Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Top 10 things to do in Jacksonville While On Vacation

I have been reading various questions online about what people should do when they visit Jacksonville, Florida for vacation. Whenever my husband and I have guest visits, I go online and try to see what others recommend. I found TripAdvisor to be helpful but lacked the local touch. So here is my insider tips based on my family/friends opinions that have visited Jacksonville:

1. St. Augustine - I know what you are thinking, why is the top item on what to do in Jacksonville not really in Jacksonville :) Well Jacksonville is the largest city in size in Florida. This means that to go from one point of interest to another it can take you up to 30/45 minutes. Which is how long it will take you to get from Duval County Jacksonville to St Augustine (the oldest continuously occupied European established city, and the oldest port, in the continental United States) so I consider it part of the Jacksonville package. You can spend an entire 3/4 day vacation just in St Augustine if you do all the tours and points of interest. But even if you decide to go cheap and just walk around this place is great. You should park near the main gates of St. George Street and leads you through the historical area. There are signs everywhere so you should not miss any of the main highlights. Great place for little shops, restaurants as well as historic sites. The fort is pretty cool too. More Info
2.Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens - if you have kids, are just a kid at heart or just love animals this is not a zoo you want to miss. I have been to zoos all over the country including the very large and famous San Diego zoo but I think this one is the best in human/animal interaction. You get to see large animals up close including my favorites the giraffes, elephants and monkeys. They generally have discounts too so check out their website before you go. Jacksonville Zoo
3. St. Johns Town Center - Great place for shopping. You can spend a whole day going from the big box stores like DSW (great shoes) to expensive brand names like Louis Vuitton (great bags) while snacking at their large array of restaurants and ice cream shops. For ice cream I recommend Kilwins near Pf Changs. For frozen yogurt there is a new place just opened called Mochi Frozen Yogurt(they let you try out their favored yogurts.. yum). They are located near Toys R Us and Best Buy. Here are some reviews from it on yelp Insider tip: they charge by weight so be careful what you put in that bowl :)
4. Little Talbot Island State Park - There is a great trail on here that winds four miles through five distinct natural communities, including maritime hammock, beach dune, and depression marsh and finishes its last mile and a quarter with a breathtaking stroll on the sandy beach. My husband and I have done it several and always seen some wildlife. A leisurely stroll will take you about 2.5 hours and we recommend it anytime between August and March. I find it gets pretty hot in the summer. Bring water bottles :)
5. Atlantic Beach/Jacksonville Beach- Both of these beaches have a great area to walk around, relax on the beach, eat at the near by restaurants and always have something going on.
6. MOSH - This is a great spot if you have kids. I find the exhibit fun and more geared towards kids then adults. For Hours and Pricing
7. The Landing - it is located right next to the river and the outside river area is pretty fun to walk around and get good views of downtown Jacksonville waterfront. I would recommend to do this in the day time if you have kids because the area turns into more of a party zone at night.
8. Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens - I have never been here myself but some of my friends were visiting me and went down here and had a good time. It is free on Tuesdays.
9. Amelia Island/FERNANDINA - This is about 1 hour away from Jacksonville and is only recommended for people who like antiquing and little shops. My husband and I went there one day, it is not something we would do again, but we took one of my aunts up there when she was visiting and she had a blast. So depends on the person here.
10. Mellow Mushroom - This is more than a restaurant and I think it deserves a placement in the top 10 things to do in Jacksonville. This is great for people of all ages that love pizza. They have great quality pizza with a fun atmosphere for kids in the daytime and live music, addictive beer samplers in the night time :) I have gone here with my girlfriends, family and on a date with my husband and it has always been memorable. Great Food makes a Great Vacation!!

1 comment:

  1. Mochi is great! Totally recommend that.