The First Coast is a region in Florida. Also known as "Northeast Florida", it is the portion of the state north of the Daytona Beach area along the Atlantic coast, including the entire Jacksonville area. It includes Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, Nassau, and Clay counties.
- Metro Jacksonville — North Florida's principal urban area, with a population of over 1.3 million, encompassing:
- 9 Flagler Beach
- 10 Palm Coast
- 11 St. Augustine — old Spanish city with beautiful streets and architecture
- 1 Amelia Island State Recreation Area is a Florida State Park located 7 miles (11 km) north of Little Talbot Island State Park on SR A1A, and 8 miles (13 km) south of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida. The park consists of 200 acres (0.81 sq km) of beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests. Activities include fishing, hiking, sunning, watching wildlife, and horseback riding. 45-minute horseback tours along the shoreline are given four times daily. The park is open from 8AM till sundown year round.
- 2 Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
This is the northeastern corner of Florida, on the border with Georgia. While barrier islands continue into Georgia, the series of easily accessible islands changes once you cross the state lines. Therefore, this is one of the northernmost tourist beach destinations until you get to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and some other places farther north on the East Coast.
Jacksonville and neighboring cities are united into a region by the St. John's River, which flows north from Central Florida, the western part of the Jacksonville/First Coast area, and out to the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. Jacksonville is the region's main city in terms of population, being a "consolidated city-county" — in plain English, a city that became large enough that itself and its county (Duval) are one. The merging of city and county, when cities such as Orlando and Tampa have seen suburban growth outside the city limits, gives Jacksonville the title of Florida's largest city, although in reality this is not true. It is around fourth largest in terms of metropolitan areas (so still large), after Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa/St. Pete. It is one of Florida's oldest cities, although Florida's population boom took place in the early 20th century, so this is not old like cities farther north such as Charleston and Savannah. However, there are some historic sites and of course Jacksonville Beach. Jacksonville metro is the location of the University of North Florida.
Going south is the small town of St. Augustine, the region's main tourist destination. Despite its small size, it is the oldest city on the Florida Peninsula and was for some time the largest settlement. Founded in 1565 by the Spanish, it is the oldest European settlement in the United States' current boundaries, and Spanish culture and historic sites abound in the town, making it a "must-see" for any tourist visiting the area.
Other towns include Flagler Beach and Palm Coast, both to the south. Flagler Beach is a small town, and Palm Coast is a growing suburb on I-95.
Like the Florida Panhandle, the First Coast experiences a winter unlike most other parts of the state. Flagler County in the south of this region is the beginning of the transition to the semitropical climate.
- 1 Jacksonville International Airport ((JAX IATA)), 2400 Yankee Clipper Drive (Jacksonville). Has regular flights to many US cities with major carriers such as Delta, United, American, JetBlue, and Southwest.
- 2 Northeast Florida Regional Airport (formerly St. Augustine Airport, UST IATA) (4 mi (6.4 km) north of St. Augustine, and about 30 mi (48 km) south of Jacksonville).
- Greyhound Bus Lines has service to Jacksonville.
Major highways entering the region include I-10, I-95, US-1, US-90, and FL-A1A.
- Amtrak, +1-800-872-7245. Service by the Silver Service/Palmetto lines to Jacksonville and Palatka.
The Marineland Marina offers over 20 slips for vessels as well as full customer service, including restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.
Historic sites and nature reserves are common in this area, including the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
There are many golf courses in the area. The region is also home to one major professional sports team, the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. FL-202 and US-90 go east from Jacksonville to the beach towns including Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach.
- The Mug Race. A Pursuit Start sailboat race on St. Johns River. The world's largest river race, boater start at the Memorial Bridge in Palatka and end at the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville.
As with most other regions of the USA, Northeast Florida has varying levels of crime. Jacksonville has much higher-than-average crime rates, and other large urban centers also have their share of crime.
Politically, this is one of the most staunchly Republican areas in the state.