July is National Outdoors Month! To the surprise of many, the Jacksonville’s Urban Core is no stranger to outdoor activities. In fact, looking pass the high-rise buildings and architectural gems, downtown Jacksonville is home to not only businessmen, businesswomen, hipsters and musicians; but also outdoor enthusiasts. Though Jacksonville is known for its vast landmass that accounts for the city’s hiking and bike trails, endless beaches and internal waterways perfect for water sports fanatics; little know about the outdoor activities that downtown has to offer. In appreciation of the city’s limitless possibilities, here’s a short list of year-long outdoor activities you’ll find in #DTJax.
Be a TreeHugger
If you’re looking for something unique and low-cost to do with friends and family, look no further than the Treaty Oak Park. Located on the Southbank of the St. Johns River, the 250 year-old tree is a popular spot for family gatherings, outdoor picnics and relaxation in general. In fact, growing up in Jacksonville, some of our locals no doubt have climbed up the branches at one point in their lives.
For the bravehearts, the “octopus-like” tree provides 145 feet of branches for climbing. And if you climb all the way to the tree’s crown, you’ll find a 25 foot nook – perfect for naps and summer reading. If you’re not up for the climb, no worries. Because of the massive size of the tree, it gives visitors roughly 190 feet of shade – a good spot to get out of the Florida heat!
Biking 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 Riverwalk is the perfect cycling route to enjoy both an urban scenery and the cool breeze from the river.
The Northbank is a wonderful 2 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 downtown district with Riverside, but 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!
Paddling Through #DTJax
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 13+ 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.
“Run, Forest, Run!”
Aside from cycling, the most common outdoor workout in the downtown district is running. Covering roughly four square-miles, the urban core is a runner’s world. From the riverwalk to the bridges to the hills, a workout junkie can get their full load of cardio while taking in the urban scenery.
The USA Track & Field website offers an extensive list of running routes within the #DTJax boundary – including the Northbank River 5K. If you’re feeling adventurous and up for a challenge, try the Hart Bridge Loop 12K.
Looking to de-stress? In the past couple of years, yoga has played a major role in stress management. Stress and anxiety is alive even in Jacksonville where “It’s Easier Here”; which is why free yoga sessions are offered throughout the week.
Unity Plaza in Brooklyn, dubbed as Jacksonville’s “central park”, along with the Winston Family YMCA offers Tuesday and Thursday yoga sessions year-long. With the built-in waterfront and tiered seating, the Unity Plaza is the ideal central spot for sunset yoga.
Now for the early birds looking for a healthy morning start, go further into Riverside and you’ll find yourself in Corkscrew Park commonly known for the weekly Riverside Arts Market. However, little known fact, before the hustle and bustle of the market traffic hits; Hot Spot Yoga’s Namie Rohack leads morning yoga from 9 – 10 a.m. every Saturday.
These are just some of the outdoor activities in Downtown Jacksonville. Explore the city and discover more possibilities – they are endless! For more activities, visit our directory here.