A Walk (or Run!) in the Park
Put on comfortable shoes, head out to one of our city parks, and explore more than 17 miles of trails and greenways. Throw a baseball, meander through the woods on a walking trail or watch your little ones swing and climb a jungle gym. Pack a picnic lunch and spread a blanket on Jacksonville's highest hill overlooking the New River at Sturgeon City Park. Here you can enjoy the playground or follow a scenic boardwalk trail over the river marsh. If you visit during the summer, you might enroll your children in one of the environmentally focused summer camps.
The Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center, 100 Recreation Lane, is the largest single recreational complex offering a large indoor facility, senior center, fitness room, several ballfields, green spaces, walking paths and play areas. All City Recreation programs and activities are open to the public.
At Riverwalk Crossing Park, 421 Court St, check out the old train depot where live music and festivals such as Oktoberfest and New River Splash are held throughout the year. During Jacksonville’s Winterfest, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with sledding, ice skating and a tree lighting ceremony. A Christmas flotilla of decorated boats sails on the New River to end the event. Check our event calendar before planning your visit and spend the day exploring a festival in one our beautiful parks.
- Ball Fields
- Frisbee Golf Course
- Shelters/Picnic Areas
- Splash Pad
- Water Access
Get On The Water
The Jacksonville Landing, 135 S Marine Boulevard, provides several boat launches and a fishing pier on the New River, where you can teach your youngest family member how to bait a hook and catch a fish or crab. Grab a casual lunch from the Marina Cafe, then board Captain Bob Beck’s pontoon boat for a sunset dinner cruise on the river. Bayonet Cruises offers sunrise, midday, and sunset cruises -- as well as overnight excursions -- with great food and amenities aboard the yacht. A family of six can sail the New River with Captain Lance Ledoux and First Mate Marilyn Ledoux. Take your family on one of the area's many guided fishing charters for some time on the water catching fish.
Honor Our Military
To learn more about the area's military history, visit Lejeune Memorial Gardens, home to the second largest Vietnam Memorial in the United States. Here, every name is etched in glass around the serene dome and fountain. You can share the story of the Montford Point Marines, the first African-American Marines, with your children at the Montford Point Marine Memorial. The 9/11 Memorial Beam was presented to Camp Lejeune in recognition of the Marines who were first into the War on Terror. And the Beirut Memorial, the largest military memorial constructed entirely from private funds, honors those who gave the greatest sacrifice for their country. At the Freedom Fountain, flags represent all five branches of the military. Take a family portrait or Instagram shot here.
Fun For Every Age and Interest
For more outdoor fun, enjoy horse-riding lessons or a trail ride at Equine Country or a kayak tour at Hammocks Beach State Park with Paddle NC. Practice your baseball batting and golf skills at Swingin’ Things. For indoor fun, get some hands-on playtime at Zing Zumm Children’s Museum, an interactive museum popular with younger children, and Mega Play. You older kiddoes and younger too, will enjoy Altitude Trampoline Park, Roller City skating rink and Glo-Mania Lazer Tag. CrackedIt! Escape Games is a clever escape room experience for friends or family outing. Perfect for teens, this experience engages your entire family’s wit and imagination to solve the mystery. For an artistic outing, visit one of Jacksonville’s art studios, Wine and Design, where your family will have fun painting and creating their newest masterpiece.
Hotels and Restaurants to Satisfy Every Taste
With a very diverse population from all over the world, you’ll find chains here you may not find in your hometown. Hotels along Western Blvd offer excellent pricing. These hotels are surrounded by chain restaurants to satisfy all tastes, preferences, and price points. Hotels such as Home2Suites, The Courtyard by Marriott, The Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites offer outdoor space. Some offer grills for those who want to host a family cook-out. Check the hotel amenities list for firepits to make s’mores at the end of the day.