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Moving to Jacksonville


New Member
Hi Spouses!
My name is Amanda and I am new to this site and the Navy. My husband just finished primary (he is an NFO in training) and we were assigned P-3s. Does anyone know anything about Jacksonville? I was hoping to find out some of the good areas to live in that are close to the base. Also, no one seems to know how long the rest of training takes in Jacksonville. Somone told me we will only be there six months. Is that accurate?
Thanks for all the information!


FY09 STA-21 (SWO Option) Officer Candidate
I just moved to Tallahassee from Jacksonville a few weeks ago. I lived in Jacksonville for over 3 years. Quite honestly, I really liked it. It's a nice city to live in. I lived in Orange Park in a section called Fleming Island. Fleming Island is a residential community. I lived at the Lighthouse Apts. It was $1110 for a 2 bed/2 bath apartment on the third floor overlooking the pool area (Building 4). They were great apartments to starts out in, and if you'll only be there for 6 months, I would recommend them.

They are approx. 12 miles to the base. 25 minutes to get to the ATC tower/building from my apt. Traffic is heavy on HWY 17 , but if you avoid the peak hours, you'll feel like the only car on the road. Jacksonville has everything and anything you want in a city. The rural areas are in parts of Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, and near the northern part of St. Johns County. St Augustine is a beautiful city within 20 miles of southeast Jacksonville. Higher Educational opportunities are great: you've got JU, UNF, and my own school from which I just graduated FCCJ. I wouldn't mind going back to Jax. But pick a spot to live that is well South of Interstate 10 and you'll come to love it as well. Good luck to you and your husband' ma'am.

AC2/OC(sel.) Charles, USN


New Member
I spent some time growing up in Jacksonville and my parents still live in the area. It's the biggest city in the U.S. (square mileage wise), so if your husband hates a long commute, you will want to plan accordingly. I grew up in a gated community called "The Woods" which was really nice, but I think it might be a hike to the base.

I really love Jacksonville. There's lots to do (great zoo, shopping, restaurants, the beach). Some areas you could consider living in would be: Orange Park, Baymeadows, we used to live off of E. Catalina Rd (which might be a little far from base in morning traffic), Ponte Vedra is nice but is also a hike to base. As long as you stay away from the West Side of town, you'll be fine.

I don't know how long NFO training is, but enjoy Jax and good luck!


FY09 STA-21 Pilot Selectee--AE1--CSCWL
The base is on Roosevelt Blvd (US-17)... The nicest area that's close to the base is Fleming Island (about 5 miles South on 17). Very nice homes, nice new shopping center, pretty close to the mall, low crime, good neighborhood environment.

The next best thing would probably be the Argyle Forrest area. Similar characteristics, but it's kinda set between the not so nice areas.

My wife, son, and I currently live on the West Side... BIG BIG BIG MISTAKE! Unfortunately we can't sell this condo until something changes the housing market here.

Not sure how long NFO's spend at VP-30, but I THINK it's longer than six months.

Now is a great time to buy in Jax. I know people who have recently sold homes in the mid $200's that would have sold for probably over $400k a couple of years ago.

Since your hubby got P-3's it's probably a safe bet that you'll be staying in Jax right?


P-3 FO
Do a search for UMFO. There has been some discussion on this program in the NFO forum. The program is about 7-8 months (UMFO plus CAT I syllabus) depending on how backed up they are. We lived in Oakleaf in Orange Park and liked it. The houses where pretty close together but it was a nice area. I wouldn't recommend buying there but there should be plenty to rent.


Well-Known Member
The Woods is about a 40 minute drive to NAS JAX in morning traffic. Basically having to get thru downtown Jax and then deal with 17. Easy commute to Mayport though.


Well-Known Member
We just bought a house in Mandarin and it's a good commute for the husband, he goes the opposite direction of traffic. Also, where we live in Mandarin we don't have to worry about San Jose Blvd which can be a pain.

I wouldn't live in OP, but that's just me...I know plenty of people who live in that area and really like it.

Shoot me a pm if you want someone to do something with, I haven't met a lot of people in the area yet.

Also...join the private spouses corner/forum which will give you a lot more info. There should be a sticky on how to join.


Four fans of freedom, all day long
I live in and am stationed here at NAS JAX. As a P-3 NFO, he will spend about 8 more months in training or so from the time he starts the UMFO syllabus until he finished the FRS. About halfway through the FRS (month 4 or 5 out of 8), you should find out where you will be permanently stationed (choices are Jacksonville, Whidbey Island, or Hawaii). I would definitely recommend renting until you know where you will be going after the FRS.

As for where to live, I live in Southside and there are some really really nice condos and apartments over here. Nicely newer developed area and clean, right near St. John's Town Center. Commuting each way is against the rush hour, so my 17 mile drive takes about 25 minutes (the same amount of time it takes my Orange Park peers to drive about 7 miles). Plus, its 10-15 minutes to the beach and an easy drive to downtown. In my opinion, its the best place when you combine cleanliness/newness and location convenience to everything Jax has to offer. Hope this helps! Feel free to PM me with any questions.


Now with even more awesome!
I recommend Orange Park, although the commute sucks (mine is about 10 mi, but it takes me a solid 25-30 mins in the AM and PM rush). Houses are nice and it's safe, convenient to a lot of amenities, too.

Good stuff over in Mandarin, too, but over there I would make sure to check out the neighborhood before you sign anything. Ditto for anything north of base. Some nice stuff, but it can get real shady real fast.


Staff Weenie
We own a home in Mandarin and like that area a lot, good schools, nice neighborhoods, new library. I lived in the Waterford at Mandarin in an apartment when I was first there as a student- Barnes and Noble, Ale House, Krispy Creme, and Moe's all in walking distance from the apartment. (Among others, but those were the highlights) We did not want to deal with the traffic in OP. Julington Creek looks nice, but is a bit further drive.
Some people don't like Jacksonville, I do. Lots of good shopping, the beach are nice (but a bit more of a drive from Mandarin area), lots of restaurants.


Living the GeoBachelor dream...
I live in Argyle with a bunch of other people. Great community, close to lots of stuff, 14.4 miles from my house to the squadron...drive anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes, but that is pretty standard anywhere.

If you want to talk to my wife PM for her phone #.


New Member
Seriously? OP, Manderin, South side?!? If you actually want to enjoy Jax you should live in San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, or Ortega. These are actual places with things to do, not just cookie cutter neighborhoods between strip malls.


Seriously? OP, Manderin, South side?!? If you actually want to enjoy Jax you should live in San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, or Ortega. These are actual places with things to do, not just cookie cutter neighborhoods between strip malls.

Agreed in Riverside Avondale, or Ortega, extremely Easy Commute, and they are actually nice areas.


Well-Known Member
Seriously? OP, Manderin, South side?!? If you actually want to enjoy Jax you should live in San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, or Ortega. These are actual places with things to do, not just cookie cutter neighborhoods between strip malls.
We wanted to buy a house there but one of the main requirements my husband had for a 2 car garage because he does a lot of work on his car couldn't be full-filled in our price range. There were many beautiful homes but those with garages were just a little too expensive even in this market. Another thing to consider is the historical areas have a few more restrictions than other subdivisions in terms of renovations and whatnot. You're also buying an older home that might not have the amenities such as larger closets that some people look for.

We live on the outskirts of Mandarin, east of the 95 and south of the 295 where the new hospital is. There is 1 "strip mall", and only 2 older subdivisions. Otherwise there really isn't anything around us.

And just because one doesn't live in those areas doesn't mean you can't go and do things, we find ourselves going to San Marco to eat quite a bit. Gotta love "The Grotto" and it's mac and cheese.

Just throwing some things out there since when we first got here I was determined to live in Avondale/Riverside area which didn't end up happening.


New Member
We're at @ St. Augustine at the Lake which is basically at the Southside/Mandarin border I guess. They just finished building a bunch of new apartments in this complex so they're really nice and mostly empty (i.e. quiet).

We also have the usual pools, free gym (with all new equipment), tennis courts, etc. We also have a random place for parking big stuff, like boats... and a car-wash station with a hose and a pay-per-use vaccuum.


There's also a stocked fishing lake here; no license required to fish it. Our apt is only like $800 something (when you add in the water and etc) for a recently refurbished 2 bedroom, w/ balcony, outside storage closet, & fireplace. (New counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, new appliances, new metal cabinet knobs, etc)

It's across from a plaza with some restaurants and stuff in it, but the apt. complex is built so that you drive basically behind a church and a double row of trees and then turn through a small wooded area which lines the road to get to the actual apartments.... so they're relatively secluded from the main road.