12 Free Things To Do In Jacksonville
If you live in Jacksonville, then you already know: there's always something to do here. But going out with friends or planning a day with the family doesn’t have to be expensive. Here is a list of twelve fun activities and popular attractions in Duval County—all free of charge.
5. Jacksonville Farmers Market
Many believe that Jacksonville is a community that lacks marketable attractions, the type of unique and enjoyable travel destination that helps a city create a name for itself. Just west of downtown in the Rail Yard District, we already have that type of destination in the Jacksonville Farmers Market. Dating back to 1938 and attracting 25,000 visitors a week, the market is the oldest in the state of Florida and the only one open seven days a week. Here, one can find seafood, flowers and plants, honey, boiled peanuts, syrups, gourmet dressings, produce and more. Located on West Beaver Street near the viaduct, the Jacksonville Farmers Market is open Monday to Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit https://jaxfarmersmarket.com/, or call (904) 354-2821.
6. JTA Skyway
This is for those of you who are looking for cheap options to entertain children or who love kicking back and exploring the urban core from above. The Jacksonville Skyway is a 2.5-mile “people mover” operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). The fixed transit system includes eight stations providing access to different areas of the central business district: five within the Northbank core and LaVilla, and three across the river on the Southbank. Trains arrive on an average of every four minutes during peak hours and eight minutes off-peak Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Trains operate periodically on weekends during select special events. For information on the JTA Skyway, visit https://www.jtafla.com/schedules/skyway/, or call (904) 630-3100.
7. Karpeles Manuscript Museum
The Karpeles Manuscript Museum and Library in Springfield is home to part of the Karpeles holdings, the world’s largest collection of original historical manuscripts. It’s also in a beautiful former Christian Science church building, making it a great landmark for urban Jacksonville. The museum contains manuscripts, transcripts, blueprints, and the like, from fields ranging from literature to religion to science. Some of the museum’s real treasures include original copies of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Webster’s Dictionary. Just a short walk from the heart of downtown in Springfield, the Karpeles Manuscript Museum and Library is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m to 3 p.m. For more information, call (904) 356-2992.
8. Kingsley Plantation
If you are a history buff, you’ll definitely want to check out Kingsley Plantation. Maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Kingsley Plantation is the home of Florida’s oldest surviving plantation house and related to one of the Antebellum South’s most surprising historical civil rights cases. The story of Kingsley Plantation dates back to the Kingdom of Great Britain’s 18th-century occupation of Florida. Under British control, several plantations were established throughout the region, including one on Fort George Island by Richard Hazard in 1765. Here, on one of the southernmost Sea Islands, a chain of barrier islands stretching from North Florida to South Carolina which would become the cradle of America’s Gullah Geechee heritage and culture, the enslaved were used to harvest indigo. In 1814 the property was taken over by Zephaniah Kingsley, Jr. Considered “one of Florida’s most flamboyant slaveholders”, Kingsley purchased and married Anna Madgigine Jai, a Wolof girl from present day Senegal in 1806. He eventually grew to depend on Anna to run the plantation in his absence. With many of its structures still surviving on the isolated sea island, the property was acquired by the National Park Service, becoming a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in 1991. A tour of the grounds includes exploring the slave quarters, barn, garden, kitchen home and the plantation house. Kingsley Plantation is open year-round, with the exception of major holidays, operating Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Tours are available for the Plantation House on a limited basis Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. If you have any questions, or wish to make a reservation, call (904) 251-3537.