Fun-Filled Memories Highlight Jacksonville Tours

Activities, Site InSpections

A vibrant city with a group-friendly attitude, Jacksonville has all the options a tour planner could ever want. It truly is Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure

Located in Northeastern Florida, Jacksonville is easily accessible by I-95 and I-10. Highway I-295 circles the city, providing easy access to the beaches and for returning to inland areas of the city. Jacksonville International Airport is serviced by 30+ non-stop flights from major U.S. cities. Jacksonville is connected to East Coast cities with daily passenger railroad service.

Although Jacksonville in itself is a great destination, its location is ideal for adding an extra day or two to your visit. A hub & spoke tour of the historic South would include Northeast Florida, Amelia Island, St. Augustine and much of Southern Georgia, including Savannah and Jekyll Island.

Downtown is Where to Begin

The Museum of Science & History (MOSH) is a premier visitor attraction and a fitting place to explore Northeast Florida history from the Timucuan Native Americans to the 1960s. Not to be missed is the historic Elmer Grey 35-foot mural depicting Timucuan, Spanish, French and St. Augustine scenes. In addition, eight core science exhibits, regular visiting exhibits and a planetarium promise there’s always something to do at MOSH.

Consider your next downtown stop to be the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. In addition to outstanding artistic offerings, the museum shares the beauty of nature. As you’d expect, art is a part of the English- and Italian-inspired gardens and the Olmsted Garden. The museum’s art collection has grown to more than 5,000 pieces with items from as early as 2100 B.C. through the 21st century. The largest porcelain collection in the U.S. is one of its major collections. New exhibitions arrive regularly, adding to the vibrancy of the museum and its educational mission.

Jacksonville tours

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
Copyright and Credits: Greg Downing / Greg Downing www.gdphotography

Located downtown is the Ritz Theatre & Museum, a featured stop on the Black Heritage Trail. Constructed in 1929, the Ritz Theatre operated as a movie house catering to the African-American community of LaVilla. Today’s venue was built on the same site in 1999 to research, record and preserve the material and artistic culture of African American life in Northeast Florida. The Ritz Concert Series continues the tradition of bringing iconic artists to grace her stage. The Spoken Word pays tribute to generations of verbal communications and their importance. The museum reflects and connects the area’s significant African American heritage. More than a dozen stops are featured on the Black Heritage Trail, many in downtown Jacksonville.

Jacksonville tours

The Ritz Theatre & Museum

Anytime is a good time to visit downtown Jacksonville, but festival time is special. Running every Saturday rain or shine, the Riverside Arts Market features musicians, artists and food trucks. Located under I-95, this usually bland and unused area beneath the highway has been transformed into beneficial, public space.

Jacksonville Landing and the downtown pay tribute to the culture of the area’s music contribution with the annual Memorial Day weekend Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Stages throughout the core of downtown come to life each year for three days and the entertainment is absolutely FREE.

Wide, Sandy Beaches Are Full of Fun

Sky Spectacular Air Show

The Blue Angels perform at the Sea and Sky Air Show in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Copyright and Credits: Visit Jacksonville

With more beach frontage than any other city, it just makes sense there’s plenty of waterfront activities to enjoy. Simply relaxing and enjoying the warm sand and gentle ocean breezes may be the first choice of many. For the active, there are plenty of choices, too. Paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking are certainly options, but fishing takes first place among groups. There are premier saltwater fishing spots to explore with a charter guide. The area’s piers offer an afternoon of fun, and equipment rental is available. There’s always a resident or two on the pier to share some local knowledge.

In a city whose festivals shine, it’s appropriate that the beach host one of its favorite events. The Springing the Blues Festival entertains visitors with great FREE music on the beach. The annual three-day Blues Festival is always held the third weekend in April and a great way to expand any itinerary.

If the beach isn’t your thing or probing for that elusive ocean catch doesn’t work for you, maybe shopping is a fit. Beaches Town Center is located just a few blocks from the ocean and offers a variety of stores from art galleries and boutiques to jewelry and souvenirs. The A1A Strip is famous for its variety and has a well-deserved reputation as a shopper’s paradise.

Jacksonville tours

St. Johns Town Center Shopping
Copyright and Credits: Visit Jacksonville

If you still haven’t found that perfect souvenir, you needn’t venture far from the beach. St. John’s Town Center features 150 retailers in an outdoor mall setting. Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Apple and Tiffany & Co are just a few names you’ll recognize. Dining options at St. John’s are plentiful. The Avenues exceeds one million square feet of shopping with names such as Dillard’s, LOFT and Pandora. River City Marketplace is all about outdoor shopping and dining. The St. Augustine Premium Outlets round out the Jacksonville shopping offerings with amazing outlet prices.

Beer Here

Over the past few years the Jacksonville craft beer scene has exploded. Names such as Intuition Ale Works, Aardwolf Brewing Company and Pinglehead Brewing Co. are regularly winning medals in craft beer competitions. JAX Ale Trail is a self-guided tour taking visitors to 20+ local breweries across the city.

For the ultimate craft brew experience and one promising plenty of fun, jump aboard the Jax Brew Bus. Seating up to 23, the Brew Bus provides tours to local breweries every week. The Brew Bus also offers customizable charter packages to groups.

Lodging Options for Every Group

Whether you’re seeking beach resort accommodations, a downtown hotel close to museums and festivals, or a traditional flag hotel with a great group program, you’ll find them all. Jacksonville boasts more than 18,000 guest rooms between the downtown, beaches and suburban areas. Blend an additional 11,000 resort rooms into the mix and you’re sure to find exactly what you need.

Your Table Awaits You

As Jacksonville lodging welcomes guests with Southern hospitality, the area’s restaurants are infused with Southern charm. Group-friendly restaurants in the area offer an eclectic blend of classic Southern comfort foods, casual elegance dining, coastal favorites and plenty of international flair. This melting pot of Spanish, French and African cultures and tastes is a truly one-of-a-kind culinary experience for group visitors. Bring an appetite and your sense of culinary adventure.

Visit Jacksonville is Ready to Help

Wanting to meet the tour planners’ every need, Visit Jacksonville has numerous complimentary services:

  • VIP Welcome
  • Visit Jacksonville logo bags
  • Tour quotes
  • Pre-planning meeting
  • Attraction details
  • Hotel rates and availabilities
  • Customized itineraries
  • Receptive services
  • FAM tours and site inspections

Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches

N. Laura Street • Suite 102
Jacksonville, FL 32202
800-733-2668

Websites: Visit Jacksonville, Jax Heritage Trail
YouTube: U Don’t Know Jax
Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

To start planning your Jacksonville adventure head to Visit Jacksonville, and be sure to Subscribe for FREE to Leisure Group Travel.

 

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