Mandarin Florida is a neighborhood located in the southernmost portion of Jacksonville, in Duval County, Florida, United States. It is located on the eastern banks of the St. Johns River, across from Orange Park. Mandarin Florida was named after the mandarin orange in 1830 by Calvin Reed, a prominent resident of the area .
Once called “a tropical paradise” by author Harriet Beecher Stowe , the quaint area of Mandarin Florida is marked by its history, ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss, beautiful parks, marinas and more water views than any other area in Jacksonville. In the 19th century, Mandarin was a small farming village that shipped oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other fruits and vegetables to Jacksonville and points north on the steamships that traveled the St. Johns River. In 1864, the Union steamship, the Maple Leaf, hit a Confederate mine and sank just off Mandarin Point.
The majority of the land was planted with orange trees for many years, but a freeze in the early 1980s destroyed a lot of the crop. Orange farmers decided not to replant their destroyed trees and sell off the land to developers.
Just a short drive south of Jacksonville’s city center, the community is bordered by Beauclerc to the north, Julington Creek to the south and St. John’s River to the west.
Don’t be fooled, despite the ample presence of nationally known restaurant chains, Mandarin Florida and the Southside also manages to have its own unique flavor with options like Tree Steak House, MShack at the Town Center, Moxie+ Kitchen and Cocktails, Season 52, The Capital Grill, III Forks, Ovinte, French Pantry and Wicked Barley Brewing to name a few. For a real Southern Food experience in Jacksonville visit The Potters House Soul Food Bistro, you won’t regret it! If your looking to shop in Mandarin Florida there is Mandarin Oaks Shopping Center, Mandarin Point Shopping Center, Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart.
From romantic river views and great beaches to must-see museums and unique tours, Mandarin, FL and Jacksonville, is a fun weekend destination for couples and families. Visit the Cummer Museum of Art and take a romantic walk through the manicured gardens, stroll along the river past the famous Friendship Fountain and shop at the Riverside Arts Market. Best things to do in Jacksonville, FL with kids include hands-on activities at MOSH! The Museum of Science and History, and seeing rare animals at the Jacksonville Zoo. The Cummer Museum of Art is one of Florida’s favorite art museums that hosts one of the best art collections in the Southeast. Housed in a series of twentieth-century buildings that overlook the St. John’s River. The Jacksonville Zoo is one of Jacksonville’s top attractions, featuring a unique walking safari during which visitors can view the zoo’s 2,000 animals and 1,000 exotic plant species. Located at the mouth of the Trout River, the zoo and gardens offer a real family adventure with a range of outstanding exhibits, such as the award-winning ‘Range of the Jaguar’, Giraffe Overlook and the beautiful Savanna Blooms garden. Don’t miss the Mandarin Museum and Walter Jones Historical Park. The 10-acre Mandarin Florida riverfront site is home to an 1876 farm complex with picnic areas as well as a citrus grove.