Explore Jacksonville like never before this summer

Pair of books offer unique journey through the city


In many ways summer presents opportunities for quality time with family and loved ones, but it can be interesting at times to find unique things to do together.

Author Amy West has helped provide an answer to that question with a pair of books that encourage adventure with a Jacksonville flair.

She combined her passion for travel, which she developed as a child, and her love for Jacksonville and the North Florida area to write a pair of books designed to showcase destinations that have made up Jacksonville’s culture throughout the years.

The first book was "100 Things To Do in Jacksonville Before You Die," and it was followed by the release of "Jacksonville Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Jacksonville’s Hidden Treasures."

“The idea to write the books was just another avenue for me to express my love for writing and travel while exploring Jacksonville, the place I grew up around and love more than anything,” West said. “My hope is that the books help shed light and showcase the number of great destinations we have in Jacksonville.”

While both books do share certain similar destinations, they truly are two separate entities and offer their own unique journeys through the city.

“You don’t need one book to figure out the other, but there are going to be some things that do cross over from one to the next,” West said. “They are each something that is truly Jacksonville and has a special place or plays a part in making the city’s culture what it is.”

There are more than 20 restaurants listed in the first book, as well as a variety of other destinations, such as greenspaces and historical markers.

The second book is a scavenger hunt that she believes will be perfect for families who are looking to explore together and strengthen that bond even more while also getting to know the area they call home this summer.

“'Jacksonville Scavenger' presents more of a challenge and prompts the reader to find clues and go out find the many destinations out there,” West said.

There are 24 neighborhoods in Jacksonville included in the scavenger book and multiple clues and riddles are given for each one of them as well as a photo and an illustration, including more than 340 clues throughout the book.

West used her own knowledge and love of the city in the creation of the books, as she lived in Jacksonville Beach for 32 years and grew up in the area.

“My mother still calls Jacksonville home, and we have B&Bs that we own in town,” West said.

“Ever since I can remember travel has always been a huge part of my life and something that I have always been fascinated with,” West said. “My dad worked with Delta, so the opportunities were definitely there, and when my parents divorced I ended up flying back and forth from Florida to Kentucky a lot when I was just about 7 or 8 years old.”

According to West, she was taking about 12 flights a year, and that’s when she caught the “travel bug.”

“I was traveling abroad at 14 years old, and I haven’t stopped since,” West said.

Her passion for visiting new places led her to have a travel TV show series and blogs over the years and she has used writing as a way to journal all her travels.

“If you are someone who likes adventure, 'Jacksonville Scavenger' will take you on the biggest and most epic tour of Jax you’ll ever be on,” West said. “Whether you are into nature, history or you are a foodie, Jacksonville has something for you.”