When life gets hectic and we find ourselves caught up in the daily grind, it can be challenging to unwind and make the most of our weekends. While the beach is undoubtedly a popular choice (and one that I personally love), Jacksonville offers a plethora of other remarkable parks and attractions that often slip under the radar when we’re seeking tranquility, serenity, and a touch of nature. To assist you in planning your perfect weekend escape, we’ve compiled a list of five must-visit places in Jacksonville that will infuse some much-needed “namastay” into your leisure time.
Escape into a Harmonious Blend of Art and Nature at the Cummer Gardens
If you’re in the mood for a relaxing day out that seamlessly merges art and nature, you have to visit the Cummer Gardens in Jacksonville. As you stroll along the tree-lined pathways, prepare to be awed by the vibrant blooms and captivating sculptures that adorn the landscape. The refreshing breeze and soothing sounds of the nearby river create the perfect peaceful oasis. It’s a place where art truly comes alive.
But the Cummer Museum offers more than just a beautiful garden. They also provide engaging programs and events for visitors of all ages. Whether you want to join a guided tour, participate in an art workshop, or attend a fascinating lecture, the museum has something to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the art world. It’s a hub of creativity and knowledge that fosters a vibrant community of art enthusiasts and scholars.
No visit to the Cummer Museum would be complete without treating yourself to the delights of the Cummer Café. Indulge in a delicious meal or sip on a cup of freshly brewed coffee while enjoying the elegant surroundings of the museum. It’s the perfect way to enhance your experience and make lasting memories.
The Cummer Museum is located at: 829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
Explore the Scenic Pathway of History and Adventure – Jacksonville’s Rail Trail
Looking for a unique blend of history, nature, and recreational opportunities? Look no further than Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail. Once a bustling railroad corridor, this picturesque pathway now serves as a beloved recreational space for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts. Spanning several miles, the trail takes you on a journey through Jacksonville’s neighborhoods, parks, and natural landscapes, offering a refreshing escape from the urban bustle.
As you explore the Rail Trail, you’ll come across charming parks and recreational areas that invite you to take a break and soak in the amazing scenery. Whether you want to enjoy a picnic, sit on one of the benches, or simply revel in nature, there are plenty of opportunities to pause, recharge, and appreciate the tranquility of your surroundings. The Rail Trail is more than just a pathway; it’s a vibrant community hub where strangers become friends and shared experiences create lasting memories
There are several entry points to Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail: Info Here
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Discover Tranquility and Adventure at Washington Gardens
Step into a world of peaceful beauty as you stroll through the winding reflection ponds and picturesque oak trees of Washington Oaks Gardens. This enchanting destination offers a unique shoreline adorned with coquina rock formations, providing a breathtaking backdrop for beachcombing, tidal pool exploring, and photography enthusiasts.
Whether you choose to relax and picnic on the beach or cast your fishing line from the seawall along the Matanzas River, Washington Gardens provides abundant opportunities for outdoor enjoyment. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the sandy beaches, peaceful gardens, and winding trails, and let the magic of the surroundings transport you to a world of tranquility and adventure.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is located at: 6400 N Oceanshore Blvd, Palm Coast, FL 32137
A Historic National Park for an Unforgettable Family Outing
Experience a sunny day filled with history at Kingsley Plantation, a historic national park that promises an unforgettable family outing. With free admission and open seven days a week, there’s so much to see and do at and around Kingsley Plantation.
Start your visit with a self-guided audio tour that takes you on a journey through the plantation grounds, Kingsley home, and its slave quarters. Learn about the rich history of the plantation and the people who lived there in the late 1700s and 1800s. The audio tour, known as the “Lion Teller,” is available for free, and each stop is clearly marked with an audio tour sign. You can also explore the grounds at your own pace using the Grounds Tour Map, which provides descriptions of each stop.
Don’t miss the opportunity to go inside the Plantation house on weekends when ranger-led tours are available. To secure a spot, make sure to call ahead for reservations. While you’re there, take a water break and enjoy the stunning view from the waterfront property along the river. Kingsley Plantation offers a glimpse into the past and a chance to connect with history in a meaningful way.
Kingsley Plantation is located at: 11676 Palmetto Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32226
Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens
Escape to Nature at the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
If you’re longing for a peaceful escape from the city without having to travel far, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is the perfect destination. This 120-acre urban woodland is a hidden gem with trails waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
The Arboretum offers over 126 acres of natural beauty with seven designated trails, providing opportunities for a quick break or a whole afternoon of exploration. Bring your family, friends, and even your furry companions because the Arboretum is pet-friendly. Just remember to bring leashes and doggie bags to keep the area clean.
Upon arrival, start your day by checking out the trail board at the front entrance, which provides information about the Arboretum and the sights you’ll encounter. Choose the trail that suits your preferences, and don’t forget that the trails can connect to extend the distance of your adventure. Along the way, you’ll find self-guided trail markers and informative signage about various plants, offering an educational experience amidst the natural beauty.
Make sure to capture a photo of the loblolly bay tree, the largest of its kind in the nation. Take breaks at the outlook points around the two-acre lake, where you can catch your breath and enjoy the peaceful view. With its proximity to downtown Jacksonville and its affordable admission, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens is located at: 1445 Millcoe Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
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About the Author
Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, a top real estate team in Ponte Vedra Beach. Jenn has over 18 years experience in Real Estate all in Ponte Vedra Beach, she is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.