It’s safe to say that everyone is excited for summer in Jacksonville!
Last year, we were only a few months into the pandemic when all in-person summertime events were cancelled. Thankfully, many virtual events took their places, but a summer indoors is just not the same!
This summer we’re rounding up all of the best things to do in Jacksonville so you can get out there and enjoy the warm weather the way a Floridian should: out of the house!
Make sure you bookmark this page so you can refer back to it throughout the next couple of months. With all of these great events, this is sure to be one of the best Jacksonville summers Jacksonville that you’ve ever had!
This list is broken up into two sections. First, we’ll share fun places to go anytime throughout the summer. Then, we will list some exciting events that you won’t want to miss out on! Since Florida summers can be muggy, we’ve made sure to include plenty of indoor events that will keep you comfy and cool.
Without further ado… summer 2021 events and activities in Jacksonville!
Fun Places to Go This Summer in Jacksonville
Swimming in a pool during the summer is a great way to exercise and beat the Jacksonville heat! On those days when you don’t feel like battling with beachy salt and sand, take the kids to the Cecil Aquatic Center or one of JaxParks 33 pools.
JaxParks Aquatics offers swim lessons for kids, teens, and adults, as well as free swim times and Adult Lap Swim. If you’re looking for a longer summer time commitment for your family, JaxParks Aquatics also has a swim team and Ocean Camp program. Participants can visit Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park to play volleyball, make sandcastles, go on nature adventures, and more!
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Taking the family to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is one of the best things to do in Jacksonville. There’s something there for everyone! There are gardens, thousands of animals throughout the zoo, and even some opportunities to get up close and feed certain ones.
Make sure you bring the kids’ swimsuits to the zoo! There’s a splash pad there that’s perfect for cooling down after a few hours of exploration.
The Escape Game
You and your crew will have to put your heads together to solve puzzles, look for clues, and connect the dots so you can escape the room. There are different adventures to choose from like Prison Break, The Heist, and Gold Rush. Most rooms accommodate up to 8 players, but there are options for larger groups if you need them. This is the perfect activity for the whole family!
Jax Ale Trail
Have you ever wished there was a prize for drinking beer? Well, on the Jax Ale Trail, there is! Here’s how it works: Get your passport at the first brewery or at the Jacksonville Visitor’s Center. Head to different local breweries and get your passport stamped at each location you enjoy at local brew!
When you’ve collected four stamps, you get a free beer koozie! Eight stamps gets you a koozie and a Jax Ale Trail t-shirt. However, a full passport gets you a koozie, t-shirt, and special prize!
Candy making classes at Sweet Pete’s
Sweet Pete’s Candy is an all-natural candy store that has a variety of classes where you can come learn how to make taffy, lollipops, truffles, and more!
There are special classes just for toddlers, some that are for ages 4 and up, and more difficult classes that are reserved for people 16 and older.
Making candy can be a super sweet addition to a fun summer day in Jacksonville!
St. Johns River Park
The St. Johns River Park in Jacksonville is home to the Friendship Fountain. Taking a stroll through the park and around the fountain is definitely one of the most relaxing things to do in the summertime.
There are plenty of nearby restaurants, bars, and shops, making the St. Johns River Park a great date night spot!
The fountain has been recently upgraded so visitors can enjoy fantastic water shows that are set to lights and music. It’s reminiscent of the Water Pageant at Disney World!
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
One of the best things about summer in Jacksonville is that all of nature really comes to life, creating a stunning annual environment.
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens includes a museum with art that dates all the way back to 500 BCE, but the real beauty is outside.
Sprawling gardens are divided up into different themes like Italian, English, and Olmstead. The effect feels like taking an afternoon stroll through Europe rather than northeastern Florida!
The gardens make for a great locale to capture some photos or enjoy a cool beverage from the museum’s cafe.
Riverside Arts Market
Riverside Arts Market is open every Saturday, rain or shine! This is a great place for locals and tourists to enjoy the best food, drink, art, and activities that Jacksonville has to offer!
Here you can shop for local produce, meat, and small-batch beverages, as well as peruse hand-made trinkets from local artisans. During the summer in Jacksonville, the Riverside Arts Market has free yoga classes that all are welcome to attend.
Amelia Island State Park
Looking for something to do that gets you off the beaten path and away from the bustle of the city? Amelia Island State Park is it!
The park has 200 acres of land, a gorgeous beach, and salty marshes. Amelia Island State Park is also the only island in Florida that offers horseback riding on the beach!
One of the most popular things to do in Jacksonville (year round!) is fishing. There is a walk-up bait and tackle shop that offers fishing supplies, as well as some snacks and refreshments.
Make sure you drink plenty of water while out there in the hot Floridian sun!
Adventure Landing & Shipwreck Island Waterpark
Adventure Landing has everything you need for a day full of excitement this summer in Jacksonville: a waterpark, go-karts, mini golf, laser tag, an arcade – even alligators that you can feed!
Adventure Landing is fun for the whole family, but it can also be a great place for adults to go and bring out their inner child!
This funplex and waterpark is the perfect thing to do in Jacksonville when you want to enjoy the water and sun but you don’t want to deal with the sand and seaweed at the beach.
For those days when you welcome the sand, salt, and seaweed that naturally comes with a day at the beach, you’re in luck! Jacksonville is home to 22-miles of gorgeous beaches.
There are four main beaches: Neptune, Jacksonville, Mayport, and Atlantic.
Feel free to bring your favorite beach read and just relax in the sun (with plenty of sunscreen!) or get active on a paddleboard, surfboard, or beach cruiser – there are many options for exploring Jacksonville’s coastline in different and exciting ways!
Check out our Jacksonville Beach Guide for the 411 on every beach around the city!
Take a Day Trip
While Jacksonville is a great city to attend summer events and activities, it’s not the only place in Florida to find something fun to do! Check out these awesome adventures all within 150 miles of Jacksonville!
Summer Events in Jacksonville
Mark your calendars for these events this summer!
Worst Coast Comedy Presents: Jenny Zigrino
Jenny Zigrino has been seen on Conan, Comedy Central, and Bad Santa. Now she’s coming to Hyperion Brewing to make the locals and tourists in Jacksonville laugh until their stomachs hurt. Her original comedy is filled with keen observations, embarrassing stories, and brutal – but brilliant – honesty.
Tickets are $10 and the event takes place on Friday, June 25 at 8pm!
Fourth of July Fireworks
It’s hard to celebrate the 4th of July without fireworks, as many had to do last year. But this year fireworks at the pier are back!
At 9pm on Sunday, the 4th of July, a fantastic display of fireworks will be shot off from the Pier Parking Lot.
The parking lot will be close to the public, for safety, and there will likely be lots of traffic due to the excitement the event creates.
If you’re planning on coming to the celebration, it’s recommended to get there early to secure a spot! Don’t forget blankets, chairs, and refreshments for the family. It’s going to be quite the show!
Jax Summerfest 2021
The Jax Summerfest is back! The event will be held in three different areas: Downtown Jacksonville, Huguenot Park, and Lonnie Miller park.
This year, Jax Summerfest will be highlighting various local black-owned brands, small businesses, and independent artists. Events include a 2000s party/fashion show, flag football tournament, private industry pool party, and more!
Thursday, 7/22/21 4:30pm – Sunday, 7/25/21 8:00pm
Sunflower Field Mini Session
Have you ever wanted to be that person you see in a photo surrounded by a giant field of sunflowers? Now you can!
MH Portraits is booking mini photoshoot sessions throughout the summer at Amazing Grace Family Farms. You can take photos as a couple, family, or individual.
Sessions are 20-minutes long and you will receive 5 images from the photographer.
This is a great date idea, family portrait idea, or just something fun to do by yourself this summer in Jacksonville!
The coolest thing about Jacksonville is that, even though it’s a coastal city, there are so many things to do in the summer besides hang at the beach or go fishing.
Jacksonville really has something for people of all ages, interests, and abilities! What are you most looking forward to this summer in Jacksonville?
Check out our ultimate list of Things to Do in Jacksonville for more activities and trip ideas!