According to the Bureau of the Census, Jacksonville ? just 23 miles from Ponte Vedra Beach ? is the second fastest growing city in the Southeast, and eighth in the U.S. Originally Cowford, where the cows cross, Jacksonville measures 845 square miles and is the largest city in the contiguous United States. Originally part of St. Johns County, August 12, 1822 established Duval County as a separate entity. A single governmental structure covering all of Duval County, except the beaches and Baldwin, was born when the City of Jacksonville and Duval County merged in 1968.
Jacksonville hosts the third largest naval concentration in the world and is industry headquarters for Johnson & Johnson's Vistakon, CSX Transportation, Bank of America, Bellsouth, Merrill Lynch, Convergys and Citibank. Home to the Cecil Commerce Center and the famous Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville boasts two regional shopping centers and downtown riverfront amenities at The Jacksonville Landing. Downtown facilities include The Prime Osborne Convention Center, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, historical Florida Theater, EverBank Field, upscale residential Berkman Plaza and fabulously renovated One Shipyard Place. Free city park facilities downtown are specifically designed for children and a new $95 million downtown library is incorporated in the Better Jacksonville Plan.
Water is a major attraction and plays a large role in the area economy. In addition to the oceanfront and Intracoastal Waterway, the St. Johns River continues for 310 miles before connecting with the Atlantic Ocean near Mayport Naval Station. The St. Johns River is one of only 12 rivers in the U.S. that flows north and is designated as one of 10 American Heritage Rivers. The longest river sailboat race in the world is the Annual Mug Race, held each spring. It runs 42 miles from Palatka to Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. Among the areas approximate 215 bridges, the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge, Dames Point Bridge, is the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in the United States and is two miles long rising 175 feet above the St. Johns River.
Country club enthusiasts will appreciate the exclusive communities of Queen's Harbour Yacht & Country Club, Sawgrass Country Club, The Plantation at Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Jax Golf & Country Club, Marsh Landing Country Club, Serenata Beach of South Ponte Vedra Beach and the custom homes found in the coastal communities of Palm Valley, Turtle Shores, Coquina/Tradewinds, Broadwater, Pablo Bay and Amelia View.
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