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Landscape view of marsh land with palm trees and a river leading to mangroves and a blue cloudy sky in the background



They’re cool, refreshing, sparkling – and they’re everywhere. Jacksonville’s many bodies of water top the list of reasons why Florida’s most popular city is such a lovely place to live. And while the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean get a ton of love, dozens of less celebrated rivers, creeks, and lakes are simply waiting for their time to shine. That time is now! Here’s our list of Jacksonville’s top 10 bodies of water, ranked by name only.

10. Old Bull Bay

Where Julington Creek feeds into the St. Johns River, Old Bull Bay holds it down, sporting a classic title worthy of a John Wayne western. “The blasted bank robbers hightailed it on a skiff outta Old Bull Bay!”

9. Tolomato River

Like “tomato” with panache – the Tolomato River serves up great fishing and stunning views next to beautiful Vilano Beach. Plus, no one throws this river at you for a poor performance on stage.

8. Chicopit Bay

Our highest-ranked bay at number eight, Chicopit Bay lends itself so easily to the tongue that it should probably be worked into every freestyle rap battle in Jacksonville.

7. Clapboard Creek

Scoring high both for the cool consonance and the way it evokes a cabin-in-the-woods kind of nostalgia, Clapboard Creek simply nails it. Like, right into the clapboard.

6. Trout River

What do we want from a day on the river? Some peace and quiet, a relaxing way to enjoy the sunshine, a suitable place to enjoy a beverage. But most of all – we want trout. Much respect to Trout River for cutting right to the chase.

5. Sawmill Slough

Rustic feel. Awesome alliteration. Bringing “slough” back, Sawmill Slough sits at the center of the University of North Florida Trails, letting visitors admire it from every angle.

4. Cabbage Swamp

So, did we want anyone to come see us? Hinting at a range of uncomfortable sights, smells, and feels, Cabbage Swamp sounds like a place to avoid at all costs. For the cringeworthy humility, it comes in hot and steamy at number four.

3. Doctors Lake

That murder mystery show, the one set in the ’30s, with the high school football star who disappears, and everyone suspects the creepy physician? Welcome to…Doctors Lake.

2. Lake Bow Wow

Furry, friendly pups, or a bangin’ music video from the year 2000 – whatever your mental association with Lake Bow Wow, it’s a good one.

1. Possum Head Swamp

In many ways, the title winner of our name game represents the absurdist conclusion of our carefully compiled list. Weird animal mention? Check. Rhythm and flow? Check. Sketchy association? Big-time check. A tip of the hat to Jacksonville’s undisputed best body of water: Possum Head Swamp.

Whichever one you’re visiting or pronouncing, let’s celebrate every body of water we get to enjoy in Jacksonville! And for tips on cool hangouts, great restaurants, and fun events in JAX, make sure to check out The Hawthorne’s blog.