You are going to love Jacksonville! This is one of the most fulfilling and refreshing places to visit in Florida. The ease of life that combines a mystique, southern charm, and a bustling city life attracts tourists from all over the country is just one of the many reasons you should visit Jacksonville, Florida.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast seeking to explore over 80,000 acres of State Parks, a student of history, or just a lover of nature, there’s something for everyone in Jacksonville. There’s a thriving nightlife, amazing local cuisines, miles of sandy beaches to explore, and a myriad of other attractions awaiting your family in Jacksonville. We have sampled some of the best reasons to visit this magical city.
- Explore the thriving art and music scene in Jax
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville is probably the best place to visit if you are looking to learn more about the city’s thriving art scene and musical culture. The building houses over 1,000 exhibits varying from paintings, sculptures, street art, photography, and other forms of artistic work. The streets of Jacksonville come to life every summer with various festivities, music, and dancing.
- Catch a game or concert in Jacksonville
It’s easy to catch a local game (especially the NFL) in one of the stadiums in Jacksonville. When no games are being played, many of these stadiums are usually packed with concert lovers looking to have fun. Florida Theatre is also a busy place throughout the year. You can watch a play or an artistic show almost every weekend here.
- Explore the local and international history
Jacksonville is among the oldest cities in the country. As such, you can expect to see a lot of historical sites, monuments, and old buildings, such as the San Marco Preservation Hall. The architecture of most buildings is a combination of both historical and contemporary styles. This is what makes areas such as Avondale attractive to shoppers and tourists seeking to have a fine dining experience. There is a certain allure that comes with the combination of modern and traditional arts of life and Jacksonville has a ton of this.
- Go kayaking and canoeing
Kayaking trips are popular in Jacksonville. Beginner kayakers should head to Lofton Creek because the water is calm there. The scenery is also stunning, with lush forests forming beautiful shades along the way. There are other locations for more experienced kayakers, or people seeking to have a thrill (St. John’s River comes to mind). You may carry or rent a kayak near these kayaking routes. Boat tours and cruises are also popular in Jacksonville. A cruise would be a great way to enjoy a dolphin show. You have to book in advance as tickets sell out fast.
- Visit a local museum
Learn more about Jacksonville by visiting a local museum. Numerous exciting exhibits and attractions are awaiting you in those museums. If you love the sea, learn more about the history of the beaches at the Beaches Museum. The Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens has one of the largest collections of artwork and paintings in the city, with a lot of interesting history accompanying these exhibits. Your kids will be at home at the HandsOn Children Museum where they will engage in a lot of interactive activities.
History and science lovers will enjoy the Museum of Science and History in downtown Jacksonville. The Fort Caroline National Memorial is another great location to learn about the French colonial administration and presence in Florida. There are scenic trails here and numerous exhibits that date back to the 16th century, showcasing how the French lived and the impact they had on the lives of the residents here during this era.
- Enjoy the local cuisine
Take time to sample local delicacies, wines, and chocolate when you visit Jacksonville. Sweet Pete’s Candy is the most popular destination for candy and chocolate lovers. When taking a chocolate tour here, you will get the chance to sample several flavors. If you have enough time, enroll in a short candy-making class. Avoid tourist traps when sampling local dishes. If you can locate the old, rusty, but charming restaurants (especially in downtown Jax), you will have a truly indulging local dining experience.
- Visit a local zoo
Thousands of animals are housed in Jacksonville and the best way to experience them is by visiting a local zoo. The gardens are also well kept, offering you the perfect setting for a picnic with your loved ones. Visit the nearby St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park to see crocodiles and alligators as well as a variety of reptiles and other mammals. If you love lions, cheetahs, and other members of the cat family, the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary hosts hundreds of rescued big cats to protect them from mistreatment or abuse.
- Visit the sandy beaches
There are miles and miles of beaches in Jacksonville. An evening walk along the beach is an exciting way to end a long day. Enjoy the dark skylines and the flashing lights in the city as you dig your toes into the soft sands. The Jacksonville Beach is the best in the city, offering you incredible views of the town and the sea. Other beaches to explore include Neptune Beach, the Atlantic Beach, the Huguenot Memorial Park, and the unique Boneyard Beach in Talbot Island. Amelia Island also contains beautiful beaches.
- Explore the outdoors
Your tour to Jacksonville would not be complete without a trip to the outdoors. There are thousands of acres of land to explore here. Hiking, mountain climbing, camping, cycling, and other outdoor activities are common within the parks in the city. Some of the best hiking trails in Jacksonville include the Castaway Island Preserve, the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, the Julington-Durbin Preserve, the Tillie K Fowler Regional Park, the Talbot Islands State Park, and the Jacksonville-Baldwin-Rail-Trail.
- Dine and shop in downtown Jacksonville
Downtown Jax offers you an amazing variety of shopping complexes and beautiful dining experiences. Experience both local and exotic cuisines inside these restaurants and buy locally made products as souvenirs. San Marco, Avondale, and Riverside are some of the popular and trendy shopping areas within downtown Jacksonville. Every Saturday, hundreds of vendors flock to the Riverside Arts Market to display their numerous wares and craft items.
There are many more reasons to visit the most populous city in Florida, especially during the summer when festivals and events occur back-to-back. This charming city is becoming one of the hottest places to visit in Florida. Whenever you find time to visit Jacksonville, be sure to check the attractions we have suggested and explore further – You will only be limited by your imagination. Have fun!