Tag Archives: parks

Foto Friday

Friendship Park Fountain

Friendship Park Fountain was all dressed in pink for the month of October.

Foto Friday

 Memorial Park is located on Riverside Avenue on the the St. Johns River.  The 5.8 acre property was purchased by the city of Jacksonville in 1919 for a park to honor the 1200 Floridians who died in World War 1.  The bronze sculpture Life was created by the renowned Charles Adrian Pillars (1870-1937).

Today, Memorial Park remains a focal point for historic Riverside and offers a a place for a pleasant stroll, picnic, or just enjoying the St. Johns River views.

Foto Friday

A giraffe approaches a young visitor for food at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Foto Friday

Friendship Park, located on the Southbank Riverwalk, is a wonderful place to visit, and the fountain is a Jacksonville icon.  Here are 3 pictures of our recently restored fountain:

Foto Friday

“Windy Days” at Balis Park

The bronze statue, “Windy Days”  is located in the middle of San Marco Square.  Abla Balis funded the development of Balis Park in memory of her husband, Sheffield, who passed away in 1976.

As many times as I’ve driven through San Marco Square and glanced at the iconic lions, I had never noticed this charming, lifesize statue.

Visit the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

An arboretum is a place where trees and other plants are grown and studied.  The Jacksonville Arboretum, a 120 acre urban woodland located just off Monument Road,  is a must-see.

Nearly 3 miles of trails wind through distinct ecological habitats.  You will see Lake Ray, a high bluff, a deep ravine, tall pines, Jones Creek, wetlands, a tidal marsh, upland forests, and more on the 6 trails.  Inviting benches and informational sign posts with QR codes add to the experience.  Many of the native trees and plants throughout the park are labelled, even the poison ivy!

The Arboretum is open from 8:00 to 5:00 daily (7:00 during Daylight Savings).  Admission is free.  Here is a brief tour:

Play VisualTour

Bike the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, extending 14.5 miles from Imeson Road in Jacksonville to the town of Baldwin,  was  created on an old CSX railroad bed.   There is a 12 ft wide multi-use asphalt trail for biking, hiking, and skating; and adjacent trails for off road bikes and horses.

Much of the trail is tree-shaded, and it is amazingly serene for being located so close to major highways.  You’ll see abundant wildlife as you pass through pine flatwoods and uplands, swamps and wetlands, farms and cornfields.  Several rest areas with benches are provided along the way.

The 29 mile round trip makes a great workout.  Afterwards, stop by Everybody’s Restaurant in Baldwin for some down home country cooking!

Here is a link to a map and more information about the rail trail.

Climb the Lighthouse Stairs in St. Augustine

The St. Augustine Lighthouse, located off A1A across the Bridge of Lions, is not only a lighthouse and museum, but a working archaeological site, full of history. 219 steps lead to the top of the lighthouse, where you are rewarded with a refreshing breeze and panoramic views of St. Augustine and the intercoastal waterway.

If you are training for an adventure involving hills or steps, this is your place to get into shape!  I brought my backpack and made multiple trips up and down while getting ready for a trek across the Grand Canyon.

If you go: Admission fee at this writing is $9.50 for adults and $7.5o for children and seniors, and includes a self-guided audio tour.  Allow at least an hour to climb the stairs and tour the museum.  Children must be at least 44 inches tall in order to climb.  More information is available at www.StAugustineLighthouse.com.


Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island is one of Northeast Florida’s few remaining barrier islands free of commercial development; the entire island is a state park.  It is located North of where the St. Johns River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and is connected to the mainland by Route A1A.  A great way to get there is by taking the St. Johns River Ferry.

Little Talbot Island offers 1872 acres, 5 miles of beach, and 2 trails totaling 4.2 miles.  Facilities include 3 bathhouses, boardwalks, boat ramp, a campground (40 sites, all with electricity),  picnic tables and pavilions, a playground and ranger station.  There’s lots to see and do!

A 3.2 mile hiking trail that loops around the northern end leads through a coastal hammock, rambles over dunes, and finally reaches the beach where crowds of gulls and terns provide most of the shoreline activity.

Little Talbot Island is a great place to enjoy our beach without most of the crowds.  If you stay late in the day, be sure to pull West off A1A for beautiful sunset views overlooking Fort George Sound.

If you go:  Pets are not allowed on the beach in any Florida State Park, but leashed dogs are allowed elsewhere in the park.   Nesting sea turtles come up from the beach to lay their eggs; please respect these endangered creatures and avoid disturbing their nests.

Visit the State Park Website for fee schedule.


Float Down the Ichetucknee River

Tubing is the premier activity in Ichetucknee Springs State Park, where the crystalline Ichetucknee River flows 6 miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands.  On a hot summer day, there’s no better way to relax and cool off!

In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, canoeing, swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing.  Several vendors outside the park rent tubes and canoes.  There is an in-park shuttle service during the summer season.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located in Fort White, Florida, about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Jacksonville.  The South Entrance, where most visitors come for tubing, is on US 27.  The North Entrance, which offers hiking trails and a trail leading to Blue Hole Spring, is on SR 238.

For more information, park hours and fee schedule, visit the state park website .
Helpful hint:  This park is very popular on summer weekends!  Arrive early to ensure entry.