June is National Rivers Month. Take the time to appreciate and celebrate one of Jacksonville’s natural treasures: the St. Johns River – the longest river in the state of Florida at 314 miles! Since the 1860s, the St. Johns River has contributed to Jacksonville’s tourist industry with the establishment of hotels and countless recreational activities. To celebrate this old “San Juan River” (it’s old Spanish name before British acquisition), check out this list of year-long activities that you can enjoy along the St. Johns in #DTJax.
Bike the Riverwalk
Experience the city on a bike. One of the most popular activities in Downtown Jacksonville is biking along the St. Johns River. The Northbank and Southbank Riverwalks are the perfect cycling routes to enjoy both an urban scenery and the cool breeze from the river.
The Northbank is a wonderful two-mile ride between the Jacksonville Landing and the Riverside Arts Market. You will even ride through the Love Locks Bridge – which not only connects the Urban Core with Riverside, but is also a known spot for couples to symbolize their ‘unbreakable’ love.
For those looking for a longer ride, plan your route with the DTJax Map. You can’t go wrong with the three-bridge loop over the Main Street, Acosta and Fuller Warren Bridges!
Opened in 1987, the Landing continues to be a local favorite as it goes into its 31st year on June 25. Located right on the river, this shopping complex is known for the various live entertainment and events that it hosts throughout the year. Some crowd favorites include the Florida/Georgia celebrations, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade, the Summer Fireworks Series, riverfront concerts and cultural pride days like the annual Asian American Heritage Celebration.
The Jacksonville Landing has one of the best views of the St. Johns River and is the perfect backdrop to 600+ events every year.
Riverside Arts Market
Support local small businesses in your city! Small Business Saturday is a U.S. holiday that celebrates local businesses once a year. But with the Riverside Arts Market, you can celebrate every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The market is located in the Riverside-Avondale district under the Fuller Warren Bridge – one of the best spots to experience the beauty of the St. Johns River.
Regardless of whether you are a Jacksonville native or just visiting, Jacksonville’s “Best Farmer’s Market” is a must. Each Saturday is a different experience with rotating food trucks, vendor booths, live entertainment and morning yoga. Visit the Riverside Arts Market website to plan a true Jacksonville Saturday!
St. Johns River Taxi
Even some of the locals do not know about this popular downtown transportation! Park your car and cruise along the river. The St. Johns River Taxi has six pick up-drop off docks in downtown Jacksonville – including the Jacksonville Landing, Friendship Fountain, Riverside Arts Market and the Metropolitan Marina. So whether you are staying at the Doubletree on the Southbank or heading to a Jaguars game at the TIAA Bank Field, it is the ideal transportation to get around the urban core.
Aside from providing a transit alternative, the St. Johns River Taxi also offers River Jam Sunset Cruises and partners with the Museum of Science and History for River Quest Boat Tours every Saturday. Check out their website for more information!
Urban Kayaking Adventure
For the water sports enthusiasts, urban kayaking is a great alternative to exploring the city. It is a unique way to experience both the urban scenery and one of Jacksonville’s natural beauties. The Jacksonville Kayak Company offers guided tours in Downtown Jacksonville, taking off from the River City Brewing Company Marina.
Imagine this: seeing new angles of the city as you paddle under three of Jacksonville’s eight bridges, being swept away by the natural pulse of the River City. Though this recreational activity is not for beginners, if you are up for an adventure do not hesitate to book a tour with Jacksonville Kayak Company.
These are just some of the activities to enjoy in the River City – not only for National Rivers Month but every single day. It is easier to appreciate your city when you know your city. So get exploring!
For a detailed list of restaurants, shops and museums to enjoy in #DTJax, visit our directory here.