Klutho Park

Nestled along the peaceful St. Johns River, Klutho Park is a gorgeous green space in downtown Jacksonville. Once home to the Jacksonville Free Public Library, this city-run park now features spacious lawns, scenic river views, and plenty of shade thanks to soaring oak trees that are over a century old. Bring a picnic lunch to dine al fresco beside the water, cast a fishing line off one of the private docks, or break a sweat on the basketball courts. Inside the historic Klutho Building, you can admire art from local painters and sculptors at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Don’t miss the massive Tiffany stained glass window—it’s a breathtaking work of art! Klutho Park is the perfect place to savor a relaxing afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Parking and admission are free, making this urban oasis a budget-friendly choice for couples, families, and solo travelers.

Address: 101 W. 12th St, Jacksonville, FL 32206 Phone: (904) 255-7900

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

After exploring the artifacts at Klutho Park, head inside the Klutho Building for a tour of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. As the world’s largest private collection of important original manuscripts and documents, this museum holds rare historic treasures that will fascinate history buffs. See handwritten letters from U.S. presidents, literary greats like Charles Dickens, and famous figures including Susan B. Anthony and Napoleon Bonaparte. Other manuscripts and documents provide an intriguing look at ancient religions, landmark legal cases, inventions, and events that changed the course of human history. Rotating exhibits at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum mean there’s always something new to discover. One visit you may find medieval illuminated manuscripts with intricate religious artwork. Come back another time to see Civil War-era soldier diaries or a replica of the 1455 Gutenberg Bible. Highlights include original copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. Don’t miss the massive Tiffany stained glass window next door in Klutho Park—it’s the largest work by Louis Comfort Tiffany located outside of a museum!

Address: 101 W. 1st Street Jacksonville, FL 32206 Phone: (904) 356-2992

Friendship Fountain

As the world’s tallest and largest fountain, the Friendship Fountain is one of Jacksonville’s most iconic landmarks. Majestically situated along the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville’s Southbank area, this impressive water feature opened in 1965 and awes visitors with its spectacular display. When operating at full power, the fountain’s massive pumps shoot water 120 feet into the air! By night, a mesmerizing light show illuminates the impressive jets. Bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the spacious riverfront lawn around Friendship Fountain. Arrive on Saturday night for the best views of the choreographed light display, which is accompanied by patriotic songs and music on summer weekends. Free one-hour tours are offered on Saturdays at 10 a.m. to provide insider info on this engineering marvel. Sign up at the tour tent before the fountain’s start time.

Address: 1015 Museum Cir, Jacksonville, FL 32207 Phone: (904) 630-0837

Evergreen Cemetery

Jacksonville’s Evergreen Cemetery offers a peaceful respite from city life with its 150 acres of manicured grounds dotted with moss-draped oaks. As the oldest cemetery in Jacksonville, this National Historic Landmark provides a look into the city’s early history. Notable graves include four Florida governors, soldiers from every American war, and James Weldon Johnson, composer of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Free trolley tours of Evergreen Cemetery run every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Visitors can also opt for self-guided exploration of the expansive grounds and unique monuments. Pack a lunch to enjoy amid the tranquil setting and keep an eye out for local wildlife including squirrels, birds, and butterflies. Evergreen Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Address: 4535 North Main Street Jacksonville, FL 32206 Phone: (904) 353-0766

Kingsley Plantation

History comes to life at Kingsley Plantation, just north of Jacksonville on Fort George Island. As Florida’s oldest standing plantation, this living history site provides insight into antebellum plantation life through tours of the main house and restored slave quarters. Costumed guides are available for scheduled tours or informal interactions. Walking paths weave through lush, wooded grounds dotted with ruins and archaeological sites. Keep an eye out for wildlife including alligators, herons, armadillos, deer, and bald eagles. Kingsley Plantation is operated by the National Park Service and features exhibits inside the restored manor house and barn. Visitors will learn how cultivating Sea Island Cotton made plantations like Kingsley successful until the crop was wiped out by boll weevils. Free park ranger talks are available to dive deeper into the site’s complex history of slavery.

Address: 11676 Palmetto Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32226 Phone: (904) 251-3537

Forever Florida

Trade bright city lights for winding trails, cypress swamps, and Florida wetlands on an adventure to Forever Florida. Located in Kenansville about 45 miles southwest of Jacksonville, this eco-attraction spans 7 distinct ecosystems across nearly 10,000 acres. Explore Florida’s rich natural landscapes on horseback, in a Safari Cruiser, or by zipline on elevated trails overlooking wetlands. Special kids’ programs teach about native wildlife including alligators, bears, and more. Forever Florida offers an escape into wilderness just a short drive from Jacksonville. Experience the Sunshine State’s natural splendor away from crowded beaches on miles of wilderness trails. Keep your eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, ospreys, and other native species that call this expansive property home. It’s the perfect place to unwind surrounded by scenic beauty.

Address: 4755 N Kenansville Rd, St. Cloud, FL 34771 Phone: (866) 754-1164

Sweet Pete’s Candy

No trip to Jacksonville is complete without a stop at Sweet Pete’s Candy for handmade confections, ice cream, and chocolate. Created by “Chief Candymaker” Peter Behringer using his family’s generations-old recipes, the sweets at this old-fashioned candy store are truly scrumptious. Fudge, brittles, caramels, truffles, and chocolate-dipped everything tempt taste buds of all ages. Scoops of creamy ice cream provide the perfect complement. Sweet Pete’s manufactures small batches of candy daily on-site for unbeatable freshness. Watch staff crafting confections through windows before browsing the delightfully stocked gift shop. You can find classic candies by the pound along with Jacksonville-themed treats like River City Toffee made with praline pecans. Sweet Pete’s makes specialty candies for holidays and custom sweets for special occasions.

Address: 400 N Hogan St Suite 180, Jacksonville, FL 32202 Phone: (904) 679-9599

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Nestled along the St. Johns River, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens blends visual arts with the serenity of nature at this riverfront oasis. Inside the museum, galleries feature American and European paintings dating from 2100 B.C. to the present. Highlights include works by prominent artists like Thomas Moran and Norman Rockwell. Outside, explore acre upon acre of impeccably maintained gardens from an English garden to tropical plantings and a reflecting pool. The Cummer Museum hosts events like outdoor jazz concerts, art classes, and family-friendly activities. Visit on a Tuesday evening between 4-9 p.m. for discounted admission during Community Free Days. Guided tours run daily to provide insight on the museum’s art collection and storied history along Jacksonville’s Museum Mile.

Address: 829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204 Phone: (904) 356-6857

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

Each May, jazz musicians and enthusiasts flock to Jacksonville for this free three-day music festival. Held in Downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival transforms waterfront parks into a lively celebration of America’s own musical art form: jazz. Sway to the sounds of local talent and renowned headliners on multiple stages, from contemporary jazz to big band melodies and intimate blues sets. Pack a picnic and dance beneath the stars to live music after dark during this beloved Jacksonville tradition. The festival’s star-studded lineup has included Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock and more throughout its 40 year history. Arrive hungry and sample fare from local food trucks and vendors serving everything from giant turkey legs to loaded tater tots. With tickets always free and open seating, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival is one of the city’s best budget-friendly events.

Address: Downtown Jacksonville Riverfront

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

Stretching across 12 acres near the St. Johns River, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens provides a scenic urban escape. Botanical collections include azaleas, camellias, roses, butterfly gardens, and edible plants. Marked walking paths wind beneath mossy oaks as songbirds flit by. Explore wetland boardwalks, visit with farm animals in the petting zoo, or pack a lunch to enjoy in a picnic area. The Arboretum’s picturesque lawns and pavilions may be reserved for private events like weddings or family reunions. Guests enjoy complimentary admission to public gardens when they book a venue for their special occasion. Volunteers lead free interactive tours every Tuesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. highlighting seasonal plantings and wildlife. leashed pets are welcome to join their owners for exploration and fresh air.

Address: 1445 Millcoe Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225 Phone: (904) 318-4116

Tree Hill Nature Center

At the Tree Hill Nature Center, kids and kids-at-heart can let their sense of adventure run wild. This environmental education center spans 50 acres of forests, wetlands, and prairies along the St. Johns River just across from Downtown Jacksonville. Explore miles of wilderness trails, climb the rock wall, or navigate the challenge course with ropes, bridges, and zip lines. Daily hands-on programs teaches about ecosystems, wildlife, and the great outdoors. Sign up to meet Tree Hill’s resident gopher tortoises, snakes, turtles and birds up-close. Weekend campfires, night hikes, and canoe trips create fun after-dark adventures. Tree Hill’s Butterfly Festival each September releases hundreds of butterflies into the wild after emerging from chrysalises.

Address: 7152 Lone Star Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32211 Phone: (904) 724-4646

Jacksonville Ponte Vedra Auto Show

Each March, automobile enthusiasts converge for the Jacksonville Ponte Vedra Auto Show to admire hundreds of vintage rides. Hosted by the North Florida Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America, this family-friendly event showcases rare and immaculately restored cars, trucks, and motorcycles from days gone by. Chat with proud owners about their passion projects and vote for your favorites to win “Best in Show” titles. Stroll aisles of antique Fords, flashy hot rods, muscle cars and more at the Jacksonville Ponte Vedra Auto Show spanning 50 years of automotive history. Grab a bite from on-site food vendors and let kids burn off energy in the children’s play area. General admission is just $5 per person while kids 12 and under are free, making this a budget-friendly outing for car lovers and families alike.

Address: 1711 Art Museum Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32207

Plan Your Trip with Charter Buses Jacksonville

With so many amazing hidden gems, Jacksonville offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Avoid the hassle of driving yourself and keep your group together on every stop of your custom itinerary with a charter bus rental from Charter Buses Jacksonville. Our spacious, comfortable buses have room for all your companions and luggage, along with amenities like WiFi, AC and cushy reclining seats for smooth travels. Just sit back and take in the sights while a professional driver navigates Jacksonville’s streets and delivers you directly to each destination. Whether you need transportation for a family reunion or corporate event, church group or student field trip, Charter Buses Jacksonville offers a variety of rental options to meet your needs. Our team is ready to help plan your transportation 24/7 at (904) 337-4713. Call today to get started and we’ll help you uncover the real hidden gems that Jacksonville has to offer!