This post is part of a hosted stay, however all opinions are my own.
Jacksonville, FL is the most affordable beach destination in Florida. It’s perfect if you’re looking to visit the sunshine state with your family, but don’t want to pay astronomical prices. With so much to do in the area at such great prices, you may (and should) decide to make this an annual trip.
Florida’s beaches are so beautiful that is is well worth the price of travel to visit them. However, many of the beach resort towns are so overpriced that an average working class family can’t afford them. Or if a family does save up enough money to stay in a hotel, they can’t afford any activities.
Jacksonville is different. There is so much to do, and so much of it is incredibly affordable. Here are some of the amazing things you can do in Jacksonville without breaking the bank during your next vacation.
Related Post: How to Save Money with a Staycation
Hotels on the beach
There are 1,100 miles of shoreline in Jacksonville with beaches making up 22 of those miles. According to Visit Jacksonville, there are over 18,000 guest rooms located throughout the Downtown, beaches, and suburban areas. Resorts offer an additional 11,000 rooms to visitors. As with any beach town, there are a variety of places to stay in a wide range of prices, but Jacksonville’s beach hotels are well below the state average starting as low as $95 a night.
We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton which starts at $179 a night. If you’ve ever tried to book a hotel with a beach view, you know that this is a great deal. I still can’t get over this view.
Plus, they even serve beer in the lobby from the Jacksonville Ale Trail!
Family friendly restaurants
Eating out is not only super affordable, it’s a real culinary experience with 15 chefs from Jacksonville touted on the America’s Best Chef List.
You can get everything from southern cuisine to seafood, all at reasonable prices. Here are some of the family friendly restaurants that we loved that were not only delicious, they didn’t break the bank either.
We loved everything about M Shack, but especially loved the beer selection and prices.
For only $6.95, you can order a portabella truffle burger. Truffle on a burger for less than $7!
Maple Street Biscuit Company
You haven’t had a biscuit until you’ve had a Maple Street biscuit. They offer everything from biscuits with icing on them, to savory biscuits with fried chicken and gravy.
The 5 & dime biscuit with fried chicken, gravy and an egg was the real star of the show.
You can’t have enough breakfast options when on vacation, right? Metro Diner is another great spot for breakfast and lunch.
The breakfast pizza was the coolest breakfast option I’ve ever seen, and super tasty too. Fried jalapenos for breakfast? Yes, please!
A visit to the South isn’t complete without eating chicken and waffles at least once. This one didn’t disappoint!
It was especially good with the hot sauce syrup! Of course, you might as well try the breakfast burrito and stuffed french toast while you are there.
Safe Harbor Seafood
If you are looking for a family friendly seafood restaurant then Safe Habor is the place. You order at the register, pick your seat and then head back to pick-up your food once it’s ready. You can even sit outside and enjoy the water view.
Family friendly activities
Since Jacksonville is so affordable, you can easily spend some money on outings with the kids when you want a break from the beach. Here are a few of the best family friendly activities in Jacksonville.
Looking for entertainment and food? You’ve got to check out Sweet Pete’s Candy Store. He makes his own candy, and even offers candy making classes. Here is Sweet Pete himself setting up for a candy making class.
Classes start at $15, and you can even take a tour of the chocolate factory for $5.
Everything in the two story building is whimsical, even the chairs on the porch.
Once you finish making the candy, you can sit down to eat and drink at the Candy Apple Cafe located in the same building. The appetizers steal the show here. The candied apple bacon is a must try.
So are the petite corn dogs with cheddar ale fondue.
Don’t forget to get a drink to go with that meal!
The mimosa popsicle is fun, and so is The Golden Ticket drink made with coconut rum, orange liqueur, homemade sour mix, and pineapple juice.
Other than eating, here are some of the family activities we loved that don’t break the bank:
TopGolf is a great place to bring the kids because they even have a kidzone! Of course, it would be fun for a night out too because they serve drinks and great food.
This museum is great because they have a wide array of art that is perfect for the whole family. Kids are welcome in the art exhibits.
And they are very much encouraged to play in the children’s area. They have several rooms of interactive art.
Kids can even become part of the exhibit!
Admission for adults is $10, $6 for kids ages 5- college, and free for kids under 5.
The zoo is always a fun place to take kids.
This one if perfect for kids because everything is stroller friendly, even the train that rides through the zoo.
The Asian gardens are a sight to see too.
Admission is $17.95 for adults (13 to 64), $12.95 for children 3 to 12 and free for children under 2.
The MOSH is a great place for kids because they have all sorts of things to entertain kids. They have a touch tank, multiple core exhibits, and a traveling exhibit. They even have full size dinosaur skeletons!
Admission is $12.50 for adults (13 to 64), $10 for children 2 to 12 and free for children under 2.
Cross the St. John’s River using St. John’s River Taxi and tours to get an amazing view of the city as well as a fun history lesson.
You can get a daily pass for $10 that lets you go from the MOSH, the Jacksonville Zoo, and the Riverside Arts Market.
With so many affordable things to do in Jacksonville, you will definitely want to go back. I know we do!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Jacksonville?