Things to do in Jacksonville

About Jacksonville

Visitors to Jacksonville should not miss the picturesque beaches, the fascinating Museum of Science & History (MOSH), and a walk through the Riverside/Avondale Historic District. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is also a must-see, along with a stroll down the Southbank Riverwalk.
For a family-friendly adventure, kids will love the interactive exhibits at MOSH, the wildlife encounters at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and the fun-filled activities at Adventure Landing, including water slides and mini-golf.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, hiking the trails of Little Talbot Island State Park, and surfing at the vibrant Jacksonville Beach.
Indoor entertainment can be found at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, exploring art and cultural history, catching a performance at the historic Florida Theatre, or enjoying the dynamic exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville.
The best tours in Jacksonville range from self-guided historical tours downtown to curated art walks, culinary tours sampling local Southern cuisine, and scenic river cruises along the St. Johns River.
Popular museums in Jacksonville include the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) with its planetarium, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens with its extensive collection and riverside gardens.
For rainy days, audio tours available at local museums like MOSH and MOCA offer educational and engaging experiences indoors, along with historical museum tours downtown that delve into Jacksonville's rich past.
Short tours in Jacksonville include express walks through the city's historic neighborhoods, introductory art gallery tours, and quick, informative visits to landmarks like the Kingsley Plantation.

Best Things to Do In Jacksonville

Unlock the gateway to adventure and culture in Jacksonville, a city rich with activities to suit every traveler's interests.

Jacksonville: Friendship Fountain

What is it?
An iconic fountain showcasing captivating water and light displays.
Why you should go?
Nestled along Jacksonville's Southbank Riverwalk, Friendship Fountain is an emblem of the city that promises a dazzling spectacle. This landmark fountain's choreographed performances of lights and water create a mesmerizing experience for visitors. It's a picture-perfect locale, especially as the evening lights begin to shimmer across the St. Johns River, making it a must-see attraction and one of the romantic things to do in Jacksonville for couples and families alike.

Jacksonville: Big Talbot Island State Park

What is it?
A coastal state park renowned for its unique driftwood beach.
Why you should go?
Big Talbot Island State Park offers a secluded, natural haven for photography buffs, birdwatchers, and beachgoers. Its signature Boneyard Beach, where weathered tree skeletons adorn the shore, creates a surreal landscape unlike any other. The park's diverse habitats are ripe for exploration by kayak, bicycle, or foot. An excursion here offers an opportunity to disconnect and immerse oneself in the wonders of nature—an idyllic way to spend a day in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville: The Jacksonville Farmers Market

What is it?
A historic open-air market offering fresh, local produce and goods.
Why you should go?
At the Jacksonville Farmers Market, foodies can indulge in the diverse offerings of Florida's largest and oldest public market. Since 1938, this vibrant marketplace has served as a bustling hub where locals and visitors shop for fresh produce, artisanal foods, and unique crafts. It's a place where the community comes together, perfect for those wanting to experience Jacksonville's local flavor and eclectic shopping scene.

Jacksonville: Hemming Park

What is it?
Downtown Jacksonville's oldest public park filled with history and events.
Why you should go?
Located in the heart of downtown, Hemming Park is a veritable gathering space infused with local history and culture. Often graced with food trucks, live music, and social events, this leafy oasis provides respite from the urban buzz. Whether you're attending a cultural festivity, browsing a pop-up market, or simply enjoying an alfresco lunch, the park is a delightful escape into Jacksonville's communal spirit.

Jacksonville: Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

What is it?
A vast preserve safeguarding natural, historic, and cultural resources.
Why you should go?
The Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve covers thousands of acres, offering a rare glimpse into Florida's wild past, from prehistoric times to plantation life. With its many archaeological sites and historic structures, including the Kingsley Plantation, the preserve provides a multifaceted experience. It's an educational and environment-rich destination, with kayaking, birding, and hiking among its many recreational activities, epitomizing the diverse things to see in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville: Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

What is it?
A sanctuary providing a safe haven for big cats and other wildlife.
Why you should go?
This non-profit haven offers a unique opportunity to see rescued big cats and other animals up close in a safe environment. Visit Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about the inhabitants' rescue stories during daytime tours or night feedings. It's an educational and heartwarming experience that raises awareness about wildlife conservation, making it an essential visit for animal lovers and one of the most impactful things to do in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville: Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

What is it?
A coastal park featuring beaches, trails, and a freshwater lake.
Why you should go?
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is Jacksonville's outdoor wonderland, offering activities like swimming, surfing, hiking, and camping all year round. With its scenic 60-acre lake, ideal for kayaking or fishing, expansive network of trails for mountain bikers and walkers, and pristine beaches, it provides a natural escape for those searching for both adventure and relaxation, qualifying as one of the best Jacksonville activities for nature enthusiasts.

Jacksonville: The Ritz Theatre and Museum

What is it?
A historic theatre and museum celebrating African American culture.
Why you should go?
The Ritz Theatre and Museum is not only an entertainment venue but also a cultural hub that honors the rich legacy of African American history in Northeast Florida. Through interactive exhibits, performances, and community events, visitors can delve into the region's past and be inspired by artistic expression. It is a vital piece of the cultural puzzle that makes Jacksonville tours enlightening and memorable.

Jacksonville: Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

What is it?
A peaceful retreat with trails meandering through diverse ecosystems.
Why you should go?
If you're seeking serenity amidst nature, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is the place. This urban oasis features a series of well-maintained trails leading through a tapestry of native plant species, tranquil streams, and picturesque ponds. Ideal for family outings, photography, or a solitary reprieve, this locale is a haven for relaxation and one of the most tranquil places to visit in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville: The Jacksonville Landing

What is it?
A downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment complex on the riverfront.
Why you should go?
Set against the backdrop of the St. Johns River, The Jacksonville Landing is the epicenter of urban life, offering an eclectic mix of eateries, shops, and live entertainment. Perfect for a leisurely stroll, people-watching, and soaking up the city vibe, it's also the front-row seat to the city's events and festivals. This riverside complex is a vital component of what to do in Jacksonville, bringing the heart of downtown to life.

TOP-5 tours in Jacksonville for first time visitors

  • Embark on the "Historic Jacksonville Journey" audio tour to uncover the storied past of the River City through its landmarks and lore.
  • "Explore Jacksonville's Street Art" via audio to witness the vibrant and colorful murals that adorn the urban core of the city.
  • Savor the "Culinary Delights of Jacksonville" audio tour for insider tips on the best local eats from Southern comfort food to fresh seafood.
  • "The Riverside and Avondale Promenade" audio tour will guide you through these charming neighborhoods noted for their historic homes and hip vibe.
  • Engage with the "Coastal Charms of Jacksonville Beaches" audio tour that highlights stunning vistas and insights into the laid-back beach culture.

Fun things to do in Jacksonville with kids

Jacksonville is a playground of fun for families, especially those with kids in tow. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens promises an unforgettable day with its range of exotic animals, interactive learning zones, and the Splash Ground water play area for cooling off. Adventure Landing, a family fun park, offers mini-golf, go-karts, and an arcade to challenge and entertain all ages. For a splash of education and creativity, the MOSH (Museum of Science & History) captivates young minds with its engaging exhibits, including the KidSpace area and the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium. These attractions represent just a taste of the fun things to do in Jacksonville with kids, ensuring that every family visit is packed with excitement and lasting memories.

Things to do in Jacksonville with family

Families will find no shortage of activities in Jacksonville that cater to both the young and the young at heart. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, a wildlife wonderland, offers up-close animal encounters and lush botanical settings, making it an essential destination for family-friendly fun. For a mix of learning and interactive pleasure, the MOSH (Museum of Science & History) beckons with fascinating exhibits ranging from the human body to the farthest reaches of space, including a state-of-the-art planetarium. When the Florida sun is shining, a trip to Little Talbot Island State Park provides the perfect setting for building sandcastles, exploring tidal pools, or spotting dolphins along its unspoiled beaches. Each of these destinations is a standout choice for things to do in Jacksonville with family, promising enriching experiences and joyful moments that bond loved ones together.

Free things to do in Jacksonville

Delight in Jacksonville's offerings that come without a price tag, providing entertainment and education for all ages. Art lovers and frugal travelers alike will enjoy the monthly Art Walk, a vibrant cultural event that showcases the area's thriving arts scene. Nature enthusiasts can explore the great outdoors at the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, where scenic biking and walking paths wind through beautiful Floridian landscapes. History buffs won't want to miss a visit to the Kingsley Plantation, where they can step back in time and discover the rich and complex history of the region at no cost. Each of these attractions represents the best free things to do in Jacksonville, offering a wealth of experiences that prove you don't need to spend money to enjoy the city's abundant charms.

Cheap things to do in Jacksonville

Jacksonville provides a multitude of low-cost experiences perfect for budget-conscious travelers. Spend a day at the beautiful Jacksonville Beach, where the sun, sand, and waves offer a free and fabulous escape for the whole family. Cultivate a deeper appreciation for local culture at the Jacksonville Farmers Market, where browsing is free, and the fresh produce and artisan goods are affordably priced. For a small entry fee, immerse yourself in art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, featuring compelling exhibitions that spark the imagination. These attractions highlight that the best things to do in Jacksonville don't have to cost a fortune, offering memorable and economical experiences for visitors looking to explore the city without significant expense.

Things to do in Jacksonville for couples

Jacksonville is the ideal destination for couples in search of romantic experiences and quality time together. Enjoy the scenic beauty of a sunset stroll along Jacksonville Beach Pier, where the ocean breeze and rhythmic waves set the stage for a relaxing evening. Engage in the local arts with a visit to The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, where tranquil gardens and impressive art collections inspire connection and conversation. For an intimate dining experience, explore the cozy eateries of the San Marco district, offering a diverse selection of culinary delights that cater to every taste. These intimate spots offer cherished moments for couples looking to discover the array of things to do in Jacksonville and create lasting memories together.

Things to do in Jacksonville at night

When the sun sets, Jacksonville lights up with a host of nighttime attractions to suit every interest. Music enthusiasts will revel in the live performances at the historic Florida Theatre, where the enchanting ambiance and diverse acts promise a memorable evening out. Those looking for a lively scene can head to Jacksonville Landing, bustling with restaurants, bars, and often live music, right on the waterfront. Alternatively, opt for a romantic cruise along the serene St. Johns River under the stars, offering couples an opportunity to see Jacksonville from a different perspective. Each of these vibrant selections exemplifies the dynamic things to do in Jacksonville at night, ensuring that every evening spent in the city is filled with excitement and entertainment.