36 Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville, FL | 2024 (with Photos)

Lara Mega

Lara Mega - Head of Content

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey! How's it going? I'm Lara, a travel enthusiast and local of Jacksonville, FL. In this article, discover 36 fun things to do in Jacksonville, FL for an unforgettable trip in 2024 with breathtaking photos included.

Jacksonville Water Taxi

Jacksonville, FL, or the "River City by the Sea," is an exciting place that has something for everyone. The Jacksonville area is a top destination for a memorable vacation, from its beautiful beaches and parks to its cultural attractions.

We'll highlight 36 of the most fun Jacksonville attractions, so you can plan the perfect itinerary for your next trip. When it comes to fun things to do in Jacksonville, FL, there is no shortage of options.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

Top Choice Hotel

Hyatt Regency

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Black Sheep

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

The Volstead is a popular choice for nightlife in Jacksonville, United States of America.

Best Time to Visit

Sunny weather, November to April, ideal for exploring.

Average Temperature

Hot summers, mild winters, coastal breezes in Jacksonville.

Transportation Options

Bus, car, bike, foot, taxi, rideshare, train, ferry.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When it comes to Jacksonville, United States, you'll find endless opportunities to immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere and create unforgettable memories. Start your journey by exploring the charming neighborhood of Riverside, where you can stroll along the picturesque streets lined with historic homes, trendy boutiques, and cozy cafes. Engage in the local culture by visiting the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, where you can admire remarkable art collections and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscaped gardens. For an afternoon filled with sun and sand, head to Jacksonville Beach, where you can relax on the golden shores, take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean, or indulge in delectable seafood at the waterfront restaurants. As the sun sets, take a leisurely walk along the Jacksonville Riverwalk for breathtaking views of the St. Johns River and the city skyline. Whether you're seeking art, history, or beachfront bliss, Jacksonville offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave a lasting impression.

For a taste of Jacksonville's rich history, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Kingsley Plantation. Nestled along the scenic Fort George River, this well-preserved estate will transport you back in time to the plantation era. Explore the historic structures, stroll through the serene grounds, and hear captivating stories about the people who lived and worked here. If you're a nature enthusiast, Jacksonville has plenty to offer. Take a memorable hike along the Timucuan Preserve, where you'll encounter lush marshes, majestic oak trees, and an abundance of wildlife. For a unique adventure, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the St. Johns River from a different perspective. As the day winds down, immerse yourself in the city's vibrant dining scene. Indulge in tasty Southern barbecue, fresh seafood delicacies, or savor international flavors at one of the many eclectic restaurants scattered throughout the city. With its captivating blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, Jacksonville invites you to create your own personalized adventure.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Light and breathable clothing
  3. Sunscreen and hat for sun protection
  4. Swimsuit and beach towel
  5. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  6. Travel guide or map of the city
  7. Portable phone charger
  8. Snacks and water for day trips
  9. Cash or credit card for shopping and dining
  10. Any necessary medications or personal items

What Not to Miss

  1. Jacksonville Beach: Beautiful sand and surf, perfect for a day of relaxation or water activities.
  2. Riverside Arts Market: A vibrant market showcasing local artists, delicious food, and live entertainment.
  3. Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens: Explore exquisite art collections and stunning gardens.
  4. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: Get up close to a variety of animals and enjoy the lush botanical gardens.
  5. Friendship Fountain: A stunning landmark located in St. Johns River Park, offering scenic views and photo opportunities.
  6. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary: Visit this non-profit sanctuary to see big cats up close and learn about their conservation efforts.
  7. Little Talbot Island State Park: A serene coastal park where you can enjoy beach activities, hiking, and birdwatching.
  8. Kingsley Plantation: Step back in time and explore the oldest plantation house in Florida, with a rich history.
  9. Museum of Science and History (MOSH): Engage in interactive exhibits that showcase the wonders of science and local history.
  10. Amelia Island: Just a short drive from Jacksonville, this charming island offers beautiful beaches, historic sites, and delicious dining options.

What to Avoid

  • Crowded tourist areas
  • Unfamiliar neighborhoods or areas at night
  • Leaving valuables unattended or visible
  • Ignoring local traffic laws and regulations
  • Engaging in illegal activities or substance abuse
  • Overspending on expensive tourist traps or attractions
  • Relying solely on public transportation without checking schedules and routes beforehand

1 . Visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

The Cummer Museum of Art holds one of the finest collections of art in Northeast Florida, spanning from 2100 B.C. to the 21st century.

A highlight at the Cummer Museum of Art is its collection of European and American paintings, featuring masterpieces by Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, and Frederick Frieseke.

Moreover, the museum's English Garden dates back to 1903 and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. There is also an Italian Garden and an Olmsted Garden.

The Cummer Museum of Art also houses a significant collection of Meissen porcelain, one of the finest in the world.

2. Learn About Florida's Past at Kingsley Plantation

Kingsley Plantation

Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island is a historic site that offers visitors a glimpse into the past of the region.

The plantation was founded in the 18th century and was owned by the Kingsley family for several generations. A lot of dark but important history took place here.

Visitors can see the remains of the slave quarters, the kitchen house, and the barn. You can take guided tours and learn about the lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked there.

Today, the plantation is protected by the U.S. National Park Service and is open year-round. Admission is completely free.

3. Visit the Ritz Theatre and Museum

Ritz Theatre and Museum

The Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, FL celebrates the rich African American heritage of the city and its contributions to the cultural landscape of the country.

Today, the Ritz Theatre & Museum houses a museum that showcases the history of African American culture, art, and music.

The exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the Civil Rights movement to jazz music and the Harlem Renaissance.

4. Camp on the Waterfront at Huguenot Memorial Park

Huguenot Memorial Park

Huguenot Memorial Park is a beautiful beachfront park and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

The beach stretches for over 1.5 miles, providing ample space for sunbathing, swimming, and playing in the sand.

The beach is also popular among surfers, as it offers some of the best waves in the area. Huguenot Memorial Park is also home to dolphins, sea turtles, and over 300 species of birds.

Visitors can take a hike along one of Huguenot Memorial Park's nature trails or rent a kayak to explore the nearby salt marshes.

5. Have Outdoor Fun at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a tropical paradise in Atlantic Beach, offering a unique combination of natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

You can bask in the sun at a pristine beach, swim in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. If relaxation is on your mind, this is one of the fun things to do in Florida.

The park also features a large freshwater lake, perfect for outdoor activities.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is also home to several hiking trails, where you can explore the park's diverse wildlife and plant species, including an observation tower overlooking the marsh.

6. Visit the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens offer visitors the opportunity to explore over 2,000 animals and 1,000 species of plants across 100 acres of beautiful parkland.

The Jacksonville Zoo also offers animal encounters, which are some of the most fun things to do in Jacksonville, FL with young kids.

In addition to cool animal exhibits, such as Giraffe Outlook, Plains of East Africa, Stingray Bay, and the Range of the Jaguar, the Jacksonville Zoo features stunning botanical gardens and a butterfly garden.

7. Meet the Big Cats at Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization, which provides a home for rescued big cats and other exotic animals.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary offers guided tours that provide visitors with a unique educational experience.

During the tour, visitors can learn about the behaviors, habitats, and conservation efforts of the big cats and other exotic animals at the sanctuary.

8. Relax at Beaches Town Center

Beaches Town Center

Beaches Town Center is a vibrant area located at the heart of Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach on the Atlantic Coast. Twelve miles east of downtown Jacksonville, this area boasts trendy shops, restaurants, and bars.

The center is also home to numerous boutiques, shops, and galleries that offer unique and trendy clothing, accessories, and artwork and is also known for its lively nightlife.

Visitors can also find various dining options, from casual beachside cafes to upscale restaurants.

9. Explore the Talbot Islands and Boneyard Beach

Talbot Islands and Boneyard Beach

Big Talbot Island State Park and Little Talbot Island State Park are two beautiful state parks on the northeastern coast of Florida.

Big Talbot Island State Park is known for its secret beaches, unique rock formations, and driftwood trees. Boneyard Beach is a highlight at Big Talbot State Park, with dozens of oak skeletons lining the shore.

Little Talbot Island State Park is known for its stunning salt marshes, home to a variety of unique plant and animal species. Salt marshes are an important habitat for a variety of marine and bird species.

Little Talbot Island State Park is home to some of the most pristine and unspoiled salt marshes in Florida, which should be on your list of attractions when you visit Jacksonville, FL.

10. Go on a Hiking Adventure at the Theodore Roosevelt Area

Theodore Roosevelt Area

The Theodore Roosevelt Area is a section of the Timucuan Preserve that is named after the 26th president of the United States, who was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist.

The Timucuan Preserve National Park encompasses around 46,000 acres of natural beauty. The Timucuan Preserve includes Fort Caroline, the Kingsley Plantation, and the Theodore Roosevelt Area.

The Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center hosts the exhibit “Where the Waters Meet,” showcasing the nature and anthropology of North Florida.

11. Take a Stroll Through the Riverside Arts Market

 Riverside Arts Market

The Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville, FL is a weekly event that takes place every Saturday under the Fuller Warren Bridge.

The market is conveniently situated close to Memorial and Riverside Park and with its gorgeous riverfront.

It hosts a rotating lineup of food trucks and vendors, offering everything from classic Southern comfort food to international cuisine.

Live music and entertainment create a lively atmosphere at the Riverside Arts Market that embodies the spirit of the local community.

12. Explore Castaway Island Preserve

Castaway Island Preserve

Castaway Island Preserve offers an extensive network of nature trails, which wind through lush forests and wetlands.

The Castaway Island nature center also offers educational programs about the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Another popular activity at Castaway Island Preserve is fishing. The park has several fishing docks and piers along its waterways, making it a great spot to catch catfish, bass, and sunfish.

Castaway Island Preserve also has picnic areas and a pavilion for hosting events and gatherings.

13. Explore Amelia Island State Park and Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach

Amelia Island State Park is located on Amelia Island and is known for its pristine beaches, wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

With miles of unspoiled beaches, the area is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, as well as biking, paddling, picnicking, hiking, or horseback riding.

Amelia Island, known as the "Isle of Eight Flags", is also famous for the Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach area. If you're visiting Amelia Island in May, be sure to visit the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.

14. Visit the Historic Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch is a well-preserved Civil War-era fort on Amelia Island that provides an insight into the military history of Florida.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the fort to learn about the military life of soldiers stationed here during the 19th century.

The park has several nature trails with a great variety of local flora and fauna. Stop by the visitor center when you first arrive to learn more about this great place and its environment.

15. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville

 Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary works of art from both established and emerging artists.

The building was designed by KBJ Architects and features a distinctive facade that is both sleek and eye-catching.

MOCA Jacksonville also hosts art camps and other educational programs that provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about contemporary art and its role in society. The art camps are inspired by STEM topics.

16. Hop On a Jacksonville Water Taxi

Jacksonville Water Taxi

The St Johns River Taxi offers a convenient and fun way to enjoy the city. The water taxi's hop-on, hop-off system allows you to explore Jacksonville, FL at your own pace.

With St. Johns River Taxi, families can take river taxi tours from Friendship Park on the south bank to Jacksonville Landing on the north bank.

You can also go to the Main Street Bridge for breathtaking views of the river and the city skyline.

Hot Tip: If you enjoy water sports, Adventure Kayak Florida specializes in taking visitors to experience the outdoors deep into backwater creeks and rivers of the area.

17. Check out the Jacksonville Beach Pier

Jacksonville Beach Pier

Jacksonville Beach Pier is an iconic landmark, originally built in 1886. It has undergone several renovations over the years, making it a historic landmark in the area.

The Jacksonville Beach Pier extends approximately a quarter-mile into the Atlantic Ocean and offers panoramic views of the beach and surrounding area.

It is equipped with fishing stations that are open to the public and is also a popular spot for surfing and paddleboarding.

18. Stop by Friendship Fountain

 Friendship Fountain

The Friendship Fountain in downtown Jacksonville, FL was built in 1965 and underwent a major renovation in 2011, which transformed it into a beautiful modern fountain with colorful LED lights.

It was built as a symbol of friendship between Jacksonville and its sister city, Nantes, France. The fountain has become a symbol of unity and togetherness for the people of Jacksonville.

The Friendship Fountain is located in St. Johns River Park, on the south bank of the river, and is an ideal spot for a family picnic, a romantic date, or just to hang out with friends.

19. Escape the City to Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens

Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens

The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens is a beautiful 120-acre urban nature reserve that boasts towering oak trees, delicate wildflowers, and ferns.

With more than 3 miles of great hiking trails, visitors can explore the natural habitats of the region, from the lush forest to the open meadows.

The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens is a great place to learn about the plants and animals that are native to the region. It is home to several rare and endangered species.

20. Walk or Bike on the Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail

Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail

The Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail in northeast Florida spans approximately 15 miles and was once used by trains to transport timber from Baldwin to Jacksonville.

It has been converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path that provides a serene and enjoyable experience for visitors.

The Jacksonville Baldwin Rail Trail offers a scenic route through wetlands, forests, and rural areas. The trail also features a historic train depot that has been converted into a museum.

21. Catch a Show at the Historic Florida Theatre

Florida Theatre

The Florida Theatre in Downtown Jacksonville is an iconic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built-in 1927, the Florida Theatre was originally designed as a movie palace and is now a beautifully restored performance venue.

The Florida Theatre hosts guided tours that take visitors behind the scenes, so if you're planning a trip to Jacksonville, be sure to add the Florida Theatre to your itinerary for a great journey in time.

22. Explore the Local Craft beer Scene

Jax Ale Trail

The Jax Ale Trail in Jacksonville, FL is where you can taste everything from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, and learn about the brewing process from knowledgeable staff.

Many of the breweries on the trail are located in historic neighborhoods, giving visitors a glimpse into the local history and culture.

The Jax Ale Trail offers visitors a way to support local businesses and helps to sustain a thriving craft beer scene in Jacksonville.

23. Visit the Museum of Science and History

Museum of Science and History

The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is a modern museum that boasts a range of exhibits, including the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, and the interactive Health in Motion exhibit.

The Florida Naturalist's Center, located within MOSH, offers visitors the opportunity to observe and learn about various species native to Northeast Florida.

Visitors to MOSH and the Florida Naturalist's Center can also enjoy astronomy nights, summer camps, and STEM workshops, which are fun for the whole family.

24. Check out the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts

 Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts

The Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts, known as ****the Times-Union Center, is a cultural haven in Jacksonville, FL that offers world-class performances and stunning architectural grandeur.

As the city's premier venue for the performing arts, this center offers a diverse range of captivating shows.

The Times-Union Center showcases renowned and local artists with Broadway musicals, symphony orchestra concerts, ballet performances, and theater productions.

25. Play Golf at TPC Sawgrass

Play Golf at TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass is a world-renowned golf course located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, near the Jacksonville International Airport.

The course has hosted numerous high-profile golf tournaments, including the Players Championship, which is considered by many to be the unofficial fifth major.

The complex also includes a luxurious clubhouse with multiple restaurants, bars, and stunning views of the course, which will stay with you long after you visit Jacksonville, FL.

26. Try to Spot a Florida Scrub-Jay

 Florida Scrub-Jay

The Florida scrub-jay is the only bird species that live exclusively in Florida and is recognized for its striking blue plumage.

They are a threatened species, and their habitat is rapidly declining. If you are interested in seeing Florida scrub jays near Jacksonville, there are a few places you can go.

The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve ( 25 miles south of Jacksonville) and the Ocala National Forest (80 miles southwest of Jacksonville) are home to various habitats, including scrubland, where the Florida scrub-jay can be found.

27. Check out James Weldon Johnson Park's

James Weldon Johnson Park's

James Weldon Johnson Park is the oldest park in the city, named after an African-American writer and civil rights activist who was born in Jacksonville in 1871.

The park is home to the "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" sculpture that commemorates James Weldon Johnson and his brother, who wrote the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing. "

It later became known as the "Black National Anthem." You can also walk through an unusual piece of public art, a giant statue of a head.

29. Explore the Jacksonville Beaches

 Jacksonville Beaches

Jax Beaches is a stretch of beautiful coastline made up of several distinct beach communities, including Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. There are several reasons why you should consider visiting Jacksonville Beaches.

The Beaches offers miles of pristine white sand beaches, making it an ideal destination for soaking up the Florida sunshine and enjoying water sports.

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Springing the Blues Festival, and the Sea & Sky Spectacular are just a few of the fun events that take place in the area.

30. Visit Fort Caroline National Memorial

Fort Caroline National Memorial

Fort Caroline National Memorial is a historic site that commemorates the short-lived French colony that was established there in 1564.

The French settlement at Fort Caroline was one of the earliest European colonies in North America, predating the English settlement at Jamestown by over 40 years.

Fort Caroline National Memorial is a historic rebuilding of the fort settled by French colonists. Its museum tells the fascinating story of the French settlers and their interactions with the native Timucuan people.

31. Visit the Tree Hill Nature Center

Tree Hill Nature Center

Tree Hill Nature Center is an organization promoting environmental education and learning about the importance of preserving our natural resources.

Visitors can explore the diverse habitats at Tree Hill Nature Center, fostering a profound appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

A highly anticipated event on their calendar is the annual butterfly festival, where vibrant colors fill the air as countless butterflies take flight.

32. Explore Fort George Island

Fort George Island

Fort George Island is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty.

Named after a historic fort built in 1736 to protect Georgia's southern flank, this island is significant in the region's past.

Today, visitors flock to Fort George Island for its array of outdoor activities and the beautifully restored 1920s clubhouse.

33. Try some Local Food

Local Food

With its diverse culinary scene, Jacksonville offers an array of dishes to satisfy every palate. From succulent shrimp and oysters to a variety of fish, seafood lovers will be in heaven.

The restaurants along Beach Boulevard serve mouthwatering barbecued meats and traditional Southern dishes that are sure to please.

The local food scene in Jacksonville is a true gastronomic delight, showcasing the unique flavors and culinary traditions of the region.

34. Shop Till You Drop

St. Johns Town Center

The St. Johns Town Center offers over 1.2 million square feet of open-air shopping and dining. Featuring 175+ retailers and 20+ restaurants, the St. Johns Town Center offers high-end fashion brands, popular department stores, and everything in between.

The Jacksonville Landing offers a unique blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

For a more laid-back shopping experience, head to the Beaches Town Center, located at the eastern terminus of Atlantic Boulevard.

35. Enjoy some Family Fun

Adventure Landing

Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach is an amusement park that offers a range of thrilling activities, from go-karts and roller coasters to batting cages, mini-golf, and even a ''gator park''.

Creative Grain Studio is a unique studio offering a wide variety of workshops, ranging from woodworking to plant and textile crafts.

It encourages creativity, expression, and quality time with the family.

36. Hunt Ghosts at Annie Lytle Elementary School

Annie Lytle Elementary School

Among the many things to do in Jacksonville, exploring the abandoned Annie Lytle Elementary School is undoubtedly one of the spookiest experiences.

With a haunting history and an atmosphere that evokes a sense of mystery, this school has been left untouched for a staggering 40 years.

As you wander through the decaying hallways and crumbling classrooms, you can't help but feel the weight of the past and the stories that linger within its walls.

FAQs About Things to Do in Jacksonville, Florida

Let's look at some frequently asked questions relating to the fun things to do in Jacksonville, Florida.

What is cool about Jacksonville Florida?

There are many cool things about Jacksonville, Florida. It has over 20 miles of beautiful beaches and is home to the St. Johns River, one of the few rivers in the world that flows north.

Some notable attractions include the Huguenot Memorial Park, Main Street Bridge, Riverside Arts Market, the Friendship Fountain, Sweet Pete's Candy Shop, and Cummer Museum of Art.

Does Jacksonville have good nightlife?

Jacksonville does have a decent nightlife scene, from live music in the trendy Riverside and Avondale areas to the beachside nightlife scene in Jacksonville Beach.

Downtown Jacksonville has several popular nightlife spots, including The Volstead, Myth Nightclub, which features multiple dance floors and DJs, and The Garage, a craft beer bar. The unique Jax Ale Trail allows you to explore the craft beer scene in Jacksonville.

Is Jacksonville Florida worth visiting?

Yes, Jacksonville, Florida worth visiting. You can explore local art and culture at the Kingsley Plantation, the Jacksonville Maritime Museum, and the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. And, of course, you can swim at Jacksonville Beach or explore Big Talbot Island State Park.

What are the best places in Jacksonville for nature lovers?

Jacksonville offers a wealth of options for nature lovers. Some of the best places to visit include Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, and the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens.

For those who love the water, the St. Johns River and the Talbot Island State Park offer breathtaking views and opportunities for kayaking, boating, and fishing. You can even camp in the state park.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Jacksonville, Florida

From exploring Jacksonville culture at Florida Theatre to horseback riding at Fernandina Beach, there are plenty of fun things to do in Jacksonville, FL.

You can meet the diverse wildlife at the Jacksonville Zoo and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Talbot Island State Park by strolling along the incredible Boneyard Beach.

So plan your next vacation to Florida and experience all of the excitement that the Jacksonville area has to offer.

Pack your bags and get ready to explore the 30 most fun things to do in Jacksonville, Florida.