Summer is the perfect time to explore some of our favorite outdoor spots. You can keep cool at a splash pad or check out a favorite park. There are also lots of great free events around town that are family friendly. However you decide to enjoy outdoor summer fun in Jacksonville, we’re sure there’s something for everyone.
Free Outdoor Summer Events for Kids in Jacksonville
Art in The Garden Festival: Free for Zoo members, May 6-7, 2023, Celebrate creativity in all its forms during the Art in the Garden Festival at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. This vibrant, 2-day event is your chance to experience intriguing art, curated music and extraordinary living pictures all within their gardens.
Get Hooked on Fishing Rodeo: May 13, 2023 in Jax Beach. Free fishing event for kids and families.
Free Entrance to National Parks: August 4th enjoy free entry to National Parks. In our area, this means you can visit Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine for no charge. Most of the National Park sites in Jacksonville are free to visit year round!
Guana Preserve Family Seining: The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve offers free family seining on select Saturdays all year long. Check their calendar for dates and to sign up.
Orange Park Kids Fest: April 22-23, 2023 – The city of Orange Park will have creative and interactive activities, storytelling, hands-on workshops and educational displays, cultural experiences, arts and crafts, costumed characters, and more.
Splash Pads, Pools, and Water Activities in Jacksonville
Hanna Park Beach & Splash Park: Hanna Park is a great places to take the kids during the summer. They have a newly updated playgournd area, beach and splash pad. You can even camp at this favorite Jacksonville park.
Hunt for Shark Teeth at Mickler’s Landing: One of the best spots in North Florida to find some tiny treasures, it’s a great summer destination with the kids.
Jacksonville Zoo Splash Ground: Keep cool at the zoo while enjoying the animals too! Access to the splash pad is included in zoo admission.
Leonard Abess Park: This park not only has a great splash pad (that’s typically not crowded), it also has bathrooms, picnic tables and a playground.
Losco Park: Located in Mandarin, the city upgraded Losco last year to include a splash pad. You also might want to bring the bikes, there’s an easy trail that’s perfect for kids.
Murray Hill Playground Splash Pad: The Murray Hill Playground is located on the westside of Jacksonville and has a small water feature that kids can play in when they get hot.
Public Pools in Jacksonville: Did you know Jacksonville has 33 public pools that you can use for free from Memorial Day-Labor Day? They’re a great way to keep cool during the long summer days.
Spring Park Pool and Splash Pad: This splash pad can be found in Green Cove Springs. There is a public pool as well as splash pad you can use for a small fee.
St. Augustine Pier Splash Pad: The St. Augustine Pier has a great sandy playground and rather large splash pad connected to it. Go early because parking can get crowded.
Sunshine Park Splash Pad: The Sunshine Park Splash Pad is perfect for little kids to play and big kids to cool off. The shaded swings also help you beat the summer heat.
Visit the Beach: We’re so lucky to have miles and miles of coast just waiting to be explored in Jacksonville. Pack a cooler with snacks and head out for a day of fun in the sun.
Wiley Playground and Splash Pad: The Wiley Road Playground can be found in southwest Jacksonville, near Hyde Grove Elementary School. It has a small water feature that kids can play in to keep cool.
Float Down a Lazy River: Looking to cool off and chill out all at the same time? There are several great lazy rivers in North Florida where you can grab a tube and drift the day away!
Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Summer Fun in Jacksonville
Amelia Island Bike Trail: Head out of town for a family friendly bike ride along the 7 miles between Peters Point County Park and Big Talbot Island.
Bike the Baldwin Rail Trail: Grab your bikes (and helmets) and hit the trail as you ride the 14.5 mile Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail that was once part of the CSX railway line.
Castaway Island Preserve: Castaway has a great interactive trail, an expansive boardwalk system, a canoe launch and an educational center.
Every Kid In A Park Pass: Fourth graders can get their own Every Kid in a Park pass which allows free access to all National Parks for the student and their family.
Explore a Fort: There are several historical forts throughout North Florida where you can plan a visit. Some charge a fee, but many of them are completely free to visit!
Florida State Parks: Get the kids out and enjoy the real Florida this summer. Don’t forget to pick up a free Junior Ranger booklet!
Free National Park Pass for Active Duty Military: Current US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard are eligible for a free National Park Pass.
GeoCashing: There are lots of great places to go GeoCashing in Jacksonville, get outside and get hunting around town.
Georgia State Parks: Many Georgia State Parks are just a short drive from Jacksonville. They make a great day trip to get out of town.
Great Birding Trail: Download the free interactive app and bring the binoculars so kids can easily identify the birds they see.
Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens: Explore the nature of Jacksonville and take a stroll through the trails of the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens.
Jacksonville Beach Pier: Recently reopened, the Jacksonville Beach Pier is a quarter mile long and has great views and fishing. Passes are just $1 for locals, $2 for non-locals.
Jacksonville Rocks: Perfect for rainy days when you can’t get outside, paint some rocks at home and then have fun hiding them around town.
St. Augustine Pier: Take a walk on the St. Augustine Pier. Spectator passes are available for just $1 and kids under 6 are free.
More Cheap & Free Summer Fun in Jacksonville
Shannon is a former Special Education teacher, turned stay at home mom that doesn’t spend a lot of time staying at home. Mom to Cole & Kiley, she loves cheering on the Gators, early morning visits to the beach and traveling with her family. She blogs about her family travel adventures at The Beckham Project and hosts the podcast, Jacksonville Momcast, where she chats with Jacksonville moms about motherhood and more in the 904.