If you’re considering a move to Florida because of career or other obligations, you understand immediately how crucial tourism is to the state’s economy.

It provides jobs, revenue, services and amenities, among other things. But, most of us likely don’t want to live right in the midst of a tourist area. That’s common sense and perfectly okay.Flagler College

Good news! You don’t have to if you move to Jacksonville on Florida’s Atlantic Coast opens in a new window. There are many wonderful places to live in the state — which you’ll discover during your new home search — but few blend convenience with Florida’s spectacular natural beauty like Jacksonville.

Here’s why “JAX” is a bit different, and why that’s a good thing.

Jacksonville’s a real city

There are undeniable visitor draws such as boundless Atlantic beaches and the lure of history along Florida’s Historic Coast, but Jacksonville is about much more than tourism. For example, major industries and major divisions of big national and international companies operate here. There’s a large United States Navy base and established cultural, performing-arts and sports scenes.

The University of North Florida, northeast of downtown “JAX,” and historic Flagler College in St. Augustine to the south, are only two institutions of higher learning in greater Jacksonville.

The area’s natural resources also makes it easy for residents to play like they’re on vacation, without the crowds. The city boasts the nation’s biggest urban park system. Municipal parks, state parks, national parks, nature preserves and miles of hiking and fitness trails will keep you and yours happily and healthily occupied.

Twenty-two miles of beaches, the St. Johns River, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, estuaries, tidal creeks and marshes all make fishing, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding a breeze.

Jacksonville’s a unique city

Thanks to its location as Florida’s northeast gateway, Jacksonville is a transportation hub. CSX Corporation and the famed Florida East Coast Railway are headquartered here, as are companies in other industries (Bubba Burgers, anyone?).

Jacksonville’s port, JAXPORT, is a big player in cargo shipping and pleasure cruising. Per the Jacksonville Port Authority, JAXPORT moved more 20-foot shipping containers — 1.3 million — than any Florida port in 2017. Florida’s mighty St. Johns River, which flows north through the the city before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, provides JAXPORT’s critical waterways.

Add an international airport, the downtown intersection of two interstates — I-10 to the west and I-95 to the north and south — and Jacksonville-area residents can get anywhere, via any means.

But enjoy the tourist attractions

Absolutely! They’re at your figurative back door, and Jacksonville’s beach communities — Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Mayport Beach and Neptune Beach — each have fun and distinctive personalities. The bonus is that you don’t have to stay in a hotel to enjoy them, and you can ditch unwanted noise and crowds whenever you like. Many attractions also offer discounts for Florida residents.

When you’re ready, ICI Homes is one of the top builders in northeast Florida. We build our own innovative master-planned communities (check out Tamaya opens in a new window, only six miles east of the beaches) and we’re preferred builders in others, including Nocatee opens in a new window, perennially one of the U.S.’s highest-selling communities.

Ready to live your Jacksonville lifestyle? Talk to ICI Homes here. opens in a new window