Top Free Historical Activities in Jacksonville
We call it the “First Coast”, home of the first European settlements and a region steeped in history.
Looking for family-friendly activities or a way to catch up on Jacksonville's rich history? Read on for a brief description of some of our local museums and sites which are free or have a nominal fee.
Jax Heritage Trail
Tour Jacksonville's Black Heritage Trail. Learn about Jacksonville's rich Black History as part of Florida's African American Heritage Trail. This self-guided tour experience allows you to explore famous locations and points of interest at your own pace. Scout out over 20+ stops today.
Fort Caroline National Memorial
Between Downtown and the beach along the St. Johns River is the Fort Caroline National Memorial. This year we are celebrating the 450th anniversary of Ft. Caroline, settled in 1564 by French Huguenots. Bring the kids and explore the fort, the grounds, and the displays inside the Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center.
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society
South of Downtown along the St. Johns River in the Mandarin area is the Walter Jones Historical Park and the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society. The museum is a cultural gem and one very special exhibit is of an 1864 shipwreck called the Maple Leaf. The exhibit is worthy of its own blog, however, I will just say the local wreck has the most spectacular repository of Civil War artifacts. The museum hosts free lectures the third Thursday of the month (904-268-0784). On November 20th, political cartoonist Ed Gamble will be the guest speaker.
A few other sites to visit with no admission fees are: Kingsley Plantation, Ribault Monument and the Jacksonville Fire Museum exhibit located inside of MOSH.
The Jacksonville Historical Society also has their Gingerbread Extravaganza, every December, it's a site to see! For admission, they just ask for a small donation.