The Best Parks in Jacksonville, Florida

Photo of Josh Wright
9 February 2017

Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system not only in Florida but in the entirety of the United States, with over 300 dotted around the metropolitan area. Choosing which to visit can be a daunting task, so Culture Trip has rounds up the best attractions from sprawling seaside parks to peaceful relaxation spots.

Huguenot Memorial Park | © Jon Dawson/Flickr

Huguenot Memorial Park

Memorial, Park
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Dogs enjoying themselves
Dogs enjoying themselves | © zensmom1/Flickr
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, Fort George Inlet, and St. Johns River, Huguenot Memorial Park comprises 450 acres of prime seafront location. It’s the only park in Jacksonville where you can drive on the beach, but the real way to enjoy the place is to explore it on foot. Park rangers conduct guided tours and beach walks, offering information about the local wildlife – the park provides important nesting grounds for terns, gulls, and other shorebirds, as well as turtles. There are also 70 camping sites, each one with a picnic table and fire ring.

Dogwood Park

Dog Park, Park
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Life | © amateur photography by michel/Flickr
If you’re a dog lover, this is the park for you. A veritable paradise for pooches, Dogwood Park has a 25-acre off-leash area (fenced in for their protection) and a two-acre swimming lake, as well as separate areas for smaller dogs. A four-acre shaded area provides some respite from the sun, while ten acres of wooded trails allow the owners to join their pets in getting some exercise. And if that wasn’t enough for the canine visitors, they can also make use of an agility course, exercise obstacles, play equipment, and a sand pit.

Memorial Park

Memorial, Park
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A Jacksonville duck
A Jacksonville duck | © Rob Bixby/Flickr
The third oldest park in Jacksonville was officially opened in 1924, in memory of the 1,200 Floridians who lost their lives in World War I. Charles Adrian Pillars’s bronze sculpture, Life, honours the fallen. Six acres in size, Memorial Park is a small, tranquil locale that was designed by the renowned landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers. One path encircles an open, green space perfect for outdoor activities, while another runs along the riverside. A stroll can be had underneath the boughs of the many trees here, and passing ships can be seen from any of the 22 benches.

Ed Austin Regional Park

There are plenty of opportunities to be active at Ed Austin Regional Park. Across its 144 acres there are floodlit facilities for baseball, basketball, soccer, and softball, as well as an 18-hole disc golf course, a skate park, trails for jogging and bike riding, an asphalt running track, and a fenced-in dog park. A community center is run by the Police Athletic League, a Jacksonville organization that aims to enrich the lives of the city’s youth. Two ponds on either side of the park form a habitat for turtles and waterfowl.

11751 McCormick Rd, Jacksonville, FL, +1 904-630-2489

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

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Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park caters for fishers, surfers, canoers and kayakers, who have 1.5 miles of beach and a 60-acre freshwater lake at their disposal. Land-lubbers meanwhile can utilize the roughly 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that crisscross the park. Spaces for picnicking can be found around the lake, complete with grills, while those who wish to camp can choose to bring their own tent or make use of the installed cabins. The 2000 ft2 Dolphin Pavilion can be privately hired for special events.