8 Spots for a Swell Time in Jacksonville, Florida


Did you known that Jacksonville (population around 904,000) is the Sunshine State's most populous city? It also happens to be one of the state's most attractive. This clean, progressive, and modern metropolis on northeastern Florida's St. John's River is a great place to visit, and a great place to live, from its amenities to its surprisingly
low cost of living and excellent job availability. However, beyond beyond its lifestyle, a city with little to keep you occupied during your free time still wouldn't be so appealing. Fortunately, Jacksonville is also packed to the brim with dozens of fun and interesting things to see and do, so you’ll never be left lacking for stimulating things to do (including, by the way, nearby beaches and the highly historic (oldest in the U.S., in fact) city of St. Augustine, less than an hour's drive away).

Jacksonville's allures include
sophisticated, intellectually challenging museums and art galleries to great dining; diverting entertainment veues; and a cool club-and-bar scene - the proverbial something for everyone. Eight excellent examples:


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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens


Few zoos and botanical gardens in the USA are as bright and well maintained as this one, its 117 acres are home to some 2,000 fascinating animals and 1,000 plants. Marquee attractions include "Land of the Tiger" and "Range of the Jaguar," while other notable exhibits showcase elephants, giraffes, rhinos, Komodo dragons, stingrays, manatees, and Australian fauna including kangaroos and cassowaries. You'll also find art exhibits, dining spots, a kids' play area, They're always working on something new here, so you'll find reason to come back again and again!


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LoneStarMike


Museum of Science and History


Located in downtown's Southbank Riverwalk The MOSH showcases all sorts of historical and scientific topics, in a stimulating, often interactive way.. It’s great for those with families too; entrance is inexpensive, and both you and your kids are sure to learn a lot while having fun. Key sections include interactive animal encounters; "Health in Motion: Discover What MOVES You"; and a new outdoor sustainable landscape exhibit.


Cummer Museum


Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens


Built around the bequest of a wealthy 20th-century art collector, this offers a mix of permanent-collection pieces ranging from pre-history to the 21st century (and especially strong in US and European painting, as well as Meissen porcelain from Germany) and some of the most insightful and eye opening temporary exhibitions on display anywhere in the Florida. Outside, one of northeast most prominent historic gardens comprises some 1½ acres on the St. Johns River, heavy on native Florida flora and live oak trees interspersed with reflecting pools, fountains, ornaments and sculptures.


National Park Service

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve



This 46,000-acre U.S. national preserve is home to wide expanses of untouched Florida wetland an hardwood forest that will take your breath away with its beauty. Whether you’re exploring its expanse on foot or by canoe or kayak, you’re sure to have a great time in the great outdoors - and if you're a bird watcher, this will be your element (j ust make sure to watch out for gators!) There are a couple of campgrounds here, as well, and the "historic" part comes from the 19th-century Kingsley Plantation including great house, slave quarters, and more (the great house is open weekends and by reservation only) and the remnants and partial recreation of 16th-century Fort Caroline, France's first attempt to establish settlements in North America.


Adventure Landing


Adventure Landing


This locally founded chain of family-fun parks has two in Jacksonville - one location (on Blanding, Boulevard, a ten-minute drive south of downtown) has laser tag, a go-kart speedway, mini golf, and arcade games. The other, out in Jacksonville Beach, also includes laser tag, mini golf, but adding a gator exhibit, a roller coaster, and a seasonal water park with a variety of water slides and rides from leisurely and relaxing to adrenaline filled and pulse pounding. A great family escape (and way to beat the heat in summer)!



Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events


Speaking of go-karts, this 80,000-square-foot complex 15 minutes south of downtown delivers thrills and adrenaline highs at up to 50 miles per hour that are as popular with grown-ups as with kids. Then after a few spins around the track, have a bite at the Victory Lap restaurant and play a variety of arcade video games.
Pretty cool indeed!



Mastermind Escape Games



Mastermind Escape Rooms


"Escape rooms" - commercial establishments offering themed interactive games in which teams try to beat the clock in finding clues to solve their way out of an enclosed space within an hour - have been a thing for the better part of a decade now, and this Jacksonville location of a five-location chain offers a fun way to engage your imagination and smarts. Challenging themed rooms here include "Sorcerer's Secret," ""Bank Heist," "Lost in Time," and all too relevant to our current moment, "Outbreak: Find the Cure."


Rain Dogs


Rain Dogs



As I mentioned above, JAX is jammin' with nightlife and dining areas, and one of them is Five Points. an older, fairly funky and bohemian neighborhood less than a ten-minute drive south of downtown. Here one of my favorite watering holes is this low key but full little dive bar. Between its black walls there's a regular roster of live performances by both local and out-of-state bands and musicians, along with a dance floor and art exhibitions.A great night out, for sure!



And there's more where these came from, so as you see, Jacksonville offers a lot to see and do! Well worth considering for your next vacation - and if you think you might like to live here, get in touch with one of the
real estate agents in Jacksonville FL? These experienced real estate professionals will do their utter best to find you a home that suits your needs at the lowest price possible. Before you know it, you might just be calling Jacksonville home! 

More info: VisitJacksonvville.com.

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