Jacksonville can turn a couch potato into a sun goddess.
1 of 9Tom Schifanella
Catch a Vacation
Say hello to one of the best vacation spots in Florida. From surfing and parasailing to kayaking and mountain biking, you can do it all—on your choice of terrain or waterway—a stone’s throw from a thriving urban center. Here are some attractions guaranteed to make you pack your rollerblades, fins, running shoes, and yoga pants and head to Jacksonville, FL.
2 of 9Ryan Ketterman
Fishing and surfing are always on the itinerary at the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier, but you’ll also spot kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) in the water. According to Jax Beach’s website, the pier had to close because of damage from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, but about half it—625 feet of its quarter-mile length—reopened in March of this year. Local outfitters can set you up with rental equipment for fishing and watersports.
3 of 9Ryan Ketterman
Joggers love hitting this beach at low tide, but it’s also great for a little sunrise yoga. Give yourself time to stop at Seagate Avenue and watch the surfers.
4 of 9Tom Schifanella
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
“The Poles,” which mark the barrier between Hanna Park and Naval Station Mayport, also mark a popular spot for surfers, but that’s not all you can do here. Hanna Park has 1.5 miles of beach and 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. Bikers can pedal through 450 acres of natural woods and dunes, with off-road trails for all skill levels.
5 of 9Ryan Ketterman
Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve
Choose your adventure—from hiking and biking to kayaking and yoga paddleboarding—in this preserve with 46,000 acres of wetlands. You can even book an eco-tour or a “full moon meditation paddle trip.”
6 of 9Ryan Ketterman
Big Talbot Island State Park and Little Talbot Island State Park are popular for hiking, kayaking, beachcombing, and surfing. They’re also teeming with wildlife. Little Talbot is one of the few undeveloped barrier islands left in this part of Florida. You’ll find a section of the paved, multi-use Timucuan Trail on each of these islands.
7 of 9Ryan Ketterman
Kids and adults can enjoy biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding downtown’s 3-mile Riverwalk.
8 of 9Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union
Huguenot Memorial Park
Fort George Inlet, the St. Johns River, and the Atlantic Ocean provide plenty of waterfront views. Locals have nicknamed the park the “Big Jetties” because of the jetty rocks that guide ships at the mouth of the St. Johns River. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
9 of 9Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
This abandoned railroad corridor is now a paved, 14.5-mile multi-use trail stretching from Jacksonville to Baldwin, Florida. An equestrian trail runs alongside the pavement, so you can travel the Jackson-Baldwin on foot, wheels, or horseback.