First of all welcome to Jacksonville! The quality of life is great here in NE Florida. At least a 7-month rental is a good idea because under 7 months and you pay an 11% tourist tax on top of the rent. (You may know that.)
Great question about central location -
Southside/Mandarin is right in the heart of Jacksonville. You can be at the beach in 20-30 minutes, downtown in 10-15 minutes (depending on traffic) and across the river into Clay County in 15-20 minutes.
If you have school age children, then some families opt for St. Johns County which is just south of the Mandarin area.
If you like nightlife, then Southside toward the Intracoastal might be more to your liking. You are closer to the beach, St. Johns Town Center, and downtown. These places are where most of the action is.
If you like charming older neighborhoods and a more urban feel, then San Marco is a great central location.
Do you want a condo, townhouse or single family home?
The area from Tinseltown (Southside) to the St. Johns Town Center has lots of condos and townhouses, as well as single family homes.
Hope this is helpful information for you.
You may visit our website and sign up for a free Listingbook account where you can access all the rental properties in Jacksonville. You can search like a real estate agent, changing your area, price range, type of house, etc. It is great fun and very helpful as you search.
Please let us know if you need anymore help.
Frank & Sharon Alters, CDPE, e-PRO, GRI
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty