Although Jacksonville, Florida is mainly known for being the largest landmass city in the United States and having booming growth, this city in North Florida has a lot to offer for travelers. It’s also the location of the Georgia-Florida rivalry football game every year.
With scrumptious foods to eat, exciting things to do, and unique places to stay, Jacksonville, Florida should be on your must-visit list. If time allows, explore nearby areas like Amelia Island.
Things to Do in Jacksonville
Beaches- Jacksonville is known for three main beaches – Neptune, Atlantic, and Jacksonville. All are great, but parking can be a pain, so head over early to snag a spot in the morning. I recommend Neptune Beach because it has an adorable downtown area. You can also go south to Guana Preserve for more privacy. Visit on a Best of the Beach E-Bike Tour for even more fun.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens– If you are bringing kids on your weekend trip, head over to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to experience their interactive exhibits with tigers, gorillas, giraffes, and more!
Downtown Arts Market– Every Saturday, there is an art walk in downtown Jacksonville, and it is the perfect way to explore the city, meet locals, and do some shopping. Afterward, you can stroll along the river and look for manatees which can often be spotted in the water.
Burnt Glassworks– We have all watched the amazing glass blowing videos and found ourselves mesmerized. Well, now you can do it yourself! Burnt Glassworks offers classes and workshops of many kinds where you can make your own art piece.
Timucan Preserve– With plenty of trails, beaches, fishing areas, and historic areas, the Timucan Preserve is the perfect place to spend a day in Jacksonville. It is comprised of six different parks, all with unique features, but I recommend Big Talbot Island, which has the most to offer.
Manifest Distillery– Downtown’s only craft distillery produces organic spirits like vodka, gin, and whiskey. They offer tours of the facility and sales of their products.
Where to Eat in Jacksonville
Maple Street Biscuit Company– A perfect place for breakfast or brunch, Maple Street has started to expand into other areas, but it all started here in Jacksonville, Florida. Friendly workers paired with fresh-squeezed orange juice and biscuits covered in gravy will leave you happy and dying to come back the next day. 410 Third Street North, (904) 853-5688
Treylor Park– With only two locations, Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, Treylor park has a retro vibe. Take A1A down from the beaches through Ponte Vedra and dine at Treylor Park in Nocatee, a golf cart community. I recommend the Treylor Park Nachos. 158 Marketside Ave Unit 10, (904) 834-7356
Happy Grilled Cheese– This started as a food truck, but now has permanent buildings and is the perfect quick comfort food. Happy Grilled Cheese puts a unique twist on a classic grilled cheese sandwich where you can get anything from smores to macaroni and cheese on your sandwich. 219 North Hogan Street, (904) 423-0318
Woodpeckers BBQ– Although you will have to drive south to get this BBQ, it is completely worth it. It is the definition of a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant that you know will be amazing as soon as you park. Make sure to get there early though, because when the food runs out, it’s gone for the day! To read more about Woodpecker’s click here. 4930 SR-13, (904) 531-5670
Angie’s Subs– Another amazing local place in Jacksonville, you will not discover a better sandwich. Located in the beaches area, you will not have to drive far to get this savory delight. All of their sandwiches are amazing, but you can’t beat their classic Peruvian Sub. 1436 Beach Boulevard, (904) 246-2519
Where to Stay in Jacksonville
Ponte Vedra Inn and Club– Are you wanting to spoil and pamper yourself? Although high in pricing, The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is stunning and for those looking for luxury. 200 Ponte Vedra Boulevard, (888) 839-9145
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa– This incredible Marriott property in Ponte Vedra is a luxurious retreat, especially for those that enjoy teeing off and relaxing. It’s also the site of major golf events like the Players Championship. 1000 PGA Tour Boulevard, (904) 285-7777
The Fig Tree Inn– Traveling with a big group? The Fig Tree Inn is perfect for you as it rents as an entire house. It can sleep up to 14 people with its six rooms and is only 1.5 blocks from Jacksonville Beach. 412 2nd Street South, (904) 372-4505
One Ocean Resort and Spa– In Atlantic Beach, you have the alluring, luxurious One Ocean Resort and Spa located on the beach. Bring your fur babies as the resort is pet friendly and take advantage of the free bikes available to cruise around the area. 1 Ocean Beach Boulevard, (904) 249-7402
Riverdale Inn– Leave the beaches behind and stay in the city at Riverdale Inn, located in the Riverside neighborhood downtown. It is the epitome of charm and just blocks away from many things to do in the area like the Downtown Arts Market. 1521 Riverside Avenue, (904) 359-5080
Hotel Indigo Jacksonville-Deerwood Park– One of the few boutique hotels in Jacksonville, this property is located between downtown and the beaches. Enjoy king and double rooms. 9840 Tapestry Park Circle, (904) 996-7199
Rentals- Jacksonville also has unique rentals. Music fans can stay at the Van Zant House, where both .38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd were formed, or a cozy Ponte Vedra beach retreat. Or enjoy this sunny Hilltop Cottage. Get a discount on your first Airbnb stay.
About the Author: Laurel McDaniel grew up in Alabama and now resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and tiny pup, Maple. Laurel is the owner of Rose Colored Wandering, a travel and lifestyle blog focused on travel in the Southeast United States. Laurel takes her knowledge of the southeast to produce travel guides, restaurant and hotel reviews, and more on her blog. When she is not planning for her next adventure, she is teaching math at the local high school, reading the next best novel, or doing yoga. You can follow along on her adventures on her blog, Instagram, and Pinterest.
All photos are property of the author.