Jacksonville, Florida: Museums and Amelia Island Await

Jacksonville's south bank.
Jacksonville’s south bank.

From beautiful beaches and river views to must-see museums and unique tours, Jacksonville, Florida is the perfect destination for couples and families alike.

One of Florida’s best art museums, The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens hosts one of the best art collections in the Southeast. The museum is housed in a series of twentieth-century buildings that overlook the St. John’s River. The museum has more than 6,000 works of art spanning the periods between 2100 B.C. and the 21st century, with distinct genres of European and American paintings.

The Cummer Museum is a highlight of any visit to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Cummer Museum is a highlight of any visit to Jacksonville, Florida.

The Cummer Museum is surrounded by beautifully kept gardens, the oldest of which date back to 1903. The 2.5 acres of gardens include unique examples of early 20th-century garden design with a tranquil reflecting pool, ornate fountains, and awe-inspiring sculptures. More famously, the garden is home to the majestic Cummer Oak, one of the oldest trees in Jacksonville.

Overlooking the St. Johns River, Downtown Jacksonville’s North and South banks are surrounded by skyscrapers that have both a contemporary, yet urban ambiance. Locals and visitors often find themselves heading for the banks of the river to enjoy a bite to eat.

Ranging from casual cafes to fine dining establishments, there is plenty to munch on in Downtown Jacksonville. Additionally, try the variety of nightlife options with buzzing bars and wonderful lounges.

The Southbank Riverwalk is a ¼-mile boardwalk that follows along the river, providing a great place to hike or sit on the benches and soak up the views. Take a walk to the famous Friendship Fountain at the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk, one of the city’s most popular attractions and the perfect setting for a quiet picnic or romantic evening under the stars.

Book a hotel in Jacksonville here.

Amelia Island, off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
Amelia Island, off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

Amelia Island

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, or even a short day trip, head on over to Amelia Island, which sits along Florida’s northeast coast. It’s just 30 miles from Jacksonville, but it gives off an entirely different vibe. There’s plenty to do on the island that consistently ranks among the “Top 10 U.S. Island.”

Horseback riding, dolphin and osprey sightings, historical exploration, golfing, and more. Visitors even have a chance of getting a glimpse at the endangered right whale.

Amelia Island is the perfect spot for recreation, relaxation, or family fun. Many enjoy the nightlife options that Amelia Island has to offer as well.

MOSH! The Museum of Science and History is known for its outstanding permanent and temporary exhibits that focus on science and local history. Located on the famous Southbank Riverwalk, the museum is one of the city’s top attractions. There’s plenty of exhibits that will interest everyone.

MOSH Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville
MOSH Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville

The ‘Brain Teasers’ feature brain-boosting skills to explore the innermost workings of the mind. Some traveling exhibits include full-scale fossils from around the world. The Museum also includes the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, one of the largest single-lens digital dome planetariums in the United States. MOSH! The Museum of Science and History is one of the top fun things to do with kids in Jacksonville, FL.

Places to Stay in Jax

If you’re looking to be centrally located in Jacksonville Beach, stay and relax at Four Points by Sheraton Jacksonville Beachfront. This area offers walking distance from Jacksonville Beach Pier and is fairly close to Adventure Landing and Windsor Parke Golf Club.

Enjoy one of the 80 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and microwaves. Each guest room comes with a pillowtop bed, and all rooms are furnished with double sofa beds. Rooms also have private balconies.

Highlights: Don’t miss out on the outdoor pool, spa tub, or 24-hour fitness center that Four Points has to offer. This hotel also features complimentary Internet access, concierge services, and giftshop-newsstands.

Grab something to eat at the hotel’s beachfront restaurant or get a drink at a bar/lounge.

With a stay at Omni Jacksonville Hotel, you’ll be centrally located in Jacksonville. This 4-star hotel is close to Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art and Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Get comfortable in one of the 354 air-conditioned rooms featuring minibars and LCD televisions.

Highlights: Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. Getting to nearby attractions is easy with the complimentary area shuttle that operates within 2 miles. Eat at the hotel’s restaurant, which serves both lunch and dinner.

The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville puts you right in the heart of the city, giving visitors a walking distance from the Jacksonville Landing and Florida Theatre. This 4-star hotel is close to Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art and Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville offers 951 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod/iPhone docking stations and flat-screen televisions. Highlights: Enjoy the many recreational opportunities including an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and bicycles for rent.  Guests can also get around on the complimentary shuttle, which operates within 3 miles.

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