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Jacksonville with Kids: What Not To Miss

Things to Do in Jacksonville with Kids

Thanks to Jacksonville Beach Moms for writing this guest post with their expert tips on visiting Jacksonville with kids!

Just a 3-hour drive from Lakeland, Jacksonville has tons to offer families that are looking for a fun day trip or weekend away with kids. As local parents we love that there are so many family-friendly activities in Jacksonville. Here are a few of our favorites so you can plan a day trip to Jacksonville with the family.

Things to Do in Jacksonville with Kids

Start your day with mini donuts for the kids, and fuel up on some delicious coffee for the parents. Mini Bar Donuts + Coffee is the perfect spot to kick off your day trip to Jacksonville. This local favorite offers a wide variety of flavors and the mini size is perfect for little hands. There’s plenty of space to stretch your legs in their wide open courtyard, making it the ideal pit stop after driving into town.

Mini Bar Donuts Jacksonville

Visit the Beach – Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

There’s a reason Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a local favorite spot in Jacksonville. It has the beach, bike trails, canoe and kayak rentals, an awesome playground and coming soon, a recently renovated splash pad. There’s a small fee to get in, but it’s worth the price for a morning of fun in the sun and it’s one of the best spots to hit the beach in North Florida.


As you leave the beach area we recommend grabbing lunch at one of our favorite family friendly restaurants in Jacksonville, Dockside Seafood. Kids will love that you can sit outside by the water and parents will enjoy the delicious and fresh seafood options. This is a great casual spot that’s perfect for family dining.

Experience Sweet Pete’s Candy

If your kids like candy (and whose don’t?) your next stop during your day trip to Jacksonville should be Sweet Pete’s Candy. Plan ahead and book a My Bar My Way Store Tour for under $10 per person. This short, but informative tour will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the history of Jacksonville’s favorite candy shop. Our favorite part, included with the tour is a personalized candy bar, customized with your favorite candy extras.

Things To Do In Jax Sweet Petes

Outdoor Art + Murals

Did you know Jacksonville has a great outdoor art scene? Home to hundreds of murals, downtown is the perfect spot to take in some local street art. You can use the Hidden Jacksonville mural map to plan out your visit, or take your kids on a mural scavenger hunt through the city. If you’re looking to stretch your legs, visit Corkscrew Park where you can see the city’s newest outdoor art installation, a painted Riverwalk along the Intracoastal.


Kid-Friendly Dinner

If you’re looking for the ultimate kid-friendly dinner spot, The Bearded Pig has two locations to choose from. The newest location is in Jacksonville Beach, and the original restaurant in San Marco.  Both offer great barbeque and an outdoor (kid friendly) space. It’s the perfect family friendly restaurant for a Jacksonville dinner.

Bearded Pig Jacksonville FL (1)

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

If you happen to be visiting Jacksonville on a Friday or Saturday then you must stay for the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary night feeding. Purchase your tickets ahead of time online to avoid missing out. This VIP experience starts at 6pm and includes self-guided tour, free drink and free t-shirt. You’ll learn fascinating and fun facts about the animals and watch the big cats devour 600 pounds of beef and chicken, bone and all. {Catty Shack Ranch is also open daily}

Catty Shack Ranch Jacksonville FL

About Jacksonville Beach Moms

Jacksonville Beach Moms is a local guide to the best of Jacksonville for families. We love everything North Florida has to offer and we’re dedicated to sharing the best attractions, restaurants, venues and events for parents and care-givers. Visit Jacksonville Beach Moms for more family fun in Jacksonville including hiking trails, outdoor activities, science and hsitory museums, and more.

Travel + Day Trips

Check out our Travel + Day Trips Guide for more articles on travel with kids, day trip ideas, places to go in Central Florida, and more.