Get Your Jollies in Jacksonville
The urban hub of northeast Florida, Jacksonville offers visitors a diversity of activities all year round. Here are a few of our favorite things to see and do in the Bold New City of the South.
Take advantage of a sunny day by visiting the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, where animal lovers young and old will get a kick out of close-up looks at more than 2,000 animals across 117 acres. To the northeast, the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve protects some of the earliest French colonization areas in the U.S. It's great for an educational experience, as well as beach activities, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and more.
Those looking to get out and stretch their legs without leaving central Jacksonville can enjoy Confederate Park. With ponds, walkways, monuments, and playground areas, the park is an ideal family destination.
Hit the beach.
Of course, there's no better way to spend a day in the sun than by sinking your toes into the sand, and the Jacksonville area is home to numerous beautiful beaches. Neptune Beach is a favorite among locals and Atlantic Beach is another go-to. To the north, the area surrounding the historic fishing village of Mayport is another must-visit.
If you're looking to catch some waves, check out the "The Poles," located just inside Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.
Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve
Appreciate the Arts.
The arts are alive in Jacksonville – even those centuries old. Look to the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville for an array of permanent and traveling exhibitions or hit Jacksonville Landing on the first Friday of every month to see all kinds of modern works by local and regional artists and craftspeople.
There's also the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, which maintains an eclectic calendar of live entertainment all year round.
Learn a thing or two.
They say the day you stop learning is the day you stop living. Well, Jacksonville attractions like the Museum of Science & History are here to make sure that day is far off. And whether you're a student or not, institutions like Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida have much to offer in the way of performances, cultural activities, and more.
Catch a game.
Jacksonville sports fans cheer on the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field during the NFL season each fall, and America's Favorite Pastime fills Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. That's where the future big-leaguers of Jacksonville Suns round the bases all spring and summer. Check the schedules during your visit to catch a game.
Get some thrills.
Thrill seekers of all ages flock to Adventure Landing Amusement Park – Jacksonville, where roller coasters, laser tag, arcades, mini-golf, and more await. In the summertime, the Adventure Island features the Shipwreck Island Waterpark, with water slides, a lazy river, the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool, and more.
Adventure Landing Amusement Park
See a show.
To see a show – and get a glimpse into Jacksonville history – check out the Florida Theatre. Once a high-style movie palace, the theatre now plays host to Jacksonville stops on some of the biggest and most exciting concert tours throughout the year. For the hip and happening, however, check out Underbelly, where cool kids come together to discover all kinds of up-and-coming acts
Grab a bite.
Hungry? Jacksonville is home to a diverse dining scene. Must-tries for the foodies in your family include French Pantry, where the line starts forming around 10:30 a.m. each day, and the Maple Street Biscuit Company, where "the Ralphie" is to die for.