One place in Jacksonville, Florida, that I wasn’t expecting to be as complex as it is is the Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. I’d heard of this park as one of the top places to visit in Jacksonville for outdoorsy people but it’s actually much more than a park.
It’s located in east Jacksonville, along the coastline, and about 20 miles from downtown. It was pretty busy on the day that I visited, but I was the only hiker.
This park, run by the City of Jacksonville, has:
- Camping (RV, shelters and tent)
- Picnic areas
- Splash pad
- Camp store
- Bathrooms and showers
There is a small fee to enter the park – $5 per car for general day entrance, which isn’t too bad. Find other prices here.
I originally went to this park for the hiking and took part of the Wellness Trail. It’s estimated to be 6.0 miles but due to weather concerns, I cut it short and went about 2.75 miles. I have conflicted feelings about hiking here. The trails weren’t clearly marked and the hiking trail intertwines with the numerous biking trails, so it got confusing at times and I needed to reference the trail map frequently. It also wasn’t super maintained and didn’t look highly used, and it’s very swampy. I realize that it’s in Florida, but still. It was very muddy with so many bugs out. I wore bug spray and still got numerous bug bites.
Besides the iffy “hiking,” everything else about the park seemed amazing. I went down to the lake area, which is where visitors can fish, kayak, or rent canoes.
It’s also where visitors can find the restrooms, camp store, playground, splash area/water park, and picnic areas. The bathrooms were very poorly maintained so I would use them as a last resort.
If the beach is more your speed, there is quite a bit of coastline at this park with multiple parking areas and restrooms, which was great. They seemed to be better maintained than the park areas, but it was still quite crowded.
At the beach location I visited, there was a Florida Heritage Site sign stating that it was the “Historic Manhattan Beach, Florida.” This beach was Florida’s first African American beach resort, reserved by railroader Henry Flagler in 1900 for his black employees. The resort area declined after the railway ceased operations in 1932 and displaced the community by 1938.
Overall, for a city park, it wasn’t horrible. I wasn’t expecting there to be as much to do as there was, so that was a welcome surprise. If you’re looking for a beach, there are plenty of free beaches that are just as nice, but if you’re looking for things to do, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park might be perfect for you and the family.
Thank you for reading! What do you think of Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!