Disclaimer: The following post is in partnership with Visit Jacksonville. As always, all opinions are my own! This post contains affiliate links.
I recently had the chance to explore Jacksonville, Florida for a few days on a fun group press trip itinerary, hitting up the beaches and spots like Kingsley Plantation and the Cummer Museum. Jacksonville is such a cute city, especially with all of its public art and murals everywhere! I had so much fun photographing JAX, learning some history, and eating so much good food. See below for my top picks on things to do in Jacksonville, Florida!
Things to Do in Jacksonville
Go Mural Hunting
Everywhere I looked in downtown Jacksonville, I saw murals! They’re everywhere, making for some great Instagrammable spots or a fun walking tour to go mural hunting. Use the map below to find all the murals and other public arts around downtown Jacksonville, and do your own self-guided tour!
You can also download a handy PDF of all the locations on this map HERE.
Take a Boat Ride
I was told the best way to experience and see Jacksonville is from the water, and they weren’t wrong! We took a leisurely boat ride down the St. Johns River from Riverside to Ortega to Downtown, admiring the Jacksonville skyline and searching for dolphins along the way.
Explore the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
While there are several amazing museums to visit in Jacksonville, like the Museum of Science and History and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, you can’t miss the Cummer Museum! The museum has over 5000 pieces in its permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits (when I was there, the special exhibit was on Impressionism). The real highlight for me was the gardens - the museum has 2.5 acres of historic gardens, including the Cummer Oak, one of the oldest oak trees in Jacksonville. The tree is huge, with a canopy of over 150 feet! It definitely makes for a great photo op. The rest of the gardens include reflecting pools, fountains, sculptures and more, showing off different examples of early 1900s garden designs.
Visit Kingsley Plantation
While the grounds of Kingsley Plantation are beautiful to explore, the best part of it all is its unique history. You can learn all about the life of Anna Madgigine Jai, who was purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley when she was captured at 13 years old and forcefully taken out of Senegal. She later was freed and became his wife, going on to manage the plantation and the slaves after his death - an African woman owning major land and slaves in early 1800s Spanish Florida - making it not your typical plantation history. You can visit the plantation daily from 9am to 5pm, and admission is FREE!
Hit the Beach
If you don’t want to be in the city, the beaches are another great place hang out. We stayed at the Hotel Palms, a stylish boutique courtyard hotel just blocks away from the beach. If you’re looking for a resort-type property with a pool, the One Ocean Resort & Spa is a great choice that’s right on the beach (we also got massages there, which were fabulous). Other fun activities you can do on the beach include:
Sunrise yoga on the beach
“Go Tuk’n” guided tour in a tuk tuk to beaches and breweries and more!
Take a surfing lesson
Photograph the sunrise at Jacksonville Beach Pier
Where to Eat in Jacksonville
We ate at so many fabulous restaurants during our trip, so here are a few suggestions based off our itinerary! For breakfast, you can try Southern Grounds in Neptune Beach, Maple Street Biscuit Company in San Marco, or Metro Diner in Jacksonville Beach. For lunch, check out Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant in Mayport or Black Sheep Restaurant in the Five Points District. And for dinner, try ABBQ Meat & Drinks in Atlantic Beach, Azurea at the One Ocean Resort, or Moxie Kitchen & Cocktails!
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