We love being in central Florida–we get the best of both worlds! There are plenty of lakes nearby, but if you crave the beach, it’s just a short drive or flight away to either coast. Even better, we’re not confined to just visiting the closest destinations within driving distance, because our residents at Ridge Landing have the luxury of being able to fly anywhere in the state for a getaway without the grueling airport layovers.
Today we’re highlighting a trip from Ridge Landing Airpark to north Florida. Why? Because for our residents, it’s only 189 statute miles from their backyards to Jacksonville, Florida. A day trip is easy when you have your aircraft at your disposal, and we want you to take advantage of all the perks being a Ridge resident has to offer! Jacksonville is the largest city by population in Florida, and the 12th largest in the U.S. So when you gear up and get a good co-pilot to take the trip with you… here are the best things to do while visiting Jacksonville.
1. EXPLORE TRUE FLORIDA AT LITTLE TALBOT STATE PARK
Nothing says relaxation quite like hanging out at a gorgeous state park and casting your line into the deep, blue Atlantic Ocean. This park gives a glimpse into the true Florida landscapes and wetlands our state is known for. If you want to explore these landscapes more in-depth, check the tide tables and walk the trail at low tide–you can get some great photographs if your hobby is capturing the moment.
2. VISIT KINGSLEY PLANTATION
We’d be remiss not to provide an activity for our history buffs. In Jacksonville, you might find interest in the Kingsley Plantation, which is an area rich with history about slavery ownership. It is located on Fort George Island, and you’ll see everything from original slave cabin ruins to the plantation house to a barn.
3. SURF AT THE BEACH
Like we mentioned above, any stunning beach Florida has to offer is just a short flight away. And if you think all beaches are the same, you’re very mistaken! Atlantic Beach in Jacksonville is a stretch of flat land that’s uncrowded and ideal for surfing and kayaking. That’s right; surf culture is big here, and you’d be crazy not to give it a try. Jax Surf and Paddle offers both surfing lessons and stand up paddle boarding sessions.
4. STROLL RIVERSIDE AND AVONDALE
For a taste of local flavor and a nice walk through historic neighborhoods, head to Riverside, 5 Points, Kings Street, and Avondale. These areas are chock full of historic homes and unique shopping and dining experiences. You also get the opportunity to see the St. Johns River under the iconic Main Street Bridge, where visitors have been known to spot dolphins.
5. SHOP AROUND AT RIVERSIDE ARTS MARKET
Feel like a local and pick around at the Riverside Arts Market, a farmer’s market one TripAdvisor user described as such: “Food trucks, beers, fresh goods, etc. in an urban farmers market setting. The environment is hectic, eclectic and metropolitan. Not a sleepy farmers market.” Here, you can do it all. You can eat, shop, and listen to live music. Just make sure you fly in to be there on a Saturday.
6. SEE THE FRIENDSHIP FOUNTAIN
The Friendship Fountain is a must-see while you’re in Jacksonville, even if only for a short amount of time. Located at the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk next to the Museum of Science and History, the Friendship Fountain can be seen spouting colorful streams of water. Sit next to it during the day and enjoy a gorgeous view of the river, or visit at night and revel in the calming, colorful lights.
7. CATCH A SHOW AT THE FLORIDA THEATRE
Whether you’re looking to see your favorite band on tour or want to catch a quick comedy show, The Florida Theatre is a stunning venue full of history. For an elevated experience, snag a seat on one of the balconies overhead–though, many visitors will tell you there’s not a bad seat in the house.