Jacksonville, A Natural Playground

Green is Jacksonville’s color and adventure is our favorite game. The abundant parks, ecological preserves and waterways in “The River City by the Sea” provide an unforgettable opportunity to escape city life and relax in nature’s playground.

Jacksonville proudly boats the largest urban park system in the nation with more than 80,000 acres of parks including 10 state & national parks, dozens of city parks and gardens and an arboretum.Opportunities to enjoy and explore the outdoors are endless in Jacksonville!

Take a look at our suggestions below, if you have questions along the way ask a local their advice!

Things To Do

Wake up to the birds chirping outside your campsite. Jacksonville's large park's system offered wooded campsite, as well as beachfront views from your tent. Take a hike in the 46,000 acre Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. The historical sites and marked trails provide more than just a walk in the woods.

Get out on the water with North Florida Fishing Charters, offering visitor an adventure on the waterways with light tackle fishing. Check out the best places to fish in Northeast Florida. Surf, paddleboard, kayak, kite surf, boat, scuba, swim and fish at any of our beaches, including Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Mayport, Huguenot Park, Hanna Park and the Talbot Islands State Park. Need tips on where to fish or surf, click here.

Only In JAX

Experience wildlife and history with Kayak Amelia in a setting like no other, traveling through off-road paths on eco-friendly, battery-operated modes of transport, designed to minimize visitors’ environmental footprint. No experience is necessary and all tours are guided, with riders equipped with a wireless headset to learn from guides of native plants, animals and history of the trails. Segways not your thing, they offer kayaks and paddleboard tours too! Picnic beachfront at Hanna Park, one of the city's most-loved parks, with miles of wooded trails, splash ground and playground for children and wide, sandy beaches. "The Poles" are said to be one of Jacksonville's best spots for surfing, did you bring your board?

Continue down A1A to Mayport, one of the oldest fishing villages founded sometime around the late 1500’s. Grab a bite to eat at Singleton’s Seafood Shack, who proudly serves a staple in Northeast Florida and many restaurants--Mayport shrimp. If you come by boat, take your fresh catch out of the cooler as they will fry it up for lunch or dinner! House favorites include Minorcan chowder, blackened sheepshead, fried gator tail and classic shrimp burgers. Let Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives tell you his favorites from this Shack!

With more than five miles of white-sandy beaches, Little Talbot Island is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida; it has a three-mile hiking trail and a paved path for bicycles. It also offers a full camping facility with 40 campsites, fresh water, laundry facilities and two bathhouses. Big Talbot Island is a natural preserve perfect for bird-watching, photography and exploring. For an “Only In Jax” experience do not skip a trip to Boneyard Beach, it is famous for the live oak and cedar tree skeletons resting on the shore.

Timing Is Everything

Watch the sunrise from any point on our picturesque coast. Enjoy a favorite movie outdoor under the stars. Grab a blanket or camping chair and your best picnic basket (or a favorite take-out order) for Movies in the Park, held in Downtown, or Moonlight Movies at the Beach, held over the spring and summer annually. Located in the middle of the busy Arlington neighborhood, Tree Hill is an oasis for local wildlife and nature. The center is home to a museum of Florida's natural history, Jacksonville’s only permanent butterfly exhibit, a petting zoo and more than 50 acres of trails. Don't miss their annual Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival every Spring.

About the Author