Perfect places to visit in Jacksonville, Florida

Top tourist attractions in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida, has a wide variety of attractions for visitors. There is plenty to do, from world-class beaches to nature preserves. In addition, you can take a trip to Amelia Island and experience some of the best beaches in the area. The city also features lively nightlife, making it a popular destination.

Located in the heart of Downtown Jax, the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts hosts plays, Broadway musicals, and rock concerts. As a result, this theater has become a prominent cultural center in Northeast Florida. In addition, it is a hub for local, regional, and international musicians.

One of the city’s most popular family attractions is the Museum of Science and History. It offers a range of exhibits, from historical looks at Northeast Florida to future technology. Visitors can also attend daily science shows, planetarium tours, and live animal shows.

tourist attractions in Jacksonville

Another one of the top attractions in Jacksonville is the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. This zoo is open year-round and offers a close look at tigers, leopards, and pumas. If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a night feeding of the lions or lynx.

Also in Downtown Jax, the Riverside Arts Market is an oceanfront park with vendors and outdoor activities. Several food trucks rotate each week, and you can find a wide selection of local artists. In addition, a 3.5-mile pedestrian walkway runs along the river, offering a romantic view at dusk.

Visitors can also experience the natural beauty of Florida by visiting the Tree Hill Nature Center. In addition, you can explore a nature trail that includes wetlands, maritime woodland, and small pools.

places to visit in Jacksonville
places to visit in Jacksonville

Top 15 things to do in Jacksonville, Florida

  1. Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
  2. Fort Clinch State Park
  3. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
  4. Little Talbot
  5. Riverside Arts Market
  6. Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve
  7. Cummer Museum Of Art And Gardens
  8. Memorial Park
  9. Alhambra Theatre & Dining
  10. Oceanfront Park
  11. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
  12. Friendship Fountain
  13. Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
  14. Mickler’s Landing
  15. TPC Sawgrass

things to do in Jacksonville
things to do in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

If you are looking for a place to visit in Jacksonville, Florida, that is both fun and educational, check out the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. This zoo is considered one of the top zoos in the country.

The zoo has over 2,000 animals and a variety of plant species. In addition, visitors can walk through the 89 acres of land. It’s a fun place to visit with the entire family.

Ramphastos swainsonii - Jacksonville Zoo
Ramphastos swainsonii – Jacksonville Zoo

If you’re interested in a more hands-on experience, the Jacksonville Zoo offers many activities for children. For example, kids can learn about conservation at the Catty Shack Ranch or explore the natural history museum at Tree Hill. They can also participate in guided trail rides.

Families looking to cool off can also visit the splash pad. The water play area is free with your zoo membership.

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is located on the northern tip of Amelia Island. It is a historical site formerly a Union base during the Civil War. The park offers beach cycling, scuba diving, and hiking.

Fort Clinch has a museum that features historical artifacts. The museum is open year-round. You can tour the fort by yourself or take a guided tour.

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Fernandina Beach – Fort Clinch State Park
Fernandina Beach – Fort Clinch State Park

Among the many things to do at Fort Clinch is bird watching. Visitors can see sea birds and shorebirds. A bird blind is also at the park. Fishing is also popular at Fort Clinch. There are fishing piers and public boat ramps at the park. If you want to bring your dog, you must keep it leashed.

Fort Clinch is one of the first stops on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. The park is home to dozens of different bird species.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a natural preserve and one of the most extensive beaches in Jacksonville. It encompasses 450 acres of woods, sandy shores, and a freshwater lake. The park’s beaches are ideal for swimming and surfing.

In addition to its beach, Hanna Park has a campground, playground, hiking trails, and a fishing pier. There are also some cabins available to rent.

Hanna Park Beach - Jacksonville, FL
Hanna Park Beach – Jacksonville, FL

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is an excellent spot for families to enjoy. There are two campgrounds with showers and laundry facilities. Guests can also rent a paddle boat.

Visitors to Hanna State Park can take advantage of its bike trails marked with black diamonds. The trails are runnable 365 days a year. They have soft, sandy surfaces and are generally easy to navigate. However, they have some technical footing, which is more suitable for mountain bikers.

Little Talbot

If you are looking for a perfect beach, consider visiting Little Talbot. This beautiful Florida State Park offers miles of soft sand and beautiful waves. You will also find a wide range of services and products available at Little Talbot.

Little Talbot is home to a large variety of wildlife. It is also known for its secluded nature. The park is situated in northeast Florida. There are five miles of white sand beaches, salt marshes, and maritime forests.

Looking for the snowy owl in foggy Little Talbot SP, Jacksonville
Looking for the snowy owl in foggy Little Talbot SP, Jacksonville

Aside from its beaches, the park features hiking and biking trails. In addition, you can enjoy fishing and surfing. Kayak rentals are also available. These can be found at the Ranger station. The campground at Little Talbot offers campsites with electricity and water. Large moss-draped Live Oak trees shade most sites. Guests may also rent bicycles.

Visitors can access the beach from the north end of the island. However, the south end is closed because of ongoing erosion. So whether you want to spend a few hours relaxing or enjoying a full day of fun, you’ll find this is the perfect place. You’ll find a nature trail at the campground, two bathhouses with hot showers, and an outdoor shower.

Little Talbot Island - Sandbar on Deserted Area of the Beach-2504
Little Talbot Island – Sandbar on Deserted Area of the Beach-2504

Little Talbot is also home to the Timucuan Trail, a multi-use trail. It will eventually link up with the 18-mile route from Jacksonville. Located near Jacksonville, FL, USA, Little Talbot Island is an excellent destination for nature lovers. The park is a famous Florida State Park.

Riverside Arts Market

Riverside Arts Market Jacksonville is a weekly art and entertainment market. This event features live music, vendors selling goods, and street performers. This event is located under the Fuller Warren Bridge and has a unique and exciting feel.

The Riverside Arts Market Jacksonville is held every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. The event features hundreds of vendors, including local businesses and artists. There is also live music and food.

Riverside Arts Market - Jacksonville
Riverside Arts Market – Jacksonville

The market has been featured in multiple ‘top 10’ lists of national farmers markets. In addition, it has been called the most diverse market in Florida and the country and has earned awards for its many innovations and achievements.

The market has become a hot spot for locals and visitors alike. Thousands of tourists see the colorful displays and enjoy the local cuisine.

Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve

If you’re planning a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, you’ll want to stop at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. This National Park Service preserve offers a glimpse of the rich history and the natural beauty of salt marshes and coastal dunes.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is one of the oldest nature parks in the United States. It has more than 6,000 years of human and natural history. Visitors will find reconstructed 16th-century forts and historical sites. There are also thousands of acres of coastal dunes and salt marshes.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville, Florida
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville, Florida

The preserve has several trails, and visitors can explore the waterways used by the Timucuan people. Hiking through the area is a great way to see wildlife and learn more about the area’s history.

The preserve has several programs for visitors of all ages, including school programs, children’s programs, and volunteer work. One program for younger children is a junior ranger program.

Cummer Museum Of Art And Gardens

Cummer Museum Of Art And Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, is a family-friendly art museum. This historical museum in Jacksonville features a rich heritage and offers a variety of unique events and exhibitions. A visit to this historic and beautiful facility is a memorable experience for the whole family.

The museum was created by the legacy of Ninah M. H. Cummer, a woman who was an early civic leader in Jacksonville, Florida. She bequeathed her art collection to the museum.

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

The museum’s collections include a wide range of art, from ancient to contemporary. It also boasts spectacular landscaped gardens. With over two acres of historic gardens, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is a stunning backdrop for any occasion.

The Cummer Museum and Gardens are located in the Riverside area, southwest of downtown Jacksonville. Visitors can enjoy the gardens and fountains. More than 5,000 works of art are in the museum’s permanent and loaned collections.

Memorial Park

Memorial Park is ideal for taking a relaxing stroll or sitting back and enjoying a picnic. The park is located in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville and is a tribute to Florida World War I veterans.

It is the third oldest park in the city. The park was built from 1918 to 1924. In addition to the statue, the park features a crypt, new bronze eagles, and a well-kept grassy lawn.

Jacksonville Memorial Park
Jacksonville Memorial Park

One of the first things to notice about Memorial Park is its size. It occupies a 5.85-acre area on the north bank of the St. Johns River.

The Olmsted Brothers designed the park and created many college campuses and national parks. They also designed the Biltmore Estate and Riverside Park.

Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Alhambra Theatre & Dining is a professional dinner theater in Jacksonville, FL. The restaurant serves a variety of menu items, including roasted beef, baked chicken, seasoned rice, and tossed salad. It is also known for its live performances.

Alhambra Theatre & Dining is among the country’s top ten longest-running professional dining theatres. During the mid-2000s recession, the theater almost closed its doors. But with the help of a local investment group, the theater was restored—this time, with more modern and higher standards.

In 2009, Alhambra was purchased by a group of local friends, which included Craig Smith, Karl Frisch, Fraser Burns, and Bill Barnett. Their goal is to keep the theater going strong and to maintain high standards for its customers.

Oceanfront Park

Located on First Street South, Oceanfront Park is a lovely and scenic area of Jacksonville Beach. It is a great place to visit during the day or at night. In addition to its fantastic ocean views, the park has a playground, sand volleyball court, beach volleyball, interactive fountain, restrooms, and a splash pad.

One of the park’s most iconic features is its bronze statue of a young boy riding a dolphin. This statue symbolizes the city’s dedication to public access to the ocean. Sculptress Kristen Visbal created the sculpture.

In addition to the park’s many recreational opportunities, it also offers a museum. This museum displays the rich history of Jacksonville Beach and the people who call it home. Several permanent collections are featured, along with several temporary exhibits.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit sanctuary in Jacksonville, Florida, which provides a home for rescued exotic animals. The sanctuary rescues big cats, including tigers, leopards, and lions.

Visitors can tour the facility and watch the animals interact with each other. It is also possible to adopt one of the animals and provide a forever home for the creature. A visit to the tiger sanctuary is a great way to enjoy the natural world, learn more about animals, and experience enrichment activities.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

If you want to experience tiger feeding, you can visit the tiger sanctuary on selected weekends. You will get to see the animals being fed, as well as the tigers’ nighttime habits. This is a fun experience for all ages.

Friendship Fountain

The Friendship Fountain in Jacksonville, Florida, is a landmark you’ll want to see on your next vacation. It’s located on the Southbank Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville and is free to visit.

Designed by noted architect Taylor Hardwick, the Friendship Fountain was opened in 1965. It was a unique addition to the park and quickly became a popular tourist destination.

Jacksonville Florida Skyline at Friendship Fountain
Jacksonville, Florida Skyline at Friendship Fountain

However, the fountain experienced many problems over the years. In 2001, the water pumps were permanently damaged. After that, it was all but inoperable.

A few years later, the city decided to rehabilitate the area. This included a $1.3 million project that involved six light towers and a computer-controlled system.

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. Located just east of downtown, this 120-acre urban woodland contains hiking trails, picnic areas, and a shady lake. It is open every day, from 8 am to 7 pm.

In addition to the trails, the Arboretum has a variety of venues for events and weddings. A stone pavilion on a pond is a good spot for an outdoor wedding. There are six other beautiful areas to choose from for your wedding.

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

The Arboretum features several trails, including the Lake Loop Trail, the Rosemary Ridge Trail, the Live Oak Trail, and the Ravine Trail. Some tracks are paved, while others are natural surfaces. Depending on your route, you can choose from a straightforward, easy-medium, or challenging loop.

Mickler’s Landing

Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park is a popular Jacksonville beach park. This beach is a great place to go for water sports. PGA’s The Players Championship has been held here since 1982. It is also home to some of the best waves in the state.

This beach is dog-friendly and offers plenty of parking. There are also restrooms and showers. In the summer, a lifeguard is on duty. So while there is no snack shack, there is plenty of space for you to bring a picnic.

Mickler's Landing Beach
Mickler’s Landing Beach

There are restrooms, outdoor showers, and a handicapped-accessible walkway. These facilities are clean and modern. The amenities at Mickler’s are lovely for a beach that is only a few blocks long.

Mickler’s is also home to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a great place to view Florida’s biodiversity.

TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass is a world-class golf destination in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The property features two Pete Dye-designed courses. This golf resort offers luxurious lodging, five-star service, and dining experiences.

TPC Sawgrass is the home of the PGA TOUR. There are several events at the course, including the PLAYERS Championship. In addition, golfers are invited to stay in the luxurious Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, located directly across the street from the course.

17th Hole TPC Sawgrass
17th Hole TPC Sawgrass

Visitors can also play the Stadium Course, the property’s crown jewel. The narrow island green marks this Pete Dye design on the 17th hole. Water comes into play on many of the holes, which is not uncommon in Florida.

The clubhouse is massive, with a Mediterranean Revival style. It contains a golf shop, locker rooms, and a clubhouse restaurant. In addition, the property has several golf practice facilities. These include three practice bunkers, an extensive driving range, and a replica of the 17th green.

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