A thriving port town located in the northeast corner of Florida, Jacksonville is a major player in the commercial, industrial, cultural, and financial sectors. An intriguing blend of people comprise Jacksonville's population where local friendliness and spirit is evident in the scores of community events happening year-round. The waterfront is the key feature of all Jacksonville tourist attractions, with the modern urban center coming in a close second. Though each of these two aspects suit unique purposes, they are two elements that unite into an equation that creates an all-encompassing destination ideal for customized Florida vacations.
There are an incredible number of attractions in Jacksonville appealing to a wide variety of interests. Jacksonville is brimming with a large number of fascinating museums relaying a wealth of information about this northeastern Florida city. The most popular museum by far is the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Following behind this city gem is Jacksonville Maritime Museum, the Museum of Southern History, and Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art. Other popular museums worth a visit during Jacksonville tours are the Hands On Children's Museum, the Jacksonville Fire Museum, and the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society.
The majority of Jacksonville attractions focus on the waterfront in one way or another. Hitting the ocean is high priority for visitors because of the diversity in things to do. Amelia Island is one of the most visited and most beautiful, places near Jacksonville. This scenic barrier island is also home to luxurious Amelia Island Plantation and Fernandina Beach. It's packed with great dining and shopping as well a host of outdoor recreation such as scuba diving, swimming, boogie boarding, sailing, and boating. Deep sea fishing charters can be arranged both from the island and from the mainland, offering anglers many memorable experiences.
Water-based attractions in Jacksonville include cruises, a wonderful avenue for exploring the city's waterfront, enjoying a unique dining experience or setting sail for some top diving and snorkeling spots. Longer cruises sailing to the Bahamas and other parts of the Caribbean are part of a steadily growing market. The Bahamas remains the number one destination via cruises from Florida. Large, well-equipped cruise ships entertain guests with nightclubs, lounges, spas, restaurants, casinos, and beautifully designed outdoor areas. If you're planning an extended stay in Florida and have explored the many attractions in Jacksonville, a cruise is an ideal way to maximize vacation time.
The number of golf courses in Florida exemplify the ruling fact that golf is one of the biggest Jacksonville tourist attractions to date. PGA championship courses designed by world-renowned course architects and players are found all around the city and across the state. Spas are also hot on the docket with Jacksonville boasting a huge array of day spas offering an abundance of treatments, including massages, skin treatments, mud baths, body scrubs, salon treatments, and much more.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Jacksonville and the surrounding area features many diverse, natural areas to explore and nature trails to hike. A handful of area state parks and forests are home to great hiking trails like Jennings State Forest and Ralph E. Simmons Memorial State Forest. Talbot Island—another barrier island—is one of the top natural attractions in Jacksonville and also a great place for camping, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. The 2,550-acre state park boasts five miles of sandy beaches and excellent fishing for seatrout, seabass, redfish, flounder, and whiting.
Closer to the heart of the city, there are scores of Jacksonville attractions to check out. One of the biggest Jacksonville tourist attractions is Jacksonville Landing, a haven for shopping and dining along St Johns River. There are also more than 300 exciting events happening at the Landing each year. The Riverwalk is another relaxing area to take a stroll, do some shopping and dining and take in scenic river views. Combining all the great Jacksonville attractions can create a hectic itinerary. Unless you have unlimited time, prioritize your activities as it can be easy to get carried away in a city packed so full of things to do.