Sometimes you just need a mini-vacay to keep things fresh. We get it! That’s why we’ve curated this ultimate guide to fun and unique day trips from Jacksonville you can do to keep things adventurous during your week.
Want to roam with the horses or take a dip in some crystal-clear springs? North Florida has so much nature and wonder to explore you’ll never run out of fun experiences and destinations.
So pack light because these day trips from Jacksonville are all about some bite-sized adventure…
Take the ferry and head to Cumberland Island for a day of whimsy and wonder! This once-upon-a-time vacation island for the wealthy Carnegie family is now open to explore. Check out the ruins of a seaside mansion built in 1884 and burned down in 1950. Cumberland also has one of the only feral herds of horses on the Atlantic that remains untouched by the outside world. About 200 horses roam the lands, living off the rugged beachside terrain.
Right around the corner from Devil’s Den you can find Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens. These botanical gardens used to be a quarry and now it has been transformed into a magical place. You’ll be able to explore waterfalls, koi ponds, wildlife, tons of flowers and so much more! Exploring these grounds could take a few hours, so be sure to bring a bottle of water and a picnic if you’d like!
Dogs are welcome, just be sure to let the owners know beforehand. For more on this hidden gem be sure to check their website!
This spring pours out to Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes, and you can get here by boat! Don’t worry, the boats stay out of the swimming area and you can also drive here to enter. Make sure you get a picture with the infamous palm that resides there! Visit the website for more information and to get all the details on hours and restrictions.
If you find yourself melting away, Ginnie Springs will cool you down! This is about a two-hour drive from Jacksonville, but so worth it! You can kayak, float down in an inner tube, paddleboard, and more!
Head to their website for more information.
A spectacular hike in Florida, Ravine Gardens has many features that makes it unique and work the trip!
The lush park comes to life in the spring when all the landscaping comes alive. A guided-tour tram ride will takes visitors past 100,000 of azaleas planted. Hit Ravine Gardens at its peak coloring, which is February or March, during the annual Florida Azalea Festival. You might even catch the crowning of the Azalea Queen! (a tradition in Palatka since 1928).
Additionally, the park has two picturesque suspension bridges and waterfalls for that perfect photo op moment.
This park is home to spring-fed rivers, lush canopies and cool swimming holes! The Blue Hole Spring is amazing to snorkel and explore, plus you may even see otters or beavers lurking around.
There’s a lot of to do at this state park, so be sure to check it all out on their website!
Almost 200 acres of pure, natural Florida, Osceloa National Forest is rife for exploring and getting in touch with you inner Floridian. Dense forested woodlands and diverse ecological swamps are untouched by humans in this scenic park.
Check out the The Olustee Battlefield Trail to experience what civil war soldiers lived through and lived like.
If you’re lucky you can catch the annual battle reenactment in February for a historic and entertaining look at the Civil War and it’s toll on Florida.
Constructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Juniper Springs is a place where you can swim, picnic, adventure through trails and more! With palms and oaks surrounding a beautiful spring, this one is a little less than a two hour drive, and so worth it for a day trip!
Jekyll Island has so much to offer from shopping, beaches, Golden Isles visitor tours, acres of wilderness and so much more! Places we recommend include:
- Zachry’s Riverhouse– Nice porch seating with views of the river and offers burgers, wings, seafood and more!
- The Pantry – Stop in the morning for some pastries, cinnamon buns or muffins! Also offers lunch options!
- Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum – This museum takes you through the rich culture and natural history of Jekyll Island!
With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, the freshest seafood and so much more, Amelia Island is a must for a weekend getaway! Whether you want to take some kayaking excursions, golf at the top golf islands in the world or have a spa day with your significant other, there’s something for everyone here.
Ferenandina is such a lovely place to visit and perfect for the family! We recommend:
- Fort Clinch State Park – Get to see all kinds of history here during the Civil War and beautiful views of the beach!
- Beach Diner Fernandina Beach – Perfect spot if you’re looking for a delicious breakfast!Greyfield Inn – This mansion is a must see! The grounds, landscape and everything about this place is breath taking.
Talbot Island State Park includes seven parks and if you’re into bird watching photography, and exploring nature, this place is for you! You can go hiking on Blackrock Trail, go on kayak tours, adventure down to Boneyard Beach and so much more! See parks below:
If you’re a thrill seeker and want something different that Universal or Disney World, head on over to Wild Adventures. This theme park offers all kinds of rides and even has a water park! We recommend the Boomerang or Aviator.
Be sure to check their website on details for when they will open back up.
Yes, Savannah is just about two hours away from Jacksonville! If you haven’t made a weekend out of this cute little southern town already, it’s time to change that. From trendy boutiques, ghost tours and historic sites, this place is one of our favorite spots to get away! We recommend: