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Jacksonville & Mayport PCS Guide

If you are PCSing to NAS Jacksonville or NS Mayport, this PCS Guide will help you get a better feel for the areas that surround Jacksonville. Jacksonville is very spread out and it's hard to know where to live. This guide will help you narrow down your search and hopefully reduce your level of anxiety. If you have additional questions about this PCS Guide to Jacksonville and Mayport, feel free to contact us or join our Facebook Group.

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Military Bases in the Area

Naval Air Station Jacksonville

Naval Station Mayport

Coast Guard Mayport

Areas of Jacksonville, Florida

 where to live in Jacksonville FL

Downtown Area 

Springfield Area                                                                                     Duval County

Located just north of downtown, the Springfield area consists of beautiful older historic homes. This area is being revitalized and is in transition. This is an area to watch over the next couple of years.  One military spouse who has lived in the area for 3 years says she loves the area, knows her neighbors and her neighbors look out for her when she’s home alone. It may not be an area for everyone, however it is up and coming and might appeal to some military families. Southern Living named it the best of ‘The South’s Comeback Neighborhoods.' If you are looking for areas with old historic homes, you may also like the Avondale/Riverside and San Marco areas.

Commute to NAS Jax:  approximately 15 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 20 minutes to Mayport Gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools (since this area is in transition, schools may be spotty)

 

Avondale/Riverside Area                                                                      Duval County

The Riverside/Avondale is one of America’s great historic neighborhoods. This residential area is located southwest of Downtown Jacksonville along the St. Johns River.  The Riverside/Avondale area is known for its architecture, emphasis on historic preservation, and beautiful streets adorned with tall moss draped oak trees. There are very few areas in Jacksonville where you can walk to restaurants and shops, but this area is one of the best. The Riverside/Avondale area has three commercial districts with excellent restaurants and boutiques; Five Points, Kings Street District and Shoppes of Avondale. This area is also home to the Cummer Museum & Gardens and the Riverside Arts Market.   The area is great if you like to walk to shops and restaurants nearby. Homes range in all different sizes and prices. The Riverside/Avondale area is perfect for those looking for a quick commute to NAS JAX.  This area is popular for families with kids, families without kids, and singles.

Riverside/Avondale area is a part of the Duval County Schools so it is very important to check the schools your children will be attending.  There is one highly rated elementary school in the Riverside/Avondale area. Just south of Avondale is the beautiful Ortega neighborhood, which also has a highly rated elementary school. 

Riverside and Avondale are actually two neighborhoods, located next to each other, and are both listed on the National Register of Historic Districts.

Commute: Easy access Interstates 95 and 10. 

Schools: Middle and High Schools are not highly rated.

 

Ortega                                                                                                Duval County

Ortega Forest and/or Ortega Farms is a 15 minute drive to Downtown. Stockton Elementary, located in Ortega, is a fantastic elementary school. This area is popular for the families with kids, families without kids, and singles.

Commute to NAS Jax:  8 miles; approximately 15 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 24 miles, approximately 40 minutes to Mayport Gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

San Marco Area                                                                               Duval County

The San Marco area is located just south of downtown Jacksonville and sits on the eastside of the St. Johns River. San Marco is one of the oldest sections of North Florida, but it’s very unique in that it has a mix of both old and new. The commercial district of “San Marco Square” was modeled after Venice’s Piazza San Marco and features several Mediterranean buildings and a fountain.  The square features the San Marco Theatre, an art-deco single screen theatre, still in operation, along with shops and restaurants.

Commute to NAS Jax: 14 miles, 26 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 19 miles, approximately 35 minutes to Mayport Gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

Orange Park                                                                                    Clay County

Orange Park has older, more established neighborhoods. Some areas of Orange Park may be safer than others. Big box chain stores, such as Publix and Target, and strip malls are nearby.  There is a new children’s emergency room in Orange Park. The traffic in Orange Park is really bad, especially along US 17 from I-10 to 295 to Green Cove Springs.  Even with three-lanes each way, it sometimes becomes stop and go. Also, Blanding Blvd has really bad traffic. Schools are ok in this area, but it might be more specific to certain areas. Areas on the Westside of Blanding Blvd outside Orange Park may be areas to avoid.

Nearby Neighborhoods 

Oakleaf Plantation (a family oriented community with a school, athletic centers, playgrounds and pools are within walking and biking distance.)

Eagle Landing (has a water slide, diving boards, adults only pool, bar, cafe, full gym including indoor basketball court, tennis courts, kids club, putt putt course, golf course, country club, canoeing, and playgrounds.)

Commute to NAS Jax: 6 miles, 15 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 36 miles, approximately 45 minutes to Mayport Gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Clay County Schools

 

Fleming Island Area                                                                     Clay County

Fleming Island has a suburbia feel with newer construction homes with lots of amenities. There is a mixture of chain and local stores and restaurants. Fleming Island has 2 main planned developments, Eagle Harbor and Fleming Island Plantation. Both have multiple neighborhoods, pools and golf courses. This area is known for good schools and is very popular among military families.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Fleming Island is a neighborhood itself.

Eagle Harbor – zoned for Fleming Island Elementary, which is a great schools. Both are a wonderful planned community with schools, pools, tennis and golf within walking distance.

Commute to NAS Jax: 12 miles; 26 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 41.6 miles, approximately 55 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Clay County Schools

Neighborhoods within 5 miles of Downtown Area.

 Download the PCS Guide to NAS Jacksonville & NS Mayport

Areas near NS Mayport 

Arlington                                                                                       Duval County

Arlington is defined in so many different ways. Some people have Arlington extending all the way to the Intracoastal. In general, Arlington is not a safe area and not recommended. The neighboring areas, Ft. Caroline and Intracoastal West (which are MILES away) are great areas instead.  See more details for Ft. Caroline and Intracoastal West area)

 

Ft. Caroline Area                                                                        Duval County

Ft. Caroline located on the banks of the St. John river. It is actually the first European settlement in North America.  The neighborhoods surrounding Ft. Caroline are safe and great for an easy commute to Mayport.  You want to stay EAST of 295 in the 32225 zip code. 

Ft. Caroline Neighborhoods: Hidden Hills Country Club, Harbour Island, Fort Caroline Cove, Fort Carline Lakes, Harbor North, Colony Cove.

Commute to NAS Jax: 21-26 miles; 30-44 minutes (West Arlington 30 minutes, Ft. Caroline 44 minutes)

Commute to NS Mayport:  8-12 miles;  16-18 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

 Intracoastal West or East Arlington                                        Duval County

The Intracoastal West area extends East from Southside Blvd to the Intracoastal Waterway, North of J. Turner Butler Blvd. and South of Atlantic Blvd. (map of the area) This is a great, convenient area for a Mayport commute, a quick drive to the beach, and a short distance from the St. John’s Town Center restaurants and shopping area. Many of the neighborhoods in this area are planned communities with gated access, clubhouse and pool.  The main roads that encompass this area are Kernan, Hodges, San Pablo and Beach Blvd. Tamaya, is the newest master planned community being built off Beach Blvd.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Map of the neighborhoods with a quick descriptions.

Queen’s Harbor Yacht Club, Ibis Point, Osprey Point, Holiday Harbor, San Pablo Creek, The Woods, Kensington, Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, Waterleaf, Marsh Sound, Covington, Tamaya, The Villages of San Pablo and Glen Kernan.

Apartment Complexes:  The Enclave, North Beach on Kernan, The Reserve at Wynnfield Lakes, Seagrass, The Retreat at St. Johns, Cape House, Registry at Windsor Parke

Commute to NAS Jax; 27 miles; 32 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport; 8-11 miles, 19-24 minutes. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

Neighborhoods within a 5 miles of NS Mayport.

 

The Beaches Area 

Atlantic Beach                                                                            Duval County

Atlantic Beach is the seaside community located just south of NS Mayport.  Home to miles of beaches and Hannah Park, Atlantic Beach is a dream for surfers, campers, bicyclists and beach-goers. The downtown area of Atlantic Beach meets the downtown area for Neptune Beach with excellent restaurants and nightlife.  Atlantic Beach is also home to the beautiful One Ocean Resort and Spa.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Ocean Village, Oceanwalk, Sea Gardens, and Atlantic Beach Country Club.  Atlantic Beach Country Club is a brand new community currently being built over the old Selva Marina Country Club.  They are planning to build 174 single-family homes. This is by far the quickest commute to Mayport without actually living on base.    

Commute to NAS Jax: 33 miles; 40 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 6 miles; 15 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

Neptune Beach                                                                           Duval County

Neptune Beach sits just south of Atlantic Beach and just north of Jacksonville Beach with a population of 7,000.   It is the smallest of the beach cities and has defined itself as a small community-oriented suburban area. There are mostly single-family homes in this area. Close to great restaurants, cute coffee shops and beachside boutiques.

Nearby Neighborhoods: Neptune by the Sea, Secluded Woods

Commute to NAS Jax: 33 miles; 40 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 8 miles, 19 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

Jax Beach                                                                                      Duval County

Jacksonville Beach offers beach style living combined with a great neighborhood feel.  In the heart of Jacksonville Beach you will find resorts, shopping, restaurants, beach boutiques, and nightlife.  Nestled in the south area of Jacksonville Beach are great family oriented neighborhoods. The South Jax Beach area is home to South Beach Park with Sunshine Playground, a splash park, tennis courts, basketball courts and the local fire station.  This area is walkable to great restaurants and coffee shops too.

Nearby Neighborhoods:  Ocean Cay, Rip Tide, and the neighborhoods bordering the park off Osceola Blvd and South Beach Parkway.

Commute to NAS Jax; 31 miles; 35 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport; 10 miles, 22 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools – Duval County Schools

Neighborhoods within 5 miles from Jacksonville Beaches Area.

 Download the PCS Guide to NAS Jacksonville & NS Mayport

Southside Jacksonville 

Southside Jacksonville                                                              Duval County

The Southside area of Jacksonville is the most up and coming area in Jacksonville. The Southside area is booming with young professionals and host’s corporate headquarters to many businesses. The St. Johns Town Center is the largest shopping area in the city.  Every restaurant and store you can imagine is located here. The Tinsletown area of Southside is bustling with a movie theater, shops, and restaurants.  The recommended neighborhoods in this area are around the St. Johns Town Center and Baymeadows.  This area is the PERFECT spot for those that may need to commute to BOTH NS Mayport and NAS JAX.

 

St. Johns Town Center                                                               Duval County

The St. Johns Town Center is a 150 shop open air mall.  It is not only home to the heart of shopping and dining in Jacksonville, but also many condos, apartments and townhomes.  This area of Southside is booming with brand new apartment complexes and options for living.  Many of the new complexes are within walking distance to the mall.  Right down the road is the new Tapestry Park, a mixed use development of retail, office space and apartments

Nearby Neighborhoods: The Uptown at St. Johns, 5 Thousand Town, Aventine at Town Center, Terraces Town Center, 54 Magnolia, The Club at Town Center, Tapestry Park , Heritage Deerwood,

Commute to NAS Jax; 21.3 miles; 27 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport; 16 miles, 25 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools – Duval County Schools 

 

Baymeadows                                                                               Duval County

Baymeadows is right around the corner from the St. Johns Town Center but this area has a more suburban feel with many more single family homes and a brand new high school.  Atlantic Coast High School is Duval County’s newest public high school. Baymeadows area is defined as Baymeadows Road EAST of Southside Blvd, Gate Parkway, extending north towards the Town Center. Duval County Charter School is located in Baymeadows.

Nearby Neighborhoods:  Reedy Branch Plantation, Hampton Glen, Hampton Park, James Island, Deercreek Country Club, Timberlin Parc, East Hampton, Summerfied.

Apartments: Villages of Baymeadows, The Reserve, Thortan Park at Gate Parkway, Citigate, The Hawthorne, Cabana Club

Commute to NAS Jax: 19.5 miles; 30 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 20 miles, 27 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning   commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools  (Good schools Duval County Charter School in Baymeadows and brand new high school-Atlantic Coast)

 

San Jose                                                                                            Duval County

The area located between San Marco and Mandarin along State Road 13 (known as San Jose Blvd) you will find some lovely homes and communities running parallel with the St. Johns River.  You will find a mix of older and newer homes in well-established neighborhoods.  San Jose is a convenient place to live and shop, with some of the city’s finer private schools. Also offers easy access to Baymeandows area as well as easy access to the Interstate to NAS Jax.

Schools – Duval County Schools

 

Mandarin Area                                                                                  Duval County

Named for the Mandarin orange in 1930, this neighborhood sits on the St. Johns River south of San Marco. Mandarin is known for its great oak trees draped in Spanish moss. Mandarin is known for good schools.

Commute to NAS Jax: 12.5 miles; 23 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 37.2 miles, approximately 45 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: Duval County Schools

 

Ponte Vedra Beach                                                                          St. Johns County

Ponte Vedra located Southeast of Jacksonville and north of St. Augustine. Ponte Vedra Beach is a highly sought after tourist area and home of the ATP Tour, PGA tour and The Players Championship played at TPC Sawgrass.  Ponte Vedra is located in St. Johns county which is known for its’ excellent schools. Many new neighborhoods and planned communities have developed over the last few years.  Ponte Vedra is home to Nocatee, a huge master planned community recently ranked as the 3rd Best Selling Community in America. 

Nearby Neighborhoods: Nocatee & Walden Chase (see below)

Commute to NAS Jax: 24.6 miles, 32 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 33 miles; 45 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, Gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: St. Johns Schools

 

Nocatee/Walden Chase

Nocatee is family friendly and very military friendly.  The neighborhood has great amenities and "gatherings" like Food Truck Nights, adult social, teen socials, etc. etc. It's a very active community and there are always people out biking, running, etc. Lots of military and people are very friendly. It's a little bit of a drive to big box retail like Home Depot, Target, Walmart, etc. (15-20 minutes) and there is a big frustration from residents with the CDD's lack of ability to draw in any retail, restaurants, etc. in the town center. Great proximity to St. Augustine for weekend and day trips. It's less than a 30 minute drive and there is always lots to do there. Schools are great. The only downside is that you're far from shopping areas and it's not quite built up completely yet.

 Walden Chase- The homes in this zip code hold up value, and the area is really nice and safe.

Commute to NAS Jax: Traffic- 25 min to NAS Jax, (Commuters go against traffic most of  the way except Roosevelt backs up. The biggest part of the commute is Roosevelt right outside the base so it's unavoidable.)

Commute to NS Mayport: About 45 minutes, but you can shave off about 10 minutes of that now with 9B connector opened up. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: St. Johns County Schools – Schools are one of the best in Florida, however they are having over crowding, but they are in the works of building new schools. Nease High School is close to Nocatee. It is a wonderful school. The IB program is very challenging and rewarding.

 

St. Johns Area/Fruit Cove                                                                St. Johns County

This area is very family-friendly with a suburbia feel. There are several big planned communities including Durbin Crossing, Aberdeen, and Julington Creek Plantation. This area is known for having top notch schools, which is a big draw. Shopping is primarily big-box, with a couple higher-end places like Fresh Market. Two large malls (The Avenues & St Johns Town Center) are 20-30 min away in Duval county. Restaurants are a mix of chain and local (some good ones are The Saucy Taco, Blackstone Grille, Julington Creek Fish Camp).  This is a great area for families with kids. Lots of military families have moved to this area.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Julington Creek Plantation- This planned community is a bit older, built in 1990s, with lots of amenities. Schools are top notch, popular for public schools. Great community with awesome schools, swim team Loggerhead, Creeks Soccer club, Outlaws football, Pop Warner sports, great parks, excellent churches, Scouts, good people!! 25 min to NAS Jax

Durbin Crossing- A newly built neighborhood with active community activities. Nice parks with several soccer fields.

Aberdeen – A great planned community. (Aberdeen is next to Durbin Crossing)

Commute to NAS Jax: 17-20 miles; 27-33 minutes

Commute to NS Mayport: 36 miles; 45 minutes to Mayport gate. During morning commute, gate wait time can range from 10-25 minutes.

Schools: St. Johns County Schools

Neighborhoods near the Southside of Jacksonville.

Military Base Housing

NAS Jacksonville MIlitary Housing is Patriots Point and River Oaks.

NS Mayport Military Housing is Bennett Shores East, Bennett Shores West, Marsh Cove, and Ribault Bay. Read more about Mayport Base Housing

 Download the PCS Guide to NAS Jacksonville & NS Mayport

 

Counties in Jacksonville

Here is the same map with the 3 counties in Jacksonville highlighted: St. Johns County, Clay County, and Duval County

Schools in Jacksonville

schools in Jacksonville near NAS Jacksonville

St Johns County Schools

St Johns is known for their great schools.

Clay County Schools

Schools are better down by Fleming Island area. Other areas it depends on the school.      

Duval County Schools

Check into military preference into magnet schools, which provides the opportunity to enroll in some of the better schools around town without being zoned for those schools.

Jacksonville Town Advice

Click to read neighborhoods reviews, military housing reviews, recommended REALTORs, recommended local businesses, and a list of fun things to do near NAS Jacksonville.

Additional Information:

Wolfsons Children's hospital and Nemours Specialty clinics are located in Jacksonville. Nemours is one of the top pediatric multi specialists in the country.

 

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