Attractions & Activities
Jacksonville has a rich cultural history which is best represented in our many attractions and activities.
Explore many of these Jacksonville's stops along Florida's Black Heritage Trail.
Jacksonville Fire Museum - At The Jacksonville Fire Museum, you will see more than 500 items detailing the history of the fire service not only in Jacksonville, but the entire state of Florida. Exhibits include photos from the Great Fire of 1901, a fully-restored 1902 American LaFrance horse-drawn fire engine, and a working 1926 American LaFrance fire engine. The Jacksonville Fire Museum is free to the public.
- Clara White Mission -The Clara White Mission was founded in 1904 but traces its origins to the 1880s.Former slave Clara English White fed hungry neighbors from her home.The Mission helps feed over 10,000 homeless men, women and children every year.The Mission is a community center, stimulating economic development through educational programs, daily feedings, advancement and more. The Clara White Museum is a continuing memorial to both Clara White and her daughter, Dr. Eartha White. The remarkable lives and careers of these two women can be experienced through the following virtual walking tour of the museum.
- Kingsley Plantation - Jacksonville's oldest residential home and Florida's last still-standing plantation home. Wander through the remarkably preserved slave quarters, barn, plantation house, kitchen house and interpretive garden all located on the waterfront.
- Stop for lunch at one of Springfield's popular eateries, including Three Layers Coffee House or Uptown Market. The neighborhood found just north of Downtown Jacksonville is currently undergoing a renaissance, and is home to many black heritage sites, including sites from Zora Neale Hurston's childhood.
- The Ritz Theatre & Museum - The theatre sells out its monthly improv show, Amateur Night, and also offers regularly scheduled entertainment. There is an incredible museum dedicated to black history in Jacksonville to check-out during the day.
- St. Augustine Underground Railroad
- American Beach - Florida's first African American resort community. American Beach was founded in 1935 by Florida's first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company. The plan was for his employees to have a place to vacation and own homes for their families by the shore. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, summers at American Beach were busy with families, churches and children. The beach included hotels, restaurants, bathhouses and nightclubs as well as homes and other businesses. American Beach played host to numerous celebrities during this period, including: folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, singer Billie Daniels, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstein, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, actor Ossie Davis,and Sherman Hemsley .James Brown was actually turned away from performing outside Evans' Rendezvous, a nightclub on the beach. In 1964, American Beach was hit hard by Hurricane Dora, and many homes and buildings were destroyed. The passage of the Civil Rights Act that same year desegregated the beaches of Florida, and American Beach became a less and less popular vacation destination as more African American Jacksonvillians turned to locations nearer their homes.
Visit our multicultural guide to Jacksonville for more ideas on discovering African American history and other activties in Northeast Florida.