Jacksonville is located on Florida’s First Coast, a stretch of Florida’s northeastern coast which was the first land settled by European explorers back in the 16th century. Today Jacksonville’s metro area encompasses over one million residents, with all of the modern conveniences expected from a major city as well as the natural beauty visitors to Florida have come to expect. The neighboring communities of Amelia Island (Fernandina Beach), Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach are all included in Jacksonville’s metro area.
The natural environment of Jacksonville is another big draw to the area. The St. Johns River flows across three hundred miles of rural northern Florida before it empties out into the Atlantic Ocean, just above Jacksonville. Riverwalk, a mile-long stretch of restaurants, bars and cafes along the St. Johns, is just one way the natural surroundings of Jacksonville have been incorporated into urban life. There are also several parks in the area, including Little Talbot Island State Park, which features a two mile multi-use trail along the coastal habitat of Little Talbot Island, and Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, which focuses around an abandoned Civil War fort at the mouth of the St Johns River.