Who wouldn’t love having a day of the year that’s all about them, right? That’s what makes birthdays so special! In honor of our state, each year, we celebrate Jan. 25, as National Florida Day! A national holiday that’s dedicated to our great state is definitely worth celebrating whether you live here or not. With many things associated with Florida, celebrate through a few of our state symbols found in JAX. We’ve listed a few of our favorites in the region.
Oranges – Our state fruit. You’ll find the citrusy flavors and health benefits incorporated creatively in foods, beverages and wellness activities. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy Augustine-based Whetstone Chocolates’ Signature Chocolate Shells, made with milk chocolate and Valencia orange. For some “TLC,” check out The Florida Ritual spa service at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club – a body treatment that leaves skin with “the scent of sweet orange honey.” To close out the day at sunset, you can cheers to Florida with Surfer Bar’s Orange Jalapeno Margarita.
“The Sunshine State”- our well-earned nickname. With 220 days of sunshine each year, there are a number of ways to enjoy the Vitamin-C that comes with it. The 87 miles of coastal beaches make for a great day, however, as a region surrounded by all forms of water, the beach isn’t your only option! For some creative adventure, try an airboat tour with Sea Serpent Tours and skim across waters in a state-of-the-art, custom-built airboat that explores the St. Johns River!
Did you know that Jacksonville is home to the largest urban park system in the country and was ranked #2 for Best Urban Trails in the Country by AFAR Magazine? With more than 400 national, state and city parks in JAX, a sunny day invites trail hikes at Cradle Creek Preserve, Fanny Bay Trail or the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Key Lime Pie – our state pie (yum!). The Dessert connoisseurs around our region have dubbed a few favorite spots when it comes to key lime pie. They include Jacksonville’s Mixed Fillings Pie Shop and Sliders in Fernandina Beach. To step outside the realm of dessert but still enjoy the flavor of key lime, you’ll find all the goods at The Key Lime Shop in St. Augustine. Here you will find a large selection of key lime products from specialty oils and vinegars to tea and taffy.
Sports – Maybe not a “state symbol” per se, but with our self-described, die-hard sports friends across the state, it’s a Florida favorite pastime worth mentioning. JAX, in particular, has its head and heart aligned in supporting our professional sports teams. Our fanbase goes crazy for our Triple-A Minor League Baseball’s Jumbo Shrimp, American Basketball Association’s Giants, ECHL Premier “AA” Hockey League’s Icemen (an affiliate team for the NHL’s New York Rangers) and of course, the NFL’s Jaguars. Needless to say, sporting events can be enjoyed year-round here!
Alligators – Florida’s state reptile, of course! If that’s your thing, a couple great places to see them are at the Wild Florida exhibit in the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The alligator farm is the only place in the world where you can see every living species of crocodilian! Zipline through the treetops, enjoy a wildlife show or check out the albino alligator exhibit, and check out these rare creatures. (Legend has it that those who gaze upon this reptile will receive good luck.)
Believe it or not, even if you hit all these spots, you’re only just getting started with JAX. Today, and every day, we celebrate Florida!