If you’re looking for some family fun in the sun, Jacksonville, Florida is the place to go.
Whether you’re a local resident, Florida native, or looking to travel to Florida for vacation, there are plenty of family activities in Jacksonville that are sure to make your family vacation one for the photo albums.
Jacksonville really has it all: beautiful beaches with white sand, adventure parks, museums, nature parks, delicious fresh seafood, sports, shopping, and so much more.
Here’s a list of plenty of fun things to do in Jacksonville.
You’re sure to find something that will satisfy every member of the family so no one feels left out and everyone agrees they experienced as much Jacksonville fun as possible!
1. Adventure Landing Jackson Beach
Going to Adventure Landing is possibly one of the most fun things to do in Jacksonville. This theme park is located right on the Intracoastal Waterway and about a mile from the ocean – and there are activities for the whole family!
Enjoy splashing in the waterpark without worrying about jellyfish, seaweed, or messy sand, break the family up into teams for a game of indoor laser tag, play a game of mini golf, hit the batting cages, zoom around in go-karts, build a teddy bear, and take part in the ultimate Floridian experience: gator feeding!
2. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Take the family to see animals from all around the world at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. When you’re looking for things to do in Jacksonville, you absolutely cannot miss an exciting adventure like this one. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens features animals from Africa, South America, Australia, and the United States – there’s even an exhibit of wild Floridian animals!
Going to the zoo is a great family activity in Jacksonville because parents and kids alike can take on a new appreciation for different plants and animals from all around the world. There’s so much to see and learn!
3. Escape Room at The Escape Game
Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to solve a mystery, capture a thief, or break out of prison? You can experience all the thrill and adventure of these scenarios in an escape room at The Escape Game in St. Johns Town Center.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Jacksonville, you absolutely can’t skip over getting the whole family together in an escape room. This is a great activity to do on those days that are just too hot to spend outside, rainy days, or days you want to try something a little bit different.
There are many escape rooms to choose from – you’re sure to find one that is perfect for your day of Jacksonville fun!
4. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park has tons of fun family activities in Jacksonville. Within the park there are 1.5 miles of beautiful beaches (including a great location for surfing!), over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, a large, freshwater lake for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, and a splash park for kids!* You can make this Jacksonville fun activity last even longer with an overnight camping trip in the park. Tents and RVs are allowed, or you can rent a Cozy Cabin (two night minimum stay).
*The splash park is being renovated; estimated completion is this summer (2021)!*
5. The Museum of Science and History
The Museum of Science and History, or The MOSH as it’s fondly called, is a great way to introduce kids to the world around them. In here, parents can let them explore all of the wonders in Florida and beyond in a safe – yet fun – way.
This is a great family activity in Jacksonville because there’s something for everyone here!
From the animal lover to the scientist, the astronaut, history buff, and beyond, every member of your family will find something new and exciting to learn about at Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History.
6. First Wednesday Art Walk
Think there’s nothing fun to do in Jacksonville during the week? Think again! On the first Wednesday of every month, dozens of local artists and performers come together on the streets of Downtown Jacksonville to show off their talents. During Art Walk, the streets are lined with vendors, food trucks, performance stages, and family activities. In addition to the street artists, more than 40 museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants welcome Art Walk attendees into their establishments to showcase their local offerings.
7. Catch a Sporting Event
Do you have a major sports lover in your family? Jacksonville always has some kind of sporting event going on! From hockey to baseball to dressage, there’s sure to be an event that your family members will enjoy. And of course you can’t forget the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars! The type of events changes with the seasons so make sure to check out the local sports events calendar before you plan your visit!
8. Indoor Skydiving
If your family is looking for an all-ages thrilling experience, indoor skydiving at iFLY is a must! Here in Florida, you have to be at least 18-years old to go skydiving. However, at iFLY, you can be as young as 3-years old!
Taking flight in the wind tunnel at iFLY is totally safe and most sessions are done as a group, so the whole family can “skydive” at the same time.
Each session is carefully monitored and controlled by an instructor, and someone will always be close by in case a participant needs assistance.
9. Castillo de San Marcos
As early recorded activities and American settling in Jacksonville dates back to the 1500s, history is a huge part of Jacksonville fun. Any family that is interested in history, weaponry, and adventure will love exploring the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States.
The 20-acre National Monument will take you right back to the days of old with park rangers dressed in period pieces and historic weapon demonstrations! At certain times of the day, you can even look up and spot the International Space Station!
10. Little Talbot Island State Park
Little Talbot Island is the perfect family activity in Jacksonville for those days when you just want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.
This undeveloped island has five miles of gorgeous beaches, three miles of bike trails, and plenty of opportunities to discover wildlife in its natural, untouched habitat.
Camping, fishing, grilling, campfires, swimming, kayaking, and more are all allowed on Little Talbot Island. It’s the perfect family fun getaway that’s not too far away!
11. St. Augustine Aquarium
The St. Augustine Aquarium is the perfect way for you and your family to experience the wonders of the ocean without even getting wet! Unless you want to, that is. The aquarium has snorkeling adventures where participants are welcome to touch certain marine animals, swim among coral reefs and glimmering fish, and hand feed Cownose Rays!
The St. Augustine Aquarium is an outdoor, open-air aquarium that allows visitors to experience underwater nature while surrounded by nature on land. Wednesdays at 9:30 are “Toddler Time” so you and your toddler can enjoy non-guided Jacksonville fun at the aquarium.
12. Self-Guided Jacksonville Tour
There is so much art and history to enjoy in Jacksonville, but you just might not know where to look if you’re just visiting.
The city of Jacksonville has put together five self-guided tours that weave you through different parts of Jacksonville and its rich history.
13. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve sprawls out over 46,000-acres of land and water. The preserve offers visitors a glimpse of what Florida was like before it was industrialized.
There is an old fort exhibit to explore that recalls the lives and deaths of 16th century French Colonists, land where the Timucuan people once lived, a wildlife observation platform that offers views of salt marshes below, an old plantation where enslaved African people labored, opportunities to go kayaking with dolphins, plenty of hiking trails.
Kids are even welcome to help park rangers monitor erosion and shoreline changes! The preserve is a hands-on historical experience that is equal parts fun and educational.
14. Beach Day
There’s nothing that says “family fun in Jacksonville” quite like a day at the beach. Jacksonville is home to 22 miles of coastline and each beach has something new to offer. If you’re a family that likes water sports, there are plenty of spots to go snorkeling, surfing, or boating!
If you’re looking to get adventurous in nature, many beaches have adjacent parks. Or perhaps you’re a family that wants to pack a lunch, lay out the beach towels, and just soak up the Florida sun rays. You can do that, too! Check out our guide to the all the beaches in Jacksonville!
Pro Tip: During the entire month of November, Jacksonville has special promotions and discounts just for families with kids! Up to 5 children under the age of 12 get in for FREE at Jacksonville’s top family fun attractions.
Jacksonville is a great place to plan your next vacation because there are so many fun family activities in Jacksonville!
Even if you’re just passing through, your family is sure to find an activity that each person finds absolutely exhilarating. Your whole family will return home smiling, excited for the next time you’ll be returning to Jacksonville. And you’ll definitely want to!
With so many family friendly activities, it’s impossible to fit all of the Jacksonville fun into a single trip. Don’t forget to play The Escape Game Jacksonville as a family friendly thing to do on your visit!
Still looking for more to do? Check out these other things to do in Jacksonville!