Are you looking for something new and fun to do with the kids in Jacksonville this summer? Look no further – we’ve got 50 great ideas that are sure to keep the whole family entertained! From outdoor activities like exploring fishing docks or having a picnic at big-city parks, to indoor, air-conditioned options like visiting libraries and museums, our list has something for everyone. Get ready for some quality bonding time with your little ones as you explore all that Jacksonville has to offer.
At 875 square miles, Jacksonville is Florida’s largest city and it’s chock-full of activities for families. It’s known as the First Coast and has more than 1,100 miles of waterfront, the most of any Florida city. Whether it’s historical landmarks you can’t find anywhere else, unique animal encounters or endless beaches, there’s always something fun to do in the 904. Even better, its tropical summers and mild winters make it a year-round destination. Get ready for an unforgettable trip to this vibrant city!
TIP: KIDS FREE NOVEMBER
Take advantage of a fantastic offer that allows kids 12 and under to enjoy an array of exciting local attractions absolutely free (with a paying adult, of course). From the thrilling wildlife encounters at the Jacksonville Zoo to the fascinating exhibitions at the Cummer Museum and many others.
Best Attractions in Jacksonville, Florida, for Families
1. Catty Shack Ranch
The No. 1 Jacksonville, Florida activity on TripAdvisor! For a different kind of adventure, take your kids to Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. Home to lions, tigers, cougars, leopards and more big cats — as well as other animals like foxes and bears — this sanctuary offers an up-close view of some of nature’s most majestic creatures. There are holiday-themed events and special programming like camping or yoga with the tigers. Admission comes with a free T-shirt and a guided tour around the sanctuary.
2. The Jacksonville Zoo
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a must-see for any family visiting Jacksonville. With over 2,000 animals from around the world, the zoo also features interactive experiences like the ZOOm Air Adventure Park, where kids can zipline through the trees and get an up-close look at some of the animals.
3. Tree Hill Nature Center
Families looking for something different should check out Tree Hill Nature Center. This city park boasts over 200 acres of wetlands and forests with plenty of hiking trails where you can explore nature together.
4. Timucuan Preserve
Nestled snugly within Florida’s diverse ecosystems lies a sprawling 46,000-acre coastal wetland preserve that beckons lovers of nature and history alike. Known for its historical Kingsley Plantation, the oldest plantation house in Florida, and the Fort Caroline National Monument – a replica built by the first European settlers, there is much to explore and learn within this expansive area. For the adventurous, exciting activities like off-road biking and hiking trails offer an adrenaline-pumping option, while the more leisurely beach area invites visitors to wade into its inviting waters for swimming or cruise the waves via kayaking or canoeing.
Top Jacksonville, Florida Museums for Kids
5. Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
Afterward, take your kids on a self-guided tour of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens — home to one of the largest collections of works by American artists between 1800-1945 in the Southeast U.S., plus beautiful gardens that are perfect for picnicking or just relaxing together.
Get ready to dive into the past and explore the future at Jacksonville’s Museum of Science & History (MOSH). Nestled in the heart of Downtown’s scenic Southbank, MOSH invites you to discover the rich cultural and environmental heritage of Northeast Florida. With hands-on exhibits that engage all your senses and the mesmerizing, world-renowned Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, get ready to be transported on a journey through time and space. Whether you’re a history buff or a science geek, MOSH is the perfect destination for an exciting and educational adventure.
7. The Hands On Children’s Museum
Looking for a fun and engaging way to get your kids curious and imaginative? Look no further than the Hands On Children’s Museum, a playful and interactive learning environment where kids and families can learn and grow together through creative problem-solving, role-playing, and more. With hands-on exhibits and activities for kids of all ages, it’s the perfect place to encourage observation, inquiry, and discovery.
8. Eartha MM White Museum
So, picture this: it’s 1904 in Jacksonville, Florida, and a former slave named Clara English White decides she’s had enough of poverty in her neighborhood. She starts up the Clara White Mission, a place where folks in need can get a hot meal and some much-needed help. Fast forward to today, and now we have the Eartha M.M. White Museum – a spot that celebrates both Clara and her daughter, Dr. Eartha White, and all the amazing things they did for the community. Come learn about these two trailblazers and the lasting impact they left on Jacksonville.
9. James E. Merrill Museum House Jacksonville Historical Society
Step back in time and experience life in Jacksonville during the turn of the 20th century at the James E. Merrill Museum House. This rare gem, located in the heart of Downtown, offers a fully furnished glimpse into a typical middle-class family’s life in 1903. And you won’t find anything else like it in Northeast Florida! Want to take a tour? You’ll need to make an appointment first, but trust us, it’s worth it to see this historical treasure up close.
10. Beaches Museum
Get ready to dive deep into the fascinating past of Beaches. The Beaches Museum is your ticket to unlocking the history and culture of this incredible community. Explore their interactive and informative exhibits that let you travel back in time and see the Beaches in a whole new light.
11. Durkeeville Historical Society
Come explore the vibrant and significant history of Durkeeville, a community founded during the era of segregation in Jacksonville. Filled with colorful personalities, landmarks, and local lore, Durkeeville has a rich cultural heritage that still resonates today. Thanks to the Durkeeville Historical Society, you can experience this fascinating story firsthand through exhibits and artifacts that illuminate the past and celebrate the enduring spirit of this remarkable community.
12. Museum of Southern History
This educational facility takes visitors on a journey from the Native American era to current times, with an emphasis on the American Revolution and Civil War. They pride themselves on historical accuracy and are committed to presenting the cultural lifestyle of the Antebellum South. Get ready to step back in time and discover the challenges and triumphs that shaped America into the nation it is today.
13. The Kingsley Plantation
This historic estate, located within the beautiful Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about local history and African-American heritage. Wander through the former plantation’s home, kitchen, barns, and tour the 23 historic slave cabins, maintained by the National Parks Service.
14. Norman Studios
Step back in time and discover the rich history of Norman Studios – a hidden gem located in Jacksonville’s charming Old Arlington neighborhood. Founded in 1916 as Eagle Film City and later purchased by film producer Richard E. Norman in 1921, Norman Studios is a stunning silent film studio complex that once hosted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Today, the studio is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the silent film era, while driving education, research, and tourism to the film industry.
15. Sweet Pete’s Candy
Sweet Pete’s not only handcrafts the most delicious chocolates you’ll ever taste, but they also offer over a thousand different types of candies. And the best part? Their new location isn’t just a store, it’s a whole sweet universe! With a fully functioning factory, three huge retail areas, a restaurant/bar, and an ice cream parlor, Sweet Pete’s even has an event center perfect for children’s field trips, catered events, and birthday parties.
16. Top Golf Jacksonville
Get ready for an exciting day of golfing fun with your family at Top Golf Jacksonville. The climate-controlled atmosphere will make sure you can enjoy the game comfortably throughout the year. Plus, you can also try your hand at mini golf, with 14 holes to test your skills. Plan your visit during the day with your kids – it’s cheaper during the day and easier to get a bay.
17. Adventure Landing
We spent our summer afternoons at Adventure Landing as kids, so we know – it’s the best place to visit as a kid! Sail away to Shipwreck Island Waterpark, Northeast Florida’s largest water park, featuring four thrilling water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a Splash Cove for little ones, and the Pirate’s Play Village for older kids. Adventure Landing also offers laser tag, Gator Alley, miniature golf, arcade games, and go-karts—enough to keep the whole family entertained for an entire day of fun in the sun.
Keep in mind that Adventure Landing is set for demolition in late 2023, so you have to get there while you can!
18. iFly Indoor Skydiving
Located next door to Top Golf along I-295, iFly Indoor Skydiving is the ultimate thrill… well, almost. This activity uses vertical wind tunnels to simulate the sensation of flying like a bird. It’s on the pricier side but it’s an incredible birthday gift for the adventurous kid (or kid-at-heart) in your life.
With 10 awesome indoor attractions to explore, such as laser tag and an open jump arena, you’ll never run out of fun things to do at Bravoz. With 40,000 square feet of space to play, dine and make memories, Bravoz has you covered for birthdays, group outings, date nights or just some good old-fashioned family fun.
Things for Teenagers to do In Jacksonville, Florida
Thrill-seekers will love Autobahn – European style indoor go-karting! The ultimate karting experience awaits at an impressive 80,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility, Florida’s largest completely indoor karting setup. Two Grand Prix style tracks offer two distinctive racing experiences, with high-speed electric Italian pro-karts inspired by F1, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. This upscale facility boasts the latest technology to guarantee an unforgettable racing experience every time.
21. Stumpy’s Hatchet House
Step right up and join in on the fun with Axe Throwing at Stumpy’s Hatchet House, located in the charming and historic neighborhood of Jacksonville. Take part in the Social Throwdown and see if you have what it takes to hit your targets with accuracy and precision. Come experience a unique and exciting activity for both locals and visitors alike.
22. Mountain Biking at Hanna Park
Discover a hidden gem for mountain biking at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Take on the challenging and adrenaline-fueled “Grunt,” “Misery,” and “Tornado Alley” trails for a wild adventure beneath the forest canopy. Plus, beginners can also enjoy several easier trails. Who knew Florida had mountain biking like this?
23. Jumbo Shrimp Baseball Game
Experience the nostalgia of baseball’s golden era with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at 121 Financial Park. From April to August, gather your loved ones for a thrilling game featuring an abundance of exciting promotions and magical fireworks displays every Friday night. Transport yourself to a bygone era as you take in the beautifully designed 11,000-seat ballpark, complete with skyboxes, skydecks, HD screens, and a Tikki Bar while the local AA team takes on their rivals.
24. Jacksonville Sharks Arena Football
Get ready to witness the electrifying force of two-time national champions, the Jacksonville Sharks, as they dominate the Arena Football field. Head down to downtown and get your game face on for an afternoon of heart-pumping action, unstoppable touchdowns, and bone-crunching tackles. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the sport, the Sharks will astound you with their unparalleled skill and determination. So grab a friend, purchase those tickets, and prepare yourself for an experience you won’t soon forget. Let’s go Sharks!
25. Jacksonville Icemen
Get ready to feel the ice beneath your skates and the rush of cold air as the Jacksonville Icemen hit the rink in Florida. These fierce hockey players make up a minor league team in the ECHL, starting their careers with a bang in the 2017-18 season. When their skates hit the ice at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the crowds go wild, watching in awe as each player expertly navigates the fast-paced game.
26. Jacksonville Axemen
With a whopping 2,500 fans per home game, this event is a must-see in Jacksonville. Playgrounds such as UNF soccer fields come alive with the energy of the game, but there’s more than just rugby on the menu. From concession stands to $1 beers, halftime giveaways to team merchandise, the Axemen know how to keep their fans hyped up. Not familiar with rugby rules? No problem! Complimentary programs are available to help you learn the game. After the game, players make sure to greet fans and snap some photos, making autograph collecting an unforgettable experience for kids.
27. Southbank River Walk
Embark on a picturesque stroll along the 1.25-mile paved path along the iconic St. John’s River, famously known for its northward flow. While basking in the mesmerizing views of the city skyline, capture stunning snaps of the sunset that will leave you in awe! Don’t forget to keep a lookout for manatees and dolphins, frequently found frolicking in the river.
Experience the mesmerizing and reflective art installation, “Mirrored River: Where Do You See Yourself?” located beneath the Main Street Bridge. With its 64-foot stretch of mirrored, ceramic, and glass tiles, along with pebbles, this piece forms a stunning satellite image of the St. Johns River – a sight not to be missed, especially during sunset. This creative installation allows visitors to lose themselves and ponder their place in the world amidst the beauty of the city’s natural surroundings.
28. Riverside Arts Market
Experience the lively Riverside Arts Market every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., brought to you by the talented team at Riverside Avondale Preservation, Inc. Come rain or shine, explore the diverse offerings of RAM, including a diverse array of small businesses, from skillful artists to purveyors of fresh produce to skilled creators and bakers. There’s something for everyone at RAM – come see what the buzz is all about!
29. Jacksonville Farmer’s Market
Join the nearly one million visitors per year to witness the remarkable history and array of fresh produce, herbs, and local delights at the Jacksonville Farmers Market. This iconic, open-air marketplace has been in operation for over 80 years, earning the prestigious title of being Florida’s oldest and longest-standing farmers market. Take a leisurely stroll through the more than 200 vendor stalls offering everything from delectable Mayport shrimp, to beautiful handcrafted goods created by local artisans. When hunger strikes, be sure to visit Andy’s Farmers Market Grill for a delicious meal. Conveniently located just one mile from Downtown, this historic market is the perfect spot to soak up the local flavor and take a piece of Jacksonville home with you.
Outdoor activities for kids in Jacksonville, Florida
30. Fort Caroline National Memorial
Come explore the fascinating history of Fort Caroline National Memorial, nestled in Jacksonville’s charming Arlington neighborhood along the picturesque St. Johns River. Step into the past with a visit to the replica fort and discover the intriguing stories of early exploration, religious conflict, and cultural interaction between American Indians and Europeans. Don’t forget to check out the Visitor Center and museum, both brimming with knowledge and insight into the Timucuan Preserve.
31. Hanna Park
Welcome to Hanna Park, a tranquil 450-acre beach park nestled alongside the Atlantic Ocean. For only $5, you and your family can enjoy a delightful day of sun and sand. But why not make it an overnight adventure? The park also offers camping facilities so you can wake up to stunning sunrises and experience the beauty of nature firsthand. In addition to the beach, there is plenty to keep you and your little ones entertained, including a fun splash pad and biking and hiking trails. For the more adventurous, surfing and kayaking are also available. Come enjoy the affordable, family-friendly atmosphere of Hanna Park.
32. Mickler’s Landing
Don’t miss this favorite local spot – Mickler’s Landing. Just don’t make the mistake of mispronouncing it! Locals know it’s “Mike-lers.” This beach is a favorite for its peaceful atmosphere and top-notch amenities. With plenty of parking, restrooms, and showers conveniently located by the lot, beachgoers can spend their day soaking in the sun without a worry. But the real hidden treasure of Mickler’s Landing is its shark-tooth hunting opportunities. It’s a great spot to search for these prehistoric treasures and take home a unique souvenir from your visit.
33. Little Talbot Island
Little Talbot State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise, covering a vast area of 2,500 acres and consisting of over five miles of stunning beaches. It’s the ideal spot for anyone looking to immerse themselves in outdoor activities such as beachcombing, surfing, camping, fishing, and hiking. Check out the Junior Ranger and Hike and Seek programs for an interactive experience. The park’s breathtaking scenery and programs offer an exciting opportunity for anyone to explore and discover the beauty of nature.
34. Big Talbot Island
Right next to its sister park, Little Talbot Island, sits Big Talbot Island State Park. It is most famous for its Boneyard Beach, where kids of all ages love climbing the giant driftwood “bones” that have washed ashore. Big Talbot Island is a true nature’s playground!
35. Jax Beach Fishing Pier
After being ravaged by a hurricane, this quarter-mile-long pier has been reborn and awaits your visit. Take a stroll or cast a line for a small fee, with a slightly higher fee for anglers. And if you want to introduce your little ones to fishing, come on one of the license-free saltwater fishing days. Enjoy the view of the ocean while you make some memories on this rebuilt beauty.
36. James Weldon Johnson Park
Welcome to James Weldon Johnson Park, the vibrant beating heart of Jacksonville! Wander through the park’s lively Kids Zone and venture through the MOSH mouth, an entrance that will leave your littles ones with a grin from ear to ear! The gigantic head sculpture, once part of MOSH’s body exhibit, is a quirky and fun introduction to the wonders that lie within. You’ll never be short of entertainment here, with Jazz in the Park, seasonal festivals, and a range of exciting events for all ages.
37. Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
Experience a scenic and nature-filled family bike adventure on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail, spanning 14 miles of pristine paved paths through diverse woodlands and wetlands. Discover local wildlife as you ride and spot rabbits, hawks, kingfishers, wild turkeys, and majestic deer along the way. Perfect for all ages, this family-friendly trail is a must-visit destination for bikers of all levels.
38. Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens
Explore a world of wonder and natural beauty at Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, a paradise for curious young minds. With colorful exhibits and interactive displays, kids can discover the wonders of flora and fauna, and get up close and personal with the local wildlife. Bring your budding botanist or little adventurer for a day of exploration and fun in the great outdoors.
39. Yellow Bluff Fort Historic Site
Immerse yourself in history as you savor a delightful picnic lunch at an authentic Civil War troop encampment, gazing out at the placid waters of the St. Johns River. Take a leisurely stroll along the nature trail and discover fascinating insights into the lives of soldiers who once called this encampment home.
Water Activities for Kids in Jacksonville, Florida
40. Kayak or SUP Rental with All Wet Sports
Looking for an adventure on the water? Look no further than All Wet Sports! For over 15 years, this rental company has been providing customers with top-quality kayaking experiences. Not only do they offer both single and tandem kayaks, but they also have an impressive assortment of paddle boards, both inflatable and hard. And now, to add to their already impressive fleet, All Wet Sports has also added rental canoes! These durable Tandem boats offer the perfect way to explore the water with a companion. But what really sets All Wet Sports apart is their commitment to providing beginner-friendly equipment. All Wet Sports has their own private ramp right next to the shop for easy launch and return of your rental.
41. Crazy Fish Airboats
Get ready for an adventure that’s equal parts exhilarating and educational! At Crazy Fish Airboat Rides, you’ll hop aboard a cutting-edge, 600 horsepower air boat helmed by a licensed US Coast Guard Master Captain. Hyperspeed across the stunning marshlands, wetlands, creeks, streams and islands, taking in unforgettable views of naval ships, soaring planes and choppers, and authentic Mayport shrimp boats teeming with fresh seafood. Prepare for bumps in the best way with goosebumps as you fly and spin around some of Florida’s most picturesque landmarks. Of course, no air boat ride would be complete without some wildlife sightings, and Crazy Fish guarantees dolphins will make an appearance, along with other fascinating marine creatures.
42. Jacksonville Water Taxi
Seeing downtown Jacksonville from the water is a must! Discover the hidden gem of Jacksonville – the St. Johns River Taxi & Tours. Don’t let a lack of a boat keep you from experiencing the beauty of the St. Johns River. Hop aboard the Taxi and let it take you on a journey you won’t forget. With convenient transport to events and sunset cruises with live music, the Taxi offers more than just a ride. Make the most of your visit with neighborhood and ecotours. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local, the St. Johns River Taxi is a thrilling option to explore the city from a unique perspective.
Whether you’re looking for the challenge of big game fish offshore, or the tranquility of inshore kayaking in the endless waterways and stunning landscapes, you won’t be disappointed. With year-round sunshine and convenient access to the water, this is a fishing experience you won’t forget.
Imagine driving down the coastline, parking your car and unloading your fishing gear for an epic day of offshore fishing. With over 22 miles of beaches in Jacksonville, dozens of free and public beach access ramps make it easy to start the adventure. As summer approaches, the waters come alive with large pods of pogies, drawing in tarpon, cobia, kingfish, red drum, Spanish mackerel, and jacks.
If you worry about keeping up with the big dogs, don’t! There are plenty of coastal inshore fishing opportunities to explore. Keep your eyes peeled for changing tides, but once you’ve got them down pat, prepare for a catch of a lifetime. Enter the abundant St. Johns River and Intracoastal Waterway, where you’ll find an array of hidden gems fit for a seasoned angler or a beginner. Expect to reel in redfish, spotted sea trout, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, stripers, and snook.
44. Kayak Amelia
Embark on an adventure with Kayak Amelia, where the possibilities are endless. Glide through the calm waters of Simpson Creek in a kayak or test your balancing skills with StandUp Paddleboard or SUP Yoga. Explore the hidden gems of Jacksonville, inaccessible by foot, on one of their guided tours. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, as Kayak Amelia welcomes all levels of experience. Witness the magic of fireflies during their exclusive springtime night tour, a truly mesmerizing experience.
45. Up the Creek Xpeditions
Experience the thrill of the water with Up The Creek Xpeditions! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious novice, their guided kayak tours and giant war canoe tours will have you paddling like a champ. Explore the beauty of Jacksonville’s waterways on one of their all-inclusive expeditions, complete with everything you need from equipment to snacks.
46. Surf Lessons
Experience the magic of catching your first wave with surfing lessons at Jacksonville’s beaches. The soft, sandy bottom of the beach break provides a safe environment for beginners to learn, while the long stretches of sandy beaches offer plenty of space to practice. Whether you’re young or young at heart, surfing is a skill that can be learned with determination and a sense of humor. Don’t get discouraged by initial tumbles, because the feeling of finally catching a wave is pure magic.
47. Community First Igloo Skating Rink
Ice skating in Florida? It’s a very popular activity, especially in the hot summer months. There’s no better way to cool off! At Community First Igloo, kids can learn hockey or figure skating, or just skate around during public skating hours (times vary) with the whole family. There’s a restaurant on site and you might even spot some of the Jacksonville Icemen in training!
48. The Alhambra Theater
Indulge in an unforgettable experience that combines a mouth-watering three-course meal with a captivating show at one of the country’s most renowned professional dinner theaters, The Alhambra. With a rich history of entertaining audiences for years on end, this theater ensures a night of wholesome entertainment that is perfect for the entire family. Children’s programming during the summertime and the festive season is particularly popular and has become a treasured family tradition.
49. St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Ok, we know, it’s not technically in Jacksonville proper. But just south of Duuuuval, you’ll find one of North Florida’s best kid friendly spots: the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. For over a century, The Alligator Farm has been captivating and educating visitors with their thrilling array of crocodilians, reptiles, mammals and birds. Nestled on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, this haven of natural exhibits, wildlife shows and educational demonstrations is an interactive adventure that’s not to be missed. Don’t miss the zipline – it’s a one-of-a-kind adventure!
50. Winter on the Water
Jacksonville is the place to be for festive family fun on the water. From breathtaking boat parades to dazzling light displays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Experience the wonder of ZOOLights at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, where you can walk through a winter wonderland of festive lights and decorations. Or head to Jacksonville Beach for Deck the Chairs, a delightful display of decorated lifeguard chairs. And let’s not forget about the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade and Fireworks on the St. Johns River, a stunning show that will leave you in awe. Don’t miss out on Dazzling Nights at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, where you’ll witness a magical display of twinkling lights and holiday cheer.
Related: Holiday activities in North Florida
Jacksonville has plenty to offer families looking for exciting things to do together. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or educational experiences, there’s something here that will interest everyone in your family.