Jacksonville, FL

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Explore Jacksonville, FL

Get the best of a laid-back beach town and a buzzing city when you book a Carnival cruise from Jacksonville. Florida’s largest city has a newly redeveloped and revitalized downtown, full of upbeat shopping and lively restaurants, and bisected by the scenic St. Johns River. You’ll have 20 miles of sandy beach life and endless acres of wildlife parks to enjoy before you board your Carnival cruise from Jacksonville, Florida.

  • Stroll the Jacksonville Riverwalk for views of the St. Johns.
  • See 100-year-old gardens at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
  • Peek into slave cabins on a former cotton plantation.
  • Watch for whales from Jacksonville Beach before your Carnival cruise from Jacksonville departs.
  • Visit St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the U.S.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

Before your Carnival cruise from Jacksonville sets sail, take in the city skyline and riverboats plying the St. Johns from the Southbank Riverwalk. Spend an afternoon in the historic gardens of the Cummer Museum. Out of town, you can practice your golf swing like a pro at Ponte Vedra or soak up the sun near the Jacksonville Beach pier.

  • Smell the sweet fragrance of blossoming flowers in the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of shopping and strolling in the San Marco neighborhood.
  • Plan a day on the beaches of Amelia Island and the Cumberland Island National Seashore.
  • Stroll around the bird-filled wetlands of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
  • Walk the historic streets of St. Augustine, America’s oldest continuously-occupied city and port.

Fun Facts

  • Jacksonville is not only the largest city in Florida, it is also the biggest by area in the U.S., and has the country’s largest urban park system, weighing in at nearly 112,000 acres.
  • Fort Caroline, in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, was the first French settlement in what is now the U.S.
  • Elvis Presley performed his first indoor concert at the historic Florida Theatre, in downtown Jacksonville, in 1956.

Within Walking Distance

Around the Port Area

Most of the city’s best attractions are beyond the port area of cruises from Jacksonville. Close to port is the Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, a soldiers’ encampment from 1862 and now a quiet wooded area with walking trails.

Beyond the Port Area

Watch the world go by at the Southbank Riverwalk, which runs along the St. Johns River as it threads through Jacksonville. The highlight along the wooden boardwalk is undoubtedly the dancing jet streams of the Friendship Fountain, lit up to spectacular effect at night. Across the river is the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, with its top-notch American landscape and portraiture paintings from the past 200 hundred years. Surrounding the museum are luscious formal gardens, including vine covered Italian arches and blooming azaleas. Jacksonville’s rich African-American heritage is on proud display at the LaVilla Museum in the lobby of the Ritz Theatre. In the 1920s, the theater here was the center of African-American culture and life in Jacksonville.

Delve into the wetlands at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, where rare birdlife flourishes in the untouched coastal forests. Within the preserve is the 19th-century Zephaniah Kingsley Plantation. Learn about the lives of slaves in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina on a visit the main house and the ruins of the slave quarters. North of the reserve is Amelia Island, with miles of resort-style and secluded sandy beaches. Amble down nature trails in Fort Clinch State Park and cruise to the Cumberland Island National Seashore to see manatees, birdlife, and sea otters.

The historic old town of St. Augustine is just over 35 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida. This town’s Spanish quarter marks the site of the earliest European permanent settlement in America. The graceful streets hold scores of “oldest” designations—like the Oldest House and the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse.

Beaches in Jacksonville

Caribbean Beaches

At Jacksonville Beach, laze on the soft sands while watching the surf roll in. The beach has a restaurant-lined boardwalk and long fishing pier. This is the best local beach for just about any water activity. From the pier’s end, you might spot migrating whales in the water during winter. Combine a golf morning with an afternoon at Ponte Vedra Beach, or visit the beach at this ritzy resort even if you’re not a golfer.

Shopping in Jacksonville


The Mediterranean Revival buildings, central fountain, and wide walkways make the charming San Marco neighborhood a lovely spot to stroll and shop, with boutiques and bookstores at San Marco Square. Jacksonville Landing, right on the riverfront, has live music on the weekends and water views to complement its array of shops and restaurants.

Golf in Jacksonville


Your Carnival cruise from Jacksonville is near one of Florida’s best golf courses. The TPC Sawgrass golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach is home to the Players Championship in March, and its 17th hole, where the green is perched on a small island, is legendary.

Travel Tips


  • Cruises from Jacksonville depart from JAXPORT Cruise Terminal, near Dames Point. The cruise port is about 20 miles from downtown and is near the Jacksonville airport.
  • Jacksonville is Florida’s biggest city, and its many attractions, such as beaches, museums, and shopping, are spread out. 
  • Carnival cruisers can expect a bit cooler weather in Jacksonville than other parts of Florida, though it’s still warm year-round, with wintertime highs averaging in the high 60s.