It's not hard to find things to do in Jacksonville. After all, it stretches across more than 840 acres of land at Florida's northeastern tip, making it the largest city in the continental U.S. So the question isn’t so much “What to do?” but rather, “Where to start?”
One good spot would be the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, where you can get a taste of what Jacksonville looked like to the tribes of Timucua Indians that once inhabited the area. The national park unfolds in 46,000 acres of unspoiled wetlands, salt marshes, and coastal dunes, and guests will also find exhibits such as a recreation of 16th century Fort Caroline and the restored remains of the Kingsley Plantation.
From there, follow the footsteps of history to the St. John's River, once the site of the first European settlements but now the city's main artery and the centerpiece of its downtown. Along its banks is The Jacksonville Landing, which has been attracting residents and visitors for more than 20 years with international eateries, live-music clubs, and more than 300 special events held every year. It’s worth walking across the bright-blue Main Street Bridge to Southbank to see Friendship Fountain, which puts on a dazzling light show at night. Next door to the fountain, at the Museum of Science & History, you’ll find several aquariums filled with Floridian fish, a life-sized skeleton of a mother whale and her baby, and a naturalists' center that is home to native wildlife such as alligators, snakes, and owls.
If the MOSH stokes your thirst for the wild, you're in luck. Jacksonville boasts 20 miles of Atlantic Ocean beachscape where fishing, kiteboarding, and surfing are the sports of choice. Those who prefer land sports will find plenty of room to swing at Queen's Harbour Yacht and Country Club's majestic golf course, but they may want to aim away from the 100-year old Spanish Oak trees that line the fairways.
After a day exploring Jacksonville, why not take a little time to honor some of its native heroes—southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. At [Freebird Live, owned by the family of the late Ronnie Van Zant, national acts take the stage and entertain crowds of up to 700 fans. Food, music, and southern charm also abound at Whisky River, where live music and DJs entertain diners feasting on barbecue, wings, and cocktails.