Run, hike, bike, hit the gym… Jacksonville has a big fitness culture and for those looking to stay active while enjoying a vacation in our city, the possibilities are endless!
Vacations are all about relaxation, and in Jacksonville, a little R&R means taking care of your body as you relax your mind. When it comes to getting fit and active our city is packed with options from running on the sand to visiting world-class gyms and hitting unique hiking trails in our beautiful parks.
Let’s get active!
Some people say the best way to see a new city is to run its neighborhoods, and while running may not be everyone’s idea of a great time, it is for those looking to get physical while vacationing. Jacksonville hosts dozens of organized races annually as well as two nationally recognized races that attract runners from all over the world.
The Donna Marathon: CNN Travel has ranked the DONNA Marathon as one of the “Seven Marathons Worth the Trip” and Women’s Running Magazine has named the event a “Favorite Charity Race”. Taking place at the beaches of Jacksonville, the DONNA Marathon is the only marathon in the nation 100 percent dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research.
The Gate River Run: The inaugural Gate River Run took place in 1978. The race course starts and ends at the Sports Complex and taking participants through the historic streets of Downtown Jacksonville, San Marco, St. Nicolas and across the city’s most popular bridges. Whether you are a competitive runner looking for your next PR, or a walker looking to take a scenic trek through Downtown Jacksonville, this race is perfect for participants of all levels. For the more competitive runner, the event happens to be the National Championship for 15K’s across the country.
Jacksonville’s hiking trails wind through shaded and beach side areas and offer scenic views of waterways and marshes. Visit one of Jacksonville’s many City, State or National parks and nature preserves for hiking trails that will get your adrenaline going.
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens: This 120-acre urban woodland in the Arlington neighborhood has 3 miles of rustic hiking trails, a variety of natural ecosystems, native wildlife, beautiful streams, and a peaceful pond covered in lilies.
Tree Hill Nature Center: The 50-acre nature preserve features seven trails, natural gardens, native animals, a petting zoo and a hands-on natural history museum. Tree Hill has paved and natural trails that showcase the best of the local wildlife.
Theodore Roosevelt Area: Within the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve and next to the sandy hills of Fort Caroline, The Theodore Roosevelt Area offers a variety of peaceful hiking trails where you can truly get away from it all and experience Northeast Florida’s amazing biodiversity – as well as its highest elevation! Three different trails meander through steep hills and beautiful wooded and grassland areas.
Florida may be mostly flat, but that does not mean we don’t have some challenging biking trails in Jacksonville fit for the most adventurous rider.
Mountain Biking: The best place to ride through wooded paths in Jax is at Hanna Park. This oceanfront park has challenging trails with names like "Grunt," "Misery," and "Tornado Alley." There are also several other beginner trails for novice riders.
Paved Paths: Both the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail and the Timucuan Trail offer beautiful natural surroundings with top tracks and facilities for riders to enjoy a comfortable yet challenging trip.
Sun’s Out, Guns Out! No matter where you are in Jacksonville you are never more than a few minutes away from pumping some iron at a local gym, workout class or fitness event.
Crossfit: The Grit Games & Rep Your Box are two of the biggest local events for the Jax Crossfit community. There are also more than 10 locally owned Crossfit gym throughout the city.
Yoga Classes: Hot, acro, vinyasa, flow, bikram, for beginners or for lifelong yogis, Jacksonville has a yoga studio waiting for you. Several of our yoga studios offer special classes where your sun salutations are right on the sand. Check out our Beach Yoga section.
YMCA: Jacksonville is home to several YMCA fitness centers with state-of-the-arts facilities. They offer free visits to out-of-town visitors and provide everything from guided workout classes, to running groups, nutritional advice and one-on-one training. Go to http://firstcoastymca.org for more info.
Forgot your workout gear? Not to worry, we have you covered. Head to Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Good, Fanatics, Sports Mania, Athleta, Lululemon, Black Creek Outfitters, 1st Place Sports Running Store and REI all have great stores in Jacksonville packed with fitness gear. Go check them out!