The “Sunshine State of Florida,” or Jacksonville, is known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and expansive coastline. It is understandable why this Florida city seduces tourists. Jacksonville’s strategic proximity to other Florida treasures, as well as the intriguing locations nearby, contribute to the city’s popularity. In order to make your vacation to Florida in the US as epic as possible, it is advised that you extend your stay by a few extra days and visit all the locations listed below.
Best Places to Visit Near Jacksonville FL
Here are a few of the top Jacksonville area attractions that may be seen in a single day. You can include more locations in your Florida travel schedule because they are all fantastic.
1. Amelia Island
Amelia Island, which is only 30 miles from Jackson, is a stunning, tranquil location with glistening white sand beaches and lush green trees. It is one of the best locations close to Jacksonville, Florida, due to the abundance of the natural world.
On the northeastern part of the island is Fernandina Beach, which is known for its scenic shorelines, opulent resorts, and expansive golf courses. The fact that there are celebrations and activities taking place all year round makes it another excellent attraction close to Jacksonville.
2. Springs at Ichetucknee
One of the most breathtaking places to visit close to Jacksonville where you may spend the entire day in the outdoors is Ichetucknee Springs.
The enticingly lovely springs are the ideal place to escape the rush of city life and simply take in the peace and charm of the surroundings. Enjoy the thrilling activity of cave diving while you’re there at the Blue Hole Springs, the biggest of the Ichetucknee.
3. Park Blue Springs State
Drive yourself to Blue Springs State Park if you’re looking for accommodations close to the Jacksonville airport so that you may start your journey as soon as you land. The 2,600 acres of beautiful, undeveloped terrain are certainly visually alluring.
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It is about a two-hour trip from Jacksonville and gets a lot of visitors during the summer when they want to go kayaking and canoeing. The West Indian manatees are another charming addition to the environment. Blue Spring State Park is most enjoyable from November through March.
A modest, old-fashioned town called Palatka is located about an hour’s drive from Jacksonville. This location is a must-see on your Florida vacation because of the old town charm, superbly kept mansions, and historic churches.
When visiting Palatka, travel back in time, preferably to the 1800s, when time stood still. The Palatka Mural Tour is the greatest way to experience Palatka’s burgeoning art industry and lively culture. Visit Ravines State Garden Park for a dose of nature and adventure.
Gainsville has a youthful, energetic charm that makes it one of the top tourist destinations near Jacksonville.
This is made possible by the fact that the University of Florida is located there. Gainsville is also a fantastic destination for those who enjoy the outdoors because it is home to many state parks and natural attractions where you can see a wide variety of flora and wildlife. For the massive sinkholes, go to Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park.
One of the intriguing locations close to Jacksonville is Tampa, which you shouldn’t skip seeing while traveling through Florida. It is one of the most visited cities in the US and is situated on the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous beaches offer great opportunities for fishing and indulging in fresh seafood.
While there, be sure to visit Indian Rock Beach and Clearwater Beach. You should definitely visit this location if you appreciate seaside vistas and a marine-focused way of life.
7. Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
Local philanthropist Ninah May Holden Cummer wished to establish “a center of beauty and culture” in Jacksonville. She sadly passed away prior to the 1961 debut of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. The gift she left the city and its tourists, however, will last forever.
8. The wildlife refuge at Catty Shack Ranch
This nonprofit organization’s laudable goal is to inform the public about the risks of keeping large cats as pets and the problems they face from things like shifting weather patterns, pollution, dwindling habitats, and human hunters.
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All of the animals living here were brought here by owners who were unable to properly care for them; none of them have ever been purchased, sold, or exchanged.
9. The Kingsley Plantation
You can travel back in time to the Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island, which is east of the city. This is a fine illustration of a stately Southern estate from the antebellum era—a way of life that, happily, perished with the Confederacy.
There are about 25 abandoned slave huts, a plantation house, a kitchen house, a barn, and other structures. The plantation’s owner, Zephaniah Kingsley, eventually wed a slave who went on to become a prosperous businesswoman and property owner. However, she and her family were forced to relocate to what is now the Dominican Republic due to discrimination.
10. Visit the State Parks on the Talbot Islands
Just a short drive up the picturesque A1A roadway from downtown Jacksonville, Little Talbot Island State Park and Big Talbot Island State Park provide for an enjoyable Florida Atlantic coast vacation. Directly after passing through both parks, the route crosses a bridge over Nassau Sound to bring you to the similarly beautiful Amelia Island.
Jacksonville, Florida, also referred to as “Jax” locally, is the meeting point between the South and the North. The prideful tradition of southern gentility, neighborliness, and gastronomy continues today. Although this city has a rich cultural and historical past, there are still plenty of contemporary sites and activities to enjoy.
However, despite the big office buildings and high-rise buildings in the city, the locals still firmly hold onto small-town ideals. The contrasts are perhaps more striking and startling than anywhere else in Florida.