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7 Reasons Why This Sunny Florida City Just Broke Its All Time Tourism Record 

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If there’s one thing keeping travelers from exploring the world to their heart's desire, it’s the ever-increasing cost of hotels and transportation, which has made exploring more than one or two new destinations a year simply unrealistic for most modern-day professionals.

That’s where gorgeous, budget-friendly places located right here in the U.S. come in.

girls walking on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida

When choosing our next travel destination, we tend to overlook the gems that lie right under our noses, which are just as beautiful and culturally stimulating as many of the remote lands we pine after, just that much more affordable.

Travelers are finding that to be true for one particular Florida city, and they’re flocking to its sunny shores in record numbers.

More than 7.4 million passengers passed through the Jacksonville International Airport in 2023, a number that eclipses the pre-pandemic record of almost 7.2 million.

beach in Jacksonville, Florida

So, why are so many tourists (both domestic and international) eager to explore the once underrated Floridian hub?

A Budget-Friendly Winter Escape

While budget has always been one of the biggest factors travelers think about when planning their next vacation, its importance has reached an all-time high now that prices seem to keep increasing with no end in sight.

Luckily, Jacksonville still allows visitors to take a much-needed break from the frigid winter weather without breaking the bank.

aerial view of Jacksonville, Florida

The city was just recently named one of the cheapest destinations in all of the U.S., and according to Numbeo, consumer prices in Jacksonville are roughly 16% lower than those in comparable cities like Phoenix, Charlotte, or San Antonio.

Jacksonville Has Become More Accessible Than Ever

For many, flying has become the most unpleasant part of the travel experience, so those who plan to get to their destination by plane always try to avoid connecting flights and long, sleepless routes as much as possible.

Luckily, dozens of new non-stop flights to Jacksonville have been introduced this past year, and the trend is expected to continue in 2024 as well.

people walking in Jacksonville International Airport

Breeze Airways, one of North America’s biggest low-cost carriers, launched 7 new routes from various U.S. terminals to the Floridian hub in 2023. 

Similarly, American introduced a brand new connection between Phoenix and Jacksonville just this past November, so you can expect to see the local aerial network extend in the upcoming months as well.

Faster Security Screenings 

Another piece of great news that came this past November for those flying to Jacksonville was the fact that TSA installed upgraded screening equipment in the local airport, which was estimated to cut the wait time in security lines by a whopping 50%.

Line Of People At Unspecified Airport

Getting in and out of the city has now become easier and faster than ever, prompting line-haters to give Jacksonville a try.

There’s Always So Much To See And Do In The City

The perks of choosing Jacksonville over similar U.S. hubs don’t cease once you come out of the airport.

The city promises to keep you busy with its soft-sanded beaches, newly-opened galleries, and world-class museums that have shifted the area’s image from a party hub reserved for college students going on their spring break to a well-rounded destination that caters to just about everyone.

Cummer Museum and Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida

Those who’ve been going to Jacksonville for years and are tired of exploring the same-old attractions (think the iconic Cummer Museum, Kingsley Plantation, or the Riverside Arts Market) won’t have to worry, either.

There’s a lot of variety coming to the city as we speak.

New Places To Explore

This winter, Jacksonville opened its doors to more new restaurants and other fun business ventures than you can count.

view of Jacksonville

A new Cuban Bistro, a QBall Billiards, as well as a colorful vintage shop (Purple Mangrove), all opened this past year.

So did some must-try restaurants like Crabcake Factory Seafood Grille & Bar, AB Kitchen, Icebreakers Bar & Grille, and Salumeria 104.

Great Infrastructure And Accommodation Variety

The many efforts made to improve Jacksonville’s infrastructure have finally paid off – now, travelers get to enjoy better-connected road networks, upgraded facilities, and a virtually endless array of accommodation options to choose from.

Jacksonville skyline and fountain, Florida

Highly-rated stays in the area start at $70 per night and don’t go above $280, even when it comes to higher-end hotels.

A Haven For Outdoor Enthusiasts

While the city itself is an underrated haven for culture seekers that needs to be explored, if you’re visiting Jacksonville, I’d highly recommend setting a day aside to explore the many nearby natural wonders as well.

Here, outdoor enthusiasts can explore the region’s impressive park system that extends from the sprawling Hanna Park to the more tranquil Friendship Fountain Park, kayak along the St. Johns River, or escape the urban hustle in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.