Jacksonville’s Beaches & Waterways
With 1,100 miles of navigable water, Jax has more shoreline than any other city in the nation.
We are home to 22 miles of beaches, 40 miles of the Intracoastal Waterway, 50 public boat ramps, and the longest stretch of the St. Johns River in the state of Florida. Jacksonville is the birthplace of the Salt Life movement and Florida’s best watersports getaway!
22 Miles of Beaches
These are not your grandparents’ beaches. Come surf, kayak, paddleboard, swim, dive, boat, fish and explore Jacksonville’s unique coastal shores. The city’s main beaches are Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach and Atlantic Beach. They are public, and pet friendly, plus they are home to surf shops, fresh seafood restaurants, quaint beach boutiques, and parks like Hanna Park and Dutton Island Preserve. In the city’s Northside, unspoiled barrier islands offer must-see beaches like Blackrock Beach, Boneyard Beach, Little Talbot Island, and Huguenot Park. All accessible by taking a short ferry ride from the beaches or driving down the picturesque Heckscher Drive from Downtown. Jacksonville also has a very active diving scene, with more than 30 offshore reefs off our Atlantic coast.
The St. Johns River
This mighty Florida river is one of the largest recreational sports in Jacksonville. The St. Johns’ is one of fewer than 30 rivers in the United States that flow northward. Most of the river in our area is part seawater, making it a unique ecosystem where dolphins, manatees and even sharks swim freely. The St. Johns River is ideal for boating and fishing, with fish such as mullet, flounder, shad, and blue crabs migrating from the ocean to freshwater springs upriver to spawn. In Downtown Jacksonville, the river provides tons of attractions opportunities including the Riverwalk, and sporting events like the P1 Powerboats and kayaking excursions. There are dozens of public water access ramps along the St. Johns River.
The Intracoastal Waterways
This natural body of water flows along the East Coast and divides Jacksonville’s Southside from the beaches area. Fisherman and boating enthusiast enjoy the more than 20 miles of ICW’s canals, marshes and channels in Jacksonville every day. Public access ramps make it easier to enjoy a paddleboard adventure, or a leisure kayak trip. The mouths of the larger creeks on the ICW are where the fish run hard. Spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum and redfish call this brackish tributary home.
Drop a line at one of Jacksonville’s premier fresh or saltwater fishing spots. Take a ride with a deep sea or backwater fishing expert or enjoy convenient fishing access from the many piers, jetties, and bridges throughout Jacksonville.
Ocean, river, and creek kayaking are the best ways to see Jacksonville and its abundant wildlife. Choose from a variety of kayak tours, including romantic moonlight trips, urban excursions, or guided eco-tours of Jax’s waterways.
It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you think about Jacksonville, but it should be because our extensive reef system makes us one of the best diving spots on Florida’s East Coast.
We want you to try your hand and paddle at this fun sport! There’s no better way to get in your daily workout than on the water taking in the beauty of Jacksonville’s waterways on a SUP.
Surf’s up! Jacksonville is the perfect place to try surfing. Take a lesson on a long board or watch the locals catch waves at Jacksonville Beach Pier or slide across the break on skim boards in Atlantic Beach.
Boating is in our DNA, learn more about all the places to put your boat in the water in Jacksonville.
Cruise out of Jacksonville aboard the Carnival Fascination on a four or five day cruise to the Bahamas and Key West.
Unleash your inner Willy Wonka with an entertaining and interactive candy-making workshop designed for sugar-lovers. Dive into the whimsical world of a confectioner as you craft sweet treats such as hand-pulled lollipops, colorful taffy, mouthwatering chocolate bars, or decadent truffles.
Upon arrival at Sweet Pete’s candy shop, you’re greeted by a friendly instructor who’s on hand to guide you through every step of the candy-making process. Catch a glimpse of old-fashioned candy being made in front of your very eyes, and then learn fun, fascinating, and even funny tricks of the trade for yourself. Temper your own chocolate, pull your own taffy, or cut homemade marshmallows into weird and wonderful shapes.
Once your creation is finished, you can sample your masterpiece or wrap it as a gift for family or friends. At the end of the class, feel free to wander the store’s 3 floors of candy curated from around the world, or treat yourself to a dessert in the old-timey soda shop.
- Jacksonville Inshore Fishing
Motor out onto the Intracoastal Waterway for some true outdoor fishing just off the shores of Jacksonville. This outing surrounds you with the peaceful, secluded scenery of creeks and fishing holes that you can explore with some expert guidance from your captain.
Once you take to the water, your captain guides the modern flats boat across the shallow waters to destinations that most other craft can’t reach. Admire the beautiful scenery and wildlife as you search for the local species like reds, flounder, cobia, spotted sea trout, and plenty more along the Florida coast.
The boat offers a large casting area at the front, so you’ve got the perfect platform to bring in your catch with a light tackle, while some expert tips from your captain can help you hone your techniques regardless of your skill level, so relax and cast out your line for a chance to snare something special.
- St Augustine Old Town Trolley Hop-on Hop-off City Tour
Your expert trolley conductor navigates the streets as you admire the Ancient City, St. Augustine, in all its glory. See everything from historical attractions such as the site where Ponce de Leon first landed, to unique attractions as the Alligator Farm. Hop-on and hop-off wherever you choose to explore the city.
Your one-day pass offers you the freedom to explore the city at your own pace. Browse Hypolita & St. George streets, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, and shop at the historic walking mall before heading to the beach for a glimpse of the spectacular sunset from the waterfront. Stop for a taste of wine at San Sebastian Winery then indulge in a piece of Whetsone Chocolate while you peruse their factory.
World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum Admission with 18-Hole Putting Course
Visit the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum to relive the greatest moments of the sport. Detailed exhibits tell the history of golf and the 150 members of the hall of fame. Take the opportunity to putt your way through an 18-hole course, and then try your hand at the 132-yard green of the Challenge Hole.
Take your time exploring golf history as you peruse the 70,000-square-foot (6,503-sq-m) museum. With a mix of photos, videos, and more than 4,000 artifacts and pieces of memorabilia on display, the museum is a treasure trove of information and intriguing facts. Browse special exhibits dedicated to legends like Nancy Lopez and beloved golf enthusiast Bob Hope, or relive the careers of famous players from around the globe.
- Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a safe, loving, forever home for endangered big cats, and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and captivity. We do not breed, sell, or trade any of our animals. Our current residents include tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, foxes, and coatimundis (the last two are “honorary cats”). We are only open on select days, and last admittance is 45 minutes before closing.
- The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
Our mission is to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education.The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, built on the site of the home of Arthur and Ninah Cummer, opened its doors November 10, 1961. From Ninah Cummer’s relatively small collection of sixty pieces that launched the museum, The Cummer’s permanent collection has grown to over six thousand works of art encompassing eight thousand years of art history.
- Little Talbot Island State Park
Barrier islands like Little Talbot are constantly changing. The dunes are especially subject to erosion. The planting of sea oats, installation of fencing and use of boardwalks for pedestrian traffic help protect this natural resource. Few coastal locations in Florida remain undisturbed, but Little Talbot Island is an exception. There are miles of untouched natural wilderness and waters to explore and enjoy. Recreational opportunities abound at Little Talbot. Along with many other fun activities, visitors can relax on the beach, indulge in an afternoon of fishing or enjoy a paddle along Myrtle Creek.
- Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, located in Jacksonville, Florida, sits at the mouth of the Trout River. The zoo occupies approximately 117 acres (47 ha) and has over 2,000 animals and 1,000 plants in its collection. The zoo has grown from its modest beginnings in Springfield to be considered one of the city’s premier attractions, with more than one million visitors in the past year. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ marquee attractions are the Range of the Jaguar, which won the 2005 AZA Exhibit of the year award and the Land of the Tiger, which opened in 2014 and features an innovative walk-through trail system for the two Sumatran and three Malayan tigers. Also included in the Land of the Tiger are wreathed and wrinkled hornbills, Visayan warty pigs, babirusa pigs, and Asian small-clawed otters. The zoo’s other exhibits include the Plains of East Africa, highlighting African savanna animals; Great Apes of the World, featuring two of the four great apes among other primates; the Australian Outback, including lorikeets, cassowarys, and kangaroos; and Wild Florida, which features animals native to the state.
The zoo is active in animal conservation, participating in more than 50 national and international conservation initiatives and more than 95 Species Survival Plans. In 2004, the zoo reached an agreement with the nation of Guyana to help promote conservation in that country, particularly the Iwokrama Rainforest. Additionally, since 1999 the zoo has been home to a large breeding colony of wild wood storks.
The Florida Theatre is a historic American movie theater located in Jacksonville, Florida. Opened in April 1927, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on November 4, 1982. On April 18, 2012, the AIA’s Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.
The theatre is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during the Mediterranean Revival architectural boom of the 1920s (the other three being the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola, the Polk Theatre in Lakeland and the Tampa Theatre in Tampa).
- Museum of Science and History
Jacksonville’s Museum of Science & History makes science, history, and innovation accessible for all! Whatever your age or interest, there’s always something to see and explore across three levels of exciting exhibits. From interactive, award-winning favorites like Currents of Time and Atlantic Tails to the Florida Naturalist’s Center, which houses animals that are native to Northeast Florida, there is something for all ages to discover. Indulge your imagination with a science or live animal show, or explore distant galaxies in one of our planetarium programs. When visiting Northeast Florida’s only science and history museum, there is no limit to what you can discover!