Kids are out of school, vacations are booked, and the backyard barbecues are turning up! This summer is looking to be a fantastic one where we can gather with family and friends and do the things we love.
Whether you’re new to the First Coast or a long-time resident, you may be looking for ways to get out of the house this summer without having to go out of town. The good news is the area has a lot of great experiences to offer. As a long-time resident and Realtor, here are my recommendations for some of the top things to do in Northeast Florida.
Meet wildlife at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Northeast Florida’s top attraction is possibly the 117-acre Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, featuring over 2,000 animals and lush landscapes. With a range of exotic animals to see – from elephants and giraffes to tigers and bonobos – it’s the perfect place for the entire family. Kids can enjoy interactive activities like feeding stingrays and cooling off in the on-site Play Park and Splash Ground.
Bonus: If you love watching wild animals, add the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary to your to-do list. The nonprofit rescue offers tours of its grounds and a big cat experience like no other.
Take a day trip to Amelia Island
Visiting historic St. Augustine is a fun day trip for many First Coast residents, but don’t miss out on another great area: Amelia Island and Downtown Fernandina Beach! The area includes scenic beaches, a warm and relaxed local community, an idyllic 50-block historic district, and excellent dining options. From historic buildings to nature trails, Amelia Island offers a variety of activities for the perfect day trip this summer.
Explore Little & Big Talbot Island
Going to the beach is the ultimate summer activity, but if you’re looking for some variety in your beach landscapes, then the First Coast certainly delivers. Little Talbot Island and Big Talbot Island are some of the most unique beaches in the area and perfect for nature-lovers. These two islands offer miles of pristine beaches, bike trails, hiking trails and diverse ecosystems for visitors to explore. If you love fishing, hiking, kayaking or bird-watching, these island parks are a must.
Gather with the community at Riverside Arts Market
I think we’re all craving a little connection with our community after a long year, and for residents in the Jacksonville area, there’s no better place than the Riverside Arts Market. A combination of local farmers, eclectic artists, food trucks and live music, the market is open Saturdays from 10 am – 3 pm, rain or shine.
Enjoy a day at the museum
Going to the museum can be a great activity, especially during the hottest part of summer. Two of the best museums in Northeast Florida are The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and The MOSH (Museum of Science & History). Enjoy a peaceful day at The Cummer Museum where you can view permanent collections, new exhibitions, and some of the most historic and beautiful gardens in Northeast Florida. The nearby MOSH is a great place for families and kids, with daily programs like science shows, animal shows and the famous planetarium.
We all deserve to have some fun this summer. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time and enjoy the beauties of First Coast living!