Sailing smoothly since its maiden voyage last fall, the 155-foot Jacks or Better Casino harbors more than 180 ticket-operated slot machines, which allow bettors to digitally select the stake of each spin (from $.01 to $25). Chomp chicken tenders ($5) or a hot dog ($3) and examine the table games found on deck, featuring blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, and baccarat ($5 to $1,000 limits), or place a wager on the ship's virtual sportsbook, which supplies betting options for collegiate and professional contests across the globe.
Ripley's Red Train Tours range from daily explorations of the city to nightly supernatural adventures. Guests can get on and off the open-air Red Train Trolley anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as it stops at spots including San Sebastian Winery, Mission Nombre de Dios, and the oldest house. Alternately, they can embark on a Ghost Train Adventure to explore the city at night armed with an EMF Ghost-Meter. Other tours include seasonal Sunset Tours that take advantage of the long days of summer, the bay front’s cooler temperatures, and a recent peace treaty signed by the mayor of St. Augustine and the local merfolk. There are also Black History Tours that showcase local spots that were important in the Civil Rights Movement, including Zora Neale Hurston’s former residence and the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 arrest.
The Sea & Sky Krucker Cygnet, the aircraft of choice at Duckwing Triking, may resemble a hang-glider with a motor, but a flight in it is more than just gliding about in the breeze. Called a "trike" because of its three wheels, it's an amphibian vehicle, meaning it can take off from land or water and it hatches from aquatic larva instead of being made in a factory. The pilots at Duckwing love teaching others about this unusual craft, which is why every flight is a lesson instead of just a ride-along. Passengers get a chance to take the controls and soar above Jacksonville and the Saint Johns River.
The lore of The Dungeons Haunted Attractions's haunted house—the Hoard—is gruesome. Out of an sizable expedition of investigators who visited the house to examine a severe case of hoarding, only one man survived. His horrifying experience would send him to the brink of insanity. Today, visitors are led through the haunted house filled with bloodied actors who aim to terrify with spooky personas and enormous collections of National Geographic magazines.
High-profile destinations often cite their high ratings on TripAdvisor, which named e2ride bike tours Jacksonville’s No. 1 attraction. However, few boast that they were highly rated by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her iconic novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is credited with helping to ignite the Civil War, but most of her opinions on travel have been lost to the ages—except on the company’s historical bike tour of Olde Mandarin. As the tour group winds past the lush area’s museums and public parks, the tour guide notes that Stowe dubbed the area “a tropical paradise.”
On the company’s other tours, guides offer equally juicy historical tidbits, such as that Riverside-Avondale was originally only occupied by just two homeowners or that Truman Capote vacationed in Springfield. As they learn about the past, groups cycle down present-day roads lined with homes in styles ranging from Tudor and Georgian to Star Warsian.
As one of the world’s largest beer brewers, this Jacksonville outpost of Anheuser Busch is surprisingly open about its process. The looming facility offers free tours on how they brew and package Budweiser, with guests catching glimpses of the state-of-the-art technology, giant tanks, carefully controlled temperature rooms and bottling and packaging facilities, all of which can be seen through glass viewing windows. There’s also information on the recycling program, energy recovery and conservation of wildlife in the surrounding Jacksonville wetlands. After the tour, stop in the hospitality room and sample some beer. For the truly curious, the more in-depth Beermaster Tour is for true connoisseurs and a one-off Beer School class introduces patrons to different beer styles, proper pouring and a variety of craft beer and food pairings. There’s also a gift shop on hand, and occasional events take place on the property.