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A Day Trip in Jacksonville, Florida: 7 Things To Do and Eat

It was my first time visiting Jacksonville, Florida in late April 2018, and, needless to say, I barely scratched the surface in those 3 nights. In this travel guide, we’re covering how you can spend a day trip in Jacksonville.

Did you know? Jacksonville is the largest city in continental United States.

With over 840 square miles of land, 22 miles of beaches and 10 different neighborhoods to explore, Jacksonville is definitely a place to visit.

Despite its 6,000 years worth of history dating back to the Timucuan Indians, Jacksonville is growing and flourishing as both a destination and a place to live, having the youngest population in Florida with a median age of 35.

In fact, it’s one of the 21 Super Cool US Cities ranked by Expedia’s Viewfinder Travel Blog in 2017.

If you only have a day to explore Jax, here’s a great itinerary which focuses on the city proper since The Beaches are at least 30 minutes away. This day trip guide covers some of the best things to do and restaurants in Jacksonville.

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Jacksonville, Florida: A Day Trip Guide with 7 Best Things To Do and Places To Eat including Maple Street Biscuit, Jacksonville Walking Tours, Sweet Pete's Candy, Candy Apple Cafe, Intuition Ale Works, Five Points District and Orsay

Jacksonville Day Trip Itinerary

Breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit

Start your day trip in Jacksonville with breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit Company in San Marco, which was started in 2012 by Scott Moore and Gus Evans.

As the name implies, they are famous for their flaky biscuits which you can get on its own or in one of their signature sandwiches.

Try the Five and Dime! It’s their most popular biscuit, and you won’t be disappointed!

The Five and Dime at Maple Street Biscruit in San Marco, Jacksonville, Florida
The Five and Dime ($8) – Flaky biscuit, all natural fried chicken breast, pecanwood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese topped with sausage gravy with a kick and fried egg.

Maple Street Biscuit is located in the historic neighborhood of San Marco where you’ll find local dining, trendy boutiques, and art galleries. You’ll also spot the San Marco fountain of lions that reflects the neighborhood’s association to Venice, Italy.

San Marco fountain of lions in Jacksonville, Florida

Website / Address: 2004 San Marco Blvd, Jacksonville, Florida 32207

Also Read: A Day Trip in St. Augustine, Florida

Downtown Walking Tour with Adlib Tours

From San Marco, head across St. Johns River to Downtown Jacksonville for Jacksonville Walking Tours by Adlib Tours.

Travelling Foodie Tip: Try to be in this area early so you have time to check out Downtown Riverwalk as well.

St. Johns River view from Omni Jacksonville Hotel

One of the best things to do in Jacksonville especially on a day trip, this 2-hour guided tour starts at 10AM, and you meet at the bottom of the escalators inside Jacksonville Landing.

On Thursdays, this is an Art and Architecture tour, which is what I got to experience. (Note: As of July 5, 2019, Jacksonville Landing has closed. Please contact AdLib Tours for the new meeting spot)

Our guide, Pam Zambetti, was such a delight. She’s a local artist herself and is very knowledgeable not just about the art and architecture, but the city and history as well.

Did you know? Jacksonville is named in honor of General Andrew Jackson, an American soldier and statesman who eventually became a President of the United States. You’ll find his statue outside Jacksonville Landing.

With Jacksonville Walking Tours, we explored Downtown’s top architectural buildings including Wells Fargo Center, which was the tallest building that time it was built in 1974, and the Bank of America Tower.

Bank of America Tower in Jacksonville, Florida
The Bank of America Tower is now the tallest building in Jacksonville (and eleventh tallest in Florida)

The most interesting thing for me was touring the underground tunnels that connected buildings.

And thru this tour only, you’ll come across a secret in the tunnels. In the Atlantic National Bank, you’ll get the opportunity to see a real historic bank vault with safety deposit boxes that withstood The Great Fire of 1901, the largest urban fire in the Southeast.

Historic Secret Vault Door in Jacksonville, Florida
Secret Bank Vault at Atlantic National Bank in Jacksonville, Florida
Safety Deposit Boxes inside the Bank Vault

Back on ground, street art is abundant in the city. You’ll find artwork not just on walls, but also electrical boxes and pillars under the Jacksonville Skyway (which is free to use by the way!).

You’ll also get to check out the Jacksonville Public Library which houses the oldest map dating back 1520, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Garden Courtyard in the Jacksonville Public Library
The Betsy Lovett Courtyard at Jacksonville’s Main Library is a hidden gem with reflecting pool with fountains.
Jacksonville Public Library
Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida
“The Greys In-Between” sculpture by artist Anila Quayyum Agha at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) casts light and shadow on grey walls.

The tour ends around 11:50am at the 1.5-acre Hemming Park, Jacksonville’s first and oldest park, right across the museum and City Hall.

Did you know? The park was sold to the city for $10 by the heirs of Isaiah D. Hart, the founder of Jacksonville, back in 1866.

Website / Address: 2 W. Independent Dr., Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Price: $20/adult, $5/child

My Bar My Way Factory Tour at Sweet Pete’s Candy

At the northwest corner of Hemming Park, you’ll see Sweet Pete’s Candy, locally owned and operated by candy maker Pete Behringer.

After watching the Sweet Pete’s episode on CNBC’s The Profit with Marcus Lemonis, I was very excited to check out this store located in the historic 1903 Seminole Club.

Once inside Sweet Pete’s Candy, you’ll literally feel like a kid in a candy store… or the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory! This is definitely a must-visit attraction when visiting with kids.

Different sizes of lollipops in Sweete Pate's Candy in Jacksonville, Florida
All the lollipops at Sweet Pete’s are handmade!

The best way to experience Sweet Pete’s Candy is by doing the My Bar My Way Factory Tour, which runs at 12:30PM (and 2/3/4PM).

You get a 30-minute tour by a candy expert and also a customized chocolate bar where you get to choose the type of chocolate and three toppings (out of over sixteen to choose from). All that for just $5!

The My Bar My Way Factory Tour takes you through its 3-story candy store and factory while learning about the company’s history, viewing the live production facilities and going behind the scenes of their packaging room and caramel wrapping machine.

Live production facility at Sweet Pete's Candy Store in Jacksonville, Florida

Website / Address: 400 N Hogan St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Price: $5

Also Read: Best Things To Do in West Volusia for Nature Lovers

Lunch at Candy Apple Cafe (CLOSED)

Find other restaurants from this list of Jacksonville’s best restaurants

By about 1PM of your Jax day trip, you’ve likely built up an appetite following the walking tour and candy tour. Luckily, you don’t have to go somewhere else for lunch because also located at Sweet Pete’s is The Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails.

Locally owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Liz and Jennifer Earnest of the Cummer Cafe and the Chef’s Garden Catering & Events, this whimsical restaurant dishes up French-inspired Southern fare including locally caught Mayport shrimp crepe, candy apple cider bacon, and sauteed escargot on puff pastry.

Did you know? If you love brunch, they also serve Brunch All Day Long from omelettes and eggs benedict to Mayport shrimp & grits and country fried chicken and waffle!

Burger, Escargot and Cocktail at Candy Apple Cafe in Jacksonville, Florida

Website / Address: 400 N Hogan St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Brewery Tour and Drinks at Intuition Ale Works

After lunch, it’s Beer O’ Clock! Head over to Intuition Ale Works at 3PM and check out their brewery and tap room

Did you know? Intuition is the first craft brewery in Florida to can its beers in February 2012.

The name stems from the fact that founder Ben Davis, who started as a wine maker in Napa Valley, trused his intuition to return back home to Jacksonville to open a craft brewery.

If you’re still hungry, or just want something to nibble on while drinking, BLK SHP has a food counter and kitchen serving snacks like fried cheese curds and pork rind nachos to plates like the Intuition burger and Shrimp Po Boy.

Intuition Ale Works Tap Room in Jacksonville, Florida

Intuition Ale Works has a free 30-minute brewery tour to learn about the brand, their brewing process and any questions you have about beer! The tour happens every hour on the hour while the taproom is open.

Travelling Foodie Tip: Be sure to check out their rooftop patio as well which has beautiful panoramic views of the city.

Brewing Facility at Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, Florida

One very interesting thing I learned is the concept of dry hopping. Typically, hops are added during the brewing process when the wort is boiled.

In dry hopping, you also add dry hops during the fermentation stage on top of the initial hopping to increase the intensity.

I had a beer flight to try their different beer offerings. Prices are very reasonable at $2-3 for 5oz Draft and $5-7 for 10-16oz Drafts.

I was thoroughly surprised how much I enjoyed their Easy On The Eyes. For someone who doesn’t like IPAs, this brew was definitely easy on me.

I also loved the All Night Diner (imperial oatmeal stout) and Daybreak (sour gose). If you want to try dry hopped beer, their ALTernative Medicine is an Imperial German Altbier that has been dry-hopped with saphir and southern cross hops.

Beer Flight at Intuition Ale Works
Beer Flight (left to right): Easy On The Eyes, ALTernative Medicine, All Night Diner, Daybreak

Website / Address: 929 E Bay St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Also Read: 2 Day Trip in Ocala/Marion County, Florida

Tour the Historic Five Points

Before dinner, head over to the Five Points historic district in The Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods.

Did you know? Five Points is named for the intersecting point of Park, Lomax and Margaret streets where you’ll find the iconic five-point flashing traffic light.

It’s quite interesting to drive thru the intersection, but be warned that it is very confusing and can be accident prone when it’s rush hour.

This historic area and entertainment village is known for being eclectic, bohemian, historic and hip with funky coffee shops, unique local boutiques, a historic theatre (Sun-Ray Cinema) dating back 1927, and surrounding parks.

Riverside Park in Five Points district in Jacksonville, Florida
Riverside Park is Jacksonville’s second oldest public park, spanning 11-acres with several walkways, a fountain, a basketball court and a playground

Five Points is also a foodie spot with lots of local dining to choose from and various cuisines.

Shrimp Basket at Timoti's Seafood Shak in Jacksonville, Florida
Shrimp Basket ($5.99) at Timoti’s Seafood Shak. Note: I ordered the Kids size so I can sample more places
Two Tacos at Corner Taco in Jacksonville, Florida
Southern fried catfish ($4.95) and homemade chorizo ($3.25) tacos at Corner Taco
Corner Taco Yucca Fries in Jacksonville, Florida
Yucca Fries ($2.95) at Corner Taco

Address: 2006 Park St, Jacksonville, Florida 32204

Also Read: 2 Day Trip in Daytona Beach, Florida

Dinner at Restaurant Orsay

End your day trip in Jacksonville with a delicious meal! When in Jackonsville, you should definitely visit Restaurant Orsay.

Owned by Jon Insetta along with Wine Director and Partner Jason Eddy, Executive Chef Michael McKinny and Chef de Cuisine Donald Dean, this French bistro with Southern influences is one of Jacksonville’s best fine dining restaurants.

Did you know? Owner Jon Insetta also owns BLK SHP at Intuitional Ale Works.

duck breast and sweetbreads at Orsay in Jacksonville, Florida
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast and Check Fried Sweetbreads

I totally agree that it is one of the best restaurants in Jax because Orsay dished up my favourite meal during my trip with some mind-blowing dishes including scallop crudo with black truffle, mouth-watering Hudson Valley foie gras, and unique Chicken fried sweetbreads.

Foie Gras at Orsay in Jacksonville, Florida
Hudson Valley Foie Gras ($26) – Crispy custard bread, red onion marmalade, hazelnut puree, beet fluid “jelly”, sweet tea sorghum reduction

Travelling Foodie Tip: Be sure to make reservations as Restaurant Orsay gets full quick, even on a Wednesday night!

Desserts at Orsay in Jacksonville, Florida
On the table:

  • Blueberry Eclair ($4)
  • Espresso Creme Brulee ($4)
  • Orsay Truffle ($4) – Chocolate, hazelnut, feuilletine, gold leaf

Website / Address: 3630 Park St, Jacksonville, Florida 32205

If You Plan To Stay The Night in Jacksonville…

I stayed at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel which is conveniently located in downtown Jacksonville by the St. John’s River, has a bar and restaurant, and has beautiful modern rooms.

Check for pricing and availability of Omni Jacksonville Hotel on / Agoda

Day Trip in Jacksonville Map

Here’s a map with all the places discussed in this day trip to Jacksonville guide.

Hope this travel guide gives you an itinerary on how to spend a day trip in Jacksonville, Florida with things to do and where to eat!

The city is so big that you’ll definitely want to stay longer. Please let me know what you find are the best attractions and restaurants in Jax for my next visit.

Huge thanks to Visit Jacksonville for sponsoring this post. As usual, reviews and opinions are entirely my own.

You can learn more about Visit Jacksonville thru their website, or find them in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Patrick Fiher

Tuesday 22nd of May 2018

For more information about Jacksonville's art and cultural sector, visit here:

Travelling Foodie

Tuesday 22nd of May 2018

Thanks for sharing the resource! :)


Monday 7th of May 2018

This is fantastic info. I'm heading to Jacksonville in June so now I have a few ideas of where to go and what to do! Intuition Ale Works looks delish!

Travelling Foodie

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Oh awesome! How long are you staying for? You'll love Intuition Ale Works if you're a beer lover! I'm also doing a post a food guide on Jax soon too! Keep a lookout! :)

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