North Florida includes the northern portions of the state of Florida, except for the Florida Panhandle. It is the most culturally "Southern" part of Florida, easily identifying with some parts of Georgia. The exceptions are the cosmopolitan city of Jacksonville, the college town of Gainesville, and the beaches on the East Coast. Lots of state parks and other natural areas are located in North Florida.
North Florida's climate is humid subtropical. Winters are mild, and summers are hot. Highs range from 64-92 Fahrenheit/18-33 Celsius. Heat waves can occur during the summer months, sometimes reaching over 110 Fahrenheit. Thunderstorms regularly occur in the coastal areas on summer afternoons. The wettest months are June, July, August, and September. North Florida is generally not prone to hurricanes due to a "dent" in the coast near the city of Jacksonville. Cold snaps can dip below the 20s on some winter nights.
- Nature Coast - The rural, laid-back, stunningly beautiful coastal communities of Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette Levy, and Taylor counties.
- Northeast Florida - Synonymous with the "First Coast" region, it is the portion of the state north of the Daytona Beach area along the Atlantic coast, including the entire Jacksonville area. It includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. John's counties.
- North Central Florida - Generally viewed as the portion of the state east of the Aucilla River all the way east to Baker County and as far south as Ocala, excepting the coastal counties. It includes Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Hamilton, Madison, Marion, Suwannee, and Union counties.
- Gainesville - A college town, home to the University of Florida.
- Jacksonville - Florida's largest city, with a vibrant downtown
- Lake City - Small town at the intersection of I-10 and I-75
- Ocala - Horse Capital of the World
- Orange Park - A suburb of Jacksonville, with some good restaurants.
- Palatka - A river town
- Palm Coast - Laid-back coastal town
- St. Augustine - The oldest settlement in the country, full of history.
- Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. Site of a large Civil War battle in the town of Olustee in Baker County. Home to a good visitors' center and a reenactment on the second weekend of February. From Jacksonville, take I-10 west for 35 miles and then take exit 324 onto US-90. After 5 miles, turn right onto 17 Mile Camp Road. Just off of US-90 in Olustee.
- Amelia Island. Really fancy beach resort area in Nassau County. Great beaches, hotels, and restaurants. From Jacksonville, take I-95 north for 20 miles and then take exit 373 onto Florida A1A. Amelia Island is fourteen miles away.
- The Historic Suwannee River. Famous for its role in Florida's state song: "Way Down Upon The Suwannee River". Many, many good locations to visit on the river, but the best is Suwannee River State Park in Live Oak. From Lake City, take I-10 west for 25 miles, then take exit 275 onto FL-10 W. After 5 miles, turn right onto Stagecoach Road and then continue on to 201st Path. Address: 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, Florida.
- Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park in Gainesville. A temperate rain forest at the bottom of a sinkhole, and one of only two temperate rain forests in the country. Really cool vegetation and wildlife, and you can take the stairs all the way to the bottom of the sinkhole. Just to the north of Gainesville. Address: 4732 Millhopper Road, Gainesville, Florida
- Silver Springs - An awesome nature theme park, famous for its glass-bottomed boats. Just east of Ocala. Address: 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Silver Springs, Florida.
- Cedar Key - A small town on the islet of Cedar Key in Levy County, on the Gulf Coast. Laid back, relaxed, sleepy town. Great beaches and world-class seafood. From Gainesville, take FL-24 W. The end of the road is Cedar Key.
North Florida is "Old Florida" in that it exhibits what the culture of the entire state used to be like only a few decades ago. It is more akin to the Deep South in culture. It is mostly rural and is not as metropolitan as parts of Central or South Florida, with the major exception of the city of Jacksonville. The landscape and environment of the region does not typify the sub-tropical environment that most think of Florida. The region is more known for its magnolias and live oaks then palm trees and beaches. North Floridians in rural areas tend to think of their part of the state as "Dixie". North Florida is also overwhelmingly conservative, especially in the rural parts of the region. Ethnic food is not as popular in North Florida as it is in South or Central Florida.
English is spoken almost without exception in North Florida. Most native north Floridians speak with a Southern dialect.
- Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Jacksonville. Daily flights from Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York City, Newark, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Juan, and Washington, D.C.
- Amtrak, 1-800-872-7245, . Service by the Silver Meteor line to Jacksonville and Palatka. The train departs every day from New York City at 15:15, Philadelphia at 16:38, Baltimore at 18:14, Washington, D.C. at 19:30, Richmond at 21:50, and Charleston at 05:01. It arrives in Jacksonville at 09:23 at Palatka at 10:24. For the full schedule go to .
One-Way Train Fares
- New York-Jacksonville - $128
- New York-Palatka - $129
- Philadelphia-Jacksonville - $127
- Philadelphia-Palatka - $127
- Baltimore-Jacksonville - $115
- Baltimore-Palatka - $118
- Washington-Jacksonville - $109
- Washington-Palatka - $113
- Richmond-Jacksonville - $96
- Richmond-Palatka - $101
- Charleston-Jacksonville - $49
- Charleston-Palatka - $50
- I-95 runs along the Atlantic coast throughout the entire North Florida region.
- I-75 runs north-south through the middle of North Florida, and connects to the Florida Turnpike south of Ocala for a straight shot into Orlando and Miami.
- I-10 runs westward from Jacksonville to Tallahassee and eventually to Alabama.
- St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.
- The Historic Suwannee River
- The University of Florida in Gainesville
- Florida Lighthouses are numerous and beautiful, take some time to visit these iconic images of the coast.
Due to it being relatively undeveloped compared to the rest of the state, North Florida is paradise for anyone who likes to enjoy nature. Hunting and fishing are the favorite activities for both residents and many visitors to the region. North Florida is also home to one major professional sports team, the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park, 12087 S.W. US Hwy 27 (Exit from I-75 at exit 399. Take US 441 north to High Springs. Take US 27 north to Ft. White the south entrance to the park is 4 miles on the right), ☎ 386-497-4690, . 8am-sundown, 365 days a year. The park is known for tubing (tubes can be rented nearby for $5-15), kayaking and canoeing down the Ichnetucknee River. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the park has vehicles which take you from the park to the river and from the exit (from the river) to the parking lot. $5/person, $5/vehicle in off-season.
North Florida is a very diversified region for food. One could enjoy fresh seafood in St. Augustine or in Cedar Key. The region is also known for its Barbecue. Sonny's Real Pit BBQ, the largest barbecue chain in America, was started in Gainesville. The region is also known for specializing in "Cracker Cuisine" which is the traditional food eaten by the early pioneers of Florida. Two well known cracker restaurants is the Yearling in Gainesville and Stumpknockers in Ocala.
North Florida is home to two of Florida's four dry counties where the sale of alcohol is prohibited (Lafayette and Suwannee). However, alcohol of any variety can be found in abundance in the cosmopolitan city of Jacksonville and the college town of Gainesville.
Be warned that Jacksonville has the second highest murder rate in the state, however, only certain neighborhoods are deemed "unsafe" while most other areas of the city are tourist friendly.
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