Spring break is here and you’re wondering just what to do with the kids in Jacksonville. With a city that spans the entirety of Duval County, there’s just about always going to be something of interest. From the Jacksonville Zoo to numerous family friendly beaches, Jacksonville has plenty in terms of spring break things that will be perfect to do with the kids.
Visit Jacksonville’s Beaches
Ok, so the beach is a little bit on the nose isn’t it? Jacksonville is home to a number of fantastic beaches. I’ll break a few down here for you. You can then figure out what beach you and your kids might be most interested in checking out!
- Jacksonville Beach: Our city’s namesake beach is home to the Jacksonville Beach Pier, long stretches of coastline, and plenty of restaurants that you’ll be able to grab lunch at. If the kids are interested in surfing, swimming, or taking off down the beach with the family dog, Jacksonville Beach is a great option. (Dogs do need to be on-leash!)
- Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park: Hanna Park is a local oceanfront park that has become known as a hotspot for surfing over the years. Your kids might be interested in the splash park and the picnic area that can be found in the park. With a 1.5 mile beach, Hanna Park is a great option if you don’t want to brave the bigger crowds that are often at Jacksonville Beach.
- Huguenot Memorial Park: Looking for something a bit more unique for the kids? Huguenot’s beach allows you to drive out onto the beach! The kids will love the drive across the sand and it does make for easy unloading of any beach gear you’ve brought with you.
For any of the beaches you decide to check out, there may be differences in when lifeguards are on duty. Be sure to check for a specific beach’s schedule online. Read more about our favorite Jacksonville beaches here.
Looking to get out of the house and maybe tire the kids out some? The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens may be the perfect option. Free to the public with a suggest $3 donation, the Arboretum is home to gardens and walking trails that get you and the kids right into nature. Trails range from the longest being 1 mile long to shorter trails of 0.1 and 0.2 miles.
A popular trail to get started is the Lake Loop trail. It circles around the two-acre lake and is the first trail that you’ll come across at the Arboretum. Gardens dot this trail that have been planted and maintained by volunteers and the Lake Loop trail is excellent to get the kids interested in the nature you’ll find at the Arboretum over spring break!
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a favorite place to visit for tourists and locals alike. They have a number of kid and family programs that are available throughout the year. But for a fun spring break trip with the kids, there are still plenty of everyday things to check out. Open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., the zoo does require that reservations are made in advance due to COVID-19.
Once you have a reservation in place, here are some kid-specific things to check out during your visit! The Wild Family workshops are all about exploring and learning together as a family. Meant for kids 4+ years old, all participants will learn and explore about animals through hands-on activities. Other highlights for the kids will include the 11 areas of the zoo with a variety of animals, the carousel, and the train that goes through the zoo. The play park and the 4,000 square foot Splash Ground will be especially fun for the kids where they can explore the Forest Play Area and get up close and personal with animals like the West African pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goats.
Catty Shack Ranch is a nonprofit organization based in Jacksonville that provides a safe home to endangered big cats. With a mission to educate the public on the big cats that they care for, Catty Shack Ranch is a great option for kids that love animals. Daytime tours are offered on site every afternoon. The afternoon tours include a guided walking tour where you will get to see Catty Shack residents like tigers, lions, leopards, and foxes.
Once the guided tour is over, you are able to wander the ranch on your own. This option is great for kids that want to learn more about big cats and it’s a fun option for the whole family. Daytime tours leave the main gate every 30 minutes from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Do your kids love animals? Check out our 6 favorite animal encounters in Jacksonville.
If you’re looking for some way to cool off with the kids during spring break, the Jacksonville Ice and Sportsplex public skating sessions are perfect. Regularly scheduled public ice skating is offered year round, every day of the week. Family Fun Night, where skating is only $7 a person (admission and skate rental included) is every Tuesday night from 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Matinee skating is also available Monday – Friday with other times available on the weekends.
With a welcoming atmosphere to skaters of all levels and skill, the public ice skating sessions are a fun way to escape some of the heat that comes with spring break and the Florida weather.
Whether your kids are animal lovers, looking for some swim time or interested in being outside, Jacksonville has a number of different things for the whole family to check out over spring break.