Travelling on a budget? There are surprisingly quite a few *free* things that you can do in Jacksonville for free. Here’s a list of some of my favorites!
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Jacksonville has four main beaches: Atlantic, Neptune, Jax, and Ponte Vedra beaches. My personal favorite is Jax Beach. It’s where you can find the pier (which is currently under construction, unfortunately) and lots of yummy food spots. There’s lots of free parking spots but during the busy months, it can be a hunt to find parking. Whenever I go to the beach, it’s usually Jax Beach. Here’s a blog post I wrote recently about a relaxing day at Jax Beach!
Riverside Arts Market
The Riverside Arts Market (RAM) is a free arts + farmers market in Riverside, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Jax and my current place of residence. It takes place every Saturday from 10am – 3pm. There’s usually live performers and vendors of all kinds: pottery, artwork, knitting, clothing, crystals, cosmetics, photography, produce, hot sauce, baked goods, kombucha, and so much more! There’s also lots of food trucks with some of my favorite Jax hotspots. There’s lots of free parking in the areas nearby, but you might have to hunt for it or be patient. I love coming here for lunch, listening to the live music, and walking along the river. (It sits under a freeway underpass along the St. Johns River.)
Jacksonville Arboretum + Gardens
The Jax Arboretum is a free arboretum and gardens, located in between downtown and the beaches. It’s a 120-acre plot of land that has quite a few walking trails out in the woods, as well as a paved trail around its central pond. It’s a pretty spot to go for a walk and spend time out in nature. I visit every few months and really enjoy this little escape. I’ve written about it before, so check out this blog post with some of my favorite photos from the arboretum!
There are two riverwalks that run along the St. Johns River that goes straight through Jacksonville. The first is the northern riverwalk, which starts near RAM and goes all the way past the John T. Alsop Jr. Bridge; the second is the southern, which starts near Friendship Fountain and gives you views of downtown, and the baseball and football stadiums. Both are really pretty spots to watch sunset in downtown and I find really relaxing spots to enjoy the city. Check out this short blog on the southern riverwalk, which I visited recently.
Fort Caroline National Memorial
Located near the Jax Arboretum on the east side of Jax, Fort Caroline is a memorial spot for a historical, short-lived French settlement from the sixteenth century. It’s part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve, one of my favorite outdoor spots in Jax. The Fort is a small, reconstructed fort that provides historical information on the brutal lives that French settlers experienced upon arriving to this area. It doesn’t take a lot of time to explore the fort itself, but it’s nice to walk in the preserve after. I found the fort quite a sad place to visit (read about it here).
This “free” spot has a caveat – it’s only free on certain days. Admission on non-free days is $10 for adults, but the museum has special free admission days thanks to local sponsors, excluding special events. Parking is free. Free admission days are:
- Tuesdays from 4-9pm
- Fridays from 4-9pm
- First Saturday of the month from 11am to 4pm
- MLK Day, coming up soon, will also be a free admission day
There are so many different types of art in the Cummer Museum, and they have traveling exhibits so be sure to check their websites or social medias for the latest. It’s also located in Riverside, and I loved my visit! Read here!
This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list of free things to do in Jacksonville, but I’ve found it to be quite a budget-friendly spot to explore!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to any of these places? Are there any other free things to do in Jax that I missed? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!