Tips on Moving to Jacksonville, FL: Relocation Guide

St. Johns River, Jaguars, Hemming Plaza, and so much more are great reasons to move to Jacksonville.

St. Johns River, Jaguars, Hemming Plaza

If you’re looking to live in a city passionate about its sports teams, full of green spaces, and where you’ll always be near the water, then moving to Jacksonville is probably the right call.

Moving To Jacksonville FL

Photo Credit: Michel Curi

When it comes to major US cities, Jacksonville is a slightly more affordable option when compared to similarly sized cities like San Francisco or Austin.

The city is popular among families and retirees who want the action of a big city at a slightly lower cost.

Jacksonville is a sprawling city with a lot happening. Moving here can be overwhelming for an outsider.

To help things go smoothly, we’ve collected all the essential facts about Jacksonville’s neighborhoods, commute, rental options, and more to make sure you’re as prepared as can be.

Everything about relocating to Jacksonville

And if you’re looking for more info on moving to Jacksonville, check out our Jacksonville move cost guide.

Quick Jacksonville Snapshot

  • Jacksonville has a population of 880,619, making it the 12th largest city in the United States.
  • As of early 2018, the average rent in Jacksonville was $933 which ranks as the 47th most expensive monthly rent in the US.
  • Jacksonville also has the 55th highest cost of living among all US cities.

Before we get too deep into things, have a look at this video showing off some of Jacksonville’s unique scenery.

The Many Neighborhoods of Jacksonville

Jacksonville Neighborhoods

The city of Jacksonville has nearly 500 neighborhoods making there a lot to choose from. Luckily, they’re broken up into a few general regions.

Although their borders tend to be somewhat vague, Jacksonville is typically divided into six sections: 1. Downtown, 2. Arlington, 3. Southside, 4.Westside, 5. Northside, and 6. Jacksonville Beaches.

Jacksonville Apartment Rental Map 2018

Costs can vary quite a bit between different areas of the city as you can see on the map below.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down:

  • On the lower end of the rent spectrum, you’ll find places like Briarwood, Empire Point, Craven, and Hillcrest where average rents range from $550 to $860.
  • Duclay, Beach Haven, Sandalwood, and Southpoint’s rents fall between $880 to $1,200, placing them in the mid-range of Jacksonville’s rental market.
  • And with average rents around $1,300 to $1,660, the pricier areas of Jacksonville include Riverside, Deerwood, Brooklyn, and Jacksonville Beach.

Figured out where you can afford to live? Now let’s start looking into whether or not you’ll actually like these areas.

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Where are people like me living in Jacksonville?

No matter where you decide to live, it’s a good idea to try to make sure you’ll actually like your neighbors. Esri makes finding the right neighborhood a bit easier with their Zip Tapestry tool.

Jacksonville Zip Tapestry

It’s really easy to get a solid overview. Just plug in a zip code, like 32206, and Esri will display the three largest demographic subsets along with a ton of other useful info!

Jacksonville Demographics

So now that you have a target location, let’s look at how you’ll be getting around.

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Commuting the Jacksonville Sprawl

Jacksonville is a big city, which means morning commute times can vary drastically depending on where you live and work.

Generally, Jacksonville residents have an average commute of around 24 minutes to get to work. This doesn’t really account for traffic though, which typically bumps it up to nearly 30 minutes.

The table above shows a breakdown of how many Jacksonville citizens endure various commute times, with the largest percentage falling in the 20-24 minute range.

And if you’re considering using public transportation, well you might what to think again.

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Jacksonville is fairly car-dependent

Jacksonville isn’t a very walkable city and the public transportation and bike infrastructure isn’t much better.

Jacksonville Walk Scores

Non-drivers aren’t exactly in luck, considering Jacksonville has a fairly meager walk score of 27.

Due largely in part to the sprawling nature of Jacksonville’s layout, it’s going to be fairly difficult to get where you’re going on foot.

On top of that, a recent study ranked Jacksonville as the 4th most dangerous pedestrian city in the United States.

Unfortunately, taking the bus isn’t a much better option…

Jacksonville Public Transportation…

Jacksonville Bus Map

The primary public transportation provider in Jacksonville is the Jacksonville Transportation Authority which offers bus services, skyways, and ferrys.

While the variety of services offered is fairly extensive, the systems aren’t that well connected making it a challenge to navigate the city’s sprawling borders entirely with public transport.

Overall, your best option might just be getting around on two wheels.

Cycling around Jacksonville

While Jacksonville’s bike score is currently coasting at 39, the city has been adding infrastructure to improve the situation further.

Jacksonville Bike Sharing

The recent Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan has taken steps to increase both the safety and accessibility of navigating the city by bike or foot.

On top of that, Jacksonville has also begun offering bike sharing in some areas with plans to expand to others. And the current bus system is designed to accommodate bikes as well.

Alright, now that you know how to get around, let’s talk about the areas to avoid.

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Jacksonville’s Crime Rate

Inevitably, the issue of crime is going to come up whenever moving to a new city, so you’ll definitely want to be as well informed as you can be.

Jacksonville Crime Mpa

According to NeighborhoodScout Jacksonville has a pretty meager crime score of 9 out of 100 (100 represents the least amount of crime).

That doesn’t exactly look great

Still, just because an area is “high crime” doesn’t make it “dangerous”. In Jacksonville, only 14% of total crime is violent, which means that crime rate should prompt more caution than fear.

One Reddit user had some decent general advice…

“The farther south and east you are from downtown, the safer you are. The farther north and west you are from downtown, the more dangerous it is. It eventually gets safer though” -KharakIsBurning

Most cities have some dangerous parts so just use your common sense when it comes to staying safe. And with that, let’s find you a place to live!

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Finding an Apartment in Jacksonville

Your first step in finding an apartment will be determining what amenities you’ll need

Jacksonville Average Temperature

This being Florida, you can expect the summers to get pretty warm, but the winters will tend to be chilly at worst.

You’ll certainly want a place with air conditioning, but heat is probably optional.

With so much A/C being used, you’ll want to factor your average monthly power bill into your budget when apartment hunting.

Searching for Jacksonville apartments

Here are a few of our go-to resources for apartment hunting in and around the greater Jacksonville area.

The State of Jacksonville’s Rental Market

The rental market in Jacksonville is actually in a pretty good place right now.

From the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018, the average rent in Jacksonville has only increased by 2.68%, which is pretty close to the national average.

Jacksonville Rent Trends

Along with that, the most recent vacancy rate data indicates that vacancy is up to 7.68% in Jacksonville, which is higher than the national average.

So yeah, this seems to be a decent time to rent in Jacksonville.

Florida Rental Law

No matter what the market’s like, you should be as informed about your rights as a tenant as possible to avoid being scammed by a sketchy landlord.

Here are a few laws that renters should keep in mind:

And if you’re looking to buy, Jacksonville has plenty of suburbs.

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Buying a Home in Jacksonville

Currently, the median home value in Jacksonville is somewhere around $154,700, having increased 11% over the last year and projected to increase another 5% in the coming year.

Essentially, Jacksonville is very much a seller’s market right now, which means homes will be expensive.

Atlantixc Beach Houses

Atlantic Beach

The town of Atlantic Beach is a vibrant beachfront suburb with plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts and fans of the arts. But, being near the ocean, homes here are definitely more expensive.

Orange Park Houses

Orange Park

Meanwhile, those looking for something more inland and with more moderately priced homes, the Town of Orange Park has plenty of community events to keep residents busy along with a great farmer’s market and a high population of young professionals.

And once you’ve found a place to live, it’s time to figure out how to get everything moved.

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Now that you’re ready to make the move to Jacksonville…

Use our moving cost calculator to estimate your moving costs to Jacksonville.

Also, if you are coming from out of state, be sure to have a look at our state to state moving guide for more info and tips.

Parking Permits for Moving Vehicles in Jacksonville

It’s always a good idea to check with the city before you move to make sure you can actually park a truck by your new place.

In Jacksonville, there’s a chance you’ll have to apply for a parking permit.

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Putting the finishing touches on your Jacksonville move

You’re in the home stretch! Just a few minor details left to iron out then you’ll be a full-fledged resident of Jacksonville:

  • Voter Registration: You should really know this by now, but if you haven’t registered to vote in Jacksonville you’ve given up your best chance to have a positive impact on your new community.
  • Driver’s License: Getting a Florida driver’s license with your new address on it is fairly critical for a whole bunch of reasons both legally and functionally.
  • Out-of-State Vehicle Registration: And if you have a car with you, you’ll probably need to get a new set of Florida license plates pretty soon after moving.
  • Trash & Recycling: You should prioritize getting this set up with the Jacksonville Solid Waste Division to make sure you aren’t accumulating trash in front of your place for weeks after moving in.
  • Meet New People and Making Friends: On top of the stress of moving, you’ll probably also want to make some new connections within the community. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources online to make that a bit easier. Meetup is a good spot for finding people who share your interests and r/jacksonville is a solid hub of information about goings on around town.

Meetup Jacksonville

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Finding things to do in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Beaches

When trying to get a grasp on what a city has to offer, the best first step is typically their own tourism website. Visit Jacksonville has a pretty solid overview of the broad strokes of all things entertaining going on in the city.

Metro Diner Chicken and Waffles

Between its pleasant climate and proximity to the ocean, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Jacksonville for nature lovers. The city has a ton of great parks and (duh) plenty of beaches.

Jacksonville also has a thriving culinary scene with plenty of great restaurants like Orsay and Metro Diner. There’s also a bunch of really great bars and nighlife options like the beachside outdoor Lemon Bar and The Volstead with their wide selection of craft cocktails.

Welcome to Jacksonville!

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