Jacksonville has a lot to offer! Here are several recommendations; some will offer a military discount, and some are free!
Alahambra Dinner Theater: great dinner theater off of Beach Blvd; small but wonderful performances and good food
Amelia Island: Amelia Island is an easy drive north of Jacksonville. Historic downtown, beach
Avondale/Riverside Christmas Luminaria: Every December, the Riverside Avondale Preservation holds the Luminaria. There is a parade, and residents have “porch parties” amongst the neighborhood Christmas lights.
Avonlea Antique Mall: I could spend all day in this place! A rainy day favorite, this antique mall is a maze of booths and a café.
Bay & Bee: I personally never got the chance to visit Bay & Bee, however several of my friends took their little ones and absolutely loved it! “Bay & Bee is founded on the Montessori and Waldorf educational principles of child-led play. Child-Led play refers to the type of play where the child is in control over which activities he or she would like to engage with.”
bb’s restaurant and bar: A Jacksonville favorite, bb’s serves “daily specials and a variety of dishes from sandwiches and salads, to fresh seafood and specialty meats.” Not to mention they serve brunch on Saturdays. Yum!
Biscotti’s: Good food, delicious desserts. Family friendly
Cap’s on the Water: located between Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine, Cap’s is accessible by boat or by car. Kids will love the old cedar tree on the beach, and everyone will love the waterfront dining on the deck.
Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship: The Carnival Fascination is the only cruise ship in Jacksonville. It is a great way to enjoy a quick getaway for all ages. You can get great last minute deals.
Casa Marina Sunday brunch is my favorite Sunday brunch place! Right on the water, the brunch buffet and mimosas don’t disappoint!
Dance Trance Fitness: Now a growing national franchise, Dance Trance began in Jacksonville and is a great workout! Fun, great music – you may feel challenged if you aren’t a dancer, however they offer breakdown classes that are just as fun!
Dillard’s Clearance Center at Regency Mall Regency mall is in the process of being redone, but the Dillard’s Clearance Center is worth visiting! Be prepared to spend a while sorting through their racks, but you can find some incredible deals! They even have sales on their clearance prices!
Dogwood Park This is probably the nicest dog park I have ever been to, but it is a paid membership. They do offer military discounts. There is a huge big dog area with a lake, and even the small dog area has a pond for them to play in! There is a wooded area with trails that is perfect for the summer to get out of the sun.
Encore Décor Great furniture consignment store in Mandarin
Finders Keepers Children’s Consignment Sale This sale is held twice a year and offers a special time for military families to shop early, but you must sign up early to get on the list! If you have children, you won’t want to miss this sale.
Freshfield Farms Good prices, fresh food – be careful going on a weekend, though. It gets packed, but is worth it.
Girvin Rd Christmas lights awesome Christmas lights show that the neighborhoods put on (and its Free!)
Hope’s Closet This is the nicest thrift store I have ever been to! Run by the Church of Eleven22, you can find something for everyone (and furniture!)
Indochine: Indochine has two locations: one in Downtown, and one in San Marco. I have only been to the one in downtown, but I have heard that the San Marco location doesn’t disappoint. Great thai food!
Jacksonville Light Parade: held in November, this boat light parade is held on the St. John’s River.
Jacksonville Mom’s blog: This is THE list of all things Jacksonville for kids and families.
Junior League of Jacksonville: An incredible organization that offers great volunteering and networking opportunities. You won’t want to miss their annual Whale of a Sale fundraiser!
Libraries around town: The Jacksonville libraries offer great free programs for children and teens. The downtown library is worth a visit!
Little Bits Children’s Resale: awesome consignment store
Mandarin Museum and Walter Jones Historical Park: Historical park on the St. John’s River
Military Day in St Augustine: Called “Pal Day” this annual event offers a free lunch and free admission to most St. Augustine attractions. Sponsored by the Jacksonville USO.
MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers. I don’t have personal experience with this group, however, I know several people who love Mops and the support they provide. They have locations nationwide.
Natural Life Music Festival FREE and Family Friendly, the Jacksonville based store Natural Life sponsors this annual music festival. Definitely a must!
Navy vs Notre Dame game will be played in Jacksonville on November 5th.
One Spark: This crowdfunding festival in downtown Jacksonville brings food, fun and adventure to Jax! This annual event offers volunteer opportunities as well as free family friendly fun!
Peterbrooke Chocolate Production Center: located in San Marco, the Peterbrooke production center is the original Peterbrooke location!
Riverside Arts Market: Every Saturday morning for most of the year, vendors, musicians, and entertainers meet “under the bridge” in Riverside for the Riverside Arts Market. In the shade of the bridge, it offers fun for all ages! (and it is free!)
Sally Corporation: Located in downtown Jacksonville, this company provides animatronic characters for theme parks and movies! You can take a Free tour!
Savannah, Georgia: Savannah, is a great “getaway trip!” Family friendly and historic it is fun for all ages. Or it is great for an adult getaway! (see if you can find Mata Hari’s speakeasy on River Stree!) The Hyatt on Bay Street offers military discounts.
Sweet Pete’s: Sweet Pete’s is a magical destination! Candy factory, restaurant (Candy Apple Café), event location, candy making classes, and birthday spot, Sweet Pete’s was featured on the tv show The Profit and is now a popular hot spot! Don’t miss it, and be sure to say hello to Pete!
Taverna in San Marco: “Handcrafted Italian”. Simply delicious!
Three Layers Café located in the Springfield neighborhood, Three Layers Café is a great cozy neighborhood spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, a sandwich or salad, some dessert and a glass of wine. Visit “Bugs” Bunny who is a live rabbit who lives in their courtyard. Careful! He is very friendly and likes to sneak treats from your plate!
Underbelly: Fun live music venue in downtown Jacksonville
World of Beer Southside: a chain, but a great place for beer lovers. Live music and bar food.
Yoga Mix: Hands down, my favorite yoga studio in all of Jacksonville. Located in Neptune Beach, it is worth the drive.
Zoo: the Jacksonville zoo offers many great events throughout the year: Spooktacular, Zoo Lights, and a military discount.
A Navy spouse since 2007, Britni runs MilSpouseResource.com, a blog that provides information, support, and inspiration for military spouses. The motto is “Let’s Support and Inspire Each Other.” Britni is a Scout with Millie, she is the Social Media Coordinator for Military Spouses of Strength and a volunteer Mentor for Military Spouse Advocacy Network’s New Military Spouse Support Program. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the MilSpo Project. Yoga is good for her mind, body and soul. She graduated from Auburn University in 2004 with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Family Business, and she bleeds orange and blue.