Jacksonville’s Top Parks - Visit Jacksonville

​With the largest urban park system in the entire nation, visitors can experience the ultimate coastal eco-adventure in Jax.

Our parks take you from peaceful riverfront views, to kayaking the marshes and wetlands, biking miles of nature trails, paddleboarding in freshwaters lagoons, surfing the best waves in the region, fishing all year-round, and connecting to the local wildlife in settings you’ve never experienced in Florida before. Our parks are active, family friendly and waiting to host your next green adventure!

National Parks near Jacksonville, FL

Fort Caroline

Fort Caroline is a historic rebuilding of the fort settled by French colonists in 1564. Signs inside tell the story of the settlers versus the Timucua Native Americans and the Spanish. Within the first year, relations went south with the Native Americans. The Spanish already had a hold of territory in South America and were desperate to take over North America as well. In 1565, the French colony was raided by the Spanish. The fort that resides there now is a replica of what the fort is believed to have looked like, complete with cannons and flags. The top levels of the fort offer a beautiful view of the mouth of the St. Johns River. When you leave the fort, you’ll see a replica of a Timucua hut, complete with an in-progress canoe.

There is a 1.3-mile nature trail at the park. It is a loop trail, winding through maritime and hardwood hammock. There are big, sandy hills here, only flattening when you reach the section of the trail covered by saw palmettos below and pines above. At peaks, if the brush isn’t too thick, you can see the St. Johns River again. The breeze coming off the water is cooling. The trail is shaded by live oaks, giving refuge from the hot Florida sun. There are plenty of benches along the trail if you need to take a break or simply want to enjoy the scenery of Old Florida.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

The Timucuan Preserve is Jacksonville’s biggest park at a whopping 46,000 acres. It includes Fort Caroline, Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, Kingsley Plantation and Fort George Island, Cedar Point and the Talbot Islands. The Preserve is part of the National Parks Service. Wetlands, marshes, unique wildlife, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and pristine sea islands make this area one of Jacksonville’s must-see places. You can hike, bike, swim, surf, fish, kayak, camp, and discover old Florida inside the Timucuan Preserve.

Kingsley Plantation

Kingsley Plantation is one of the most unique places in the preserve. It was inhabited by the Kingsley’s from 1814 through 1837. They produced cash crops like Sea Island Cotton and Indigo. They also produced okra, beans, potatoes and peas. After the Civil War, the plantation was used for recreational purposes. A garden was built that showcased the crops that used to grow there. Now, it’s a place to learn about slavery and life during the 1800s.

First built in 1798, this is one of the last remaining plantation homes left standing in the state of Florida, providing a vital link to the region's colonial heritage and the fascinating story of the family who lived there —a white landowner and his African wife, a free woman from Senegal he first bought as slave—. Daily guided tours and audio tours are available of the Kingsley home, and the slave quarters of the plantation.

State Parks Near Jacksonville

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Pumpkin Hill is a 4,000 acre part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
It’s filled to the brim with activities. You can canoe or kayak, see rare birds, bike, hike and even take your horse for a ride on the Equestrian Trail. Residing along the Nassau River and Pumpkin Hill Creek, it connects to both Cedar Point Preserve and Betz Tiger Point. The park is home to many different wildlife, including white-tailed deer, gopher tortoises, fox squirrels, bald eagles, foxes and so many more. If you’re a birder, keep your eyes peeled for woodstorks, roseate spoonbills, woodpeckers and egrets.

There are three miles of hiking trails and almost thirteen miles of multi-use trails. These trails take you through coastal upland Florida, with sandhill, scrub flatwoods, swamps and salt marshes. There is so much of Florida to see here, with tall pines looming overhead and marsh grasses below. The constantly changing environment around you keeps you on your toes at Pumpkin Hill.

Location: 13802 Pumpkin Hill Road, Jacksonville, FL, FL 32226

Talbot Islands State Parks

The Talbot Islands State Parks are an intriguing mixture of beach environment and coastal woodland. The famous Blackrock Beach and Boneyard Beach, are the sights to see in Big Talbot Island State Park. Here, you can climb the bones of bleached live oaks, tumbled onto the shore from years of erosion. The black rocks that make up the shoreline are made up of decayed leaves and compressed sand. It’s one of the few places in Northeast Florida where you can see nature really take over.

Little Talbot offers a good four-mile hike through dune covered woodlands. The woodlands are made up of ferns, moss-covered live oaks and tall pine trees. It’s elevation changes are shocking coming from the flat lands of Jacksonville. Little Talbot is home to many wildlife you may be lucky enough to see on your hike. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, marsh rabbits, raccoons, armadillos and even bobcats.

The beach at Little Talbot is home to shorebirds like Wilson’s Plovers and Black Skimmers. Little Talbot is also a good place to camp. It’s one of the few places that offers designated hammock campsites, making it possible to really immerse yourself in the Floridian wilderness. With Kayak Amelia, get a fresh perspective of the Talbot Islands with their tour of Simpson Creek, which connects the two. Both the creek and Fort George Estuary will give you a glimpse of the environment the wildlife that lives here experiences every day.

Location: State Road A1A North, Jacksonville, FL, FL 32226

Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park

Jacksonville never saw an actual battle during the Civil War, but played an important part as a port for shipping good to both Confederate and Union troops. Located near the mouth of the St. Johns River, this site was an important military position during the Civil War, allowing access to the inland areas of Florida's east coast.

An encampment at Yellow Bluff, not an actual fort, was fortified and equipped with large guns for protection. Constructed in 1862, the site was occupied by both Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War and-at its peak-housed over 250 soldiers. Today it is an ideal place for a picnic with an encampment reproduction staged. The park is also dog friendly. Entrance to the park is free.

Location: New Berlin Road, Jacksonville, FL, FL 32226

Fort George Island Cultural State Park

Named after a 1736 fort built in the area to defend the southern flank of Georgia when it was a colony. Today, visitors come for boating, fishing, off-road bicycling, and hiking. A key attraction is the restored Ribault Club, once an exclusive resort, it is now a available for special events. A public boat launch is located in the park.

Location: 11241 Fort George Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226

Amelia Island State Park

Beautiful beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests provide visitors a glimpse of 200 acres of Old Florida. This is one of the few locations on the east coast that offers horseback riding on the beach. Cars are also permitted on the shoreline, but beware of the protected nesting shorebirds.

Location: State Road A1A North, Jacksonville, FL 32226

George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park

This one-mile long, pedestrian-only bridge is one of the best fishing sports in Jacksonville. Anglers can catch a variety of fish here, including whiting, jack, drum and tarpon. The bridge is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Location: State Road A1A South, Jacksonville, FL, FL 32226

City Parks

Hanna Park

Hanna Park is a haven for outdoor lovers. There are biking trails ranging in difficulty, camping, hiking, kayaking and beach access. There’s something for everyone here at Hanna.

Kayaking at Hanna Park is peaceful and breezy. It’s great for beginners, because the water is flat and easy to paddle through. Pieces of driftwood cut through the water and create perches for egrets. Turtle heads poke out of the water. Fish jump, making you wonder what they’re trying to get away from. There are shaded spots of the lake, close to the shoreline, where you can float and cool off.

The hiking trails are soft and leafy, shaded by thick tree cover overhead. It follows a stream of the bigger lake that weaves through the whole park. There are a lot of wildlife rustling through the trees on this hike. Crickets chirp, squirrels skitter and birds glide from tree to tree. Fish jump in the stream. Owls hoot. The trail takes you through a mix of boardwalk, soft sand and leaf-covered dirt. It criss crosses over the stream and bike trails. Everything around the trail is so thick with life and brush you wonder if this is what Florida was like before the trail was cut through.

Location: 500 Wonderwood Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32233

Huguenot Memorial

Huguenot Memorial Park may best be known for its section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. 237 species have been spotted here. There is a section often roped off, as it’s a vital nesting area for terns, gulls and skimmers. Huguenot is also known for its surfing, especially in the winter, when you can get consistent swells.

Location: 10980 Heckscher Dr, Downtown, FL 32226

Castaway Island Preserve

Castaway is home to salt marshes and tidal creeks along the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s a great place to see ibises, gopher tortoises and herons nestled among the marsh grasses. The mile-long trail is an easy walk over boardwalk that’s also interactive. There are animal tracks painted along the trail, with signs dotting the trail explaining what animal they’re from. There are plenty of overlooks to take in the beautiful landscape of land and water. There’s also a canoe/kayak launch complete with a tide meter.

Location: 2885 San Pablo Rd S, Downtown, FL 32225

Hemming Park

Hemming Park isJacksonville’s first park. It has plenty of history and it’s a significant site for the Civil Rights movement in Jacksonville. Nowdays, there’s always a cool family-friendly event taking place at Hemming inviting people to gather there. Food trucks, a beer garden, ArtWalk, or some type of festival is always going on. There are tables and chairs ready if you grab some food on your lunch break, or you can post up by the fountain. It’s always good to visit Hemming because the sculpture that resides in the fountain is always changing. There was a giant chicken, a giant shark head, a rubber duck (not made of rubber) and a goldfish (like the snack). A giant head lying on its side with its mouth wide open resides permanently in the kids section of the park. Get your picture with them before they’re gone.

Location: 135 W Monroe St, Downtown, FL 32202

Memorial Park

Memorial Park is the perfect place for a picnic in the heart of Five Points. The edge of the grass is lined with trees, giving ample shade even on a sunny day. This leaves the middle of the park open for soccer players, frisbee and energetic dogs. The half mile loop is a cool, shaded walk to stretch your legs and to catch the breeze coming off the water by the bulkhead. It’s the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday.

Location: 1620 Riverside Ave, Downtown, FL 32204

Riverside Park

If you want more privacy and quiet during your park day, Riverside Park is where to go. Ducks populate the park’s fountain. There is a playground to keep the little ones occupied and a dog park for your furry friends. There are a lot more trees in this park, giving it a lot more shade for your walk around the fountain. Benches circle the fountain, perfect to curl up and read a book in.

Location: 753 Park St, Downtown, FL 32204

Walter Jones Park

Walter Jones Park opened in 2000 as Jacksonville’s first historic park. In the late 1800s, the park was a homestead and farm that cultivated oranges, potatoes, tomatoes and more, and became central to the Mandarin community. Now, visitors can walk along a nature trail adjacent to the St. Johns River, see the restored barn, farmhouse and Mandarin museum. There is also a schoolhouse and sawmill, along with other buildings that contributed to farm life long ago.

Location: 11964 Mandarin Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32223

Stockton Park

Stockton Park is good for a stroll. The sidewalk mixed with brick make for an easy walk along the St. Johns River. There are picnic tables and benches if you want to relax and have a snack. There’s also a beautiful gazebo that offers shade while you gaze out onto the river.

Location: 4021 Ortega Blvd, Downtown, FL 32210

Baldwin Park

Baldwin Park is home to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail. The 14.5 mile paved trail is great for getting familiar with your bike if you’re new to it. Bikes and people of all sizes and ages can enjoy this shady, easy trail through a quiet section of Northeast Florida.

Location: 2 Imeson Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32220

Mandarin Park

Mandarin Park is home to tennis courts, playgrounds, a boat ramp and short, easy trails. The park also offers good fishing on the pier, nestled alongside Julington Creek. This park is really good for families, as there are two playgrounds, one for the littler ones and one for the older.

Location: 14780 Mandarin Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32223

To learn about our many other parks in the city, go to JAXPARKS

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