Florida’s largest city offers underrated fun for all the family

Touring the Town


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Jacksonville Bridge is a beautiful site at night.

SENIOR LIFE Shutterstock

Jacksonville often is underrated for quick trips and excursions.

While Miami, St. Petersburg, Orlando and West Palm Beach draw all the attention, Florida’s largest city has many outstanding and diversified sightseeing destinations. It is just a little more than a two-hour ride from Brevard County.

Jacksonville can be an interesting day trip that introduces you and your family to an exhilarating experience.

I recommend that your first stop in the city be the Festival Mall at Jacksonville Landing. This two-level complex is located on the north bank of the majestic St. Johns River.

The Landing has more than 65 stores, as well as full-service restaurants and a food court. It boasts weekly live music that is performed in an open, brick courtyard.

Parking is located to the immediate east of the Landing next to the Main Street Bridge.

Your first stop at the Landing should be the Jacksonville Visitors Information Center. Inquire about these following top attractions: Top to Bottom Walking Tour, Jax Sports Complex, Foxy Lady Cruises, The Museum of Science and History, The Ritz Theatre, The Museum of Contemporary Art and, last but not least, the Brooklyn Station Plaza.

Fabulous public transportation makes it easy to leave the car parked while enjoying the city’s downtown.

Use the Skyway, which is free. This new train serves riders to points of interest on both sides of the St. Johns River. It operates from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For a change, try the St. Johns River Water Taxi that provides transportation from the Jacksonville Landing to many interesting stops on both sides of the St. Johns River. There is a modest fee.

Take the one-hour narrated water cruise tour of the St. Johns River and downtown Jacksonville. Before the trip, call 904-860-8294 for times and complete details of St. Johns River Tours or go to jaxrivertaxi.com.

It’s a great way to learn about Jacksonville, its history, many landmarks and the St. Johns River.

There is a lot to see and do in Jacksonville, making a return trip a sure thing when time permits.

The Hampton Inn and the Doubletree Hotel are located in downtown Jacksonville on the south side of the St. Johns River. Both offer top-notch accommodations.

Getting to Jacksonville from Brevard County by auto is direct. Take Interstate-95 North to Exit 350A. Then, follow signs to the Main Street Bridge that crosses the St. Johns River to Jacksonville Landing. 

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