The Bold New City of the South, the Gateway to Florida, the River City by the Sea — whatever nickname you’d like to use, Jacksonville, FL is making its name as an irresistible city to visit and live. With perpetually sunny skies, world-class beaches, and amazing attractions and activities for everyone, it’s time to put Jacksonville on your to-do list. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in the City on the Move.
Best Things to Do in Jacksonville, FL
1) Jacksonville Beaches
Yes, Jacksonville has a great economy and strong job market, but the Jacksonville Beaches are one of the top reasons people move here! Locals and visitors alike flock to the wide open, sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean to soak up the sun, swim, surf, kayak, boogie board, and so much more. Here, life happens on the beach, and the myriad of festivals, concerts, and events only add to the city’s energetic appeal. With 22 miles of beaches there’s enough room for everyone to spread out and explore the variety of unique coastal areas.
If one of the draws of playing golf is to be outside in a beautiful environment, then Jacksonville definitely has it covered. With more than 70 golf courses throughout greater Jacksonville in breathtaking ocean-side and riverfront settings, there’s a course and level of play for everyone. TPC Sawgrass is home of THE PLAYERS Championship and PGA Tour headquarters, while the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club offers a resort golf option. If you’re looking for less ritz and more value, try Champions Club at Julington Creek or Windsor Parke Golf Club. The options are endless to try a new course every weekend (literally)!
3) Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
No matter your age, you’ll be delighted when you enter the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Boasting the only walking safari in Northeast Florida, the zoo has 10 animal exhibits where visitors can learn about more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals. The zoo also maintains a focus on animal welfare, education, and conservation. Kids and adults alike can enroll in programs, camps, and volunteer opportunities to learn more.
For a more restful experience, have a stroll through the Cummer Museum and Gardens overlooking the meandering St. Johns River. The museum houses nearly 6,000 works of art from around the world, and the 2.5-acre garden features reflecting pools, ornate fountains, and captivating sculptures. A museum of another kind, MOSH! (Museum of Science and History) enables visitors to explore science, history, and innovation across three levels of exhibits. There’s a planetarium, live science and animal shows, Cosmic Concerts, and more to satisfy anyone’s curiosity about the natural world.
5) Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
TripAdvisor ranked this the #1 activity in Jacksonville. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe, loving, and forever home to endangered big cats and seeks to educate the public about their plight in the wild and in captivity. The sanctuary is currently home to over 50 big cats that eat 600 pounds of meat a day! Visitors can see and learn about tigers, lions, pumas, leopards, lynx, and even “honorary cats” like foxes and coatimundis.
6) Fun on the Water
Jax is known for its beautiful beaches, but there’s also tons of fun to have on the water! Charter a sailboat and enjoy full-day sailing trips, sunset cruises, and multi-day sailing vacations. There are also plenty of marinas to dock your own boat. If you don’t mind getting wet, Jacksonville offers some of the best surfing on the Atlantic coast. For longboard lessons or just to watch the pros, check out Atlantic Beach, Huguenot Park, Mayport Poles at Hanna Park, or Jacksonville Beach Pier. Winter brings about the big waves, but those just starting out will appreciate the gentle summer surf.
7) Riverside Arts Market
The Saturdays-only Riverside Arts Market has morphed into a lively event that draws thousands of people to the historic Riverside district each week. With a strong emphasis on locally-grown and made products, the market showcases and promotes the small businesses, artists, makers, and farmers of Jacksonville. Food trucks, live performances, and special events all add to the eclectic and exciting energy of the market.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars Game
Go Jags! It’s always fun to catch a home game of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars at the open-air TIAA Bank Field. Stands fill to capacity and the energy is unmatched when the home team. Dream Finders Homes is proud to be the Official Homebuilder of the Jaguars. Their practice complex and flex field are named after our organization!
If you like visiting this fun city, you’ll love living here, too! Find the perfect neighborhood to buy or build a new home in Jacksonville, and have access to these activities and more, every day.