There’s more to the Sunshine State than theme parks and traffic. Florida also offers fantastic opportunities to get outside and explore nature. These quick getaways from Jacksonville, FL, aren’t too far outside of the city, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world.
- Amelia Island
Located north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is an enchanting barrier island lined with 13 miles of sandy beaches and dunes. With plenty of outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing, kayaking and hiking, it’s the perfect spot to connect with nature.
- Cross Creek
Drive south from Jacksonville and you come to the charming town of Cross Creek. Spend a weekend here to step back in time and unwind as you tour the land that inspired the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Yearling.”
- Deleon Springs
Named for the Spanish explorer who crossed Florida in search of the fountain of youth, DeLeon Springs is one of the state’s original attractions. Spend some time here exploring the subtropical forest before cooling off in the clear, spring-fed swimming area.
- Ginnie Springs
Located along the Santa Fe River in north central Florida, Ginnie Springs is home to unbelievably clear, dramatically blue water fed by underground springs. You can leave behind the stresses of the city here as you go snorkeling, tubing or cave diving in a pristine natural environment.
Florida’s panhandle is home to oak-shaded streets and Queen Anne revival homes that exude Southern charm. Marianna, just three hours west of Jacksonville, is also home to the state’s only air-filled caves, offering a rare chance to explore the underground limestone formations.
Each of the barrier islands off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, has its own distinctive feel, and Tybee Island stands out as a popular, family-friendly retreat. Spend the weekend relaxing on the beach or exploring the island’s marine and plant life in a kayak or on foot.
- St. Augustine
Not too far south of Jacksonville lies a town lost in time. St. Augustine is a treat for history buffs and beach lovers. You can spend your days exploring some of the oldest structures in the country before finding a spot on the beach to relax in the evening.
- St. Mary’s
Cross the border into Georgia for a unique coastal experience. From St. Mary’s, you can take a ferry to Cumberland Island, a barrier island reserved as a national park. It’s home to an assortment of wildlife, like manatees, whales and wild horses that freely roam along the beach.
- Vero Beach
Head south out of Jacksonville to explore Florida’s Treasure Coast. Spend a few days in Vero Beach, where you can enjoy miles of natural beaches without a skyscraper in sight. If you’re in town during turtle nesting season, you may catch a glimpse of the babies scurrying to the ocean.
Florida has so much to offer, and Jacksonville is an ideal base for exploring the natural wonders of the peninsula. Find your perfect vacation rental and prepare for an adventure.