Florida’s rich atmosphere of humidity and ocean air isn’t for everyone, but for most of us, it’s paradise. Every once in a while I’ll get up early on a Tuesday or Wednesday and make my way down to the Jacksonville Beach Pier to get a few sets in on my surfboard, creating the best type of board meeting there is. Then I hop in the truck, after I change into my suit & tie, and charge forward down JTB like Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards scene, with hopes that there will be no absurd ‘one banger’ accidents, as I like to refer to them. The ones where there is minimal damage and six JPD cops. (By the way, what’s up with Jacksonville drivers? I swear none of them know how to merge.) We all need a release from our 9-5 lifestyle, our stay-at-home routine, or our small business management. Here are some ways to let off steam for everyone, even if they can’t spend a whole lot of money on the weekends.
I truly believe Jacksonville is one of the most affordable destinations in Florida. Jacksonville offers millennials and families the chance to have an amazing time.
Here’s 10 awesome things to do in Jacksonville. Most are free or affordable. We love to show off our city and we think we have a pretty cool hometown. Check out some of the things you can do in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Looking for a cool new spot to troll? Under a bridge in downtown Jacksonville lies one of the coolest events that happens every Saturday. Grab a beer or a homeade lemonade by the St. John’s River and fill your ears with live music, fill your stomach with awesome food and local crafts at the Riverside Arts Market. Check out out client Coin Rings By MJ while you’re there. He creates rings out of old coins and they are uniquely awesome. Livin’ The Dream Sand Creations is another booth to check out, you can create unique items out of sand to bring home as an eclectic souvenir. (They work great as presents for people that didn’t get to come with you to such a cool town, grandparents love these as gifts, and the kids get to make them all by themselves.) It’s a great experience!
- Are you a history buff? Want to learn more about Jacksonville? Learn about the heritage of Florida’s First Coast beach communities at the Beaches Museum & History Park. Gone with the Wind more your style? You can also check out Kingsley Plantation, the oldest Plantation house in Florida. While you’re here, you’ve got to check out Fort Caroline National Memorial in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve where families can explore a replica fort built by the first European settler’s and artifacts from the days of the Timucuan Indians.
- The best thing about our area is the beaches, pure and simple. Spend the day at Jacksonville Beach, building sandcastles and hunting for sharks teeth. Ask locals for ideas on where to look for teeth, me personally? I really like how Shark Teeth Hunters does it. They have a program for the whole family to learn how to find shark’s teeth. Give them a call, 904-206-7494, when we went we found like twenty teeth! Super fun and inexpensive.
- More of an outdoor, adventurer type? Bike the trails over at Fowler Regional Park. This place has some pretty in-depth history. First leased by the Navy, then a councilwoman by the name of Tillie Fowler began to push the county to decelop the land. Remnants of an 16-foot wide brick road linked Ortega to Jacksonville and can be found all over the park. The road is dated roughly around 1917 but was heavily used when Camp Johnston was built for preparations to train American troops during World War I. Go for a hike and explore Jacksonville’s green areas at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens.
- Is art your thing? Do you like unique, eclectic gifts to bring home to your family while also supporting local artists? Visit dozens of local galleries during ArtWalk every first Wednesday of the month, they turn out some pretty cool stuff.
- Take a tour of local breweries and enjoy a free beer tasting, try The Green Room or Engine 15.
- Ride the Jacksonville Skyway. It connects the Southbank’s Museum of Science and History and Friendship Fountain with the Northbank’s Jacksonville Landing in downtown Jacksonville.
- Animal lover? It can be a little pricey, but what can you expect with a place dedicated to rescued lions and tigers, but no bears. It even houses Michael Jackson’s lion! Say hello the The Catty Shack. Better than a zoo, this place is special, especially for cat lovers. The Catty Shack houses 29 leopards, cougars and tigers. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of God’s most majestic creatures. It’s a non-profit, as well, so look at it as a donation!
- Tour Sally Corporation, makers of animatronics and dark rides. Tours are offered hourly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-1 p.m. (every month except July & August). Tours are FREE of charge but you must make a reservation.
- Technology and architecture? Yes please! Friendship Fountain located on the Southbank of Downtown Jacksonville is a perfect spot day or night for a photo op. While you’re there check out the beautiful views and take in the skyline. While you’re there go grab a drink at River City Brewing, where you can even bring fido along.
None of this was paid for, this was all strictly my opinion.