There are tons of great winter and holiday activities for families in North Florida. Whether you’re looking for the best Christmas lights around Jacksonville, or the best holiday events, there’s something for everyone. That’s why we’ve put together a winter bucket list for kids that’s loaded up with 20 of our favorite things you want to make sure you don’t miss during the season.
Hailed as one of the best neighborhood light shows in Jacksonville, the neighborhood of Blackhawk Bluff off Girvin Road is known throughout North Florida. Open from Thanksgiving through New Years, this completely free light show is magical for kids of all ages.
There are lots of great trails throughout North Florida where the whole family can enjoy a bike ride. The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is one of our favorites because it’s flat, shaded, and easy to navigate.
We love day trips to St. Augustine, but in the winter they’re extra special because of the Nights of Lights. From November through January the city is draped in white lights from top to bottom.
While we love visiting the zoo for the annual ZOOLights celebration, the winter is also a great time of year to spend the day there. With cooler temps the animals seem to be more active, and you don’t have to worry about melting in the hot Florida sun.
With fewer bugs, and less rainy afternoons, winter is the best time of year to get out and find a new favorite hiking trail. There are lots to choose from in North Florida, we’ve even got a list of 52 of our favorites, one for every week of the year!
Did you know there are several historic forts in North Florida where you can take the family? Many of them are completely free and a few of them offer Junior Ranger programs for the kids at no additional cost.
We love shopping local, particularly for holiday gifts. Our gift guide has lots of great local options, but you can also visit some of the great markets around Jacksonville to round out your list.
Winter is prime manatee viewing time, and our warm Florida springs are where they like to hang out. Plan a day trip to a local waterway and see how many manatees you can find.
Random acts of kindness and giving back to our community is a great lesson to teach kids. The holidays is the perfect time of year to get out and do something small (or big) for someone else.
There are so many great Jacksonville Charities to chose from, find one that’s close to your heart and make a donation. When you donate local, the money raised stays in our community and helps your neighbors.
Trips to the beach aren’t just for summer time! Winter is the perfect time of year to plan a visit and do a little exploring. You might be shocked by the different treasures like shark teeth and sea glass you can find.
A holiday tradition in Jacksonville Beach for over 10 years, this is one light display you don’t want to miss. It’s completely free, making it a great spot to take the kids.
Jacksonville is home to so many wonderful, independently owned businesses. Supporting these companies means that you’re supporting your friends and neighbors. Make a point to seek out local shops when you’re checking gifts off your holiday list.
Even if you don’t send out holiday cards, it’s the perfect time of year to get some new pics taken of the whole family. Choose from a local professional photographer, or just hit up some scenic areas of Jacksonville and take them yourself.
Jacksonville is home to some great museums and those cold days make it a great time of year to explore some of them. There are several free options and many of the others even have free or discounted days.
Lights, shows, laughs, and holiday magic is what you’re in for when you look a the long list of holiday events going on in Jacksonville. Pick one or two and make plans with the family.
One of the great benefits of being a city on the river is the lighted boat parades. There are several in North Florida where you can sit back and watch the well decorated boats float past.
A tradition in Jacksonville for years, Kuhn Flowers creates a stunning theme window display each year. Take the whole family and see how many small details you can find.
Cooler temps mean it’s the perfect season to snuggle up at the drive-in. Sun-Ray Cinema offers drive-in movies on the weekends and titles vary from kid friendly to date night appropriate. During December they offer lots of great holiday classics.
North Florida has some great spots for Christmas Lights and there are lots of great neighborhoods where you can just drive around and enjoy the lights. Not sure where to start, we love Blackhawk Bluff, Arbor Glade, and Nights of Lights.