Jacksonville or Jax, as the locals call it, feels like the fun, cool cousin you are visiting for the summer. I was so blown away by this city and how unique it is. From historic neighborhoods and oceanfront parks to colourful murals, this city has so much to offer to locals and to out-of-town explorers as well. With delicious foods to eat, and exciting things to do, Jacksonville, Florida should be on your must-visit list. If time allows, explore nearby areas like Amelia Island as well. Keep reading my detailed Jacksonville Florida travel guide with the top things to do, where to eat and where to stay.
Where to Stay In Jacksonville
One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach
If you are looking for spacious rooms and suites with oceanfront views of the Atlantic Ocean, One Ocean Resort and Spa should be on top of your list. There are so many factors that make this resort a must-stay. The hotel is conveniently located just a short walk from The Beaches Town Center which has tons of cute shops and restaurants. There is also a luxurious spa to rejuvenate your mind and body and it is right by the beach where you can sunbathe or enjoy a peaceful sunset stroll. You can also bring your fur babies since the resort is pet-friendly and don’t forget to take advantage of the free bikes available to cruise around the area.
Where To Eat In Jacksonville – Restaurant Guide
Cocktails & Apps at Azurea
If you a celebrating an event or simply want to treat yourself opt for award-winning Azurea, One Ocean’s restaurant. With Atlantic Ocean views, Azurea offers a menu that highlights flavors of Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. The menu changes with each season, depending on the latest trends and fresh, quality ingredients that are available.
Grab Coffee From Vagabond Coffee
Jacksonville has so many amazing coffee spots. Located in Murray Hill, Vagabond is colourful, fun, that offers fresh-roasted goods and cortados you will love. The pastries change every day, but whether it’s sweet or savory I promise Vagabond baked goods won’t disappoint.
Coffee & Dessert at Southern Grounds
For a friendly environment that offers local favourites and a great cup of coffee stop by Southern Grounds. Located in multiple spots across the city we stopped by their Neptune Beach location and we were in awe. Try their cheesecake and turmeric milk if you are looking for something different from your regular cup of coffee.
Quick Bite At Bread And Board
Located in Five Points, this is a great spot for a healthy yet delicious lunch. Their menu offers unique sandwiches, charcuterie boards, beer & wine. There is also a really cute outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your food.
Stop By Mayday For IceCream
Mayday Icecream is such a fun spot for both adults and kids. Mayday offers handcrafted icecreams with unique artisan ice cream flavours, you can either eat on the spot or take a pint at home. They also make their sprinkles and cone waffles in-house.
Grab a Coffee & Baked Goods at 1748 Bakehouse
1748 Bakehouse is the coziest spot with the best artisan baked goods and hand-crafted coffees. Located in Springfield, what really stands out about 1748 Bakehouse is its locally sourced and seasonal ingredient changes. Loved their coffee but also their galettes and friendly atmosphere.
Dinner at Midtown Table
Midtown Table serves Italian-inspired lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and craft cocktails. This spot is owned by the Medure brothers who are on the list of the best chefs in town, so you know the food is good! What makes this place unique is the freshly milled wheat used to create bread, pasta and pizza all crafted by hand. And who doesn’t love eating fresh pasta made in-house?
Cinotti’s Bakery is a local favourite for sandwiches donuts, pies and various pastries. Even though the spot is very retro and not your typical “instagrammable” place, this spot is all about taste and not looks. I have to say though, their cookie decor is on point. They have cookies for all occasions; fancy cookies, iced cutout cookies, decorated cookies, everyday plain cookies. If you have kids and you love cookies and pastries you need to stop here.
MINI BAR DONUTS
Jacksonville’s first mini donut shop. Petite, charming bakeshop stop that offers a wide selection of delicious tiny donuts. There are 16 signature flavours to choose from and they also offer gluten-free donuts on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Drinks At Blue Jay Listening Room
The Blue Jay Listening Room took us by surprise. Blue Jay Listening Room is a bar but really an intimate music venue where guests can listen to live music and expand their musical knowledge. If you are looking for a unique experience to sip on a drink and truly be present by listening to live music, you need to come by here. I have never been to a listening room before and didn’t know this was a thing, but it is such a cool experience.
Extra Tip: So you don’t go around in circles Blue Jay Listening Room is located on the second floor of the plaza.
TacoLu For a Taco Lunch
Known for the best tacos in town, TacoLu is a local favourite. You will love this vibrant, colourful spot for Mexican food. The food is flavourful, the taco menu inclusive of dietary restrictions offering a veggie taco, and the guacamole made fresh in-house for you to enjoy. If you love Mexican food you have to stop here! I recommend coming here after a day at Boneyard Beach.
Things To Do In Jacksonville, Florida
Explore Boneyard Beach
With more than 400 City Parks, 7 State Parks and 2 National Parks, Jacksonville by far has the largest urban park system. If you love being outdoors, hiking, and exploring nature this is where you want to be. Take a short 20 minutes drive northeast of Jacksonville and hidden away from the bustling River City you will find Big Talbot Island, State Park. Hike through the trails at Big Talbot Island to reach Boneyard Beach. Boneyard Beach is a spectacle of battered oaks and cedar trees that rise from the beach like skeletons. These trees have been destroyed over time by nature and erosion, making this spot a natural wonder you do not want to miss. If you are looking for things to do in Jacksonville, Florida for adults, couples and for families, Boneyard Beach is definitely a stop to consider.
Discover Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
No Jacksonville travel guide is complete without a stop at Cumme Museum. This museum feels like you are walking through someone’s home, which is why I would highly recommend even to those who are not huge museum fans. The Cummer began with a private collection of a local family and today has grown to one of the most visited museums in the Southeast. The art collection is impressive, but the gardens at the back of the property really make this museum stand out. 2.5 acres of historic gardens and situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, the gardens are a perfect spot to sit, reflect and take it all in.
Stroll to Find the Mural Scene In Jacksonville, Florida
I never expected Jacksonville to have so many talented artists. If you are looking to do a fun tour or take a self-guided I highly recommend discovering all the murals in Downtown Jacksonville. These murals truly embody the community and unity that Jax brings to locals and to explorers from around the globe. These are not just murals, they are stories created with meaning and an embodiment of hope.
Visit Florida Theatre
If you are looking for something to do Downtown Jacksonville, Florida Theatre is a must! You don’t have to be an architect to fall in love with the Florida Theatre. This beautifully designed Mediterranean Revival is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida in the 1920s. Located in downtown Jacksonville, this iconic building is worth visiting and photographing.
Fun Fact: Elvis Presley had his first indoor appearance here in 1956.
If there is one thing you need to cross from your Jacksonville travel guide is by far Go Tuk’n. Go Tuk’n is Jacksonville’s specializes in brewery & historical tours. We took the Jacksonville Residential Architecture & History Tour and it was the best! The company offers a variety of tours depending on what you are looking for as your experience. Tuk’n is a fun way to explore the art in Downtown Jacksonville, Springfield, Riverside, Avondale and San Marco. It was raining during our trip, but it was still so much fun. You may also want to read my post about what to pack for 1 week in Florida using just a carry on.