In 1564 French explorers founded the first Protestant colony in the US along what is today the St Johns River. Fort Caroline National Memorial is a reconstructed fort commemorating its probable location. The Spanish seized the original colony and massacred its residents in 1565, so not much is known about these early pioneers. The site stretches across 130 acres overlooking the river and features a museum with French and Indian artifacts from the 16th century. Fort Caroline was established as a national memorial in 1950 and is 14 miles from downtown Jacksonville.
Soak in the fresh air at this oceanfront Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, which features a 1.5-mile beach, nature trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, stocked fishing lakes and serene beaches. Lifeguards keep a watchful eye on swimmers and refreshments can be purchased at concession stands. The lakeside swimming area has fountains and squirt guns. Boating, canoeing, hiking and biking facilities are also available, while lakeside tables and grills provide the perfect spots to relax.
5619 San Jose Boulevard Jacksonville, FL 32207 +1 904 730 3729
Doing Dishes is a creative venture that lets people of all ages give vent to their artistic imagination and creativity while having fun. Pick and choose pieces of ceramic that you would like to paint. Colors, brushes and staff assistance is provided and once you are done, just turn it in and pick the finished baked product a week later! Doing Dishes also teaches participants how to fuse glass. All in all, it makes for a fun thing to do at birthday parties, fund-raisers and even at the camp hosted by Doing Dishes.
1 University of North Florida Drive Building 2, Founders Hall Jacksonville, FL 32224 +1 904 620 2534
Scenic, bustling University of North Florida, with a campus tucked away on a nature preserve off St Johns Bluff and Butler Boulevards, is home to the much-loved University Gallery. It can be found inside Building 002, Founders Hall, and is known for its variety of exhibitions. Works are on display from both regional and national artists, along with those showcased from the Visual Arts Department faculty and students. Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public.
St Johns County is fast becoming one of the premiere golf destinations in the nation, and this course is part of that action. Just 10 miles north of World Golf Village in St Augustine, Cimarrone ("the wild one" in Seminole), has 18 championship holes carved out of pine forests and marshland. All golfers will appreciate the natural beauty and challenging layout created by nationally recognized designer, David Postlethwait. Lagoons, sand traps and other obstacles await players. A 10,000 square feet clubhouse is available for business and social functions.
When wild creatures are injured and need a safe place to recover and gain strength, B.E.A.K.S. comes to the rescue. Calling itself a "Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary," the facility serves more than 2,000 birds and animals each year. Their amenities offer you an opportunity to get a close look at eagles, owls, seagulls and other bird species while they recuperate. Admission is free, but voluntary donations are accepted. Call for an appointment for a guided tour.
State Road A1A North & Sanctuary Lane South tip of Amelia Island Jacksonville, FL 32226 +1 904 251 2320
Offering more than 200 acres of natural, untouched land with beaches, salt marshes and coastal woodlands set on the southern tip of the First Coast, the park offers a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, boating, sunbathing and wildlife watching. Amelia Island is northeast of Jacksonville, seven miles north of Little Talbot Island State Park on State Road A1A and eight miles south of historic Fernandina Beach. Bring the beach towels and grab the binoculars for a great day outdoors!
This park features a breathtaking coastal habitat covered with oak, holly and magnolia, along with sea-oat covered dunes overlooking the ocean. Hiking is a favorite activity on the scenic nature trails and fishing, canoeing or swimming on the Nassau Sound shoreline is tough to beat. Rumor has it that the island is haunted, particularly in the spooky Houston cemetery and Tamaqua Burial Grounds just outside the entrance.
Kayak Amelia organizes guided tours through Amelia Island's scenic marshlands, tidal inlets and creeks, giving you the chance to observe birds, marine animals and if you're lucky, a manatee or two. Experienced guides are by your side as you paddle around in their one and two-seat kayaks for half-day or full-day tours, which is one of their specialty programs. The historic Kingsley Plantation, offers you a splendid short rest on your excursion.
Mayport Naval Station Mayport, FL 32228 +1 904 270 5401
Jacksonville is home to Mayport Naval Station, the second largest aircraft carrier basin on the East Coast. Maritime buffs and military enthusiasts may tour the base and visit ships at no charge on weekends. The base features some of the nation's most impressive aircraft carriers, frigates and destroyers. It is located just east of downtown off Mayport Road (State Road A1A). Call for directions and to arrange your own tour.
Operating for over 65 years the Naval Air Station is
a home to many aircrafts. Located at the entrance of Yorktown Avenue, the station has a heritage park where you can view the planes which are not in use ...
This park features a breathtaking coastal habitat covered with oak,
holly and magnolia, along with sea oat covered dunes overlooking the ocean. Hiking is a favorite activity on the scenic nature trails and fishing, canoeing or swimming on the ...
Offering more than 200 acres of natural, untouched land with
beaches, salt marshes and coastal woodlands set on the southern tip of the First Coast, the park offers a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, boating, sunbathing and ...