How to Visit Jacksonville, Florida On a Budget

During this pandemic, many people have missed out on what could be the vacation of a lifetime. Now that the world is figuring out how to get back on its feet, you may be squirreling together the money you have so that you can have a vacation – no matter what the budget may be. Visiting Jacksonville may be on your road trip list this year, and if it is you’re in luck. You want a vacation with historic tours and family beaches, eclectic piers and all of the fun that the whole family can have, but if you’re on a budget, what do you do?

Well, you plan a vacation where you can experience as much as possible for as little as possible – and free, if you can get it! Below, we’ve put together a list of things to do in Jacksonville that won’t break your bank and will give you a chance to have a lot of fun with the whole family. Each of these listed items is completely free – so all you’ll need to do is worry about money for food and other activities if you should choose to purchase them. Let’s dive in!

Closeup Photography of Sand

  • Cancer Survivors Park. The name of the park sounds as if it may not be enjoyable, but this is a place of celebration and inspiration. The park is packed with miniature versions of the major bridges in Jacksonville, and motivational plaques and sculptures are included, too. It’s a lovely place to sit and there are tons of opportunities for tourists, too. It’s found in most travel guides, so you should be able to head to the park. You don’t have to be a cancer survivor to head here, but you can visit and feel inspired by those who are!
  • Jacksonville Beach. Who doesn’t want to visit flat, white, sandy beaches with easy access to the street and free parking? You could be on some of the best beaches in the state when you visit Jacksonville beach. It’s big, but it’s not too crowded and it feels “off the beaten track” no matter where you are on it! The restaurants in the area are fantastic and for everyone, and compared to other, more popular vacation spots, you will find that there is still a lot to enjoy here without the crowds. You can build sandcastles, find time to swim or paddle in the water, and if you really want to, you could find shark teeth on the sand. It’s one of the most exciting places to visit in Jacksonville.
  • Riverside Arts Market. If you’re looking for something indoors on a rainy vacay day, then the Riverside Arts Market is a great one to look at. You can go with the whole family and as it’s a type of flea market, you can cadge some excellent bargains. It’s busy, it’s got a great selection of food vendors, with artists and live music to enjoy, too. You can take your time to wander the booths and watch some of the entertainment, and it’s a minimal amount of money that you’ll spend enjoying time with everyone. It’s right by the water, so when you go get hungry and want to stop and eat, you’ll do it with a view.
  • Fishing Pier, Jacksonville Beach. While you’re on the beach we mentioned earlier, why not head to the pier for some fishing? You’ll get gorgeous views of the ocean and the shoreline and as the pier goes right out by nearly a quarter of a mile, you will see the entire shoreline! It’s not a completely free activity, however, as you’ll pay a dollar for pedestrians and four dollars for fisherman. There is space to clean the fish, buy snacks and drinks and even purchase your bait and tackle. The best bit is that those who want to have fun can hire fishing gear and don’t need a license to fish here. It’s a great experience even if you’re not fishing, so it’s worth checking it out!
Body of Water during Golden Hour
  • The Jacksonville Skyway. You want to have fun while you’re away, and you need to do that in a way that’s easy for you to get around. With this in mind, we’ve got the suggestion of the Jacksonville Skyway, and it’s a monorail that is automated to glide along the streets of the town and across the St. Johns River. You’ll easily access hotels and entertainment venues when you choose to, and the trains leave every three minutes in peak hours. This Skyway is free, whether or not you’re a child, and once you see how happy the kids are on the Skyway, you’ll want to ride again and again.
  • Sunshine Park. One thing that Jacksonville has going for it is the weather, and Sunshine Park has a Splash Pad that is great for those hotter days. The kids will love it, entrance is free and if you have older children, you’ll love the areas designed specifically for the little ones. There are swings, water features and sandy areas all for digging, and the kids absolutely love it! You’ll be able to bring your own picnics, too, as there are benches everywhere to be enjoyed by all.
  • Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. This is one of the many museums in the Jacksonville area, and the colors and patterns of the flowers and plants are all great to draw the eye. The whole museum is accessible and educational, and you can spend a whole day here as a starter museum for the kids! The tours are great and the museum is free on the first Saturday of the month and the schedule is on the website to help you to plan.
  • Friendship Fountain. Right near the Museum of Science and History is the Friendship Fountain. It’s one of the biggest self-contained fountains rising to 100ft, and it’s a really relaxing walk with views that go on forever. The parking is free and there are over 250 lights added to enjoy in the evening.