Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in North Florida

  • Published 2022/09/21

North Florida stretches throughout the Florida peninsula portion of the state.

With a wide variety of natural springs, white sand beaches, and state parks, the gorgeous landscapes of North Florida are everything!

If you’re looking for a place where you can escape the crowds in Florida and appreciate the genuine beauty of nature, then look no further.

Here are the 20 best things to do in North Florida:

Join the Thrilling Adventure at St. Augustine

View of Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida

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If you are fond of horror stories, movies or enjoy watching paranormal activities, why not join the thrilling adventure at St. Augustine?

Have you ever thought that a gorgeous beach can have a dark history?

In the area, there were old jails, haunted inns, cemeteries, and haunted lighthouses that would indeed send shivers down your spine.

View of St. Augustine, Florida

Tomas Marek /

This is an exciting activity as you can see the history of St. Augustine uniquely and thrillingly.

If you are brave enough to take on the challenge, then it’s time to join the experts in their course of looking back on the dark side of St. Augustine’s history!

View of St. Augustine, Florida

Sean Pavone /

Shop at the Jacksonville Farmers Market

Situated in the eastern part of North Florida, you can enjoy the state’s local goods.

Jacksonville is indeed a populous city, but it cannot be denied that it widely offers entertainment, attractions, and beautiful things to do.

There are more than 50 vendor booths selling seafood, fresh produce, and other affordable and worthy local goods that you can get.

Have Fun at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Flamingos at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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There are over 2,000 wild animals and species are over 1,000 in the zoo throughout the 117 acres.

It is always better to see wild animals in real life than on television as it brings a high amount of excitement, especially when you have your family and friends.

Warthogs at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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The Jacksonville Zoo had received a prestigious award as Land of Tiger and The Range of the Jaguar for its stunning exhibits for a safe and pleasing environment for the wild animals.

Toy train at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Rob Bixby from Jacksonville, FL, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aside from wild animals, there are also adorable ones.

Make sure not to miss the moments and take pictures to have a remembrance of one of the most incredible zoos in the world!

Chill Out at Navarre Beach

View of Navarre Beach

Eddie Ruffin /

If relaxing in North Florida is what you are looking for, Navarre Beach is another excellent destination to visit!

With the white shoreline, 12 miles pristine, and Gulf Islands National park, the place can be compared to a paradise!

Fishing at Navarre Beach

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Navarre Beach has been regarded frequently year after year as one of the best nations in North Florida, and visiting the place will let you discover the reason why.

North Florida has always been consistent in making Navarre Beach a secret to keep fewer people, and you can feel the sense of tranquility.

If you want to chill out and relax, visit Navarre Beach!

Head to Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

View of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

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It is famous for its historical gardens that are landscaped under the ancient oaks.

The Washington Oaks is one of the most suitable places if you want to have a tranquil environment and escape the noise from the crowd.

You can genuinely appreciate the beauty of nature, and everything you can see in the place is unbelievably beautiful; you might not believe what you know as it looks like a fairy tale.

View of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Averette, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Whether with someone or alone, this place will make you feel at home for its calm scenery.

People also find it the best place to get away with stress!

If you have been very busy lately, chill out at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park!

Walk Around the Big Talbot Island State Park

View of Big Talbot Island State Park

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Big Talbot Island State Park is one of the popular destinations of North Florida for its extraordinary landscapes.

This is one of the great places to have a walk and appreciate the natural beauty of nature.

View of Big Talbot Island State Park


Upon walking, you can also see the cedar trees and live oaks; the best thing is that you are not prohibited from climbing on them and taking fantastic pictures!

The views in Big Talbot Island State Park are undoubtedly fun and concomitantly incredible.

Rock formations at Talbot Island State Park

Smokemob, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Hiking at Alfred A. Ring Park

With just 11 minutes’ drive time from the Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits, you can have an extraordinary hike at Alfred A. Ring Park.

The area constitutes throughout Hogtown Creek and has 1.4 miles of hiking trail in a calm atmosphere of the forest.

This is one of the most visited places in North Florida, most of the time by a group of friends or family.

If you are looking for an outdoor trip or hiking in Gainesville, this place is excellent for you!

Make sure to bring all your necessities.

With the vast attractions around the area, you will indeed have a long hiking adventure!

Make a Splash at the Ginnie Springs Outdoors, LLC

View of Ginnie Springs Outdoors


You might have heard this before, Ginnie, as this is one of the most popular attractions in North Florida.

If you are looking for a crystal clear blue of water with stunning green scenery around, then this place is the perfect destination for you!

The place is widely known for having lots of water activities to do.

Forest in Ginnie Springs Outdoors

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If you’re fond of paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, diving, and the likes, Ginnie Springs has everything for you!

With all the fun activities available, you can bring your friends and family with you to have a complete and memorable vacation in North Florida.

If you haven’t tried the list of activities before, it will be great to do it first in Ginnie Springs!

View of Ginnie Springs Outdoors

Zoe Esteban /

Discover New Things in Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits

View of Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated in Gainesville of northern Florida, this famous museum is state-sponsored; that’s why it has been consistent since then to be a provider of vast knowledge about everything.

With 1 hour and 48 minutes drive time from Amelia Island, you can learn about the state’s history, as well as the various dinosaur bones that are real!

Skeleton of a mammoth at Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits

Kelley Minars from San Antonio, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Going inside the museum is entertaining, but you will learn and understand a lot of things.

Make sure not to miss the opportunity if you are in North Florida to visit this iconic museum!

View of Florida Museum of Natural History-Exhibits

Todd Van Hoosear, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Walkway in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

IrinaK /

In just 10 minutes of travel time from Ginnie Springs, why not visit another incredible destination in North Florida?

Gilchrist Blue Springs is a widely known destination in the town because you can do a lot of exciting activities, such as geocaching!

This place became famous because it has first developed geocaching in the town, and everybody loves it!

Walkway in Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Brian83726 /

Another thing which made the place ideal to be spent with family or group of friends is that the fun did not end at geocaching.

There are many other things to do, such as camping, paddle boarding, tubing, and hiking!

Have fun with the outdoor activities in Gilchrist Blue Springs, and don’t miss the opportunity to try them all!

View of Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

IrinaK /

Get Flavorful Drinks at the Secret Tiki Temple

In the Northern part of Florida, Jacksonville is one of the most populated and crowded places in the state.

Have you ever thought of what is best in a crowded and populous place?

Of course, having fun while drinking together is the answer!

You can have various choices when it comes to drinks because Tiki Temple has consistently made unique tastes of beers that made it popular among the people.

The atmosphere is naturally fun, their foods and drinks are presented skillfully, and they are reasonably priced!

If you are not fond of drinking, you can also spend time with your friends in the place trying some of their unique dishes.

Your vacation in North Florida can never be completed if you don’t visit the Tiki Temple!

Feel the Bridgerton Vibes at Eden Gardens State Park

Wesley House in the Eden Gardens State Park

Peter Titmuss /

Situated nearby Point Washington, you can visit the iconic Eden State Park.

If you love seeing impressive historical mansions and gorgeous gardens, Eden Gardens State Park is the best place.

This state park is one of the fun destinations in North Florida as you can roam around the beautiful mansion and touch the beautiful gardens like the Netflix series Bridgerton.

View of Eden Gardens State Park


If you’re with your significant other, you will love this place.

Make sure to take your cameras with you.

Don’t miss the chance to capture the sweet moments with the incredible attractions in the place!

Oak tree in Eden Gardens State Park

Gwyne Gray /

Visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Scenic View at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Sean Pavone /

If you find history as something exciting, then Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is the perfect place for you to travel back in time!

This is one of the iconic destinations in North Florida, and it was commonly known as a monument built by the Spanish.

After establishing the monument, it helped St. Augustine’s lives from the British and the Pirates who tried to invade Florida in the year 1702.

Scenic View at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Nataliya Hora /

You do not only see the actual monument, but you can get inside the honest soldier’s rooms, canon, and the firing gun deck!

You will also be accompanied by a tour guide who can tell you the story of each side of the area.

This place has been popular among scholars and people who wanted to discover more and study the history of St. Augustine.

Aeriel view of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

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Have a Fun Adventure at Pensacola Beach

Aerial View of Pensacola Beach

Matt Buikema /

If you are traveling with your significant other, then this romantic place is the perfect destination for both of you.

If you are also fond of stargazing, that is also one of the reasons why this place became famous for everyone.

A Sign in Pensacola Beach

Derek Gordon /

It is always the best feeling to watch the stars in the sky at night with your loved one beside you and talk about everything in life.

The stargazing here is not regular stargazing that you could ever imagine.

View of Pensacola Beach Boardwalk

Benjamin Schaefer /

The place is a perfect beach in the morning, but you can use thirty different telescopes to see the stars clearly at night every Saturday night!

If seeing the stars with your bare eyes is remarkable already, how much more if you can see them inside the thirty different telescopes?

Don’t miss the chance to have a romantic and wonderful time together with your loved one!

View of Pensacola Beach

Colin D. Young /

Explore the Amelia Island

Aerial View of Amelia Island

GagliardiPhotography /

Situated at the Atlantic coast near Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a perfect place to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature in North Florida.

There are plenty of exciting things to do on this island without spending much of your money.

Besides its stunning view where you can have a walk, you can also visit their unique shops at affordable prices!

Beautiful Buildings in Amelia Island

GagliardiPhotography /

Other than that, you can also enjoy horseback riding together, accompanied by the staff that will guide you on how to ride the horses with care properly.

You don’t need to worry about the parking lots in the area because there are lots of them.

Boardwalk at Amelia Island

Lynne Neuman /

The place is also ideal if you want to have a cardio exercise early in the morning.

The place is popular among large groups of family and friends!

Watch the Dolphins Swim at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

View of Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

digidreamgrafix /

Destin in North Florida is one of the popular destinations for seeing the adorable dolphins as they swim in the beautiful sea.

With approximately 40,000 dolphins living in Mexico’s Gulf, the dolphins will swim over the Destine due to the cleanliness and smooth environment of water there.

Aerial View of Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

digidreamgrafix /

Visit the area from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm to witness the lovely dolphin as they swim freely in the sea.

Aside from dolphins, you can also catch other adorable sea creatures such as sea turtles.

North Florida is not limited to its comprehensive attractions, but also its preservation of cleanliness is what makes it captivating for animals as well.

Sunset at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier

Kjelland32 /

Soak up the Heat at Henderson Beach State Park

Enjoy a magnificent coastline with 30-foot-tall snow-white dunes as an anchor, where you may spend the day in and day out soaking up the Florida heat or bathing in the fresh waters.

The Emerald Coast’s secured area isn’t only a place to unwind.

Walkway leading to a beach at Henderson Beach State Park

lunamarina /

This park’s highlights include fishing, a walking trail, and 60 campgrounds with boardwalk access to the beach.

The only surviving coastal scrub area in Destin was designated as a unique area to be preserved, protected, and enjoyed by the general public.

In addition to offering lovely campsites, the park is a wonderful location for gatherings, including weddings and family gatherings.

Scenic sunset at Henderson Beach State Park

EZ Miles /

Visit Florida Theatre

On April 8, 1927, the Florida Theatre, a renowned theater with 1,900 seats, unveiled its doors for the first time in Jacksonville, Florida.

Florida Theatre was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Entrance to Florida Theatre

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Theatre aspires to provide a space in the community where varied artists and spectators may come together to share ideas and viewpoints.

The Florida Theatre Performing Arts Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 1987, works in collaboration with the City of Jacksonville, the Florida Theatre’s owner, to manage, schedule, and protect the historic structure.

Interior view of Florida Theatre

Usflibstudent21, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a nonprofit, its goal is to improve the living environment in the community of North Florida by offering entertaining and unforgettable arts and entertainment events and conserving a special historic Jacksonville landmark.

Look over the Collections at Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Scenic view of Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Red Lemon /

Northeast Florida’s biggest Museum of fine arts is the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

Ninah Cummer, an artwork collector, garden lover, and civic activist, donated her art collection and riverside house to develop The Cummer in 1958.

The original core collection of 60 works from Mrs. Cummer’s estate now numbers more than 5,000 items.

Exterior view of Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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The Museum is committed to fostering fruitful collaborations and encouraging active community involvement.

The St. Johns River is a stunning background for the historic gardens, a focal point of beauty for everyone to experience.

Interior view of Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Red Lemon /

The Gardens close simultaneously with the Museum, at nightfall, and during poor weather.

The Cummer Café has varying hours of operation, while the Cummer Shop is available throughout museum hours.

Have a Picnic at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Plants at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

romarti /

Gainesville, Florida’s Kanapaha Botanical Gardens span 68 acres and contain 24 significant collections.

Among these are the biggest Southeast organic garden and the largest open showcase of bamboos in the state.

The prestigious Gainesville wedding location Kanapaha Botanical Gardens offers indoor and outdoor bookings for weddings, receptions, conferences, retreats, and other social events.

Bamboos at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

romarti /

One of the best stands of Chinese royal bamboo can be found in Kanapaha, and during the summer months, there are also huge Victoria freshwater lilies and Asian snake arums.

Visitors are welcome to bring their food and beverages and have a picnic indoors.

Most of the paths at Kanapaha are wheelchair-friendly, and plenty of chairs, gazebos, and other rest areas are spread throughout the site.

Colorful flowers at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Admire the Architecture of Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

The sapphire water of Wakulla Springs is home to one of the most extensive and deepest water springs worldwide.

It is also home to manatees, alligators, and various other species that may be seen from a riverboat or the diving site.

Turtles at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Denis Blofield /

The refreshing 70-degree waters will keep you cool even in the warmest summers.

The ancient lodge elegantly represents Old Florida, and old cypress swamps provided the ideal setting for classic Hollywood productions.

Visitors currently are in awe of a 1930s Spanish-style resort with period furnishings, antique elevators, and vibrantly colored ceilings that feature animals and Old Florida landscapes.

Dock at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

jmanaugh3 /

Swimming and guided boat trips are available to visitors in areas where mastodons formerly roamed.

Digout canoes once plied the chilly waters around.

Alligator at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Jim Schwabel /

Final Thoughts

North Florida is an excellent place, to begin with; the broad area is also wide of impressive attractions.

North Florida is a unique way to escape the stress and crowds from state parks, museums, water activities, and the likes.

If you haven’t visited North Florida yet, check out this list as a reference to get to know the place more!

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