The many options and a wide variety of cuisine around Orange Park ensure that there's something for everyone, and you can enjoy a range of nightlife options too.
La Nopalera Restaurant provides diners of all ages with authentic Mexican food and a fun, casual environment. Its branch on Kingsley Avenue is especially popular with locals. The chicken quesadillas are definitely worth trying, and they're best paired with a delicious margarita. It's often busy and lacks parking, but the takeout service is ideal for those in a rush.
For a true taste of Puerto Rico, head to El Palermo Restaurant, also on Kingsley Avenue. The restaurant is popular for its varied menu, good service, friendly atmosphere and lunch specials. Try the mofongo with shrimp and Creole sauce or the Cuban sandwich.
If Italian fare is more your style, visit Santioni's Italian Restaurant. Santioni's easily attracts regular customers due to its home cooking with family recipes and fresh ingredients as well as musical entertainment by the owner/chef, Bruno, and a pianist on weekends. Choose the escargot to start, seafood cannellini for your main course and finish off with crème brûlée.
You know what you're getting at Miller's Ale House, a casual sports pub chain in Fashion Square on Wells Road. That's not to say you'll be bored; the large selection of food, from bar snacks to steak, as well as the many beers on tap provide something for everyone. Enjoy flavorful meals including wings, fillet mignon and baby back ribs. It's a popular spot, so be prepared for a dinner rush and extra business during sports events.
You'll also find evening entertainment at Cheers Park Avenue. Its comfortable atmosphere has you feeling at home and ready to enjoy good service, good food and good prices. Live music, pool and high-definition televisions add to the ambiance.
Roadhouse has been serving and entertaining customers since 1976. The venue draws live bands and offers daily drink specials starting at $1.50. If you're feeling adventurous, ask for a four-beer flight.
Flex your vocal chords at Locals Pub, where karaoke is the featured attraction on some nights and there's live music or DJs on others. The pub is open late, has drink specials most days and doesn't charge an entrance fee.
Orange Park’s roots go back as far as the 1780s. Known then as Laurel Grove, the land passed between owners over the years and suffered during the Patriots Rebellion and the Civil War. In 1877, the area received new life along with a new name. Bought by Florida Winter Home and Improvement, the land was subdivided into building lots and farm tracts. Incorporated in 1879, Orange Park has grown greatly over the years, both residentially and commercially.
Visit Great Hang Ups gallery, Art Center Cooperative and many other local galleries as well as the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens, the Mandarin Museum going east on Interstate 295 and the Museum of Southern History north on State Road 15. Get involved in the Fall Festival in October and the Art & About Festival in April. Both take place at the Town Hall and provide excellent entertainment for the whole family.
Orange Park allows easy access to major highways. Interstate 295 connects Orange Park to Mandarin and the beaches on the east coast. State Road 15 also runs through the area, continuing north and ending just southwest of Jacksonville. On its way, it connects with State Road 21, also accessible from Orange Park, where it's known as Blanding Boulevard.
The Orange, Red, Blue and Green Lines operated by Clay Transit connect bus users to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority at the Orange Park Mall. This allows residents of Orange Park, Middleburg, Fleming Island and Green Cove Springs to commute into Jacksonville. Another way to get into the city is by using Uber, which operates in the area but only within the area above Kingsley Avenue.
Driving is a very popular method of transport in Orange Park and Jacksonville. However, like surrounding neighbors, Orange Park has experienced increasing growth over the years, outpacing the development of infrastructure. As a result, the area can be affected by high traffic and crowding, especially during rush hours. This is very much the case on Blanding Boulevard, which is used by commuters travelling into Jacksonville from Clay and St Johns counties. The creation of the Collins Road / I-295 interchange has been one solution to the heavy congestion, although the problem still remains. Pedestrians and bikers need to be especially careful at Blanding Boulevard as it's been the site of fatal accidents. Local governments, including that of Orange Park, are working to develop further infrastructure.
Although Jacksonville in general doesn't have a good reputation in terms of sidewalks and walking as a means of getting from A to B, Orange Park is home to some sidewalks accessible to walkers, joggers and bikers.
These activities can be enjoyed on various scenic roads and trails in and around Orange Park, such as the Doctor’s Lake Drive asphalt running / bike path, which has parking available at the start of the path. The Plainfield Loop takes you past Orange Park’s old, beautifully built houses and along the St Johns River. The River Road route also takes you past the river before heading towards the intersection of River Road and Kingsley Avenue. For a longer route, take the roughly 16-mile Black Creek Trail. The train can be accessed at the Orange Park Town Hall and is mostly uninterrupted but for a few intersections.
The cost of living in Orange Park is the same as the Florida average, while gas prices are about 3 percent higher than the national average. Renters pay, on average, $688 a month for a one-bedroom residence. The price of a one way trip to Jacksonville costs $1, and a beer at the local pub costs around $4.
Most of your shopping needs can be met at Orange Park Mall. Big brand names include Aeropostale, Hollister, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret. You can also find speciality stores and boutiques here, including Gretchen’s Hallmark, Maurices and Yankee Candle.
With the Atlantic Ocean and its many beaches within reach, it makes sense to pay a visit to Core Surf. The shop sells equipment and accessories for surfing, wakeboarding and skating as well as swimsuits for all ages. The excellent customer service is an added bonus.
If you’re shopping for personalized and sentimental gifts, try Things Remembered. Whether you’re looking to treat someone on their birthday or surprise that special someone with an anniversary gift, Things Remembered should have something for your particular occasion.
Orange Park’s various chain and discount grocery stores and convenience stores include Publix Super Market, Save-A-Lot, Stars Food Stores, Mi Terra Spanish Grocery and more. The Farmers’ & Art’s Market runs each year from September through May, usually on the first and third Sunday of each month. Held at the Town Hall, customers can use the parking lot in front of the hall as well as one off Smith Street and the Winn Dixie parking lot. Find fresh food and homemade products from over 100 vendors at this market as well as live entertainment and food.
A number of parks lie dotted around Orange Park. Built in the early 1900s, Clarke House Park provides the setting for the historical Clarke House, which includes nature trails, shady oak trees, gardens, a lake, a large playground, pavilions, a sand volleyball court, grills and restrooms.
Also shaded by big, beautiful oak trees, the park at the Town Hall features an inclusive playground, picnic tables, band stage, grills and restrooms. The park is home to various community events throughout the year, including the Fall Festival and Bark Fest, where man and man’s best friend take part in dog walks, activities, Q&A sessions, demonstrations and contests.
The one-acre Somer’s Sunshine Park provides nature lovers with a walking trail, picnic areas, benches and butterfly garden. A pavilion, playground, tennis courts and restrooms make Gano Park another ideal place for families and outdoor activity. There’s also T.C. Miller Park located on McIntosh Avenue and the Orange Park Skateboard Park, which is free to use.