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Destination Details

Jacksonville, United States

Urban buzz, outdoor fun and beaches aplenty

Jacksonville is Florida’s natural water wonderland. The abundant waterways, parks and ecological preserves provide opportunities to escape the ordinary and relax in nature’s playground. The city has the largest urban park system in the nation with more than 80,000 acres as well as more than 35 kilometers of unspoiled, white-sand beaches. All this natural beauty is surrounded by a modern and vibrant city – the largest by landmass in the nation – filled with authentic dining options, thrilling attractions, world-class museums, beautiful hotels, exciting events, cool nightlife, a hip downtown and unique districts complete with Southern hospitality.

From unspoiled beaches to the exciting Intracoastal Waterway and the sparkling St. Johns River, water defines this “River City by the Sea.” Work on your tan or get active; take surfing or kiteboarding lessons, rent kayaks and paddleboards, fish at the pier or join a fishing charter boat outing. Stay at oceanfront resorts and wake up every morning to amazing sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. Less than three miles from the beaches, you will find the Intracoastal Waterway, 64 kilometers of peaceful canals and natural inlets where visitors can take an airboat ride and see local wildlife, including dolphins, manatees and hundreds of bird species. In the heart of downtown, the St. Johns River takes the spotlight: Enjoy a brunch river cruise, walk the 4.8-kilometer RiverWalk and visit the Riverside Arts Market, all while enjoying breathtaking views of the riverfront and downtown skyline.

Thanks to the extensive park system, green is Jacksonville’s color and adventure is its game. Just minutes away from downtown, the city’s wild side flourishes at the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. This 18,615-acre preserve is made for those seeking a natural thrill. Swim, boat, hike, fish and enjoy historical sites like Fort Caroline National Memorial, often called Florida’s “Atlantis,” and Kingsley Plantation with its former slave quarters, barn, plantation and kitchen houses and garden that are now part of an ecological preserve. Explore the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, with over 3,000 rare and exotic animal and plant species. Venture to Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary and hand-feed lions, tigers and other big cats. You can also let romance and adventure merge as you ride horses on white-sand beaches with Kelly Seahorse Ranch on Amelia Island.

Jacksonville is consistently ranked in the Top 25 Arts Destinations in the nation and is home to the Jacksonville Symphony, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and History, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens and a Broadway Series. One of the last remaining dinner theaters in the nation, The Alhambra, still operates along with one of the oldest continuously operating community theaters, Theatre Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival brings an impressive lineup of performers and more than 130,000 jazz lovers to downtown Jacksonville each Memorial Day weekend. All year long, from January to December, there is something exciting to do and explore in Jacksonville.

Credit: Visit The USA

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