Questions: Jacksonville/Bowl Game Travel

Submitted by rastafari on December 7th, 2010 at 11:05 AM

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??

Go Blue!!



December 7th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

Pro-tip: Use expedia/orbitz/etc. to find a few you like for the prices, check their reviews, and then double check with Google afterwards.

Having been to Jax myself, there's not a lot there.  Other than a river you would swear is the atlantic ocean. 


December 7th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

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. 


December 7th, 2010 at 11:15 AM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

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


December 7th, 2010 at 11:34 AM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

"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.)


December 7th, 2010 at 11:29 AM ^

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  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!


December 7th, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

*  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!




December 7th, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

FWIW I saw MJD tweet about it being 35 degrees in Jax this morning.  So it might not be as warm as you think.

Also your comment on the Super Bowl and knowing "how to throw a party" is a total homer statement.  I know he is only one man, but Bill Simmons did not have many nice things to say about Jax after attending the Super Bowl there.  And, if my memory serves correct - Detroit held a Super Bowl recently, and I would not say that city "knows how to throw a party". 


December 7th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

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. would be alot cheaper than a hotel, that's for sure!


December 7th, 2010 at 12:28 PM ^

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!


December 7th, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

Not trying to say anything bad about your city - just trying to temper expectations of people going there!

Fun can be had in any big city, but I would not label Jax as a "party city".  More or less, it's a great city for hosting an event like this (game at a pro stadium that was built in the last twenty years, and you can drink there). 

Super Bowl it was perhaps a bit in over its head, but a January First Bowl Game?  Perfect.

Also, to any Michigan fan driving down there - make sure to get some boiled peanuts from any random dude selling them on the side of the road. 


December 7th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 1:33 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 4:34 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

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. 

great slight hope

December 7th, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

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.


December 7th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

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?


December 7th, 2010 at 2:01 PM ^

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


Alicia Glowe

[email protected]