What You Want to Know Before Moving to Jacksonville

Get A Quote

Quick Facts About Jacksonville 

Situated on the northernmost edge of the Sunshine State, Jacksonville is a coastal city with a strong Southern spirit. Jacksonville sprawls nearly 50 miles from the jagged Atlantic coast to the rugged interior, crossing the St. John’s River, which wends its way from south to north through the heart of the city. Surrounded by unspoiled wilderness, from the wind-sculpted oaks of the Timucuan Ecological Preserve to the salt-sprayed dunes of Neptune Beach, Jacksonville is immersed in some of the most exquisite and understated beauty in the state, if not the nation. 

As the largest city by area in the continental United States, Jacksonville or JAX is a leader in logistics, healthcare, finance and advanced manufacturing. The city is also home to one of the nation’s principal ports and several military installations, both of which give the city economic support and diversity. The population of this Florida city has now grown to nearly one million people, gaining 150,000 new residents in the past decade. With a healthy job market, uncrowded beaches, dozens of great golf courses and an affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder so many people are moving to Jacksonville.  

If you think your family might like life in this river city, learn more about the pros and cons of living in Jacksonville below.

Still considering other cities in Florida for your next home? Learn more about the state in United Van Lines’ Guide to moving to Florida

Living in Jacksonville

Cost of Living

Because Jacksonville is a coastal city, it may come as a surprise to some that the cost of living here is lower than both the state and national average. The median household income in the city is $58,263, which is on par with Orlando and Tampa (and even higher than Miami’s), but your dollars go farther in JAX than they do in the Magic City, the Cigar City or the City Beautiful.  

Jacksonville residents also spend far less on real estate than most coastal residents. The median home value in Jacksonville is $203,400 — more than $40,000 less than the state average, $75,000 below Orlando and Tampa, and $160,000 off Miami’s. The median gross rent in Jacksonville is $1,146 — also well below its counterparts elsewhere in the state.  

Florida prides itself on being a tax-friendly environment for people and businesses, and the state levies no personal or corporate income tax, which can be a benefit to Jacksonville residents. 

Want to know how your city compares to JAX prices? Try this cost of living calculator to estimate how far your salary will go in Jacksonville.  

Note: We are not tax experts and are not offering tax advice, other than you should consider obtaining additional information and advice from your legal and/or financial advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances. 

Job Opportunities and a Sunny Economic Outlook

In addition to a relatively low cost of living and the benefit of having no state income taxes to worry about, Jacksonville also has a very stable job market, with a low unemployment rate (3.2% in June 2023) and a diverse economy. As a major port city, Jacksonville has a prominent military presence, with four major naval installations that provide nearly 100,000 jobs in Duval County. The port has also given JAX a significant foothold in the Trade, Transportation & Utilities sector, which is the single largest industry division in the metropolitan area. Jacksonville is number one in cargo shipping in the state, and the city refers to itself as America’s Logistics Center. Other top industries in Jacksonville include Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality, which has grown by more than 7% over the past year.  

Four Fortune 500 companies are based in Jacksonville: CSX Corp., Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), Fidelity National Financial and Landstar System, and more than 100 companies are headquartered in the city, including 20 major banks and investment firms. Technology, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing are all big business in JAX, as is healthcare. The Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson both have locations in the city, as do major corporations like BAE Systems (aerospace), BMW, Allstate, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson Vision and AT&T. 

To support these growing companies, Jacksonville has a robust, well-trained workforce, thanks to several institutions of higher education in the city. The University of North Florida, a well-regarded public institution, is based in the city, and both Jacksonville University and Flagler College (in nearby St. Augustine), are ranked among the best Regional Colleges and Universities in the Southern division by the U.S. News & World Report. 

Jacksonville’s Weather

As one of the northernmost cities in Florida, Jacksonville enjoys four seasons of weather without suffering the extremes of winter. Spring and fall temperatures are breezy and mild, with temperatures in the 60s F and 70s F. Azaleas, marsh pinks and fragrant jasmine are just some of the stars of springtime, yielding to crepe myrtles, passion flowers and sweet olives in the summertime. Many of the trees in this region are evergreen or semi-evergreen, but there are a couple of notable show-offs when it comes to fall color — the native serviceberry and sparkleberry both produce edible fruits that you (and the birds) will enjoy. Winter is citrus season, and there is nothing more exciting than picking oranges from your own tree for a special mimosa at Sunday brunch.    

The average temperature in the wintertime is in the upper 50s F to low 60s F, but temperatures usually do drop below freezing at least once a season. On rare occasions, you may even see snow flurries on the beach, but don’t expect a white Christmas. 

Summers in Jacksonville, on the other hand, can be oppressively hot and humid. Ocean breezes and winds moving across the St. John’s River help cool things down, but with average temperatures in the low 80s F, you can expect it to be pretty sticky from June-September. Jacksonville has historically been more protected from hurricanes than other cities to the south, but global warming has intensified the storm systems here and increased their frequency.  

Though Jacksonville is in the Sunshine State, the city reliably receives more than 50 inches of rain a year. More precipitation falls during the summer months, when the frequent but short-lived afternoon storms roll in off the ocean. Flooding can be a concern during powerful storms, and lighting and droughts have spawned wildfires in the wilderness areas in the region, like the Okefenokee Swamp in neighboring Georgia. 

Explore Neighborhoods in Jacksonville

Riverside and Avondale 

On the southwestern side of the city, the Riverside-Avondale neighborhood is a friendly and welcoming community on the St. John’s River. Tree-lined streets with Craftsman-style bungalows have serious architectural charm, and it’s no wonder that this special place in Jacksonville was designated as a National Historic District. The arts are the center of life in the Five Points area, where you’ll find offbeat creative spaces like the Yellow House, where art and activism join forces, and longtime establishments like the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, whose grounds date back to the early 1900s. The centerpiece of Riverside-Avondale is Memorial Park, a six-acre waterfront jewel designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (architect of New York’s Central Park), that has elegant gardens accented by well-designed monuments to fallen soldiers from WWI. On Saturdays, the Riverside Arts Market is a sprawling showcase of local talent — artists hawk their handmade wares and farmers bring the best of their hauls throughout the seasons. Restaurants like Taqueria Cinco bring Mexican street food style to north Florida with tasty bites like the Ribeye ‘Cecina’ tacos, cured with salt and lime, or the Camarones, served with morita-almond salsa.  

San Marco 

Across the river from Downtown lies San Marco, a trendy area with an excellent dining district and distinctive boutiques. When it’s time for a treat, Good Dough makes truly beautiful doughnuts, from the nutty Brown Butter doughnut to the Molly Ringwald doughnut — be still our 80s hearts — draped in a pretty-in-pink raspberry glaze. Since 2000, Bistro AIX has been a destination for fine dining in Jacksonville. They have a great happy hour and a creative dinner menu with highlights like the Blue Crab & Shrimp Capellini and the Sea Bass with Tomato Crudo and Olives. The San Marco Historic Tour will take you by some of the neighborhood must-sees, like Preservation Hall. The Square at San Marco has all the amenities you want in a beachy town center: a great bookstore, a cozy theatre, some quirky shops, plus cool fountains and public sculptures. Housing here runs the gamut: you’ll find modest single-families, shiny new condos and monumental, historic estates.  


The one-time home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mandarin is a quiet neighborhood in south Jacksonville on the St. John’s River. The best place to learn about this historic area is at the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, which has a wonderful collection of artifacts from Stowe as well as from notable events, like the sinking of the Union war ship, the Maple Leaf. The property also contains historic structures, like Mandarin Store and Post Office and the St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse, a one-room schoolhouse built in 1898. Living up to its name Mandarin was, indeed, once known for its citrus groves, but it’s now a sought-after residential district, with some older ranches but lots of newer construction, too. Because the river encircles the western half of the neighborhood, residents can take full advantage of the beautiful waterfront views on morning jogs or while dining at the marina. The Julington Creek Fish Camp is the best place to savor the best of the local flavor — try the blackened catch of the day with collard greens, Tasso ham and grits or sink your teeth into their fired oyster po’ boy and a side of tomatoes & okra.  

Downtown Jacksonville 

Situated directly on the St. John’s River, Downtown Jacksonville is a hub for commerce and culture. Among the skyscrapers in this bustling region, you’ll find all four of the city’s Fortune 500 companies, among other important anchors, like the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts, where the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra plays, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA Jacksonville, a part of the University of North Florida (UNF). Just down the street, the city’s favorite sports team — the Jacksonville Jaguars — tear up the turf at EverBank Stadium, which already holds more than 60,000 screaming fans but will undergo a major renovation by renowned architecture firm HOK to better integrate the facility into the community. This venue also hosts the annual Gator Bowl in December and countless concerts throughout the year. The popular Downtown Riverwalk hits a lot of the area’s favorite hotspots, but if you follow it across the river into the Southbank area, you can see the 250-year-old Treaty Oak, a tree older than Jacksonville itself. If you’re in the mood for a culinary mash-up, stop into Bellwether, where you’ll find Southern favorites alongside Asian staples with a northern North American twist — think shrimp & grits, kimchi tots and poutine with oxtail gravy.  

Beaches in Jacksonville 

Jacksonville is known for its expansive, white sand beaches which stretch for nearly 30 miles along the roaring Atlantic coastline. In town, Jacksonville Beach (or Jax Beach, as it’s known locally), Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach are laid-back areas that draw beachcombers year-round. The Atlantic Beach Country Club is one of the favorite places to play golf in the area, and the course is beautiful enough to make it worth tagging along even if you don’t play. You’ll find diverse housing styles along the waterfront — New England-inspired clapboard houses and contemporary stucco estates — but all of it will be expensive. Smaller bungalows and brick ranches dominate the inland areas and are much more affordable. North of these beaches lies Amelia Island, where you’ll find some of the ritziest resorts and best beaches in the state. There is no better place for adventure in the area than within the sprawling state parks in the Timucuan Ecological Preserve, like Big Talbot Island. Bring the bikes and ride along the miles of trails from the beach to the salt marsh or sign up for a morning kayaking in the Amelia River. Beer afficionados will want to make a beeline to the Mocama Taproom in Fernandina, where this local brewer crafts some of the best suds in the state. Their Prosim lager is one of the most complex and delightful beers we’ve ever sampled.  

Note: If you’re thinking of moving to Jacksonville, it’s important to thoroughly research neighborhoods or areas in the city you might be interested in living. Before you decide where you are going to live, make sure you understand the area’s cost of living, commute time, tax rates, safety statistics and schooling information. 

Planning for the Move to Jacksonville 

Have you decided Jacksonville is the city for you? Now is the time to start looking for the right professional moving company to help you relocate. Get a moving quote for Jacksonville from United Van Lines. 

Planning a cross-country move to Jacksonville? United Van Lines can provide you with a customized, full-service moving package. As America’s #1 Mover®, we can take care of all your moving needs, like packing and unpacking, storage, shipping your car to Jacksonville, debris removal and more.  

Relocating to Jacksonville from another city in Florida? If so, United Van Lines can help you with local moves in Jacksonville and in Florida. United Van Lines’ interstate Florida movers and Jacksonville movers provide local moving services independently under their own brands and business names. 

Moving to Jacksonville by yourself? United Van Lines’ moving resources include moving checklists, packing tips and regional guides — perfect for the DIY mover or anyone who wants to simplify their move.  

Unsure where you want to move in Florida? Check out our Guide to Moving to Florida for information and resources about the most popular cities in Florida. 

Get a quote today on moving to Jacksonville. 

Get a Quote from America's #1 Mover® Today

Other Moving Resources

  • Loading...