I am looking forward to the bowl game and will be making the journey from Michigan via auto. Does anyone familiar with Jacksonville know of a decent motel/hotel? Any other good info??
I lived in jax a few years back, if you want to stay in jax i would suggest the beaches area (my parent always stayed in the baymeadows area which is ok). The west side of jax is kind of ghetto in areas, and there is not much to do downtown. i have not been there in six years, but the lighthouse grill used to have six dollar pitchers of long island ice tea on friday nights, and the talent was always top notch for the single guys.
You got me all excited about the lighthouse grill, but in the last six years it has closed down. Devastating. Always on the lookout for fishbowls.
Wear the cheeseburger hat.
Seriously though, Jacksonville is a cool town but I agree, it's nothing special. I would look into maybe staying in Brunswick, GA. It's about an hour away but I've heard it's a great area if you're big into history or maybe even St. Augustine.
Don't stay in Brunswick proper. If you've decided you want to be in that area, stay on Saint Simons or Jekyll Island (Saint Simons if you want an actual resemblance of normal city life, Jekyll if you want a quiet, family-oriented place).
If anyone has a larger group (6-8 people) and is seriously interested in staying on Jekyll, let me know, because my family has a condo that is still open for that weekend. A Michigan fan discount will be in order. kevin dot c dot ryan at gmail
from Jekyll Island!
Yes st. Augustine would be the most scenic place to stay but a good 30-45 min from stadum
If you're driving, stay at the Plantation on Amelia Island. It'll be a little longer drive to the game (about 30 miles) on gameday than if you stayed in the city but its worth it. Make the trip into a beach trip and enhance your pleasure. Amelia Island is beautiful.
Amelia Island. PurpleStuff, send the website as your pitch: beach, horseback riding, biking, kayaking, lighthouse, old town. This is the winner
In pictures: http://www.ameliaisland.com/media-gallery/
While still warm comparatively to most of the US, I'd say the average low in NoFlo last night was around 20 with a high of 50 today, so I wouldn't plan on much lazy beach weather. That being said, Jacksonville Beach and Amelia Island would probably have great rates since it's the coastal offseason. Both are a relatively short drive to Jacksonville, and are nicer areas overall.
I was trying to convince my girl about the awesomeness of schlepping across the country and spending New Year's in Jacksonville. She made a scrunched up face and asked, "What in the world is there to do in Jacksonville?"
Flabergasted that a Michigan bowl game wouldn't be enough to capture her unwavering interest, all I could come up with is, "I remember hearing they have a lot of murders there."
So yeah, things are not looking good. I personally need any sort of positive, Chamber of Commerce type info about the city right away if there is going to be any hope of me catching the game in person.
See above and below about turning the trip into a beach trip. It won't be real warm, but the beach is the beach.
Although, does that little strip of sand north of the "Miracle Mile" count as being a beach?
I'm a huge fan of quoting from the dictionary. It is a very effective discussion tool. If interested, the Profitgoblue Urban Dictionary defines the word "beach" as an:
"expanse of sand or pebbles along a shore of a large body of saltwater, preferrably an ocean."
It is the largest city, by land area, in the continental United States. Woo!!
There's more "disappearences" down here rather than murders....
"Honey, this trip includes a side trip to St. Augustine, where we can hold hands walking down St. George St., (shopping!) eat dinner overlooking the water and take a horse drawn carriage ride through town. The christmas lights will still be up in the town square and I hear it's the most romantic city in Florida. I'll even take you to 'The Fountain of Youth.'"
(Actually all of that's true, but it's up to you to decide if you want to put yourself through that kind of ordeal.)
Saw in RR's presser that the team is not staying in beach/resort areas, they are bunking downtown where the stadium is. So if you want to be close to the team action, find a downtown hotel on hotwire.com. Amelia Island Plantation is awesome, but remote. Marriott @ Sawgrass is also very nice - "Sawgrass" is the golf/beaches area of Jax. Have fun & GO BLUE!
The team is staying at the Omni hotel in Jacksonville.
If you want to stay in the city, I've stayed at the Adam's Mark downtown while there for work. It's close to Jacksonville Landing and on the river. It's not that far from the stadium.
* Your "beach time" this trip will not be baking in your bikini. More like cargos & sweatshirt & M cap, taking long walks in the surf in 65 degree weather. The north Florida beaches are wide expanses with good waves and blustry.
* The St Johns River runs from dwntwn Jax south. Lots of boaters - marinas right downtown and all along the river. There will be lots of boat cruise type things going on.
* Sawgrass is home of the TPC with multiple championship venues available - this would be a great bowl trip for golf nuts. World Golf Hall of Fame just down the road in St Augustine.
* Jax hosted a Super Bowl, so they know how to put on a party.
* NAS Jacksonville is the big Naval training base where all the Navy flyboys go for their initial training. It's a huge complex and there is always lots of plane traffic and several carriers are based here also, so for anyone into military stuff it's a good destination.
* Avoid going too far north (where the airiport is) up towards the Georgia border. Two big paper mills really give off a stink.
I lived down there for 7 years. It's a fantastic destination. Not super glamorous, but there is plenty to do. After all, it's Tim Tebow's home town!
If anyone is interested, I am a UM fan, going to the game, living in Jacksonville & might have a guest bedroom for rent for a night???
It would have to be for the right person(s) as I have small children. Probably no more than 2 people. But...it would be alot cheaper than a hotel, that's for sure!
just trying to help folks out, Beav. . . .you're right, a lot of the writers used to the "glamour spots" for Super Bowls didn't have many nice things to say about Jax. it's not Miami. but that doesn't mean its not worthwhile. it will be 35 in the morings for a low, but then warm up to low 60's during the day that time of year. shorts and tshirt and hoodie kinda weather, maybe take the hoodie off in the afternoon. GO BLUE!
Alcohol is sold at the game? I was under the impression that any NCAA sporting event prohibited the sale of alcohol. I know when I went to the SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome a few years back alcohol wasn't sold. This would be a nice plus.
I moved here in 2001 from Michigan and I really like the area. In addition to the other places mentioned, I'd recommend that you look at 4 areas of town to stay. It all depends on your interests.
1. Downtown - It's the place to be if you want to be near the team headquarters and stadium. There will be Gator Bowl activities there, but the downtown area is somewhat limited for bars, restaurants and other nightlife.
2. The Beaches - Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beaches are all in a row along the Atlantic Ocean. Of course the best feature is the beach but there also are lots of bars and restaurants in Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach. It takes about 20 minutes to get downtown from the beaches area.
3. Ponte Vedra Beach - This is just south of Jacksonville Beach on the Atlantic coast and is considered an upscale resort area. The TPC Sawgrass is the main attraction with 2 great courses. There is only one public access beach but it is nice. St. Augustine is about 25 miles south and it's well worth the trip down A1A.
4. Southside/Baymeadows area - This area is central to both downtown and the beaches and is a good option if you are looking visit different areas while in Jacksonville. It is also close to the St. Johns Town Center, the main shopping complex in Jacksonville.
Hope this helps.
Any specific bars/restaurants in the Beaches area that you recommend?
Brix, The Ritz and Lynch's Irish pub are all pretty good bars near the beaches.
in Neptune Beach is my favorite "dive" bar. It reminds me of some of the best bars back home in Michigan. Sneakers in Jacksonville Beach is the oversized, loud sports bar in the area. Mellow Mushroom in Jacksonville Beach is my favorite pizza place.
There are 2 "happening" areas at the beaches. In Jacksonville Beach park somewhere near Beach Blvd. and 1st St. and walk around. There are lots of food/drink options there. From there drive north on 3rd St./A1A N about 3 miles and make a right at the dead end, Atlantic Ave. (not that Atlantic Ave.!) and there are lots of places there as well.
Ha! I was at petes about a month ago, cops came blah blah blah yeah petes is cool
If you are looking to save money or not spend a fortune on a hotel, I would recommend using priceline. I have literally used it on every trip I've made in the last 2 years including Puerto Rico, St. Pete's Beach, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cleveland. I have a system that will give you a good idea of what hotels you are potentially going to get if your bid is successful. Makes it much less risky with the proper research beforehand.
My friend got a hotel in Jacksonville bidding $45/night for Jacksonville Southpoint-Butler Blvd region. It was for 1/1 through 1/4, and he said the hotel retails for $100/night. My hotel is like 45 minutes from the airport but only ten minutes from the stadium, so I'm probably going to rent a car. (I'm going to bid on a car rental on priceline, too.) Also, I have all of January 2nd free and am strongly considering driving down to Disney World for the day. Anyone familiar with the area know if this drive is okay/doable? I heard it's like 2 1/2 hours.
very doable as long as you get on the road early in the morning. It sounds like you'll be staying close to I-95 so the drive will be mostly highway.
I would recommend that you spend the day at Universal instead of Disney.
It's a good 2 and 1/2 to 3. Just keep that in mind if you plan to do the full drive down n back in a single day.
If you want the thrill rides go to Universal, if you want the theme park go to Disney. Single day, single park tickets at either one run about 80 or 85 bucks I believe.
Universal Studios has a new section dedicated to Harry Potter. It's a kinda' small, three rides or so, but it's done remarkably well. There's already talk of the park deciding to expand the section. I was there in August and it was crowded since it was all pretty new; also a large Euro-crowd, I forgot that August was the month Europe (basically) takes off for vacation. Epcot Center if one wishes to partake in "Drink Around the World", a Florida Tradition from what I'm told. My significant other and I are planning on jetting to Orlando after the game.
If u wanna get outta jax for a day, go to St. Augustine, youll love it and its only 30min or so from Jax.
Check out St. Augustine if you like history. It's the oldest city in the United States and has a 17th century fort, a beautiful downtown, and is right on the ocean. It would make a great day (or more) trip. Only about an hour from Jacksonville.
For those of you JAX natives, what's the best way to get around town? We're flying in, and we're trying to decide if renting a car is out of our price range or not.
Is there any kind of commuter rail or buses into downtown? Or is cabbing it our best bet?
you can get around there without renting a car. If you're staying in any other area, there are no good mass transit options available. Also, there are not as many cabs in Jacksonville compared to other cities of comparable size.
The transit system here isnt that big, i would rent a car, jax is big and it takes time to drive across town
to any of the MGoBoard family in need of a place to crash. I live in Gainesville, but don't worry . . . 90% of the student body will be down in Tampa.
I stayed in Jacksonville at the beach for the Florida vs. Georgia game. We rented a condo at the beach and it was really a great place to stay. The price is comparable to a hotel and they still have availablity. The couple that owns the place are big Michigan fans which is a bonus. We decided we are staying in a hotel with a restaurant this year but these condos are really nice. Below is the contact info. Alicia is really quick to respond and she has the website info. We found it on HomeAway.com.
I'm going to be staying downtown near Jacksonville Landing with some other students. What are the nightlife options like? Are there good spots in walking distance from the Jacksonville Landing area?
I'll be driving up from Tampa with grill etc in tow. If anyone flying in is interested in sharing the grill just let me know... Have not yet picked a parking area but will post it if anyone is interested in tailgating.
Wish I could be there.
I have lived in Jax for the last 3 years. This city is actually pretty fun; definitely more family oriented but still some cool places. Jax is a city of neighborhoods, so you'll have to venture out of Downtown to find some good pockets of places to hang. However, within 5-10 minutes of Downtown (or in Downtown) I would definitely recommend the follwoing places:
Riverside (westside/just out of Downtown): probably the "coolest" non-beach area in Jax for the 20-something crowd - only about 5 minutes (max) from Downtown
Avondale: wealthy enclave just past Riverside. Homes remind you of the north (think Grosse Pointe). Small shopping district with high-end restaurants and boutiques.
San Marco: wealthy enclave on the "south" bank of Jax (opposite side of the river from the Stadium). Mansions and historic homes. Another small shopping district with high-end restaurants and boutiques.
I go there every friday night. Live hip hop, great beer. OBERON ON TAP What what???!!! And that's my stompin' ground as i work a block from Lomax, so if anyone is down for some Oberon and good hip hop (not radio shit) get at me & we'll make it happen the friday before the game!