Beaches like Jacksonville Beach are one of a number of good reasons to move to this Florida city.

Jacksonville is the fourth-largest city in Florida, covers the most square feet in the state, and is largely underrated.

Why?

Well, it’s usually overshadowed by its more popular neighbors to the south, especially Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. However, the Jacksonville region has undergone a bit of a renaissance over the last decade, with a lot of creative businesses and culture-minded companies moving into the area. People are beginning to notice that not only is it a great place to visit, it’s also a pretty spectacular place to live.

One Place – Diverse Activities

In Jacksonville, you have the opportunity to enjoy nature, city sites, and beach fun all in one day. Visit Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park for hiking and biking along the coastal uplands of the St. John’s River. Castaway Island Preserve provides gorgeous views from a raised trail, and you can kayak for a better look at alligators, wood storks, and herons.

In Downtown Jacksonville, enjoy the Cummer Museum of Art, where there are over 5,000 works of art to explore. Right along the river, you’ll find new restaurants and lots of live music. Drive a few miles south and you’re in St. Augustine, the oldest city in America and home to old missions and forts.

Jacksonville also has some of the loveliest beaches in Florida, and they aren’t flanked by high-rise condos, sprawling hotel resorts, and all-you-can-eat seafood establishments. Check out Neptune Beach for some of the best surfing in Florida and some great boutique shopping on pedestrian-friendly streets. Ponte Vedra is known for its lush golf courses, but its beaches are hard to beat, too. A favorite beach among Jacksonville locales is Huguenot Memorial Park, where you can camp, swim, and even drive on the beach in some sections.

Active adults looking for a great place to live in and around Jacksonville have several different options, including these three 55+ communities. 

Sweetwater – Jacksonville, FL

Low $200s – Low $400s

Less than 15 minutes from Downtown Jacksonville is Sweetwater, where house hunters can purchase a single-family home, attached villa, or low-maintenance condo in this highly active community. Condos start at two bedroom properties with 1,800 square feet of living space, while the largest homes have over 2,600 square feet of space with three bedrooms and a den. The community was built by Del Webb and is flush with all the amenities the builder is known for providing, from a 22,000 square-foot clubhouse to indoor and outdoor pools, putting greens, and walking trails.

There are dozens of clubs and activities for residents to enjoy. There’s a painting group, a photography club, and opportunities for singing, dancing, and learning Italian. There’s a support group, bible study, and an open art studio. Sweetwater residents play pickleball and tennis together, and frequently join outings to various places around the state. 

Freedom at Arbor Mill – Jacksonville, FL

Low $200s – Mid $200s

One of the newest communities in Jacksonville is Freedom at Arbor Mill, where 156 single-family homes are being constructed for active adults. D.R. Horton is the builder, and buyers can choose from four different models, each with three or four bedrooms. The lifestyle is private and intimate, with a clubhouse and a pool available for community events and gatherings.

There’s a dog park for four-legged residents, and plenty of space to stroll alongside the scenic ponds on the property. Residents will enjoy the fitness center as well as pickleball courts, bocce ball courts, and plenty of social clubs and activities. Located within the Oakleaf Plantation community, Freedom at Arbor Mill is close to every retailer you could need, including Publix, Target, and Home Depot. Some great restaurants are also within an easy drive.

Artisan Lakes – Ponte Vedra, FL

High $300s – Low $500s

Another new community is Artisan Lakes in Ponte Vedra, a town close to Jacksonville and St. Augustine. All 196 homes in this community border a preserve, a lake, or open park space. It’s a natural, pleasant place to live that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. CalAtlantic Homes is building single-family homes in two collections; The Prestige Collection and The Signature Collection. These new homes include special touches like extra-large master suites, great rooms, and private courtyards.

The residents at Artisan Lakes are social, as indicated by the frequent holiday parties, a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes and food events, and the large clubhouse, which features a fitness center and a dance studio. There are plenty of exercise classes, as well as opportunities to practice at the putting green or learn bocce ball.