Top Attractions for First-Time Visitors

Jacksonville’s attractions run the gamut from thrilling theme parks to tranquil gardens and nature preserves. Here are some of the top things to do for those seeing the city for the first time:

Jacksonville Beach

No trip to Jacksonville is complete without spending time at the beach. Jacksonville Beach, one of the three beaches in the Jacksonville Beaches community, is a vibrant oceanfront hub perfect for first-time visitors. Take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk, build sandcastles, swim in the temperate Atlantic waters or just relax on the sand. Pick up snacks and beach supplies at the many shops and eateries along Beach Boulevard. Don’t miss the Jacksonville Beach Pier where you can try your luck fishing or take in panoramic ocean views.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Nature lovers will find bliss at this pristine barrier island located just northeast of Jacksonville. Little Talbot Island State Park offers miles of unspoiled beaches, maritime forests, salt marshes and the northernmost extension of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. Explore the island on over five miles of nature trails, watch for river otters playing in Freshwater Lake or climb to the top of the Little Talbot Island Observation Tower for scenic views.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Sister to the more developed Jacksonville Beach, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is the place to go for a quieter, more natural beach experience. This 447-acre oceanfront park features over a mile of dunes, three miles of surf and unspoiled coastal habitat teeming with wildlife. Nature lovers will find plenty of trails for hiking and birdwatching. The park also has 60 campsites available by advance reservation.

Museum of Science & History

Families with kids should add MOSH (Museum of Science & History) to the itinerary. The museum brings science, history and culture to life through immersive permanent and temporary exhibits. See a replica of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, dig up a dinosaur fossil, command the Space Station Simulator or dive into the rich contributions of African Americans to northeast Florida. Don’t miss the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium where an indoor star show transports you to other galaxies.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is another fun and educational family attraction. See exotic animals like Jaguars, elephants, lemurs, manatees and Komodo dragons in naturalistic habitats. Cool off at the Range of the Jaguar splash play area, brave the treetop ropes course or take a ride on the Wild Florida loop train which tours through recreated Florida ecosystems. With over 2,000 rare and endangered animals calling this zoo home, every visit offers a unique experience.

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville

After all the outdoor adventures, spend some time exploring Jacksonville’s vibrant arts and culture scene. The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) is one of the city’s premier art museums. View modern and contemporary works by both world-renowned and emerging artists. Check the museum’s events calendar for film screenings, live music and art classes. MOCA is located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville’s museum district.

How to Get Around Jacksonville

Spread out over 875 square miles, Jacksonville is a vast city requiring a bit of navigation. Luckily, getting around is relatively easy thanks to a user-friendly public transportation system, abundant rideshare options and charter bus rentals. Here are some of the best ways for tourists to get around:

Light Rail

Jacksonville’s mass transit system, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), includes an extensive network of bus routes as well as a 25-mile light rail system. The JTA Skyway automated people mover connects downtown Jacksonville and surrounding neighborhoods. The elevated track allows you to relax and take in views of the city from above. Fares start at just $1, making the Skyway an affordable way to move between top attractions like museums, theaters, sports complexes and the riverfront.

Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis are available at popular tourist spots like Jacksonville Beach and Marriott hotels. A typical ride within the city costs around $15 – $25 depending on distance. Major rideshare services like Lyft and Uber also operate extensively throughout Jacksonville and surrounding communities. During peak hours, rideshare services may charge surge pricing, so a taxi will likely be cheaper if you’re not traveling far.

Charter Buses

For ultimate convenience when traveling in large groups, rent a charter bus in Jacksonville. Charter buses keep your entire group together while a professional driver navigates you between attractions according to your custom itinerary. You’ll always have room for plenty of people, luggage, gear and souvenirs. Charter buses in Jacksonville are available in a range of sizes from minibuses to full-sized 50+ passenger coaches. Onboard amenities like WiFi, TVs, power outlets and restrooms ensure a comfortable ride for travelers of all ages. Perfect for airport transfers, day trips, extended tours and more. To explore everything from historic neighborhoods and fun theme parks to pristine beaches, book your next adventure in Jacksonville. Getting around this sprawling riverside city is a breeze with abundant transportation options including the JTA Skyway, taxis, rideshares and charter bus rentals. Avoid the hassle of driving in an unfamiliar city and leave the navigation to the professionals. Whether traveling solo, with family or a large group, Jacksonville offers something memorable for first-time visitors of any age. Immerse yourself in indigenous culture and history, thrill-seeking rides, outdoor escapes, or vibrant arts and dining; you’re sure to fall in love with Jacksonville.

Ready to Get Started?

At Charter Buses Jacksonville, we provide reliable charter bus rentals to transport your group safely throughout northeast Florida. Our modern fleet of buses includes everything from 18-passenger minibuses to 56-passenger motorcoaches, so we have the perfect vehicle for your group’s adventure. Every charter bus rental includes a professional driver, free WiFi, power outlets, and all the amenities to keep you rolling in comfort. Plus, you’ll benefit from transparent pricing with no hidden fees. Explore more and stress less on your Jacksonville getaway with Charter Buses Jacksonville! Give our 24/7 reservations team a call today at (904) 337-4713 to check rates and availability for your ideal charter bus. We look forward to helping with all your Jacksonville transportation needs!