Jacksonville is the best kept secret
Bottom line up front first about Jacksonville Florida. It is the best kept secret. And after all the negative comments that have been posted about Jacksonville Florida, I thought I would reflect on my experience with this nice city. Deciding to plant roots in a certain part of the world depends on your goals, and your income level. Jacksonville is a perfect place for the first time home buyer on a limited income. The climate is ideal due to the mild winters and no snow to deal with while you commute to work. No road salt to eat away your car like out West and up North. The roads are almost perfect because they never freeze and thus there is no expanding and contracting which causes horrible pot holes such as out West and up North. In other words your car will last longer in Jacksonville Florida. Since Jacksonville is flat, your car does not work hard dealing with the constant climbing and then coming back down the other side of the mountain or hill such as the infamous "Grape Vine" (Interstate 5) in the Los Angeles California area. I had to leave Los Angeles and moved out to Hesperia California just outside of Los Angeles and the commute from about 4,000 feet in elevation in Hesperia back down to sea level in Gardenia was killing the fuel economy of my car. The commute to work is on average no more than thirty minutes no matter where you live in the Jacksonville metro area. The traffic is a snap compared to other large metropolitan cities. I have lived in California and the 405 is real challenge and you have to really plan on when you decide to get on the 405 to get to work. Many companies are ditching California for a more business friendly state such as Florida with no income tax. Since Jacksonville has a lot of room for industry, many California based companies have left and relocated in the south east as well as Jacksonville Florida. The house I purchased in Jacksonville would cost over $500,000 in Los Angeles and Hesperia was a lot more affordable but the commute was killing me. So I had to quit because I really was not happy with my life and where I was going in California. We moved to Fort Collins Colorado which has been listed as one of the best places to live in the entire United States but to discover that we were surrounded by former Californian's and our house was about the same price as our previous house in Hesperia. Fort Collins was nice and the public schools top notch but the taxes are a little high and Colorado is becoming a carbon copy of California. I have also lived in New Jersey and had to use the Jersey turn pike to get to work and that was almost as bad as the 405 in California not to mention the horrible snow storms in New Jersey. We lived off of exit 12 near the Jersey Turn Pike. Jacksonville has professional sports such as a major NFL team known as the Jacksonville Jaguars. Los Angeles doesn't even have an NFL team! Go figure that one out? Los Angeles usually tops the news in violence. Let's take a look at the Rodney King riots of East Los Angeles. Jacksonville is a tame little kitten compared to Los Angeles, Compton, Ontario and east Los Angeles areas. By the way Ontario is a suburb of Los Angeles not to be confused with the one in Canada. You can walk around down town Jacksonville without getting mugged. Try going for a walk down town Los Angeles. Who is always on the television show "COPS"? If you guessed Los Angeles you are correct. Los Angeles has a metropolitan population of around eight million and no NFL teams. I could never figure that out when I lived there. Forget about Oakland California. Try going for a walk down San Leandro boulevard near the Oakland Raiders foot ball stadium. Not a good idea. You can walk around Ever bank field in Jacksonville just before a Jaguar game and make it to your seat in the stadium with no problems. No earth quakes in Florida and you just thought hurricanes. Jacksonville is tucked away in a spot where hurricanes very seldom hit. The last one to really hit Jacksonville and do some damage was Hurricane Dora back in the late 1960's. Home insurance is about the cheapest in the Jacksonville area but other places in Florida are quite high due to the increased hurricane threat in south Florida. You got the palm trees but no earth quakes. The school district you want to send your kids is either Clay county or St. John's county. Saint John's county ranked number one in the state of Florida as of the time of this posting in the year 2011. Poudre School district in Fort Collins Colorado was about the best in the nation and Saint John's is almost at the level of Poudre School district. If you like water activities well Florida is your destination. You can be at the beach in about thirty minutes and no Great White Sharks; so the kids can surf without getting devoured by a fifteen foot fish. There are some reported cases of shark bites but that is what they are, shark bites. The sharks are small reef sharks not much larger than six feet. The water is usually in the 80's during the summer and a little chilly during winter. California surf is cold no matter if it is summer or winter. The Saint Johns river is nice to go boating and never floods like the Ohio river in Louisville Kentucky. Yes, lived there too for a while(Louisville). If you like scuba diving there are charters that take you right out of Jacksonville off shore but you have to go out a bit for good clear water. However some of the world's best diving is just down I-95 off Key Largo in the Pennekamp marine sanctuary. So you can make a four day vacation out of that and be home. Just like most large American cities Jacksonville has its crime which is mostly contained in the north Jacksonville and north west perspective Jacksonville areas. Such as Brooklyn and Moncrieff boulevard usually where the gun shootings take place. These are inner city issues and like all inner cities there is going to be some shootings. Fort Collins Colorado (Ranked The Best City to live in the United States) has had its fair share of shootings just like the big city. Fort Collins Colorado has a population of around 150,000 and over 200,000 metro population. Jacksonville proper is over 800,000 and the entire metro area is around 1,700,000. How many times have you seen Jacksonville on the evening news? That's right, none. How many times do you see Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington and Baltimore in the news? So if you are a snow bird wanting to get away from the big apple? Jacksonville is for you. For all of the rest of the negative postings that you have seen? Read them carefully because most of them are natives. They have never lived anywhere else. And as far as the police are concerned? They are totally opposite of the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Police. Jacksonville police are polite. California Highway Patrol will make you exit your vehicle so they can do a complete inspection for contraband (and they are not nice about it). Try crossing into California and avoiding one of those so called agricultural inspection stations? They stop all vehicles. They take a picture of your tags and ask you why you are coming into California. It is almost like crossing into another country. When I left California, I felt like I had returned back to the good ole USA. If you are one of those eclectic types, San Marco and Avondale in Jacksonville is a good neighborhood. If you are bringing in young children? Try looking at the greater Argyle community which is a suburb of Jacksonville partially in Duval and Clay counties. You are best ensuring you purchase a house on the Clay county side so you can have access to an excellent school district. Argyle is also made up of the Oak Leaf Plantation and Eagle Landing. Then you have Doctors inlet in the Orange Park area and Eagle Harbor. Excellent communities. Look at Julington Creek plantation near the Switzerland and fruit cove areas of Jacksonville. Then there is the World Golf village and Nocotee communities of Jacksonville and the Saint Augustine area. Pontevedre is a top notch community as well. Jacksonville beach is a great community if you want to live right on the beach with nice folks who love the ocean. Comparable to some locations in Southern California. The weather is Mediterranean in the winter and tropical humid in the summer. The rest of the south east is very humid in the summer from Houston Texas all the way through Louisville Kentucky on over to Virginia and the Carolinas. So if you want Mediterranean weather year round then you better choose the California coastal areas from San Francisco down to San Diego (if you can muster the cash). So if you want a house with a palm tree in the front yard and affordable housing then Jacksonville is the place. Palm trees don't grow at all in Fort Collins Colorado. I already tried. As far as all the military bashing going on with the negative posts? The military is the largest employer in Jacksonville contributing over 3.2 billion dollars per year to the Jacksonville area! The military folks are polite and between the two bases in Jacksonville which are all Navy the civilian navy employees outnumber the uniformed sailors two to one. I have rarely seen any issues with Sailors having problems with the local population and Sailors don't have the gung ho mentality that was mentioned in previous posts. Let's look at San Diego California. Big Marine Corps and Navy Base there. What about Louisville Kentucky which has Fort Knox Army base nearby. Look at Quantico Virginia and the DC area? Then there was reference to a certain type of class of people regarded as "rednecks." The southern folk are pretty much the same from Jacksonville all the way up through Nashville Tennessee. When you really look at that demo graph of people they pretty much encompass the entire south east United States. I have had no problem with them and I don't regard the people down in Jacksonville this way. I have dad two major surgeries in Jacksonville one being an intestinal hernia and an appendectomy. Both were done in Jacksonville in the Orange Park Medical center. This has been over two years ago and there are no lost instruments in me and all of my body parts are intact. Jacksonville has some top notch hospitals and we have a Mayo clinic as well. Jacksonville is very tame. No problems here. I hope I have been of some much help here. Miami is nice if you can afford the high hurricane and property insurance. If you want the Los Angeles night life without the Los Angeles prices? Buy a house in Jacksonville and take a weekend drive down to Miami. Miami has all the night life comparable to Los Angeles. After you have partied you will be glad you live in Jacksonville. Do your home work and compare property taxes to other states. Look at income tax. Look at the school district. Jacksonville area has some of the best; mainly the Saint John's area. No snow. That is the best thing. I like snow and yes I have done some excellent snow skiing in Breckinridge Colorado, Arapaho Basin, Copper Mountain, Telluride, Winter Park Colorado, and of course Aspin Colorado. But you spend a fortune on lift tickets and lodging and if you can survive the drive on Interstate 70 on a snow pack highway. I'd rather have the mild climate and clear roads. Thank you for your time and consider Jacksonville Florida, America's First Coast.
Joshua | Jacksonville, FL