Florida’s largest and most youthful city (the median age is 35) has enough sights and activities for a full day in port or a day or two of pre- or post-cruise fun. From major sporting events and outdoor adventures to alfresco shopping and cultural experiences, J-ville delivers a ton of action — as well as a laid-back beach scene for those who’d rather do as little as possible.
What We Love
Funky Nightlife: One of the coolest, up-and-coming spots in Jax is The Elbow, a downtown entertainment district near the Florida Theatre that encompasses bars, event spaces, galleries, shops, restaurants, and clubs. Here, you can grab a bite and a beer while catching the best live bands from the local area.
Art Scene: Check out one of the Southeast’s largest collections of paintings, installations, prints, and sculptures at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, or scope out the city's thriving downtown art scene; dozens of galleries are situated between Market and Julia streets.
Best Known For
Endless Summer: Along a 22-mile stretch of sand, you’ll find Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Neptune Beach — with plenty of smaller, more secluded strands in between. Surfers of all stripes (including newbies) can catch a wave at the Mayport Poles, located inside Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. To get from one sandy spot to another, hop on the local Beaches Trolley ($1.50 per ride).
Sporting Events: The city is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars football team and several minor league sports teams — plus the PGA Players Championship — so no matter when you’re in town, you can usually get tickets to a game or match.
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Who It's Best For
Outdoor Adventurers: Considering that Jacksonville gets 229 days of sunshine per year, has tons of golf courses, and operates the largest urban park system in the country, you'll have ample opportunity to get outside and swing a club, hike, kayak, fish, camp, canoe, or ride a horse.
Families: Check out Adventure Landing, a theme park that packs in attractions such as miniature golf, laser tag, roller coasters, go-karts, an arcade, and a water park.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Rent Wheels: Jacksonville is the largest city in the Lower 48 in terms of physical area, so you’ll definitely need a car to see the sights independently.
Amanda Pressner Kreuser is a New York City-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure, Departures, and Food & Wine.