Best things to do in Jacksonville, Florida


Known as the River City, Jacksonville is a popular destination hub in Northeastern Florida. Jacksonville is located in the region of Florida commonly known as the First Coast primarily because of neighboring Saint Augustine, Florida. This region is chock full of history and fun family activities. Jacksonville, itself, is known as the River City because of the multiple rivers that run through the area. With 950,000 people over an area of 875 square miles, it is the largest city in Florida by landmass and population. In fact, Jacksonville is four times the size of Manhattan! It is also home to the largest urban park system in the country and boasts two national parks, seven state parks, a National Preserve, 400 city parks and gardens, and an arboretum! There are some great sights to see in this city, so If you want to experience Jacksonville, here are the best things to do!

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a zoo, but it’s also an enormous botanical garden. It’s the oldest zoo in Florida, and it’s second only to Busch Gardens in size. This zoo is beautiful and offers so many things for families to do! You can feed giraffes, walk through the butterfly garden, or spend time petting the sting rays in the giant touch tank! This was Vivian’s favorite part – she loves a good touch tank. We know you’ll enjoy your time at the Jacksonville Zoo!

JAX Beaches

And what would a vacation in Jacksonville be like without a trip to the JAX Beaches? Jacksonville Beaches are considered to be very family friendly. This beautiful shoreline stretches for miles and miles with a little something for everyone whether you prefer quiet pristine beaches or beaches with lots of resorts and plenty things to do, there is a Jacksonville beach to meet your needs.

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MOCA Jacksonville

MOCA Jacksonville is a contemporary art museum located in the heart of Jacksonville’s downtown district. The museum features more than 30 exhibitions annually, ranging from traveling exhibitions to site-specific projects inspired by the city and its people. MOCA has been committed to educating visitors about contemporary art since it was founded in 1971. The Museum’s educational programming includes lectures, classes, workshops and tours for children and adults alike who want to learn more about modern visual culture.

Castaway Island Preserve

Castaway Island Preserve is a beautiful place to go for a walk and enjoy the nature around you. It features a modern, boardwalk that winds through the Florida marsh. Bring your camera, because you will more than likely spot some wildlife here. If you’re very observant, you may even see some alligators!

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

Another beautiful nature spot is the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. This area will you a serene and peaceful place to go for a walk, run, or cycle. The arboretum has three miles of walking/running trails that wind through the gardens, palm forest, and wetlands areas. You can also bring your own picnic lunch with you (there are picnic tables available) or buy one from their cafe.The arboretum is home to hundreds of different types of trees and plants from all over the world; you could spend the whole day exploring them all.

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens was founded in 1961 by artist/educator/architect Samuel Cramer. The museum has a collection of over 6,000 pieces of art that span four centuries. It also contains a number of gardens on its property that work with the contemporary art displays to create an all-encompassing experience for visitors. There is also an excellent cafe on the property that you are sure to enjoy!

James Weldon Johnson Park & Martin Luther King Memorial Plaza

Located in the heart of Jacksonville’s downtown, this park is a great place to relax and enjoy one of the city’s beautiful green spaces. Named after James Weldon Johnson, a renowned poet and civil rights leader who was involved with the NAACP, this park offers plenty of seating areas for you to sit back with your favorite book or simply take in the scenery.

This park features many statues that honor great African-Americans throughout history. Plus, if you’re looking for a place where you can read up on some history while also enjoying some fresh air and sunshine then you have found the right place. 

The Rose Garden is another main feature of Hemming Park. It’s a large area that hosts concerts, events and festivals throughout the year. The park also boasts a fountain and gazebo, which are a great spot to sit down for a picnic or just relax in the shade on hot days. 

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The Ritz Theatre and Museum

The Ritz Theatre and Museum is a historic movie palace located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of Jacksonville and the theater itself, which opened its doors in 1927. The Ritz hosts concerts, plays, films and other events throughout the year.


If you’re looking for a great city to visit, or just want to explore some new places in your own backyard, Jacksonville has something for everyone. From the beaches, boating and fishing, there is truly something for everyone here in Jacksonville!

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