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Best Things To Do in Jacksonville

Jacksonville often acts as a springboard for Atlantic coast exploration; the popular shoreside towns of Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and Amelia Island are all within an hour's drive from the downtown area. But stick around Jacksonville and you'll find that this sprawling city has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to entertaining leisure travelers — especially families. The Jacksonville Zoo houses expansive habitats for giraffes, elephants and cheetahs. (For more big cats, take a safari through Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary.) And for the love of the arts, spend an afternoon in The Cummer or the MOCA or a Saturday at the Riverside Arts Market.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Amelia Island Free attraction
Recreation, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 ... read more»

#2
Atlantic Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Jacksonville isn't located right on the beach, but it won't take you long to get to the coast ... read more»

#3
Ponte Vedra Beach Free attraction
Beaches, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The southernmost of the Jacksonville Beaches, Ponte Vedra Beach draws leisure travelers in search of sprawling sands and, of course ... read more»

#4
Riverside Arts Market Free attraction
Shopping | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Every Saturday in downtown Jacksonville (about a block from The Cummer Museum), hundreds of craftspeople and vendors gather at the ... read more»

#5
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
Tours, Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Lions and tigers and … well, there are no bears, but you'll certainly find lions and tigers at the Catty ... read more»

#6
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens makes an excellent addition to the historic Brooklyn neighborhood, sitting just southwest of downtown ... read more»

#7
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Sitting on the edge of the Trout River, about 7 miles north of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens ... read more»

#8
Little Talbot Island State Park
Beaches, Parks and Gardens, Recreation | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you've come to northwest Florida to take advantage of the warm weather and Atlantic coast, consider a visit ... read more»

#9
Kingsley Plantation Free attraction
Museums, Tours | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Set in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve — one of the last bits of unspoiled wetlands along the Atlantic Coast — Kingsley ... read more»

#10
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Parks and Gardens, Recreation | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you've come to Florida for the beach, a 17-mile drive east of downtown Jacksonville will get you to ... read more»

#11
Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Art aficionados won't want to miss the chance to visit MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in downtown Jacksonville ... read more»

#12
Museum of Science & History
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Located across the St. Johns River from downtown Jacksonville, the Museum of Science & History is worth a visit if you ... read more»

Next Steps: Jacksonville

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