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Top Five Destinations of Jacksonville

When I think of Jacksonville, I don’t think about beaches. I don’t think about the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t think about the South. I don’t even think about Florida. I think about the Archers.

What are the Archers, you ask? It was one of the names bandied about as a possible name for a NFL expansion franchise back in 1993. It combined the symbol of the St. Louis skyline with a pointy-eared warrior from Middle-Earth, and it seemed perfect to me. Then, along came Jacksonville, and the rug went out from under the Archers and a fresh start for football in St. Louis was lost.


The Rams ended up being a nice consolation prize, especially the 1999 version with Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt leading the Greatest Show on Turf to a Super Bowl victory. Considering that the Jaguars and the Panthers have yet to win a Super Bowl, there’s something to be said for St. Louis not winning an expansion team. However, the siren call of Los Angeles may summon the Rams back to their ancestral home eventually and I don’t know if an expansion team would have as much danger for that call. However, since I live in Los Angeles now, I wouldn’t mind nearly as much.

Now that I have that all out in the open and realize that those feelings of bitterness toward Jacksonville have dissipated as I write, I think it’s time to visit this place. Instead of trying to puzzle out how this town won out over St. Louis, now I can just go and enjoy Jacksonville as Jacksonville. Still doesn’t mean I’ll go . Instead, here are five things that sound cool.

Play 18 holes at the TPC at Sawgrass

As a fan of golf, both watching and playing, there are certain iconic courses. The TPC at Sawgrass is certainly one of those thanks to its signature 17th island hole and because it serves as host to The Players Championship every year. Yes, the $395 greens fee is a bit steep, but on a list of possible great courses available to play, it’s at or near the top of the list.

Eat brunch at Orsay

Orsay uses local providers for its menu blending French cuisine with southern staples. The brunch menu caught my attention for things like duck confit hash, bourbon and orange French toast and especially the wild local shrimp and Anson Mills grits.

Take a fishing charter

Since Jacksonville is one the ocean, I ask myself, why not go fishing? Captain Dave’s charter caught my attention because of the simple, “No long boat rides.” That means more time for fishing.

Hike along the beach at Big Talbot Island State Park

Big Talbot Island State Park seems to have a lot going for it. Canoeing, kayaking and wildlife viewing all strike a bit of an interest for me, but sometimes, just a simple hike along the ocean to listen to the waves push against the shore is more than enough for me.

Check out the Riverside Arts Market

I realize the Riverside Arts Market sounds like a glorified Farmer’s Market. However, a few years of trying the food at food trucks and chance notes heard from quality street musicians makes me want to give this a chance. It sounds like a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon and I can always fall back on people watching.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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