View of the skyline of Jacksonville reflecting on the water

17 Best Day Trips from Jacksonville in 2023 (By a Local)

Jacksonville’s position in Northeast Florida makes it an easy jumping-off point for all sorts of adventures. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find many epic day trips from Jacksonville. 

I am a local who was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I grew up exploring the city and enjoying all kinds of Jacksonville day trips. 

I’m excited to share my favorite day trips from Jacksonville in this post, from beaches and springs to cities and art museums. 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

Best Jacksonville Day Trips

St. Augustine

The oldest city in the US, where you can find centuries of history in an accessible and family-friendly area.

View of the illumintaed St. Augustine from across the water at night
St. Augustine is unmissable during December.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 47 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | St. Augustine Website

The nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine awes with its Spanish colonial architecture and storied history. 

The St. Augustine lighthouse and the Castillo de San Marcos fort will catch your eye before you even find your way to the visitor center. Stop by the Oldest House Museum Complex for educational programs and a guided tour through the Webb Museum and its beautiful gardens.

St. Augustine offers a museum for almost every topic, from medieval torture to the city’s 1565 founding. There’s also no shortage of unique shops and boutiques to explore in St. Augustine’s historic district. 

Check out St. Augustine’s Night of Lights if you’re looking for day trips from Jacksonville during the winter. The holiday lights show runs from mid-November to the end of the year, which is honestly my personal favorite time to visit St. Augustine. 

Jacksonville Beach

Only 30 minutes from the city, Jacksonville Beach is the perfect place to watch the sun rise or set.

Scenic view of the sunrise over the Jacksonville Beach
A peaceful sunrise at Jacksonville Beach.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Jacksonville Beach Website

Jacksonville Beach is one of the easiest day trips from Jacksonville, but also my personal favorite.

If you can, go early in the morning. I highly recommend watching the sunrise from Jacksonville Beach. It’s never too busy between 5 am and 7 am, and the clouds paint fantastic scenes in the sky even when it’s gloomy. Since this is also one of the most popular places to stay in Jacksonville, consider basing yourself here if visiting town.

A pass for the Jacksonville Beach pier is two dollars for non-locals (one for locals) and gives you a day to fish or sightsee.

You’ll also find various restaurants along Jacksonville Beach pier. Try Poe’s Tavern for a unique atmosphere. Mezza Luna is also a great choice if you’re looking for something fancier. Both restaurants are within easy walking distance of the beach.

Mickler’s Landing

More gorgeous shorelines are a short drive from Jacksonville Beach.

Scenic view of the sunset over the calm waters of Mickler’s Landing
Mickler’s has plenty of shark teeth in its sands.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 42 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Mickler’s Landing is another beach situated a little further south, popular for watersports and beach-going. Although Mickler’s Landing is often crowded, it’s still worth a visit to experience its picturesque coquina sand.

Families can sift through the sand for shark teeth. You can also try to spot Florida wildlife swimming past the shoreline. Fishermen are best off going in the morning before the majority of beachgoers arrive.

After spending the day at the beach, you can wrap up your trip with a short drive to the restaurants and shops in Jacksonville Beach!

Daytona Beach

The popular Daytona Beach delights with vibrant beaches, family-friendly activities, and a sprawling wildlife reserve.

View of the amusement park and the Florida skyline in Daytona Beach during sunset
Daytona Beach

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 90 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Daytona Beach Website

Daytona Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Florida and lies just an hour and a half drive from Jacksonville.

I recommend the Daytona Lagoon Water Park, only a five-minute drive from the beach, for families with children. The little ones will enjoy the water slides, mini-golf, go-karts, and other rides. 

Adults, meanwhile, will enjoy exploring the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a large natural preserve where you can go for a scenic wildlife viewing drive. 

Daytona Beach is also great for history lovers. Visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences for one of the biggest museum experiences in Central Florida!

Savannah, Georgia

A charming and walkable riverside city where you can explore history, art, and gastronomy.

View of the waterfront Savannah and a docked boat at sunset
Savannah’s waterfront.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Savannah Website

Savannah is a charming and extremely walkable city to explore. At just two hours away over the Georgia border, Savannah makes for one of the best day trips from Jacksonville for city lovers. 

Meander down the cobblestone River Street, which hugs the river and is lined with bars, candy shops, and riverfront restaurants. Dine at Belford’s Savannah Seafood & Steaks, a local black-owned business that has been in the family for over a century.

Stop by E. Shaver Bookseller if you’re a bibliophile. You’ll almost surely leave with a few new books in hand. Oh, and do me the favor of saying hello to the cats that lounge around the shop!

Walt Disney World

Disney World is all but guaranteed fun for the whole family, especially younger kids.

The author Ethan James Thoren and his fiancée at Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge
My fiancée and I were at Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge last summer!

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Disney World Website

Sure, you probably already knew about Disney World. But I kind of have to mention it on any list of the best Jacksonville day trips – because it’s basically a Florida tradition to go.

The most iconic theme park in Florida is pricey but worthwhile. FastPasses make the lines more tolerable, and I’ve had great day trips just walking around and seeing the different parks. Remember to stay hydrated if you go during the summer.

Travel Lemming also has a local guide, Katie Nuefild, based in Orlando. She’s worked as a Disney cast member for over a decade. Get planning by reading her list of things to do at Disney World. She also has a guide to parking at Disney World that can save you money and stress!

Silver Springs State Park

Add Florida’s first tourist attraction to your day trips from Jacksonville.

Entrance arch sign of Silver Springs State Park in Florida
Silver Springs State Park (photo: Fsendek / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Silver Springs Website

Since the 1880s, glass bottom boats have sailed over the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs. There are several trails to hike, spots to go birding, and areas to camp out.

The Silver River Museum is within the state park at two dollars per person. Keep in mind that the museum is closed to the general public when school is in session, but staff and volunteers still run the museum on weekends.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Rent or bring your own tubes during the summer and enjoy your day on the 6-mile-long Ichetucknee River.

Scenic view of the natural springs surrounded by greenery at Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Beautiful natural springs around every turn of the state park.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Ichetucknee Springs State Park Website

Ichetucknee Springs is one of the best day trips from Jacksonville for experiencing nature or just relaxing while tubing down a river. 

Blue Hole Spring is the biggest of the seven springs the state park offers. Explore the surface or snorkel below, if you’re looking to have animal encounters with the fish or turtles that have found their home in the water.

Make sure to visit their site or call before going. This is one state park that is frequently closed due to capacity limits, so always plan before making any trips.

Ocala National Forest

Take a break from the theme parks and loud cities and explore 400,000+ acres of natural wonder.

Scenic view of Ocala National Forest reflecting on the water at sunset
Ocala sunset.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Ocala National Forest Website

Ocala National Forest is one of the best day trips from Jacksonville for outdoor lovers. 

You’ll find endless hiking trails and tons of wildlife. The outdoor space is so large that you might not run into anyone for large chunks of time, despite the forest’s popularity. 

But don’t let its size scare you: Stay safe and stick to what you’re comfortable with, and you’ll find there’s a peacefulness to be found. That said, be sure to bring a lot of bug spray.

Amelia Island

Thirteen miles of relaxed beaches.

View of the waves crashing in Amelia Island at sunset
Amelia Island is known for its small-town lifestyle and local beaches.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Amelia Island Website

Amelia Island is one of the easiest beach day trips from Jacksonville, lying just 45 minutes from the city. 

Fernandina Beach rivals the best of Florida’s beaches, and the quaint coastal community makes for a quiet and friendly atmosphere.

Fernandina Beach’s small-town charm is particularly worthwhile for fishermen. Seafood lovers should try some of the best shrimp in the state. 

If you’re interested in the history of Amelia Island, consider taking a local boat tour. Or, for a relatively inexpensive activity, visit a local antique store, like Island Treasures or Antiques and More Treasures Inc. 


Younger visitors will be awed by LEGO creations, rides, and a water park. 

View of the people posing at the entrance arch sign of LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida (photo: YES Market Media / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | LEGOLAND Website

LEGOLAND is overflowing with incredible brick creations of all kinds and is one of the best Jacksonville day trips if you have children. Whether it’s machines, popular characters, or nature, you’ll discover unbelievable creations made from iconic bricks.

LEGOLAND boasts over fifty rides and attractions, as well as a water park. The theme park is geared towards a younger audience, so you won’t find any rides that are too intense. But you’ll find it hard not to grin at the LEGO creations.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Just north of the city, the Jacksonville Zoo makes for an easy day trip with kids.

Closeup view of the tiger at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Land of the Tiger exhibit

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Jacksonville Zoo Website

Jacksonville Zoo is worth it for animal lovers of all ages. The animals are happy and healthy at Jacksonville Zoo, one of only seven zoos in the U.S. to have a wellness team. 

Jacksonville Zoo has a long list of exhibits and attractions throughout the year. See the cute animals and avoid the creepy crawlies, if you want, or take it all in. There’s something for everyone at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park

A quiet park with accessible hiking and biking trails.

A red hair woman overlooking the view at Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park
My partner Olivia looking over the marsh.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 22 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Tillie Park Website

Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park is quiet, free, and accessible. The trails are marked for both on-foot adventurers and bicyclists, and there are benches to stop and relax. Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park is the perfect place for some alone time.

Walk over the WWI-era brick road. Make your way to the observation tower and look out over the marsh before heading back.

There are plenty of nearby stores and restaurants, so grab a bite to eat and drink plenty of water if you go.

Ginnie Springs

Chilly, clear water in an adult-oriented environment located on the south side of the Santa Fe River.

A diver at the underwater cave in Ginnie Springs
Ginnie Springs

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 90 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Ginnie Springs Website

Ginnie Springs is a beautiful place to visit for adults but is not family-friendly. Older travelers interested in swimming, diving, or tubing will find a fun but rowdy atmosphere on crowded days. 

Note that some reviewers complain about disorganization and danger. If you go, take necessary precautions, avoid mixing alcohol and water, and be smart.  

Cumberland Island

Only a mile from the Florida-Georgia border, Cumberland Island is a great stop during day trips from Jacksonville.

A wild horse eating the grass at Cumberland Island
The wild horses of Cumberland Island have been around for centuries.

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Cumberland Island Website

Cumberland Island is a protected island containing acres of wildlife, including wild horses, as well as the ruins of historic mansions. 

You’ll begin at the visitor’s center and check-in for the ferry ride to the island. Once on the island, enjoy the beautiful untamed beach. Learn more about the island at The Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum.

Cumberland Island is somewhere you can’t fully explore in just one day trip, so consider getting a permit and camping overnight if you enjoy the outdoors. 


Tampa is trendy and has an exciting downtown.

Scenic view of Tampa skyline reflecting on the water at night

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Tampa Website

Tampa offers sunny skies and vibrant downtown and makes for one of the longer day trips from Jacksonville. The Tampa Riverwalk, the Florida Aquarium, and the Tampa Museum of Art are among the many fun things to do in Tampa.

The Armature Works, with its view of the river and its eclectic assortment of food, was the highlight of my first trip to Tampa. It’s a perfect destination to go for a nice stroll near the water, or if you’re looking for a night in an energetic city.

Universal Orlando

An exciting family-friendly theme park.

View of the iconic globe of Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando (photo: Samar El Atrash / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Jacksonville: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Universal Orlando Website

Universal Orlando is filled with different activities for kids and adults. Like Disney World, there’s plenty of public transport to find your way to and around the theme park. Accessibility has become more of a priority over the years, so no one is left out of the fun.

Make sure you pack comfortable shoes and expect long wait times for any of the franchise-themed rides or restaurants. It’s easy to fill a whole day with roller coasters and activities, but there’s going to be a crowd any time of year.

FAQs About Jacksonville Day Trips

What are the best day trips from Jacksonville?

The best day trips from Jacksonville include St. Augustine, which offers historic neighborhoods that can be easily explored on foot. Other top Jacksonville day trips include Jacksonville Beach, Daytona Beach, and Savannah, Georgia.

What are good destinations within 2 hours of Jacksonville?

Good destinations within 2 hours of Jacksonville include Amelia Island, where you can find thirteen miles of relaxed beaches, or St. Augustine, the USA’s oldest city. 


Whether you’re a local looking to find something new or a traveler making plans, I hope this guide helps you find the best day trips from Jacksonville for you! 

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