Where to stay if you're attending the Georgia-Florida game


by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Whether you’re looking to travel in style at a swanky hotel or on the cheap by camping, Jacksonville and its surrounding cities offer accommodations to fit any budget. As you prepare to head down for the Georgia-Florida game, here are some prime areas to stay for the weekend:

Near the stadium

1. Downtown Omni Jacksonville

245 Water St., Jacksonville, Fla. 904-355-6664, www.omnihotels.com/hotels/jacksonville.

Located in downtown Jacksonville by the St. Johns Riverwalk, the luxurious Downtown Omni is near many of the city’s popular cultural attractions. Rooms still available (as of early this week).

2. Doubletree by Hilton Downtown

1201 Riverplace Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla. 904-398-8800, www.doubletreejax.com.

Located on the Southbank of the city, the modern Doubletree by Hilton Downtown is surrounded by historic districts, including San Marco, Riverside and Avondale. Each district offers boutique shops, sidewalk cafes and cultural attractions. Rooms still available (as of early this week).

3. Lexington Hotel and Conference Center

1515 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, Fla. 904-396-5100, www.riverwalkjacksonville.com.

The entirely smoke-free Lexington Hotel and Conference Center is located on the south banks of the St. Johns River off I-95. Guests have access to an outdoor pool and sun deck. No vacancies, but book early for next year.

4. Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Jacksonville

1201 Kings Ave., Jacksonville, Fla. 904-396-6111, hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com.

Located just off I-95 and a quick walk to the Skyway, the Hilton Garden Inn is slightly farther inland than the first three on this list. Its modern appearance, digital check-in and outdoor pool make the hotel desirable despite the added distance. Rooms still available (as of early this week).


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At the beach

1. Casa Marina Hotel

691 First St. N., Jacksonville Beach, Fla. 904-270-0025, casamarinahotel.com.

Situated on the dunes of the Atlantic Ocean, the Casa Marina Hotel is one of Florida’s Historic Hotels of America. The boutique hotel features only 23 guest rooms and suites. Rooms still available (as of early this week).

2. One Ocean Resort and Spa

1 Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach, Fla., 904-249-7402, www.oneoceanresort.com.

One of the state’s most luxurious hotels and one of Travel & Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels, One Ocean Resort and Spa is offering a special game weekend deal, which gives guests 15 percent off the price of their stay. Rooms still available (as of early this week).

Meet halfway

Hotel Indigo Jacksonville Deerwood Park

9840 Tapestry Park Circle, Jacksonville, Fla. 904-996-7199, www.hoteldeerwoodpark.com.

Located in the part of town once dubbed the “Hollywood of the East,” the hotel is 15 minutes from the beach and 15 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. In addition to its convenient location, the hotel is pet-friendly and has a large outdoor pool. Rooms are still available, but they’re selling out quickly.

If you’d rather camp

1. Crooked River State Park

6222 Charlie Smith Sr. Highway, St. Marys. 912-882-5256, gastateparks.org/CrookedRiver.

If you’d rather spend the night in Georgia, Crooked River State Park offers campsites and camping close to I-95, but it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of game-day traffic. Some cottages and campsites available, but they’re selling out quickly.

2. St. Augustine Beach KOA Campground

525 W. Pope Road, St. Augustine, Fla. 904-471-3113, koa.com/campgrounds/st-augustine-beach/.

If you’d rather stay in your motor home instead of tailgating in it, KOA Campground in St. Augustine is about one hour south of EverBank Field. Located on Anastasia Island, the campground offers guest accommodations close to the big game. Campsites still available (as of early this week).

Near the airport

Plaza Hotel & Suites

14585 Duval Road, Jacksonville, Fla. 904-741-1133, www.jacksonvilleplazahotel.com.

If you’re flying into Jacksonville for the game, Plaza Hotel & Suites offers rooms close to the airport and away from the crowds in downtown Jacksonville. Stay one or two nights and save 20 percent when you book online. Rooms still available (as of early this week).