Featured as one of Forbes’ 20 best cities for travel this summer, Jacksonville, Florida, has no shortage of things to see and do. Sitting on the St. John’s River, this city is home to friendly neighbourhoods bustling with bars and restaurants, like Five Points and San Marco. Besides eating and drinking, there are a number of attractions in Jacksonville worth visiting. Here are a few highlights.
Don’t miss out on the chance to catch the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars play a football game at EverBank Field in downtown Jacksonville. If you love American sport, it’s worth checking in to one of the many hotels near EverBank Field to give yourself enough time to explore all that the area has to offer. This sports complex is also home to the Jackson Veterans Memorial Arena, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball grounds, and the Jacksonville Armada Football Club.
EverBank Field runs guided stadium tours upon request. Contact the stadium for further details.
Noel Morata, travel blogger at Travel Photo Discovery, recommends visiting Kingsley Plantation on Palmetto Avenue for a taste of old Florida. Kingsley Plantation is one of the few remaining well-known plantations in North Florida, and Noel describes it as an “excellent living museum and a wonderful historical site” where you can visit the home, gardens, and living quarters of the slaves who lived here in the past.
Noel also recommends, “Take the guided tour of the home interior, and then you can easily do a self tour of the rest of the property, which is really a beautiful part of the coastal areas in Jacksonville. Also, if you have the time, a nice coastal walk out to the fishing pier and visitor centre is a nice way to spend more time on the property and learn about Florida history and plantation life.” Entrance to Kingsley Plantation is free of charge.
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
A top attraction in Jacksonville, Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a charity dedicated to providing homes for endangered big cats rescued in the wild. Located on Starratt Road, the Wildlife Sanctuary looks after tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, arctic foxes, and coatimundis. The sanctuary is run entirely by volunteers, who offer guided daytime and nighttime feeding tours for guests. Admission costs $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 11.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
Perched on Riverside Avenue, the Cummer Museum was founded in 1961, when Ninah Cummer died and left her gardens and art collection to the new museum. Today, the museum boasts one of the finest art collections in the Southeast U.S., with more than 5,000 works of art that date from 2100 B.C. to the 21st century. Visitors are also welcome to explore the museum’s 2.5 acres of historic gardens, complete with reflection pools, fountains, antique ornaments, and sculptures. Don’t miss the Cummer oak, which is said to be the oldest tree in Jacksonville.
The Cummer Museum is open every day of the week except for Monday. Admission costs $10 for adults, but children under 5 can enter for free.
Ideal for Instagrammers, Friendship Fountain is an enormous circular fountain that shoots jets of water as high as 120 feet into the air. At night, the fountain is illuminated in different colours, making for a stunning scene. You can find Friendship Fountain on Museum Circle. It’s on the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk, next to the Museum of Science and History. Admission is free.
After discovering how much there is to see and do in Jacksonville, it’s easy to see why it could be one of the best cities for travel this summer. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time to fit in all the things you want to do and see!
What do you think you’d like the most about Jacksonville, Florida?
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