Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park#13 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
If you've come to Florida for the beach, a 17-mile drive east of downtown Jacksonville will get you to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, home to 1½ miles of clean, soft sand along the Atlantic coastline. And if that's not enough for you, this bit of shoreline offers some of the best surfing conditions in northeast Florida. If you're a surfing novice, you can take advantage of the park's 60-acre lake, which is great for fishing, kayaks, pedal boats and canoes. But according to recent visitors, these aren't the only reasons to visit the park. Past travelers praised the variety of bird-watching opportunities, the 20-plus miles of biking trails and the excellent camping facilities.
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park makes a great spot for a family outing. In addition to the beach and the hiking trails, you'll also find a water park (open during the summer months) and picnic areas.
The park welcomes visitors from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April to October and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November through March. Admission costs about $3 for pedestrians and cyclists and about $5 per vehicle (with up to six passengers). To learn more, visit Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park's website.
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#1 Amelia Island
About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 miles of beaches, historic attractions and laid-back atmosphere. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Amelia Island also provided a safe vacation haven for Jacksonville's Black residents. Florida's first Black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, purchased 200 acres of beachfront on Amelia Island and called it American Beach. Here, Black vacationers could enjoy the island without the threat of racial discrimination or violence. In 2002, the beach was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the beach's culture, stories and heritage, consider a visit to the American Beach Museum.
While on the island, you can also learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park or simply lounge on the sand. Recent visitors particularly recommended laying your towel along the shores of Fernandina Beach, a small community that stretches along the northern part of the barrier island.
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