When Grant Thornton opened its Jacksonville office in 2016, it had no problem recruiting staff from other offices of the accounting firm to relocate.

Julie Lamey, partner-in-charge of the office, says workers were attracted to the warmer climate and the natural beauty of the area.

“People were kind of surprised at how pretty it was,” she says.

Not only experienced accountants, but young graduating students also find the lifestyle appealing. Jacksonville University attracts students from all 50 states and several foreign countries, says university President Tim Cost, and 75% of them decide to remain in the area after graduation.

Lamey says Grant Thornton workers like the different “vibe” you can find in various neighborhoods of Jacksonville, from the artsy culture of districts near downtown like Five Points and Riverside to the laid-back atmosphere of the beaches.

“You can pick the culture that you like,” Lamey says. “Jacksonville’s a very easy place to live.”

Visit Jacksonville, the organization that promotes tourism, says the same thing. It recently unveiled a new slogan, “It’s Easier Here,” to describe why people love to visit.

“Unlike other major Florida cities with their overcrowded beaches, long lines and heinous traffic, Jacksonville offers visitors an easier vacation; one that’s still rich with art and culture, exciting outdoor adventures and thrilling sporting events; but at a slower, easier, more relaxed pace,” it says.

Katie Mitura, vice president for marketing and communications with Visit Jacksonville, says Florida tourists often overlook Northeast Florida when they think about the big attractions in the state.

“They don’t necessarily think of Jacksonville,” she says.

Jacksonville and Northeast Florida
Largest U.S. Urban Park System — 80,000 Acres
#2 New Hot Spot — Where Americans are Moving (Realtor.com)
Cost of Living Below the National Average — and one of the most competitive in the Southeast