While in Jacksonville: 10 Things That You Have to Experience


I grew up in a small town not far from Jacksonville; ten minutes away to be exact. After deciding to go to college in a place so close to home, my favorite things growing up became even more fun as a kinda-adult. Here are 10 things you have to do when you visit “The Friendliest Campus in the South”:

1. Gameday

A game day in the ‘Ville isn’t just something to pass the time. It’s an experience all in its own. From getting your favorite cocky gear from Red Threads or Get Personalized, to Cocky Walk, and ending the night with a victory chant of I’ll Fly Away. Gamedays here are a rite of passage that may make you never want to leave.

2. Rocket Burger

As a kid, I couldn’t wait for the day I got my own basket at The Rocket. For you out-of-towners, The Rocket is a small little shack with the biggest heart and best BBQ and burgers in town. Each burger has the essentials: tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and the Almighty Rocket Sauce to top it off. The fries are always to die for, and the ice is always crunchy. Oh, and don’t worry, there is chicken fingers too.

3. Cocky Himself

If you have yet to meet Cocky: the man, the myth, the legend, then wow, you are truly missing a part of yourself. No matter, what season, what game, whatever it may be, you can guarantee that Cocky will be there with his never-ending spirit and a big hug for all his fans.

4. Gem of the Hills

JSU is known as “The Gem of the Hills”. This is because the campus is set up in between two mountains in Alabama, Mount Cheaha in Delta and Jacksonville Mountain in well, Jacksonville. Get your friends and hop in the car. Drive past Effina’s and up Mountain Street. Beware of the curves, but don’t stop until you get to the top. This view will open you up and bring you out. Go up there with a big decision and you will leave with reassurance to last a lifetime.

5. Ice Cream Freeze

Another townie’s favorite is Cecil’s Place. Need a sweet treat, they’ve got shakes and cones galore. Need a good spot for family dinner, come on in for homemade burgers and bottomless fries. Get it to go or stay for a bit, this family owned dive is known for its town history and endless memories.

6. Going Up

Let me guess, you like to hit the books? Well so do we. Our campus is known for our Houston Cole Library, which is also the tallest academic building in the state. Since the March Tornado last semester, this building has been used to fill in for extra classes that were displaced from their native buildings. Come in at any time of the day and find students and faculty studying away with our endless resources and quiet nooks.

7. Brew It Up

Hot or cold. Large or small. Bagel or croissant. Head on down to Java Jolt’s on the square and you won’t regret it. Frozen Hot Chocolate is perfect for those September and October days when you wish it would feel like fall already. Need WIFI and a good panini for lunch, they’ve got that too. My favorite is the chicken pesto panini, minus the side pickle.

8. Spring of Life

Many college students rely on “man’s best friend” to keep them going. Well, after spending all day in the apartment/house they could use a little freedom. Keep going north past Stone Center and you’ll come across a serene little spring with a connecting park. Bring some water and a hammock, your pup will be in Canine Heaven.

9. Music Included

Other than our championship football team and our excellent academics, we have something big that you just can’t forget about. Our Marching Southerners band is award winning and will bring you to tears with the harmony of their instruments. You will be speechless at how in sync they all are. It almost seems impossible at how perfect each performance is. Add in our beautiful Ballerinas dance line and our amazing ColoGuard and you have the entire package.

10. Courage. Pride. Honor.

Don’t worry if you can’t stay long. Even when you’re just passing through you get a feel on the best thing about Jacksonville. Yes, we have good coffee. No, you won’t go hungry here. Yes, we know we win all the time. No, we don’t get tired of the views. What you will never lose sight of here, is that we are one, united family. We always stick up for each other, and we always show up. Our campus is our home, and you better believe it.