Keep Jax Moving: Places to Explore

  • by 904 Newsroom
  • September 3, 2020

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Located just over an hour away from Jacksonville this hidden gem is just south of Marineland on A1A. The park features a picturesque oak hammock, pristine beach with coquina rock formations & tidal pools, hiking & bike trails, plus more! 

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Get Active Outdoors At The Jax Baldwin Rail Trail

Explore one of North Florida's oldest and most unique trails. Once a part of the CSX railway line, the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is a thoroughfare for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. A dense tree canopy shelters much of the nearly 15-mile paved path, providing habitat for hawks, wood storks, stilts and belted kingfishers.

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Staying Fit At Home

Whether you’re a gym regular or someone just looking to be less sedentary, finding ways to stay active while social distancing is important for physical health (and mental health, too). But how much muscle can you build in your living room, really?

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Keeping Kids Active at Home

With safer-at-home orders continuing, there’s another challenge facing parents and caregivers: keeping kids moving and fit at home. During this time, it is important to continue to practice social distancing while being active. Experts recommend children engage in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

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Reddie Point Preserve

If you love the St. Johns River- you’ll love Reddie Point Preserve. The 102 acers were acquired by the City of Jacksonville in November of 2002. At the park there is a 700 ft fishing pier that is perfect for dropping a line or just enjoying the view of the St. Johns River. There is also a boat and kayak launch, picnic pavilion, wildlife observation areas, a large field and nature trails.

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Bulls Bay Preserve

Bulls Bay Preserve is truly one of the hidden gems of Jacksonville! Bulls Bay was acquired in December of 1999 as part of a conservation easement for mitigation. With its 1200 acers of wilderness, you will be transported to the mountains with two miles of hiking and mountain biking trails with elevation changes! There’s even a small waterfall along the way- plus lily ponds, a swamp, and huge oak trees.

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Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

Located in Arlington, The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre urban woodland full of trails perfect to explore and enjoy. Bring along your furry friend too because the Arboretum is pet friendly.

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Spanish Pond Trail 

Located just 15 minutes from downtown Jacksonville off Fort Caroline Rd is the Spanish Pond Trail. This hidden gem consisting of 5+ miles of hiking trails is nestled under a dense canopy of trees. The Spanish Pond's boardwalk and trail provide an opportunity for a quiet walk and connects you to more trails through pine flatwoods, oak hammock, tidal marsh in the neighboring Theodore Roosevelt Area.

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Watch A Sunset at Alpine Groves Park

Alpine Groves Park spans 54.5 acres in Northwest St. Johns County between the St. Johns River and William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway. The many unique features for visitors of all ages to experience and explore include recreational activities, three unique Florida habitats, and historic structures.

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Read A Book at Lillian S. Davin Park

Located in one of Jacksonville's most sought after neighborhoods is Lillian S. Davin Park - a 500 x 50 foot median on River Road. The park was once part of a carriage lane and bridle path at the famed Villa Alexandria estate which was built in the 1870’s. We recommend biking to the park from San Marco Square. There's lots of side streets with beautiful homes, trees, and small parks along the way. We also recommend exploring River Road and checking out the butterfly garden at Landon Park. Photo credit: @k.s.mc

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Kayak The Bartram Canoe Trail

The Bartram Canoe Trail is on the westernmost part of the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve, off of Race Track Road. This nine-mile trail is rich with biodiversity including Centennial Cypresses lining the shores. Photo by: @kubiak_images

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Explore Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserveis a dynamic, ever changing place with many interconnected habitats from the ocean to the forests. One of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves in the country, this landscape protects 76,760 acres and provides for a great diversity of plants, fish, and animals. While on the reserve you can hike, bike, horseback ride, fish, kayak or canoe, bird watch, picnic, sunbathe, walk the beach, and much more.  Photo by @kaelinoelle

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Check Out The Butterfly Garden at Landon Park

There’s a new butterfly garden in San Marco’s Landon Park. Laura Byres designed the new space after Hurricane Irma ruined the rose garden that was previously there. Byres, along with the San Marco Garden Club, filled it with milkweed, pentas, black-eyed susans and more flowers to attract Monarch butterflies.

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Fish at Huguenot Memorial Park

Located off of Heckscher Drive on the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Huguenot Memorial Park is a must see! The waterfront park sits on a 295-acre horseshoe-shaped peninsula surrounded by the St. Johns River the Fort George Inlet, and the Atlantic Ocean.While there you can lounge on the beach, bike, swim, paddle, surf, fish, bird watch, picnic and camp! 

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Explore American Beach

American Beach is a community on Amelia Island filled with history. It also has the largest dune system on the Atlantic coast in Florida. Founded in 1935, American Beach served the African-American community during segregation when they were not allowed on public beaches. Right down the street at 1600 Julia Street, there is the American Beach Museum where you can learn about the history surrounding the area.

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Take A Day Trip to Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island is located a little over an hour away from Jacksonville. The island is one of four barrier islands accessible by car off the coast of Georgia, but unlike any other. Although it’s technically a state park, while there you will feel like you’ve been transported to a resort town- it's truly the ultimate beach retreat. Jekyll Island has 10 miles of beautiful beaches, four golf courses, Summer Waves Water Park, museums and historical sites, fishing pier, bike and horseback trails, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and so much more! 

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Explore Black Rock Beach

Black Rock Beach located on Big Talbot Island is one of North Florida's most beautiful and unique beaches. From the road, you'd never guess that there is a hidden gem just a short walk away. The beach is located down a half mile shaded trail through hammock forests and coastal scrub. 

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Picnic at Riverfront Park

The .1-acre park park (one of the smallest parks in Jax) is located on a  fifteen-foot, one-block strip of land in the sprawling San Marco neighborhood. For decades the park’s bulkhead has been a favorite spot for afternoon sunsets, picnics, fishing, and manatees have been seen surfacing near the shore.

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One of the best ways to stay healthy is to exercise regularly and eat healthy. We've teamed up with the experts from Baptist Health to bring you health & nutrition tips, weekly exercises, cooking classes & more!

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It's important to Stay In The Know about your health and the resources available to you, especially during a pandemic. Learn more about the COVID-19 and mental health resources available from Baptist Health.

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