Things To Do In Jacksonville – 10 Tourist Attractions You Should Visit

Jacksonville, Florida, is also known as the River City, and it has America’s biggest network of urban parks, with over 400 parks and gardens combined. 

10 Jacksonville (Florida) Tourist Attractions You Should Visit

Additionally, Jacksonville is known for providing a wide variety of fun and informative tourist attractions, both on the water and on land, thanks to its history and location. 

If you’re looking for a travel destination that will allow you to immerse yourself in history, science and culture while also having fun at water parks (Also check out The Best Water Parks In Texas) and zoos, Jacksonville is the place for you.

Read on to hear all about the top 10 Jacksonville tourist attractions you should visit!

10 Best Tourist Attractions In Jacksonville, Florida 

1. Downtown Jacksonville 

If you want to get a taste of Jacksonville as a whole, the first place you should visit is Downtown Jacksonville. 

This is one of the busiest areas in Jacksonville, so be prepared to encounter some crowds, but the hustle and bustle is definitely worth it considering everything the Downtown area has to offer. 

Downtown Jacksonville is the perfect place to do some shopping thanks to its unique and varied stores. 

When walking around gets tiring, there are also many restaurants and cafés to get incredible food and drinks.

Whether you want some gourmet cuisine or something more affordable, Jacksonville’s Downtown area has establishments to cater to every budget and palate. 

Just be sure to book the places you really want to try ahead of time, since Downtown Jacksonville is frequently flooded with both tourists and locals who also want a table!

2. Adventure Landing At Jacksonville Beach

Want to create a fun and family-friendly itinerary for your Jacksonville vacation? Look no further than Adventure Landing at Jacksonville Beach. 

Adventure Landing is considered the best water park in Jacksonville, and while it’s a great place to take your kids, it’s also a great place for adults to unwind and let their hair down. 

The rides themselves, such as the Lazy River and the incredible wave pool, will provide hours of fun, but young children can also enjoy the play area.

If you’re not a big fan of water rides, don’t worry, because there are plenty of other options.

For example, you can play a game of miniature golf, try your hand at go-karting, or even spend a while in the arcade trying out the different games.

3. Jacksonville Arboretum And Botanical Gardens

The Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are sometimes overlooked in favor of tourist attractions that seem more exciting, but if you’ve never visited an Arboretum before, you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have! 

We always recommend the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens to tourists in Jacksonville because the city can definitely be overwhelming at times.

This makes the Arboretum the perfect place to take a break from the fast-paced environment and enjoy some peace and quiet amongst nature. 

It’s also worth noting that the Arboretum frequently hosts events, so before you book your vacation, we suggest looking at the schedule on the attraction’s website. This way, you can plan your time in Jacksonville accordingly.

Even if there are no events booked, however, just a brief walk through one of the trails (especially the lakeside trail) can feel refreshing in the midst of a packed itinerary.

4. Ritz Theater And Museum

Do you love theater? What about jazz music? Or comedy?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you should take a look at the Ritz Theater’s schedule before you book your vacation because this theater always has something exciting to offer.

On-stage entertainment of all kinds is performed at the Ritz Theater, but if the stage isn’t your thing, the Ritz also hosts photography exhibitions and similar artistic displays. 

Don’t forget to check out the Ritz museum as well while you’re there.

A lot of people don’t even know that the Ritz has a museum since the theater itself is so famous, but if you’re interested in history, you should definitely check it out since it’s located right inside the same building.

5. Friendship Fountain

Friendship Fountain might only be a brief stop on your busy Jacksonville itinerary, but it’s still worth taking the time to see this beautiful monument in person. 

Friendship Fountain is located in St. John’s River Park, and many people head to the park specifically to see this fountain because it’s so visually stunning.

It was designed in 1963 by Taylor Hardwick, who was an architect from Jacksonville. 

Unfortunately, the fountain had to close several times between 2000 and 2011 due to corrosion.

However, it has now reopened after being renovated and there are currently plans underway for a nightly light and music show centering around the fountain. 

6. Museum Of Science And History

The Museum of Science and History is the perfect Jacksonville tourist attraction for those who want to learn more about the world around them (Check out How To Be A Responsible Tourist).

Whether you’re visiting Jacksonville alone with the aim of soaking up some history and culture, or taking a family vacation, this museum will provide hours of fun and learning. 

Parents may initially feel hesitant to take their kids to a museum on vacation in case they get bored, but there’s no risk of that at the Museum of Science and History.

In fact, the museum is specifically designed with exhibits that will appeal to children and get them curious about history and science through interaction and fun facts.

If you’re specifically interested in the science of astronomy, then be sure to check out the planetarium. Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History has the biggest single-lens planetarium in the entire world. 

7. Jacksonville Zoo

If you or your kids love animals, one of the best tourist attractions you can visit while in Jacksonville is the Jacksonville Zoo.

Jacksonville Zoo cares for a wide variety of animals, and there are gardens within the zoo where you can see some incredible exotic plants.

Some of the animal exhibits are included in tours and demonstrations, which can be booked ahead of time and allow you to see the animals close up. 

Something visitors should know about Jacksonville Zoo is that this zoo is involved in the conservation of endangered species such as lemurs.

Additionally, the zoo has a dedicated animal welfare team working to ensure that the animals are able to thrive in the best possible conditions. 

8. Museum Of Contemporary Art

Another museum we think you should visit during your time in Jacksonville is the Museum of Contemporary Art.

This is a fine art museum that displays the work of some of the best artists in recent history. Almost a thousand pieces of art are displayed in the museum on a permanent basis, and they’re not all pictures in frames.

You’ll also get to see sculptures and other unique art styles that differentiate contemporary art from other artworks through history. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville also displays some art temporarily in changing exhibits and hosts events, so be sure to check the website to see what’s going on at the museum while you’re in the city. 

9. Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island State Park is a beautiful area of Jacksonville that allows you to connect with nature and wildlife outside the confines of a garden. 

There is a hiking trail going through Little Talbot Island State Park, which goes on for 4 miles. There are even more miles of beaches (5 in total) where you can walk, relax, and take pictures of the beautiful views.

You can do more than just walk and observe at Little Talbot, though. Water sports like canoeing, swimming and surfing are accessible and there are even camping spots.

10. Cummer Museum

Our final Jacksonville tourist recommendation is another museum: Cummer Museum. The Cummer Museum is an art museum that also has some beautiful gardens for you to explore when you visit. 

There are literally thousands of art pieces displayed at this museum, and unlike the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cummer Museum shows artwork throughout history as well as modern day works. 

Once you’ve checked out the art exhibits, be sure to venture into the garden to see the fountains and sculptures on display. 

Final Thoughts 

Whether your stay in Jacksonville is a cultural solo trip or a family vacation for making memories, there’s plenty to see and do in this iconic city. 

From museums and restaurants to water parks and live music, there’s never a dull moment in Jacksonville, so start planning your itinerary today!

Alex Kallen
Scroll to Top