You know what I love? A city near the beach. You get the best of both worlds – the thrill of the city and the tranquillity of the sea.

Jacksonville, Florida is one of those cities. From the rich history and diverse cultural scene of Downtown Jacksonville to its DAZZLING, long stretches of white-sand beach and crystal blue waters. Just a mere 16 miles apart!

It’s one of the most modern cities in the US and has an intoxicating mix of great shops, a vibrant food scene, and adventure activities. You won’t be short of things to do in Jacksonville, that’s for sure.

Deciding where to stay in Jacksonville, Florida is an important task. The best place to stay in Jacksonville completely depends on you and what you want to get out of your trip.  Do you want to stay in the thick of the action? Or, do you want to chill on the outskirts by the beach?

It’s a daunting decision if you’ve never been to the city before. But never fear! That’s where I come in, I have taken it upon myself to become your trusty Jacksonville guide.

I’ve compiled the best areas to stay in the city depending on your interest and budget. I’ve got you covered, friend.

So, without further ado. Let’s dive into the good stuff and find where in Jacksonville is best for you!

Where to Stay in Jacksonville

If you’re looking for an awesome time during your USA backpacking trip, you should definitely stop over in Jacksonville. 

Whether you’re road-tripping through the country or you’re simply just on a holiday, you’ll always need to find a place to stay overnight. We’re here to help! Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Jacksonville.

Main street bridge

Best Airbnb in Jacksonville: The Gardener’s Cottage

Close to the downtown area, this Florida Airbnb is in one of the best areas to stay in Jacksonville for convenient access to everything. It’s suitable for up to 2 guests and offers complete privacy as well as a professionally designed pool and garden that you can use throughout your stay. The interior spaces are clean and spacious with a pleasing modern design.

Best Hotel in Jacksonville: Hampton Inn Jacksonville – I-95 Central

This hotel in Jacksonville is a short walk from the Jacksonville Riverwalk. It has an outdoor pool, air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour business center and welcoming, helpful staff. The rooms are large and contain all the necessities you’ll need including a telephone. And best of all, the surrounding area is filled with bars and restaurants, so you’ll never get hungry or bored.

Best Luxury Hotel in Jacksonville: DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Riverfront FL

When you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville for your first time, you want comfort and convenience. And that’s exactly what this hotel offers. It has free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, an outdoor pool, and offers breakfast every morning. The rooms are contemporary and contain all the extras and there are even conjoining rooms so you can keep an eye on the rest of the family.

Jacksonville Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Jacksonville

FIRST TIME IN JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville Downtown
FIRST TIME IN JACKSONVILLE

Downtown

The Downtown area is the heart of the city. It’s one of the best places in Jacksonville to stay if you want to be close to everything and have easy access to public transport.

ON A BUDGET
Jacksonville Southpoint
ON A BUDGET

Southpoint

Southpoint is the best neighborhood in Jacksonville to stay in if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the center.

FOR FAMILIES
Neptune Beach Jacksonville
FOR FAMILIES

Neptune Beach

If you want to be close to the beach, then Neptune Beach is the best neighborhood to stay in Jacksonville. One of the biggest draws of this city is the beach proximity,

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
San Marco Jacksonville
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

San Marco

If you don’t want to stay in the Downtown area, then try San Marco. It’s just a quick water taxi ride across the river and close to the Southbank area, where there’s a tree that’s older than the city itself!

Jacksonville’s neighborhoods are incredibly diverse. They range from historic to ultra-new and modern, to suit every travel taste and style. And everywhere you go, you’ll be treated to Jacksonville’s unique blend of charm and Southern hospitality. You’ll find everything from dining districts to funky shopping areas and sleepy surfer towns in Jacksonville. And the best areas to stay in Jacksonville are the ones that suit your personality and travel style.

The first area to consider when you’re trying to find the best area in Jacksonville to stay in is, of course, the Downtown. This is where you’ll find everything you would expect from a city center, from skyscrapers to shopping malls, and it’s well connected to everywhere via public transport.

But if you’re looking for a quieter area, then check out the hotels in budget-friendly. Southpoint. This is one of Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods for families as it has lots of attractions aimed at keeping the kids busy and happy.

For beach lovers, you can’t go past Neptune Beach. This is one of the quieter beaches, with a laidback feel, but it’s still close to more active beaches as well as to natural areas where you can explore.

Five Points is one of the best places to stay in Jacksonville for close proximity to the city center while still enjoying a more residential feel.

And the final area to consider is San Marco, where you’ll enjoy the upscale, trendy feel. If you love to eat, this is the area for you as it contains some of the best restaurants in the city. It’s also close enough to the Downtown area that you can easily head in there to explore.

Jacksonville’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

You’re most likely to end up in Jacksonville on a Florida road trip. When you’re preparing for your trip to this city, make sure you keep this handy Jacksonville neighborhood guide close by so you know exactly where to go. 

#1 Downtown – Where to Stay in Jacksonville First Time

The Downtown area is the heart of the city. It’s one of the best places in Jacksonville to stay if you want to be close to everything and have easy access to public transport. Jacksonville’s Downtown is pleasingly unique. It’s filled with high rise buildings and shopping malls and yet is close to the city’s beaches as well, offering the best of both worlds.

Jacksonville Downtown

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville for nightlife, for shopping, or for eating, this is the best area to choose. It has a fresh, modern atmosphere and lots of events and activities to keep every member of your travel group happy for days. And you’ll find a nice range of Jacksonville accommodation options in this part of the city as well.

Best Airbnb in Downtown: Casa Grace

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville with kids or with friends, this historic home has everything you’ll need. It’s newly renovated to exacting standards and offers luxurious, comfortable spaces. It’s close to all the best attractions in Downtown and offers 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths suitable for up to 6 guests.

Best Hotel in Downtown: Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville for one night or for longer, this is a good choice. It’s located right in the city center and offers a Jacuzzi, rooftop pool, sauna, and free shuttle services. The rooms are elegantly decorated and contain everything you’ll need during your visit.

Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown: Omni Jacksonville

This hotel in Jacksonville is close to the center of the city and surrounded by popular restaurants, shops, and public transport options. It has a rooftop terrace, a bar, and a gym that you can use during your stay as well as contemporary rooms with all the essentials.

Things to See and Do in Downtown

  1. Spend a day on the beach, relaxing and trying some watersports.
  2. If you’re in the city at the right time of year, make sure you see a Jacksonville Jaguars game.
  3. Head over to see a show at the Ritz Theater.
  4. Just wander the streets to appreciate the friendly vibe and find hidden local gems.
  5. Make sure you visit the city’s best restaurants for great eats.
  6. Head out after sunset to experience the city’s nightlife.
  7. Get a bit of education into your trip at the Jacksonville Contemporary Museum.
  8. Check out Sweet Pete’s, the local candy factory.
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#2 Southpoint – Where to Stay in St. Jacksonville on a Budget

Southpoint is the best neighborhood in Jacksonville to stay in if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the center. It’s a residential area with a peaceful, local feel that’s still well connected to the Downtown area via buses and the metro. You will probably need to have a car if you’re staying in this part of the city, just to make it easier to get around.

Jacksonville Southpoint
Photo: Leigh Caldwell (Flickr)

Southpoint is also the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Jacksonville for families. In this area, you’ll find a lot of attractions aimed at children, particularly if you’re visiting in the summer. And there are also a range of hotels available to suit every budget point and travel taste.

Best Airbnb in Southpoint: Private Room in Townhouse

This townhouse is in one of the best places in Jacksonville to stay if you’re on a budget. It’s suitable for 2 guests and includes a private bedroom with extras like cable TV, Wi-Fi, and a PlayStation as well as a private bathroom. It’s in a very safe and welcoming area and close to local restaurants and shopping areas too.

Best Hotel in Southpoint: La Quinta Inn & Suites Jacksonville Butler Boulevard

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville on a budget, then this is a good choice. It’s right in the center of Southpoint and close to shops and restaurants and offers free Wi-Fi, a laundry service, and fully equipped, comfortable rooms with all the essentials.

Best Luxury Hotel in Southpoint: Fairfield Inn & Suites Jacksonville Butler Boulevard

Located in the center of Southpoint, the best area in Jacksonville to stay in, this hotel is ideal for families, couples, or singles. It has free Wi-Fi, a spa and wellness center, an outdoor pool, and a beauty center. You can use the hotel’s gym while you’re there or hire a car at the rental desk or just relax in your spacious and fully equipped room.

Things to See and Do in Southpoint

  1. Take the metro or a taxi into the Downtown or other parts of the city to explore.
  2. Wander around your local area and eat, drink, and hang out with the locals.
  3. Take the kids to ride go-karts at the Kart Circuit.
  4. Head over to the water park at Adventure Landing.
  5. Check out what’s on at the Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events.
  6. Take the kids to the indoor play area at Flight Fit N Fun Jacksonville.

#3 Neptune Beach – Best Neighborhood in Jacksonville for Families

If you want to be close to the beach, then Neptune Beach is the best neighborhood to stay in Jacksonville. One of the biggest draws of this city is the beach proximity, and small built-up areas have sprung up around the most popular beaches. These residential villages offer accommodation, places to eat, cafes, and bars, so you don’t have to leave the beach region at all if you don’t want to!

Neptune Beach Jacksonville

Neptune beach is filled with funky cottages and trendy shops. There are building height restrictions in place, so your views of the beach from your hotel are unobstructed, and the whole area has a charming, relaxed vibe. Neptune beach is one of the quieter beaches in Jacksonville, which makes it a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Jacksonville with kids.

Best Hotel in Neptune Beach: Courtyard by Marriott

Located right on the beachfront, this is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Jacksonville for families. It offers rooms of varying sizes as well as a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and an outdoor pool. There are also lots of restaurants and shops nearby where you can grab snacks and souvenirs!

Best Airbnb in Neptune Beach: Private First Floor of Beach Townhouse

You’ll love this property if you love the beach. It’s only 500 meters from the sand is located on the first floor of a townhouse with a private entrance. The space includes a studio style room, full bathroom, desk, and efficiency kitchen and is perfect for a single person or a couple who wants to stay close enough to the beach to touch it!

Private First Floor of Beach Townhouse is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Best Luxury Hotel in Neptune Beach: Pelican Path Bed and Breakfast by the Sea

Located in the best neighborhood to stay in Jacksonville for beach access, this B&B offers comfortable rooms with en suites. The rooms include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities, and a fridge. And best of all you’ll enjoy easy access to the beach and to local restaurants when you stay in this B&B.

Pelican Path Bed and Breakfast by the Sea is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Things to See and Do in Neptune Beach

  1. Spend an afternoon exploring the hip shops in the Beaches Town Center.
  2. Go for a bike ride along the coast.
  3. Relax in the shade in local cafes and recover from a day spent in the sun with a meal and a great cup of coffee.
  4. Spend a day on the beach swimming and trying watersports.
  5. Have a meal where the locals eat and enjoy fresh, local fare.
  6. Head down to the Dutton Island Preserve and check out the wildlife.
  7. Spend a day in the Downtown area to explore the attractions of the city.
  8. Find a quiet spot nearby to go camping and enjoy the pristine natural landscape around the city.
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#4 Five Points – Best Area to Stay in Jacksonville for Nightlife

Jacksonville is already one of the best places to live in Florida, but as a party animal, I’d say Five Points is my favourite area of Jacksonville to live or stay in. Five Points is officially part of the Riverside-Avondale Historic District and it’s one of the most vibrant urban cores in the city. This is surprising because this area began as a commercial district, but it’s now filled with hipsters and bohemians who have given it an irrepressible vibe. Expect to see tattoo parlors next to boutique stores in this area, and to be part of the city’s evolving heart.

Five Points Jacksonville

Five Points is the best neighborhood in Jacksonville to stay in if you want to be close to the center of the city but in a more urban area. It’s well connected to other parts of the city via public transport and yet contains enough attractions to keep you entertained for days.

Best Airbnb in Five Points: The Peacock Room

When you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville on a budget, you can’t go miss out on a room in this historic home. The building was built in 1910 and has been updated to include all the modern conveniences while still retaining its historic charm. The Peacock Room is suitable for two guests and includes a shared bathroom.

The Peacock Room is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Best Hotel in Five Points: Riverdale Inn

This inn is located in one of Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods and offers charming and unique lodgings for travelers to the city. It’s close to local Jacksonville attractions like the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and Memorial Park and offers contemporary rooms with all the essentials.

Riverdale Inn is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Best Luxury Hotel in Five Points: The Inn at Oak Street

If you enjoy historic charm, then this inn is one of the coolest places to stay in Jacksonville. It’s close to local landmarks like Memorial Park and offers cozy, fully equipped rooms that will suit every traveler or travel group.

The Inn at Oak Street is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Things to See and Do in Five Points

  1. Check out what’s on at the Sun-Ray Cinema, Jacksonville’s first independent film house.
  2. Wander down the commercial strip and enjoy the unique architecture and colorful buildings.
  3. This area is a great choice when you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville for nightlife, so grab some friends and spend some time in the local bars.
  4. Spend some time at the Park Arcade Building for shopping and the city’s first indoor-outdoor mini-golf course.
  5. Get out of the city and spend some time in nature at Memorial Park.
  6. Check out one of the finest collections of art at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

#5 San Marco – Coolest Place to Stay in Jacksonville

If you don’t want to stay in the Downtown area, then try San Marco. It’s just a quick water taxi ride across the river and close to the Southbank area, where there’s a tree that’s older than the city itself! San Marco is a very popular residential area and its trendy feel and close proximity to everything make it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Jacksonville for your first time.

San Marco Jacksonville

This isn’t the most budget-friendly part of the city to stay in. In fact, you’re likely to spend more money than you’d like because of the upscale restaurants and boutiques. But what’s really cool about this area is that, if you’re careful, there are plenty of cheap or free attractions you can enjoy. You just have to look for them.

Best Hotel in San Marco: Magnuson Hotel Jacksonville Downtown

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Jacksonville for one night or for a longer visit, this is a great choice. It has an outdoor pool and is close to local attractions and offers modest but comfortable furnishings and facilities. The hotel was built in the 1960s but was recently refurbished to modern standards.

Best Luxury Hotel in San Marco: Homewood Suites by Hilton

This hotel in Jacksonville offers clean, comfortable accommodations close to everything. It’s close to the metro station and to local restaurants and each room has a fully equipped kitchenette that you can use during your stay. The hotel offers indoor and outdoor recreational activities as well such as billiards, scuba diving, and fishing tours.

Best Airbnb in San Marco: San Marco Bungalow

With 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and enough space for 5 guests, this bungalow makes for a comfortable base in Jacksonville. It’s within walking distance of the best restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops in the district. And it offers a fully equipped kitchen and large backyard that you can use in complete privacy.

San Marco Bungalow is one of our favourites in Jacksonville, Florida but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Things to See and Do in San Marco

  • Head over to see the 250-year-old Treaty Oak at Jesse Ball duPont Park.
  • Make sure that you’re in Riverpoint Park at sunset, for the most amazing colored sky.
  • Check out the Museum of Science and History.
  • Check out what’s on at the San Marco Theater.
  • Go upscale and enjoy the best restaurants in the city in this area.
  • Spend a few hours in the local art galleries and check out the upcoming talent!
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Jacksonville

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Jacksonville and where to stay.

What To Pack For Jacksonville

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Jacksonville

Great food, amazing shopping, beautiful outdoor areas, and lots of adventure activity options, Jacksonville has it all. Really, the only question you should be asking yourself is why more people don’t spend time in this exciting city. With this guide, you can fix that. It will help you find the coolest places to stay in Jacksonville and make your stay that much better.

Looking for more info on travelling to Jacksonville and Florida?

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!