Florida's largest city, with a population of nearly 850,000, Jacksonville lies at the northeastern tip of the state, very close to the Georgia border. Parts of the city feel distinctly Southern, while other neighborhoods capture the distinct Spanish Colonial flair of the region - it's just a 30-minute drive south to America's oldest city, St. Augustine, and the beautiful resort destination of Amelia Island lies just off the coast. The gay scene has grown a good bit in the area over the years.
Formerly known as First Coast Pride, Jacksonville has a quite popular Gay Pride celebration that is now called the River City Pride Festival, and the dates of this well-attended event are usually at the beginning of October.
There are two key activities that make up this major celebration for the GLBT community in Jacksonville: the Gay Pride Parade takes place in the historic Riverside neighborhood, starting at Boone Park and ending in 5 Points Business District.
The second major component of this celebration is the Riverfront Gay Pride Festival. The festival features vendors and community organizations and also entertainment from a number of notables.
If you're coming from afar, note that driving times from key communities in the Southeast are two hours from Savannah, GA; five hours from Atlanta, GA; five hours from Pensacola, FL; 90 minutes from Gainesville, FL; and two hours from Orlando, FL.
Jacksonville Gay Resources
The Riverfront District is quite charming and has a lot going on as well as several LGBT businesses. A sophisticated, historic neighborhood on the south bank of the St. Johns River - just a short drive from downtown - San Marco has a number of noteworthy shops, restaurants, and other businesses (as well as the city's gay bathhouse, Club Jacksonville).
For thoughts on where to stay, check out the Jacksonville Gay-Friendly Hotels Guide, and for tips on where to eat and find the gay nightlife scene, have a look at the Jacksonville Gay Nightlife Guide.
You can find information on LGBT Jacksonville from the helpful website MyGayJacksonville.com.