Downtown Jacksonville at night with water

The best things to do in Jacksonville, Florida

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Discover the best things to do in Jacksonville, Florida. From pristine beaches to thrilling adventures, explore the best activities for an unforgettable experience.

Downtown Jacksonville at night with water
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Believe it or not, Jacksonville, Florida, is the largest city in the United States by area. It boasts around 840 miles and is located in the northeast part of Florida.

Jacksonville offers a diverse range of activities for visitors of all ages, from scenic beaches to cultural attractions and thrilling adventures. It offers a vibrant culinary scene, numerous family-friendly attractions and plenty of outdoor adventures.

Jacksonville is located just an hour north of St. Augustine and one and a half hours north of New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach areas, so if you’re in the area for a few days, both are worth a visit. Don’t miss out on Amelia Island, either. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing day by the ocean or an action-packed itinerary filled with exploration, there are many things to do in Jacksonville, Florida, for everyone.

Restaurants

Jacksonville is known as Florida’s shrimp capital. The locally caught Atlantic shrimp are called Mayport shrimp. They have a shrimp passport, where you can find and eat the best shrimp dishes around Jacksonville.

In addition to shrimp, Jacksonville has a very sought-after food scene. Taco Lu beckons Mexican cuisine enthusiasts with its vibrant atmosphere and mouthwatering tacos.

With its popularity leading to lines out the door, Catullo’s is renowned for its exceptional Italian fare, making the wait worthwhile. Visit on weekdays upon opening if you can.

Wanna eat like a local? Satisfy cravings and see sights to behold with The Tasting Tours. It is perfect for the foodies who want to experience the fusion of the Jacksonville scene while enjoying the local cuisine—making it the best choice for travelers and food and beverage professionals who are leveling up their food experience. They offer various guided tours that showcase a vast collection of wines and a wide range of dining flavors that highlight the Jacksonville culture.

To taste fresh seafood, visit North Beach Fish Camp or Dockside; both promise a memorable dining experience. Burger lovers rejoice at Carolina Jax, where you’ll find the best burgers in town.

Downtown Jacksonville at night with water
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Museums

Jacksonville’s cultural landscape is enriched with various museums, offering immersive experiences for visitors of all interests. At the Museum of Science and History or MOSH, curiosity knows no bounds, as interactive exhibits and hands-on activities provide engaging learning opportunities for curious minds of all ages.

Meanwhile, the Cummer Museum and Gardens beckon art and nature enthusiasts alike to immerse themselves in a world of creativity and natural beauty. With a diverse collection of artwork and stunning gardens, the Cummer Museum offers a tranquil escape and a feast for the senses.

There is always something for everybody who will visit Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Naval Museum is the ultimate spot for military geeks and history lovers. The museum’s immersive curated historical displays range from detailing life in the Navy to interactive simulations. It offers its visitors a chance to relive and learn the significance of Jacksonville’s contribution to the country’s naval efforts.

For those seeking a glimpse into the contemporary art scene, the Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA, delivers innovative exhibitions showcasing Jacksonville’s dynamic and ever-evolving artistic landscape and beyond. Whether delving into science and history, indulging in artistic expression or marveling at the beauty of nature, Jacksonville’s museums offer enriching experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Nature

Nature enthusiasts have an array of outdoor destinations to explore, each offering its unique charm and natural beauty. Little Talbot Island State Park invites visitors to discover pristine beaches and dunes, meandering nature trails and an abundance of wildlife, providing an idyllic setting for outdoor adventures.

For the outdoorsy types, adventure awaits at picturesque Camp Chowenwaw Park. It is the place to go for all things nature. Fishing, overnight camping, kayaking, canoeing, nature exhibits—make your Jacksonville trip one for the books! 

Take a stroll along the Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville, where you’ll escape the downtown bustle. Enjoy leisurely strolls while taking in picturesque views of the waterway.

For a botanical escape, the Jacksonville Botanical Gardens beckons with its captivating landscapes and themed gardens, providing a serene oasis for nature lovers to explore and unwind. Memorial Park stands as an ideal spot for picnics and relaxation in Riverside, where visitors can admire river views and lush greenery while enjoying leisurely outdoor activities.

St Johns River with chair and a bridge
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Beaches

Daydreaming about palm trees and the sunny beaches of Florida. Experience the tropical paradise you’ve been dreaming of. Visiting the beautiful beaches should be on the top of your list when visiting Jacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville Beach, perfect for a family getaway. Neptune Beach, for local dining and shopping and Atlantic Beach, to give you memorable adventures. You name it! there is always a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the sunny weather. Surely, beach lovers will enjoy the perfect atmosphere, sandy shore, coastline views, and the vibrant sunsets it has to offer.

Other attractions

Enjoy Jacksonville’s vibrant arts and culture scene with a visit to the Riverside Art Market. Here, you can peruse unique artworks crafted by local artists and artisans, showcasing the dynamic and diverse creative community of the city.

For sports enthusiasts, catching a baseball game or a football game is a must-do activity. Alternatively, embark on a scenic river taxi tour to explore Jacksonville’s waterways and landmarks from a unique perspective. As you glide along the river, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the city’s skyline and iconic sights in a leisurely and picturesque manner.

Bookworms are in for a treat at Chamblin Bookmine, where they can dive into a literary paradise filled with a vast collection of new and used books. Perfect for readers of all ages.

One of Jacksonville’s pride is the Brumos Collection. It is a world-class museum that showcases history’s rarest and most remarkable automotive collections. Decades of innovation and history await every car and automotive enthusiast through its displays and immersive experience. It is a gem not to be missed by car fans.

Explore the history Fort George Island Cultural State Park, where you get to uncover the mesmerizing stories of the past. Along with the St. Johns River, providing a calming place for the nature lovers out there. Or visit the Catty Shack Ranch to see a home for rescued big cats like lions, and tigers. If you are lucky, you get to see the wild animals get active and play together.

If you want to feel chills and thrills 13th Floor Haunted House is one of Jacksonville’s most popular spooky attractions. Perfect for those who come for a gory and gruesome experience. The best thing is you don’t have to wait for Halloween.

For some iconic destinations, Friendship Fountain should not be crossed out of your list. With the colorful flashing lights, this fountain can be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see. Watch jet streams and fireworks reach and light up the sky.

If you want to see the biggest Butterfly Festival, Tree Hill Nature Center is a must-visit. Imagine seeing thousands of butterflies released into the air. In springtime, you can also witness the hummingbird gardens. This is one of the coolest tourist attractions out there.

Things to do with kids

Families visiting Jacksonville can enjoy many activities tailored for kids of all ages. Start the day at Sunshine Playground Park, where children can release their energy and partake in outdoor playtime activities.

For a thrilling adventure, head to Mickler’s Landing Beach to embark on a shark tooth-hunting expedition with the family, an activity sure to excite and engage young explorers. Hanna Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from volleyball and fishing to kayaking and surfing, providing endless opportunities for kids.

Giraffe at zoo eating a leaf
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Meanwhile, Adventure Landing stands out as an entertainment hub, boasting a water park, arcade games, go-karts and more, catering to both kids and adults alike with its diverse attractions. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Flight Adventure Park offers exhilarating aerial activities, including trampolines and obstacle courses, promising a thrilling experience for adventurous families.

Alternatively, families can opt for a day of entertainment at Main Event, where a variety of options, such as laser tag, VR games, bowling and mini golf, await to provide hours of fun for the whole family. Lastly, animal lovers won’t want to miss the chance to visit the Jacksonville Zoo, where they can experience wildlife from around the globe and enjoy interactive exhibits, making it a favorite destination among families exploring Jacksonville.

There are plenty of things to do in Jacksonville, Florida. With its array of restaurants, attractions, family-friendly activities and nearby destinations, this city offers an unforgettable vacation experience for travelers of all interests. Whether you’re soaking up the sun at the beach, exploring cultural landmarks or indulging in delicious cuisine, Jacksonville promises adventure and relaxation at every turn. Plan your next getaway to this vibrant coastal city and discover why it’s a beloved destination for visitors from near and far.

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