Jacksonville, the ‘Sunshine State of Florida’, is famous for world-class dining, thriving nightlife and the longest coastline. It’s no wonder that this Florida city exerts its charm on visitors. What makes it a popular destination is the exciting things to do near Jacksonville, as it is strategically located along with other gems of Florida. If you are flying to Florida on your US trip, it is recommended that you add a few more days to your itinerary and explore all the places mentioned below to make it one helluva trip.
Places near Jacksonville
Here are some of the best places to visit near Jacksonville that can be accomplished in one day. You can also add others to your Florida itinerary because these places are so amazing.
1. Amelia Island
Just 30 miles from Jackson, Amelia Island is a beautiful, tranquil place with dazzling white sand beaches and lush forests. The abundance of nature makes it one of the best places near Jacksonville Florida. On the northeastern corner of the island is Fernandina Beach which boasts picturesque shores, luxury resorts and expansive golf clubs. What makes it a big attraction near Jacksonville is that there are festivals and events happening throughout the year.
Distance from Jacksonville: 53 km
how to reach: The nearest airport is Jacksonville Airport. You can rent a car and take a crowd-free road trip to the island.
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2. Ichetucknee Springs
Ichetucknee Springs is one of the most beautiful attractions near Jacksonville where you can spend your entire day amidst nature. The uniquely beautiful waterfalls are a perfect place to escape from all the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the peace and charm of the surroundings. While you’re there, enjoy a thrilling cave diving experience at Blue Hole Springs, Ichetucknee’s largest.
Distance from Jacksonville: 128 km
how to reach: There is a bus from Jacksonville to Lake City. You will have to cover the further distance to the waterfalls by taxi. There is a tram that will take you inside the Spring Park.
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3. Blue Springs State Park
If you’re looking for places near Jacksonville Airport so that you can start your trip as soon as you land in Jacksonville, drive yourself to Blue Springs State Park. The 2,600 acres of pristine and untouched landscape certainly looks mesmerizing to the eyes. It is only a two-hour drive from Jacksonville and becomes very popular during the summer season when people come to enjoy kayaking and canoeing. The manatees of West India also add charm to the landscape. The best time to visit Blue Spring State Park is November-March.
Distance from Jacksonville: 186 km
how to reach: It only takes an hour and a half to reach the park from Jacksonville. Therefore, it would be better if you hire a seamer for a day. Also, arrive early as this park fills up quickly during the season.
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Palatka is a simple, historic town located about an hour’s drive from Jacksonville. The charm of the old town with its perfectly preserved houses and ancient churches makes this place a must-see on your trip to Florida. Step back in time during your visit to Palatka, preferably to the 1800s where time stands still. You’ll find a thriving art scene and vibrant culture in Palatka that can best be enjoyed through a Palatka Mural Tour. For a dose of nature and adventure, you can visit Ravines State Garden Park.
Distance from Jacksonville: 99 km
how to reach: You can take a bus from Jacksonville to Palatka. The train from Jacksonville to Palatka costs only $16.
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What makes Gainesville one of the best places near Jacksonville to visit is its young, vibrant charm which is possible because it is home to the University of Florida. Gainesville is also a great place to visit for nature lovers as it is home to many natural attractions and state parks where you will find an abundance of flora and fauna. Visit Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park for its giant sinkholes.
Distance from Jacksonville: 114 km
how to reach: The nearest airport to Gainesville is Jacksonville Airport. You can take a bus from Jacksonville to Gainesville, which will take only an hour to reach.
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Tampa is one of the exciting places near Jacksonville that you should not miss on your Florida trip. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, it is one of the most visited cities in the US. The abundant beaches provide excellent opportunities for fishing and enjoying fresh seafood. Be sure to check out Clearwater Beach and Indian Rock Beach during your visit. If you enjoy coastal views and a marine-oriented lifestyle, you should definitely check out this place.
distance: 320 km
how to reach: You can take a direct flight from Jacksonville to Tampa. Buses and trains are also available if you prefer.
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So, these were some of the places near Jacksonville that you should include in your itinerary to enjoy your trip to USA to the fullest. Florida is one of the most popular states in the United States of America famous for its beaches and exciting theme parks. So, here are pointers on how to have fun in the Sunshine State. However, stay away from alligators and crocodiles, which are found in abundance in Florida. Also, enjoy diving and driving in Miami which is a paradise for divers.
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