to make the most out of your time in the greater Jacksonville area: Many of the city's top attractions sit outside the downtown area. The city acts as an intersection for many state and interstate highways, making it fairly easy to find your way around. However, traffic can be dense, especially along the routes between the city and the beaches (like Route 90, also known as Beach Boulevard) during the summertime. So be prepared to get an early start.
The Jacksonville Skyway (an elevated monorail operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, or JTA) offers free transportation around downtown Jacksonville, stopping at such points of interest as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Science & History. The Skyway operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; it only runs on weekends during special events.
The Riverside Avondale Night Trolley runs on Friday and Saturday the first full weekend of the month, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. every weekend. The trolley makes a figure-eight path throughout Riverside and Avondale. The Riverside Avondale Night Trolley costs $1.50 each way. The trolley can be useful if you're hoping to explore 5 Points, Park & King, the Shoppes of Avondale, the Brewery District, Stockton & College and the St. Johns Village area.
Bus routes throughout the greater Jacksonville area are operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. One-way fares cost $1.75 per person. If you're planning on using the bus as your primary means of transportation, consider getting a STAR Card, which offers day and week passes for $4.50 and $20, respectively. For information on schedules, visit the JTA website.
Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft operate in the Jacksonville area, as does zTrip, a relatively new ride-hailing/taxi hybrid that allows users to request or schedule rides on the mobile app, book rides on the company's website and hail cars from the street.
If you're in the Jacksonville Beaches area, which includes Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach, you can make use of the free Beach Buggy service. The eight- to 10-seater electric cars and 14-passenger vans are free to ride and a great way to get around the Jacksonville Beaches and San Marco area. Riders can request rides via the corresponding Beach Buggy smartphone app.
|On Foot or By Bike||
The downtown core is pedestrian-friendly, though you'll want a set of wheels to explore the nearby beaches. For a pleasant waterfront stroll, head to the Southbank Riverwalk. Bordering the St. Johns River downtown, the boardwalk is a magnet for joggers and tourists who come to admire the skyline.
There are also plenty of biking trails in the area, including the popular Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail. This paved path extends more than 14 miles from Imeson Road in Jacksonville to the town of Baldwin. It's a hit with locals and visitors alike, who reported spotting wildlife while traversing the trail. Bicycles Etc. is a popular bike shop in central Jacksonville that offers rentals starting at $40 a day.
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