Cheap or Free Things to Do in Jacksonville, FL
Live Here or Just Visiting?
I LOVE to travel and love to do it very cheaply. Hey, I just graduated college and I'm broke! Occasionally I save up for a year to go on trips to NYC or Rome, but most of the time I am sitting here in Jacksonville, Florida. BORED and BROKE.
So, I spent the last few weeks trying to find cool cheap or free things to do in Jacksonville, Florida and I thought I would share the list!
Two things to keep in mind before I start spilling all my secrets. First, these ideas work whether you live in town or are just visiting. Second, my idea of cheap is very different from a lot of other peoples. When I searched "cheap things to do in Jacksonville, Florida" I found lists with ideas like going to the Zoo. While our zoo is awesome, it costs at least $15 a person,plus more for extras like feeding the giraffes or playing with the sting rays.
My idea of cheap is no more than $10 per person.
Jacksonville offers several awesome museums, but getting in can be pricey. Luckily most of them have FREE DAYS! I love free!
- The Cummer Museum is free on Tuesday nights from 4 to 9 pm. Their collection covers art up to 1950 or 1960. They also have a really awesome garden that is worth the visit.
- The MOCA is free for families on Sundays and free for everybody the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 9. They also offer free admission for UNF students (with ID) and Bank of American card holders can get in for free the first weekend of each month.
Click the link to visit each musuem's website to be sure their free days haven't changed.
Jacksonville has tons of totally free things to do if you like to be outside! Trails, parks and river walks that are all free.
- Take a walk on the Riverwalk. It is over one mile of paved walk way right along the St. John's river.
- Camp Miltonis a nature preserve and an old civil war site. There is an awesome boardwalk and several trails through the woods. Bring along lunch and have a picnic! (Just make sure you bring bags for trash, Camp Milton requires you to take all trash out of the park!)
- The Jacksonville Baldwin Trail is a paved 14 mile trail that starts near downtown and past Camp Milton. It is well shaded and offers lots of wild life. Since it is paved, it is perfect for walking or bike riding. It does go through some sort of "dumpy" areas, but most of the trail is a beautiful and tree canopy covered. I would suggest leaving one car at the trail beginning and one at the end to avoid walking nearly 30 miles!
- Little Talbot Island State Park is a surprisingly untouched nature park just a few minutes drive from the heart of downtown Jacksonville or the Beaches. They offer trails, beaches, camping and canoeing. The coolest trail starts right by the ranger station and goes through the woods and down a long stretch of the beach. Beautiful! Entrance is $5 per car to visit for the day or $25 for tent camping.
- Friendship Fountain in San Marco is located just across the St. Johns River from downtown. It is beautiful and there is usually music and holiday events planned. Look at the photos, words don't quite do the fountain justice!
- Parks, Parks, Parks! Jacksonville has a ton of great parks throughout the city. Check out Memorial Park, Riverside Park, Huguenot Memorial Park...the list goes on. Make sure you look into what type of park you want, some are nature preserves, some are smaller parks with a view of the river or a great playground.
Specials and other events around town
Another way to have fun in Jacksonville for cheap is to look for specials deals. Here are a few of my favorites. As always, these specials are up to date upon publication but check websites before you head out!
- Adventure Landing offers mini-golf, go cart racing, laser tag and a family friendly arcade. They actually have two different mini-golf courses and offer different specials everyday of the week. My favorite deal is Thursdays, where you can get unlimited laser tag, mini-golf and 10 arcade coins for just $10 a person. Yay!
- The RAM is a weekly arts, craft and farmers market held in the Riverside area Jacksonville. Each Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm local artists, musicians, entertainers and farmers come together to offer one of the best freebies in Jacksonville. Live music, local art and yummy food all with a view of the St. Johns river.
- The Art Walk is a monthly self guided tour of local art galleries and vendors. It is held 5 pm to 9 pm the first Wednesday of every month all over downtown. I suggest starting at Hemming Plaza (in front of the Jacksonville MOCA and the Main Public Library). Artist and musicians are in the streets, and most of the stores allow artists to display their work.