Northeast Florida - City Day-Breaks

Florida's largest city, however you measure it, Jacksonville ('JAX' to locals) is a big city with small town, southern charm. Both a university campus and a corporate center, we've outlined a dozen or so reasons to make a day trip 'into town'. While the greater tourist lures are further south in Orlando, time in JAX shows you just how varied 'real life' in Florida can be.

General attractions: the top 3

Any of the following will make an easy and enjoyable day trip all by themselves, especially if combined with any of our restaurant suggestions , or as the end point to a scenic drive up A1A

Jacksonville with children

Should you and your children need a day out of the sun, JAX has some great kids' museums and child-friendly exhibits, for ages 18 months and up. Three favorites:

  • Art Connections (at the Cummer Museum of Art): Art Connections online
  • Art Explorium Loft (at the Museum of Contemporary Art): Loft online
  • Hands on Children's Museum:

Like beer? 2X Brewery tours and tap rooms.

Like boats, fishing and the water?

Kayak eco tours: Maybe you're kayaked-out by this point, but two tours on offer are particularly local and unlike any city tour you've yet seen. Choose between:

  • Downtown Jacksonville Historic Paddle: First Coast Outfitters online
  • Jacksonville Zoo Kayak Tour: (website as above).
  • Jacksonville Maritime Museum: details online
  • Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament: details online

Like art?

Like to shop?


100 shops in 200 acres! An upscale, outdoor pedestrian mall close to Jacksonville – this is a style of shopping done best in sunny climates. Still shiny and new since its 2005 completion, you'll find all the higher end national chains (Apple, West Elm, Kate Spade, Sephora, Williams-Sonoma and 95 or so other favorites), plus day spas, ice cream shops and great restaurants. Planning ahead for 2014? Guys... Nordstrom is coming. Whether browsing or re-stocking your entire wardrobe, St. Johns Town Center is shopping perfected.

  • Website: St John's Town Center online
  • Address: 4711 River City Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246
  • Where to eat: The selection of restaurants and snack stops at St. Johns Town Center is particularly good, making it a dinner destination in itself. A new Brio Tuscan Grille joins a well-established list: Seasons 52, PF Changs, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Capital Grill and more (Leave room for frozen yoghurt).
  • Riverside Arts Market:
  • Avonlea Antique Mall:
  • Jacksonville Landing: (Costco, Target and Wine Warehouse are also nearby).

Bringing a dog?