Loveliest Parks And Gardens In Jacksonville, Florida

People swimming at Rainbow Springs, Florida, USA
People swimming at Rainbow Springs, Florida, USA | Unsplash | Jacksonville Beach Moms
Brendan Scully

On the Northeast corner of Florida is Jacksonville, the large metropolis that’s one of America’s oldest cities. Within its urban expanse, a surprising blend of history and natural beauty awaits, as Jacksonville boasts an array of captivating parks and gardens that invite exploration. Despite its status as a bustling city, Jacksonville holds within its heart a collection of green sanctuaries that offer solace from the urban bustle. As you traverse Jacksonville’s neighborhoods, you’ll uncover a spectrum of parks and gardens that reveal the city’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage. These oases of tranquility offer a respite from the daily grind, inviting you to bask in the serenity of nature’s embrace. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely autumn stroll amidst the changing leaves or planning a delightful summer picnic in a picturesque setting, Jacksonville’s parks and gardens provide the perfect backdrop for both relaxation and adventure.

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Metropolitan Park

On the north bank of the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville is Metropolitan Park, a popular gathering space for locals. The large park has many facilities, the most notable a “bowl” with a performance pavilion capable of holding over 10,000 people, and home to the World of Nations Celebration and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. In addition to the events, Metropolitan Park allows visitors to enjoy a peaceful river walk or have a picnic with close friends and family.

Fort Caroline National Memorial

In the St. John’s Bluff region is the Fort Caroline National Memorial. Visit here to learn the story of the first French colony in the United States and understand the culture of the Timucua people who were native to Jacksonville when explorers from Europe first arrived to Florida. Come here to read up on the long history of this area and enjoy the many walking areas that the preserve has to offer.

Yellow Bluff Fort Historical State Park

Another former military presence in the Jacksonville area is Yellow Bluff Fort Historical State Park, located near the mouth of the St. John’s River. Constructed during the Civil War, Yellow Bluff was a fortified camp that belonged to the Confederacy and it was used to protect shipments and supply lines from attacks from the Union army. An interesting and hidden area of Jacksonville, Yellow Bluff is a lovely area to walk through and reflect on how much history has changed since the purpose of this small encampment. The grounds here are open daily at no charge.

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

One of the most popular destinations in all of Jacksonville is the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, nestled in the Riverside district and overlooking almost three acres of historic gardens. The museum is renowned for its extensive art collection – with 5,000 art pieces spanning hundreds of years in the course of human history. Exit the museum and venture through the gardens, where one can gaze at the many sculptures and beautiful architecture exclusive to Jacksonville and the history of the museum.

Tree Hill Nature Center

Take a trip to the Tree Hill Nature Center, a non-profit and wilderness preserve that’s had its home in Jacksonville since 1971. Home to more than 50 acres of trails, butterfly and hummingbird gardens and a Natural History museum, Tree Hill is an educational experience for people of all ages. Affordable and friendly, Tree Hill is Jacksonville’s resource for education on the environment and sustainability. Come here for a one-of-a-kind experience in the wildlife of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

Similar to the Tree Hill Nature Center, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a park of over 125 acres organized as a special and natural facet of the metropolitan Jacksonville area. With many marked paths, fresh ponds and abundant plants and wildlife, the Arboretum & Gardens is a must visit for a breath of fresh air. Come here for a refreshing hike and explore the many facets this extensive park has to offer.

Jacksonville Zoological Gardens

A stay in Jacksonville is incomplete without visiting the constantly growing and changing Jacksonville Zoological Gardens. A visit to the zoo enables guests to discover over 2,000 animals and 1,000 species of plants. The gardens have a number of exhibits, including a luscious botanical garden with themed sections correlating to the regions the zoo has to offer.

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