The 10 Best Things to Do in Jacksonville, United States

September 12, 2017 Hector Krause

Although much of Jacksonville is urban, this sprawling northeastern Florida city also has nature and wildlife preserves, historic residential neighborhoods and lots of golf courses. Attractions in Jax, as the locals call it, range from art, science and history museums to a brewery tour, from the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex, along the St. John's River, to Bronson Motor Speedway. The city's beaches offer soft sand and warm water perfect for swimming, surfing and kayaking.
Restaurants in Jacksonville

1. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

1860 Starratt Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32226-1760 +1 904-757-3603
Excellent
82%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a safe, loving, forever home for endangered big cats, and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and captivity. We do not breed, sell, or trade any of our animals. Our current residents include tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, foxes, and coatimundis (the last two are "honorary cats"). We are only open on select days, and last admittance is 45 minutes before closing. Our annual Haunted Forest is happening again! There are no public feedings during haunted forest, but night feedings will occur each Wednesday. Refer to the Events section of our website for more information. Dates and times for the haunted forest are: Friday, October 13: 6-10 PM Saturday, October 14: 6-10 PM Friday, October 20: 6-10 PM Saturday, October 21: 6-10 PM Sunday, October 22: 1-6 PM Friday, October 27: 6-10 PM Saturday, October 28: 6-10 PM Last admittance 30 minutes before closing.

Reviewed By urple2 - Hernando, Florida

How could anyone offer a negative review with a non profit organization that saves and protects these wonderful lions and tigers.
The presentation was wonderful.
The small cost of admission is going into a complete renovation of this facility.
I have every intention of adopting at least one of these wonderful cats.

2. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204-3336 +1 904-356-6857
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 958 reviews

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

Our mission is to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education.The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, built on the site of the home of Arthur and Ninah Cummer, opened its doors November 10, 1961. From Ninah Cummer's relatively small collection of sixty pieces that launched the museum, The Cummer's permanent collection has grown to over six thousand works of art encompassing eight thousand years of art history.

Reviewed By Rick_in_San_Diego - San Diego, California

You won’t find the really big names here – no Michelangelo, no Van Gogh, no Monet or Manet, although there is a very small piece by Rodin. What you will find are some excellent works by artists you probably never heard of but should see. And to help out, there are excellent placards besides each piece with details about the artist and the work, more details than I’ve seen in any museum before. The gardens aren’t open yet – still recovering from hurricane Irma. But you can enjoy lunch in the museum cafe, which is decent. Well worth the time and the $6 cost for seniors, and parking is free.

3. Big Talbot Island State Park

12157 Heckscher Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32226-2528 +1 904-251-2320
Excellent
70%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 204 reviews

Big Talbot Island State Park

Reviewed By JimDeBerry - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Next to the Swamps, Little Talbot and the Ocean you will find Hermit Crabs! The kind of crabs you want, if you know what i mean jelly bean. lots of Driftwood

4. Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

370 Zoo Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32218-5770 +1 904-757-4463
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

This 73-acre park is the only zoo in Florida's northeast.

Reviewed By Dadfromthesouth - Cumming, Georgia

I visited this zoo with my daughter and her 1 1/2 year old son. It was great. Lots of shade and wheelchair/stroller ramps to everywhere. The food service was slow but the food was...well, food. They are totally revamping the monkey area and it looks like it’s going to be an amazing display area!

5. Little Talbot Island State Park

12157 Heckscher Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32226-2528 +1 904-251-2320
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 591 reviews

Little Talbot Island State Park

On Little Talbot Island, construction of the Timucuan State and National Parks Multi-Use Trail is underway. The first phase of the trail will span more than 2 miles through coastal habitat of Little Talbot Island.

Reviewed By Vickie M - Birmingham, Alabama

Woe to the unfortunate who fail to consult reserveamerica.com before crossing the Florida state line. You can only reserve up to the day before arrival, and calling the park itself is pointless since they simply refer you back to reserveamerica. Sigh. You have to drive up to the gate and ask in person, subject to some scorn from the attendants because you failed to make a reservation. Therefore, we had to abandon our seat-of-our-pants preferences but lucked out and got a reservation for the next day. SO, Little Talbot Island's camping is across the highway from the Atlantic. The sites are shaded, a bit damp, and weathered, but fine overall. If you aren't one of those who travel with your own restroom facilities, you have to learn the wandering trail to the nearest of two facilities. But they're complete with showers and laundry. The beach is amazing, wide, and unpopulated for the most part. Overall, we were amazed by the number of people, many from Florida, who pack out the campgrounds and hotels. But - the beach? Fabulous! Apparently the visitors just wanted to stay tucked in their enormous Rvs.

6. The Florida Theatre

128 E Forsyth St, Jacksonville, FL 32202-3366 +1 904-355-5661
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 344 reviews

The Florida Theatre

Reviewed By Duane H - St. Augustine, Florida

This is a awesome venue for the Broadway Series shows. Just saw Lion King on Friday night and it was Great. Theater just right for floor interaction with the characters.
Not a bad seat in the house and sound is very good too.

Concerts that utilize this facility are very good too!

7. Riverside/Avondale Historic District

Seminole Rd and Belvedere Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 136 reviews

Riverside/Avondale Historic District

Reviewed By 205neryl - Orange Park, Florida

Unwind and take a stroll through beautiful properties, go to the park and take a great view of the St. Johns River. Do some shopping at one of a kind shops and take your pick at wonderful restaurants with a great variety of food.

8. Kingsley Plantation

11676 Palmetto Ave, Ft George Island, Jacksonville, FL 32226-2449 +1 904-251-3537
Excellent
54%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 571 reviews

Kingsley Plantation

Reviewed By Eveline C - Jacksonville, Florida

The history of this plantation is very unusual in that the owner married a young slave and she eventually ran the plantation. She was freed by Kingsley and had her own land and slaves. Due to political changes she eventually moved to Haiti.
There are guided tours only on week end and that is the only way you can see the inside of the main house. I recommend the tour. If you cannot take the guided tour, the audio guide is excellent.
To reach the plantation you will drive through a beautiful typical palmetto forest. Once on the grounds there are amazing views of the water and marshes. Instead of leaving the way you came, I recommend you continue on the road in the same direction and it will take you to the other end of the semi circle road.

9. Atlantic Beach

Jacksonville, FL 32224
Excellent
62%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 579 reviews

Atlantic Beach

Section of beach that is flat, sandy and uncrowded. Great for surfers and kayakers.

Reviewed By floridatraveler33 - Florida

Atlantic Beach is a Nice beach, but I always find it difficult to find parking. It has nicer beaches than Jax Beach, but Jax Beach is just so convenient to park and to walk and get food. My favorite, though, is to go down to St Augustine. Anastasia Beach is the best of the best. To me, it's worth the 30-45 minute drive, and the seafood in the surrounding restaurants is awesome. If you have a car, go to these other beaches insread.

10. St Johns Town Center

4663 River City Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32246-7429 +1 904-998-7156
Excellent
64%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 306 reviews

St Johns Town Center

Welcome to the St. Johns Town Center® representing the heart of shopping and dining in Jacksonville, Florida. The outdoor lifestyle mall is home to 150 of the hottest stores, many exclusive in the market, including Dillard’s, Apple, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor as well as shops in the palm-lined streets of the Luxury Collection such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Mayors. As much a fashion-forward shopping hotspot as a dining destination, the diverse palate is represented with exciting options as The Cheesecake Factory, The Capital Grille and Cantina Laredo. Or relax among the Florida sunshine at the Park Green’s turtle pond, life-sized chess board or dog park. Conveniently located in Jacksonville’s Southside neighborhood, St. Johns Town Center is easily accessible to I-95, I-295 and J. Turner Butler Boulevard and between Downtown and the beaches serving Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Amelia Island and South Georgia. From the management team at St. Johns Town Center, we hope to see you soon!

Reviewed By Dave C - Summerville, South Carolina, United States

The Town Center is very big. You will not see the entire thing in one day. Clothing stores are grouped together, which made our day much easier. Restaurants are scattered all over the center, which also made it very convenient for us. Very nice walking areas too. Parking can be a little tough. Get there early.

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