We don’t need to tell you how great living in Northeast Florida is. (The beaches! The sun! And did we mention the beaches?!) But if you’re looking for some other outdoor ways to spend your days, we’ve put together some thought-starters.
Outdoor Fun in Northeast Florida
Kayaking & Canoeing
If you want to get out on the water, the kayaking in Yulee, Florida has plenty of opportunities. Like Lofton Creek, for one. This protected hardwood creek is shaded, shielded from wind, and suitable for all ages and skill levels (although younger kids may want to ride with an adult). And while you’re paddling through the towering trees keep your eyes peeled and your ears open — you might see a sea turtle, alligator, otter, hawk or heron … or hear the distinctive bird calls of the creek’s winged residents. Of course, if you’d rather stay close to home (as in right in the community), you’re in luck. Wildlight has its own pond — Whistling Duck Pond — for kayaking coming soon!
Northeast Florida is a terrific spot for two-wheeled fun, including 40 miles of bike trails on Amelia Island. You can take the Amelia Island Trail that runs from Peters Point Beachfront Park to Amelia Island State Park in the city of Fernandina Beach — a 7-mile paved and tree-lined route, much of it with views of the water. Of course, in Amelia Island some of the best biking isn’t on a trail at all, but on the wide, flat beaches when the tide is low. Here at Wildlight, we have 11+ miles of trails, and many more planned, that beckon bikers, and take them past parks, through nature — even down to our Village Center.
Sea Turtle Season
If you’ve never seen a sea turtle up close and personal, take note of when it’s sea turtle nesting season in Nassau County. Running from May 1st to October 31st every year, turtles are actively nesting, and may be seen emerging from or re-entering the ocean. There are three different types of sea turtles in Northeast Florida (Green Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle and Leatherback Sea Turtle), each endangered, and each with a distinct track that they leave in the sand as they drag their shells in search of a dry place to lay their eggs. While catching sight of one of these amazing creatures is exciting, if you do see one, make sure to keep a quiet distance, stay out of their path and report any sighting to email@example.com.
So. Much. Fishing. And so many kinds of fish to be caught. Redfish are one of the most sought-after species, for good reason: they’re a challenge to catch, and they’re big — like impressive-in-a-social-post big. In fact, fishing for reds is so popular, there are whole tournaments based on catching them. Rather focus on bass? Northeast Florida bass fishing rivers include the St. Marys and Nassau Rivers, with their feeder bodies of water — like Lofton Creek, a haven for bass. And don’t be surprised if you also catch a saltwater fish … sea trout, flounder and others like to live where saltwater mixes with freshwater. Whether you go at it alone, or out with a charter, there are almost as many opportunities as … well, fish in the water.
Whatever outdoor adventure you embark on, Northeast Florida (and the parks, pools and trails here at Wildlight) will satisfy your curious spirit. Enjoy your time. (Make sure to tag some pics with @wildlightliving and share your adventures with us!)
A well-known and highly respected amphibian once said, “It’s not easy being green.” And he was right. Figuring out how to build a community that lives in balance and in close relationship with nature is a complicated, work-intensive undertaking. But is it ever worth it.
When a community is oriented around nature — protecting it and connecting to it — day-to-day life takes on a different complexion. It becomes richer. Healthier. Filled with more activity, more fresh air and more moments of quiet awe.
So that’s the kind of community we’re creating in Wildlight. Here’s how …
Sustainable by design
Long before construction began, a team of engineers and scientists worked together on a plan that would allow community and nature to thrive together. What resulted was a new pattern of community, in which neighborhoods and business districts are carefully interwoven with each other and with parks, trails and conservation land. Creating a place that both preserves nature and inspires everyone to get out and enjoy it.
Conservation gone wild
We’ve set aside roughly half of Wildlight’s overall acreage as dedicated conservation land, much of it in the 7,000-acre Wildlight Conservation Network located in the next phase of Wildlight. In Wildlight’s permanently protected wetlands and forests, native species can continue to thrive. And the expanding Wildlight Trailways network (already 10+ miles long) lets you explore these pristine expanses of Northeast Florida lowcountry nature.
All-natural water management
Nature is more than beautiful. It’s practical. It’s really good at what it does. And one of its most important jobs is capturing and purifying water. With its extensive natural forest and wetland areas, Wildlight allows rainfall to seep into the ground, slowly being cleansed as it travels down into the soil, and eventually making its way to the underground aquifer that supplies the region’s drinking water. Even the developed areas of Wildlight are designed to intelligently manage stormwater runoff and allow nature to do its thing.
Mixing it all together
It’s one thing to conserve nature. It’s another to make it readily accessible to people. The community plan for Wildlight lets us do both at the same time. Each homesite has easy connections to parks, trails and big swaths of nature for even more access to the outdoors. And by providing plenty of walking/biking paths and bringing the homes closer not only to nature but to restaurants, shops and offices, we create a community that lives more like a small town where everything is an easy stroll or bike ride away.
More nature, just around the corner
The Wildlight Conservation Network isn’t the only important new nature area we’re introducing in our next phase. We’re also creating a 13-mile-long linear park that will stretch along the bluffs of the St. Marys River. We call it the Green Ribbon. And with its 8 miles of river frontage, the park will be anchored by a variety of experiences including a publicly accessible trail that ties the park together.
Also, we can’t talk about nearby nature without mentioning the White Oak Conservation center. Located about 10 miles north of Wildlight, White Oak shares some of its heritage with our community since both places are built on land that was once part of Rayonier’s sustainable timber-growing operation. On its 17,000 acres, White Oak helps to protect and advance the understanding of dozens of endangered species including the Florida panther, the Mississippi sandhill crane and three different types of rhinoceros.
Get a little wild
If you visit Wildlight, you’re welcome to take some time exploring our Wildlight Trailways. You might spot a fox or bobcat or one of the dozens of bird species that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. You can even experience some of the wetlands using our boardwalk trails. And all along the way, you’ll find fun, informative signs that inspire a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of all things wild and Floridian.
Download our trail map.
Northeast Florida is growing quickly. And since some of our new neighbors may be unfamiliar with how to prepare for hurricane season, we thought it might be helpful to pull together a few helpful facts and resources.
When is hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season stretches from June 1 to November 30. But tropical storms and even a few hurricanes have formed in every month of the year.
How many storms occur during that time?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers an annual hurricane prediction for the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. On average, Florida is affected by a tropical storm or hurricane once every three years.
What are some ways I can stay prepared?
Nassau County Emergency Management has a whole webpage dedicated to hurricane preparedness, including ways to prepare far ahead of time and what to do when a storm is approaching or has made landfall. And Wildlight’s very own Home Owners Association has put together an extensive Disaster Preparedness Guide that covers everything from floods to fires. Another excellent resource is this disaster supply kit checklist from floridadisaster.org.
How can I stay up to date on hurricanes and tropical storms?
First, NOAA has a webpage that tracks every storm in the Atlantic. So you can see what’s brewing days before it gets close to Florida. And Nassau County has set up the opt-in AlertNassau service that will send you the latest updates on storms and other emergency situations via text, voice or email.
Why does northeast Florida experience so few hurricanes?
Northeast Florida has had fewer hurricane strikes in the last century than many other places in Florida. In fact, since 1851 (when people began to keep track of storm data) the region has been affected by a hurricane only once every six or seven years, with only one Category 3 storm and no Category 4 or 5 storms. Why so few? It’s a simple matter of geography. If you look at a map, you’ll see that the Atlantic coastline dips northwest, forming a sort of protected bay around the Jacksonville region. Just another confirmation that your decision to move here was a good one.
Is Wildlight designed to withstand a hurricane?
Over the past decade, hurricane-resistant home design has advanced significantly. And Wildlight is one of the beneficiaries. All our homes are built to the latest standards for hurricane resiliency. And the community itself has been designed to manage large amounts of stormwater, greatly reducing the chance of flooding.
No community or homebuilder can guarantee absolute invulnerability to storm damage. But with the steps we and our builders have taken, combined with Wildlight’s location on elevated land a few miles inland, you have a lot to feel good about.
One last piece of advice
Keep in mind that you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Like every other place, we sometimes have to contend with the extremes of nature. But just take some steps to prepare, take a deep breath, and go enjoy a sunny Florida day.
On March 11th, over 500 runners took their marks and got set to run in the first Run Wild 5K and Family Fun Run. Participants of all ages (from 2 to 83!) found themselves enjoying a morning of events that included everything from an exciting race course to an awesome Kids’ Zone.
Running through our trails and neighborhoods — on asphalt, gravel and boardwalks, and over wetlands and natural grass, we think it’s safe to say our racers had a great time. (Speaking of times, we want to give a shout-out to Kathryn Ches and Connor Etheridge, our top female and male finishers who finished in 21:43 and 19:26, respectively.)
Of course it wasn’t “run and done.” Racers (and spectators) also got to enjoy the food trucks, beers from SJ Brewing, and the local vendor marketplace. As for the kids? They lined up (balloon animals in hand) to ride the rides in the Kids’ Zone.
It was a good day, and we did some good, too — awarding Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida with a check for $3,000 from the race proceeds.
So, what do you say? Let’s do it again next year.
P.S. Whether you missed the Run Wild 5K (or just want to relive the memories) you can view some highlights in the video.
If you’re interested in townhome living at Wildlight, we have one word for you: hurry. Because Dostie Homes is down to their final five floorplans. Located near our village center, these townhomes are the perfect blend of craftsmanship and convenience (not to mention space and style and flexibility and indoor/outdoor living). We’re talking covered lanais, private owners’ suites, upstairs lofts and more. And we can spend all day writing about the five remaining floorplans (see below), but a picture is worth a thousand words. A virtual tour? Well that’s worth even more.
About the Floorplans
You know that whole notion of “form and function”? The Tybee covers off on both. Design details like smooth walls, custom wood window sills and more add style and elevated detail. And features like a second-floor laundry room add functionality (say hello to not dragging laundry baskets up and down stairs). You could say less work is sort of a thing here, because you won’t have to do any home maintenance, either. In all your newfound downtime (!), enjoy the breathing room that the open floor plan provides. Or breathe in the fresh air on the covered lanai — breeze, courtesy of a thoughtfully added ceiling fan. (We suggest bringing a good book out with you.)
Looking for space? The Dorchester has you covered. With lots of living space — including a Great Room with airy vaulted ceiling, a perfectly sized kitchen island, an outdoor lanai and more. And much-welcome personal space, like a recharge-inducing main-floor owners’ suite (complete with a huge walk-in closet that could very well be a room of its own). Upstairs, two other bedrooms provide private getaways for the other members of your household, and a flex room means you can have that movie room/game room/workout room/office you’ve always wanted. (Lucky you!)
Walk into the Piedmont and you’re walking into the heart of the home: the Great Room and kitchen. Make a quick stop by to grab a snack or glass of sweet tea before you head down the hallway to the lanai. Or if you’d rather unwind elsewhere, consider the owners’ suite, which might be more accurately called a retreat. It’s tucked away in its very own corner at the back of the home, right next to the door to the lanai, for some well-deserved peace and quiet, and no shortage of sunlight. Bonus: even the stairs are at the front of the house. (In other words, no foot traffic to disturb you).
One of the biggest choices you’ll have to make when you live in the Charleston? Where to eat breakfast. Around the spacious island? In the eat-in kitchen? Or out on the covered lanai? (Our suggestion: take your coffee outside, then come in for the rest.) Of course, the rest of the day will have you appreciating the rest of the livable space in this two-story home. Like the welcoming owners’ suite that’s all about main-floor ease and comfort — and maybe a little peace and quiet while the kids do their homework/watch TV/play video games in the loft upstairs.
It’s quite a perk when part of your living space is outdoors. And the covered lanai in the Berkley provides just that. A place to enjoy the Florida weather, while staying comfortably out of the sun. Of course, once you do decide to head indoors, the Great Room will welcome you with open arms (or should we say open space)? With an airy living area-meets dining area-meets kitchen helps the whole family stay connected, even if they’re technically not in the ‘same room.’ Of course, should you want a little space to yourself, the main-floor flex room can be used as an office or craft room. Enjoy.
Being residents here, we know about all the things that make living in our little part of the country so great. But for those of you who may be considering a move from New Jersey, Georgia, New York or anywhere else in the U.S., you may want to know about the benefits of being a “Northeast Floridian.”
There’s always great weather (and a beach where you can enjoy it).
Sunny days and mild winters are the norm here. And there’s no better place to soak in the rays than one of the myriad beaches that dot our shoreline. From calm and quiet, to social and surf-worthy, there are a variety of spots (and beach towns) to enjoy the sun and sand.
Our county keeps growing — and so do the job opportunities.
As more people come to our county, so do more businesses and jobs. In the past two years, nearly every industry has seen the employment rate rise — and particularly in medical careers at facilities like UF Health (which has a location right at Wildlight!). In fact, the unemployment rate is about 2% lower than the national average.
Statewide tax breaks can put a little cash back in your pocket.
Our governor just signed a bill that provides tax breaks on items that include diapers and children’s clothes, gas, EnergyStar appliances and more. Some are “tax holidays” and some are longer-lasting—like the fact that since 1924, Florida hasn’t had a state income tax.
There’s always something to do.
Head into Jacksonville for a day at a state preserve, a night at the symphony or a Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field. Or head to beachy Amelia Island or Saint Augustine for a quintessential Florida feel.
Of course, Wildlight is a pretty big deal, too.
We’re a true town in nature, with ways to stay healthy and happy, right in our community. Miles of trails. Creative parks. A UF Health and YMCA right in our neighborhood. And a true village center with everything from daycare and a dentist, to sushi, tacos, ice cream shops and more. (Bonus: if you work at one of the above-mentioned places, your commute couldn’t be much shorter.)
The kids here go to top-notch schools (including our own Wildlight Elementary) in the highly rated Nassau County School District. Front porches tend to turn into spots for spontaneous happy hours. And community events mean there’s plenty of fun for our residents to take part in. And that’s just IN Wildlight. We’re ideally situated smack dab between Amelia Island and Jacksonville, which means beachside lounging and culture experiencing are an equal distance away, too.
The best part? We’re only getting started.
So, have you called the movers yet? We’ll be waiting for you!
In the interest of efficiency, we’ll let you know you can skip this entire article if you simply go tour the nine new model homes that Del Webb recently unveiled in Wildlight. We’ll do our best to briefly describe the homes and the whole wonderful place that Del Webb is creating here in Wildlight. But as always, the real thing is so much better than words.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive in.
When it comes to creating beautiful homes designed to make life easy and comfortable, nobody has more experience than Del Webb. And in Wildlight, Del Webb is offering four home collections, which include 16 of Del Webb’s most popular floor plans. From the surprisingly attainable Villa Series, with prices starting in the $300s, all the way up to the open, flowing spaces and elegant finishes of the Estates Series, priced from the $500s. Altogether, the homes offer anywhere from 1,343 square feet and two bedrooms to more than 3,300 square feet and five bedrooms.
The primary takeaway here is that with this kind of variety, you’re sure to find a home plan that fits your life plan.
Here’s something else to know about these homes, something that’s pretty special. In Wildlight, Del Webb is offering a lowcountry-inspired architectural style that’s available nowhere else. With raised front porches and other charming details, this exclusive style honors the Florida lowcountry spirit that is at the heart of Wildlight. After all, this is a place where you can get out on a trail and explore parks and wetlands and Florida lowcountry nature in all its unfiltered glory.
But suppose you’re looking for fun that’s a little closer to home. Del Webb has you luxuriously covered. Construction has already begun on what will be a 16,000-square-foot resort-style clubhouse amenity. Think onsite bar and grill. Pickleball and tennis courts. An event lawn and community event room. A huge menu of interesting classes: yoga, cooking, wine-tasting and so forth. Oh, and a swimming pool that feels like your own private neighborhood lagoon. All planned to open in 2023.
So now that you’ve read a little about the new homes and soon-to-be amenities of Del Webb Wildlight, ready for a tour? Feel free to drop by any day of the week from 9:30am to 5:30pm except for Wednesdays and Sundays, which are open noon to 5:30pm.
Then again, if you just can’t wait to explore the homes, click directly over to the new Wildlight.com.
Let’s get real here. We certainly understand why South Carolina would want to lay exclusive claim to the lowcountry. After all, it’s one of the most naturally beautiful, culturally rich regions in all of North America. But sorry, Charleston, you’re not the only place that has sea islands, long beaches and an inland geography characterized by lush forests and wetlands brimming over with wildlife.
The geographical fact is, the lowcountry extends from the Santee River north of Charleston down past Savannah, Georgia, all the way to the St. Johns River that runs through Jacksonville. In fact, all you have to do is hop on Google maps and look at that stretch of the Atlantic coastline, and you’ll say to yourself, “Yep, that all looks pretty much the same.”
Of course we also understand that the lowcountry is more than a certain kind of geography. It’s a unique intersection of cultures and cuisines. And we happily acknowledge that as you travel from South Carolina to northeastern Florida, the cultural tone changes. It’s still lowcountry, but it gets more relaxed. More beachy. Instead of the quaint formality of Charleston and Savannah, you find the laid-back vibe of Amelia Island. You could say that in Florida, the lowcountry trades in its bow tie and seersucker for board shorts and a pair of flip-flops.
Then there are the homes. As with other places around the globe, classic lowcountry homes are a direct response to local weather. A raised first floor was a defense against high water. Tall ceilings helped to keep the indoors cooler. And a big front porch provided a shady place for everyone to come together and enjoy a cold drink and some neighborly conversation. In Wildlight, we’ve created a fresh interpretation of lowcountry style. Here you’ll find plenty of porches and high ceilings. But the forms are simpler, more streamlined. With a contemporary flair that just feels … right.
Fortunately, what doesn’t change with Florida’s version of lowcountry is the yumminess of the food. The shrimp are just as fresh, the grits are just as creamy and the lowcountry boil is just as delicious and messy as anywhere else along this magnificent stretch of coastline. Maybe even a bit tastier. And around here, you can follow it up with a slice of made-from-scratch key lime pie.
Our Porchfest Model Home Tour was a fun-filled couple of weeks, and a celebration of community—from the fresh homes to the fresh food and the fresh air. We gathered together to celebrate neighbors, nature and all the things that make Wildlight so special.
For those who couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed: live music from local artists (a feast for the ears), six beautiful model homes to tour (a feast for the eyes) and delicious fare from local eateries (a feast for … well, a literal feast).
It was our way of showcasing the wonderful way that Wildlight lives. We like to say we’re a new kind of Florida lowcountry. A town in nature, where your new home is an easy walk or ride (bike or golf cart) from a town center full of shops, restaurants, a YMCA, parks and trails. A place where, whether you prefer coastal or Craftsman, you can find a home that fits your flavor. And a spot where, without a doubt, the porch is the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.
We already can’t wait for next time.
At Wildlight, we like to say we’re “town in nature.” And our distinct neighborhoods let you experience exactly that. Whether you choose to make your home nearer the “town” part, or the “nature,” you’ll get to experience a new kind of lowcountry living. One where trails and wetland preserves are right out your door. And an ice cream shop (and more) is just down the street.
Wildlight’s first (and most centrally located) neighborhood, Founder’s Park puts you closest to the center of town. Which means you’ll be a short walk away from shops, restaurants and local businesses.
Founder’s park is home to local North Florida builder Dostie. There are still a few townhome plans by Dostie available—the last opportunities in the neighborhood.
Find Your Townhome >
Surrounded by parks and walking trails, Forest Park is nearest to nature (and the YMCA that’s right in the community). And those with kids, take note: it’s also home to Wildlight Elementary and Waterbug Park pool.
Forest Park features 19 floorplans (yes, 19) between Mattamy Homes and Riverside Homes. And Pulte Homes just introduced 5 new single-family plans (and opened two brand-new models).
Find Your Home >
Del Webb Wildlight
This gated 55+ neighborhood is coming in spring 2022, and is equal parts luxury and low-maintenance. The one-story homes put everything you need on one level—and resort-style amenities like an exclusive clubhouse, pool, fitness center, social events and more will provide leisure opportunities just for Del Webb Wildlight residents.
Stay up to date on Del Webb Wildlight >
The Lofts at Wildlight
While these for-rent apartments aren’t necessarily a ‘neighborhood,’ they certainly live like one. One-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes – from 662 – 1,368 square feet – offer the latest in convenience and comfort. These pet-friendly buildings also include a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, fitness center and more.
So, which will you choose? (Spoiler alert: you can’t go wrong.)
And if there isn’t something available that fits your needs right now, stay tuned. We’ll be announcing more options this spring.