Best Jacksonville Parks & Eco-Activities
aerial of family on boardwalk viewing marsh with river and low sun jacksonville parks

Planning a trip to Jacksonville and looking for outdoor activities that your whole family can enjoy? From immersive hikes in parks and nature preserves, to one-of-a-kind kayaking or paddle boarding experiences near the beaches, there is something for everyone in this North Florida city. Whether it’s taking an eco-tour along the waterfront or discovering hidden trails through lush natural areas, Jacksonville offers a plethora of adventures for those seeking quality time in the great outdoors. Get ready to explore some of our favorite parks and eco-activities around town!

Guana River Wildlife Management Area

The Guana River Wildlife Management Area, situated southeast of Jacksonville, is an eco haven brimming with a diverse range of wildlife. This breathtaking wildlife reserve spans over 9,800 acres and is home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. The lush mangrove forests, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and freshwater ponds are carefully conserved, forming a precious habitat for these creatures. Visitors can trek along miles of nature trails, take a kayaking tour down the river, or simply relax and absorb the serenity of this natural oasis. The Guana River Wildlife Management Area is a true haven for nature lovers and an eco gem of the North Florida coast.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem just north of Downtown Jacksonville that offers visitors an unforgettable experience. This non-profit sanctuary is home to over 40 big cats, including lions, tigers, and leopards, as well as wolves and other exotic animals that have been rescued from abusive or neglectful situations. The sanctuary is committed to not only providing a safe haven for these animals but also educating the public on the importance of preserving wildlife and their natural habitat. Visitors can take a guided tour and see these majestic animals up close, all while learning about the sanctuary’s eco-friendly practices and commitment to conservation.

Fort Clinch State Park

Located just north of Jacksonville, Fort Clinch State Park is the perfect escape for nature enthusiasts. It boasts mesmerizing views of ocean waters, beautiful beaches, and diverse habitats that support many species of flora and fauna. Visitors can engage in a multitude of activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking. This eco-conscious park protects and enhances its natural resources, making it a perfect destination for those who seek to enjoy nature without causing any harm. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or someone who enjoys breathtaking vistas, Fort Clinch State Park is definitely worth a visit.

two mountain bikers on trail in the woods at timucuan ecological historic preserve

Castaway Island Preserve

Looking for an eco-friendly adventure that’s perfect for the whole family? Look no further than Castaway Island Preserve, located just east of Downtown Jacksonville. This natural oasis offers a variety of opportunities for visitors to get in touch with nature and learn about the local environment. Here, you can explore winding trails that weave through marshes and wetlands, observe diverse wildlife in their natural habitats, and even try your hand at fishing in the local ponds. So if you’re looking for a perfect day trip that blends education with adventure, head over to Castaway Island Preserve and get ready to be amazed!

Kayak Amelia

Imagine the beauty of exploring a natural habitat, surrounded by breathtaking sights and sounds and without the drone of traffic and crowds. Kayak Amelia offers a unique blend of adventure and conservation with their guided kayak and paddle board tours within the parks northeast of Jacksonville. With Kayak Amelia, you can discover and learn about the many wonders of the Florida wetlands and estuaries. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a beginner, their expert guides will take you on a journey through the diverse eco-systems of the region, providing a one-of-a-kind experience. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Jacksonville area with Kayak Amelia.

Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a breathtaking destination located just north of Jacksonville. Visitors are given the chance to immerse themselves in nature with numerous activities such as bird watching, hiking, and kayaking available for all ages. From its dense forests to the tranquil marshlands, this preserve is a haven for anyone who loves being in the great outdoors. Additionally, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve offers an exciting opportunity to learn about the history of the area. Its historic structures and artifacts provide insight into the lives of the people who once called this place home. With its natural beauty and rich history, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is a must-visit destination for every eco-loving adventurer.

Diamond D Ranch

The Diamond D Ranch is a stunning retreat located southwest of Jacksonville that is beloved for its eco-friendly approach to hospitality. Situated on acres of natural beauty, this ranch is an ideal destination for those who want to immerse themselves in nature without sacrificing comfort. The focus here is on conservation and sustainability, with activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and birdwatching allowing guests to explore the surrounding wilderness without causing harm to the environment. Whether you are an avid eco-traveler or just looking to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Diamond D Ranch is an unforgettable destination that is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and deeply connected to nature.

row of horseback riders with guide at diamond d ranch

Betz Tiger Point Preserve

Venturing into the Betz Tiger Point Preserve, one can immediately feel immersed in nature’s beauty. Located just north of Jacksonville, this eco-preserve offers a breathtaking view of Florida’s diverse habitats. The trails wind their way through coastal wetlands, pine flatwoods, and old-growth hammocks, providing a glimpse into the area’s unique ecosystem. Whether it’s birdwatching, hiking, or simply a quiet stroll through the woods, Betz Tiger Point Preserve is the perfect destination for those seeking a serene escape into nature.

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Just north of Downtown Jacksonville is a haven for both animal lovers and eco-enthusiasts alike: the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. With its focus on conservation and education, visitors can explore the zoo’s numerous exhibits and learn about the importance of protecting our planet’s wildlife. From the African savannas to the Australian outback, each habitat provides a home to a diverse array of creatures great and small. Whether you are an adult fascinated by the wonders of nature or a child eager to see their favorite animal up close, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you inspired to help protect the environment for future generations to come.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

East of Jacksonville lies Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, a local favorite spot for nature enthusiasts and those desiring outdoor fun. This sprawling park offers an array of eco-activities and opportunities for families, friends, and solo adventurers alike. Whether you wish to paddle along the tranquil waters of a lake or hike through winding trails, there’s something for everyone. For those who want to take in breathtaking views, a nature center offers picturesque vistas of the park’s diverse wildlife and natural habitats. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is the ultimate getaway for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and indulge in the beauty of nature.

boardwalk across dunes with palm tree beach and blue sky at hanna park

Amelia Island State Park

Amelia Island State Park is a hidden gem located just north of Jacksonville that offers visitors an adventure unlike any other. This expansive park boasts breathtaking views of salt marshes, coastal dunes, and pristine beaches that make it the perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. Whether you’re interested in hiking, fishing, or just soaking up the sun, there’s something for everyone here at Amelia Island State Park. With such a diverse range of activities to explore, it’s no wonder that this park is one of Florida’s top-rated destinations for eco-tourism. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience, make sure to add Amelia Island State Park to your must-see list.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island State Park is a gem of Florida’s natural beauty located just north of Jacksonville. This pristine paradise is a treasure trove of eco-friendly activities and habitats, making it the perfect destination for any nature enthusiast. From exploring the island’s untouched marshes to hiking through its winding trails, visitors can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of this unique ecosystem. The park’s abundant wildlife and plant species have been carefully preserved, and there’s no better place to learn more about Florida’s diverse ecology. With its warm weather, stunning scenery, and endless opportunities to explore, Little Talbot Island State Park is a must-visit destination for those looking to unplug and connect with the natural world.

Tillie K Fowler Regional Park

Tillie K Fowler Regional Park is a nature lover’s paradise located just south of Downtown Jacksonville. This sprawling park offers visitors a chance to escape the bustle of the city and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Northeast Florida. Spanning over 500 acres, Tillie K Fowler Regional Park boasts a variety of ecosystems, from lush wetlands to towering pine forests. It’s no wonder the park is named after Tillie K. Fowler, a former congresswoman and champion of eco-conservation efforts. Visitors can explore miles of scenic trails by foot or bike, or take a leisurely stroll through the park’s picturesque gardens. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the area, Tillie K Fowler Regional Park is not to be missed.

William F Sheffield Regional Park

If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air and a chance to connect with nature, then look no further than William F Sheffield Regional Park. Located just north of Jacksonville, this hidden gem offers a rich array of eco-activities for visitors of all ages. From quiet hiking trails and picturesque fishing docks to bird-watching areas and serene picnic spots, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the park’s breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for a solo escape or a fun family outing, William F Sheffield Regional Park is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a beautiful oasis in the heart of Florida.

boardwalk bridges along trail with placard and dense tropical foliage at jacksonville arboretum

Big Talbot Island State Park

Big Talbot Island State Park, located just north of Jacksonville, is a haven for those seeking a peaceful refuge surrounded by nature. This eco-friendly park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and conservationists alike. The park’s treasured beach is a must-visit, with its awe-inspiring driftwood formations and sparkling blue waters. Along with the gorgeous views, visitors can hike through the lush forests and explore the park’s unique ecosystems. Big Talbot Island State Park is the perfect place to escape the commotion of the city and reconnect with the natural world.

Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, located just east of downtown, is a true nature lover’s paradise. This hidden gem boasts over 120 acres of beautifully preserved land, featuring a variety of trails and exhibits showcasing the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing outdoor escape, the Arboretum has plenty to offer. From fragrant wildflowers to towering hardwoods, visitors can enjoy a diverse eco-system that is both breathtaking and educational. It’s the perfect destination for anyone looking to connect with nature and learn more about the importance of preserving the environment.

Huguenot Memorial Park

Looking for a tranquil escape from the city that’s friendly to the environment? Look no further than Huguenot Memorial Park, located just a short drive north of town. This well-kept park boasts a wide array of eco-friendly features, from its solar-powered facilities to its vast network of hiking trails. Whether you’re an avid nature-lover or simply looking for a peaceful place to unwind, Huguenot Memorial Park is the perfect destination for anyone seeking to reconnect with the earth. So pack a picnic and your hiking boots, and come experience the natural beauty of Huguenot Memorial Park today!

Tree Hill Nature Center

Set amidst peaceful landscapes and tranquil surroundings east of Downtown Jacksonville, Tree Hill Nature Center offers an eco-friendly haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. This educational center is a perfect blend of serene beauty and outdoor recreation. With its diverse ecosystem, it provides a perfect platform for learning about the environment and enjoying everything nature has to offer. As you explore the sprawling grounds, immerse yourself in the calming beauty of the butterfly gardens, and take in the sweet fragrance of blossoming flowers. Whether you’re a solo explorer or a family looking for a peaceful retreat, the Tree Hill Nature Center has something for everyone.

two kayakers paddling through dense foliage for adventures up the creek

Adventures Up The Creek

Looking for an eco-adventure that will have you exploring some of the most beautiful and pristine waterways around Jacksonville? Then look no further than Adventures Up The Creek! With guided kayak or paddle board tours, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with nature while getting in a great workout. Whether you choose to explore the sparkling waters of the St Johns River or the winding creeks that flow through the nearby estuaries and inlets, you’re sure to be amazed by the beauty and diversity of the ecosystem that surrounds you. So why wait? Grab your sunscreen and experience all that Adventures Up The Creek has to offer!

Jacksonville Beach Cleanup

Looking for a way to give back while also enjoying some time in the great outdoors? Join the Florida Coastal Cleanup along Jacksonville’s beaches, a unique eco-tourism volunteering opportunity that lets you make a real difference for the environment. As part of this event, you’ll spend the day out on the beach, working alongside other volunteers to pick up trash, remove debris, and restore the natural beauty of the area. Not only will you be doing your part to protect the environment, but you’ll also get to connect with other like-minded individuals and experience the beauty of the beach in a whole new way. So why not join us for this incredible opportunity to give back and make a real eco-tour difference?


In conclusion, Jacksonville is a great destination for anyone looking to enjoy nature’s wonders and get up close with some of Florida’s most breathtaking wilderness. From state parks and nature preserves to kayaking, canoeing, and horseback tours, there’s no shortage of ways to appreciate the area’s natural assets. Wildlife and marine rescue centers can teach us just as much about nature as eco-projects and gardens do. Whether you prefer the opportunity for leisurely things to do like picnicking or an exciting day packed with multiple eco-activities, Jacksonville has something special for every type of traveler. Don’t forget to check out our Jacksonville Travel Guide for more information on how to experience this city in all its natural glory!