There is so much to do during the winter on the water in Jacksonville. Book a trip to Jacksonville during the holidays with these family-friendly, fun events. Our favorites included Deck the Chairs, Zoo Lights at Jacksonville Zoo, Riding bikes on JAX beach, and spending time on the St Johns River Taxi.
Thank you to Visit Jacksonville for hosting us.
Why you will love Christmas in Jacksonville FL
Jacksonville has so much to do for Christmas. Check out our IG story highlights for our trip to Jacksonville. They have over 20 different activities to celebrate the holiday. You can see them all here on Visit Jacksonville's website.
We spent a long weekend, and here are some of the highlights from our trip. There was so much to do we would love to go back again.
Things to do in Jacksonville FL for Christmas
- Deck the Chairs
- Zoo Lights at Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
- Rent Bikes from Beach Life Rentals
- St. Johns River Taxi
Deck the Chairs
What is it: More than forty American Red Cross lifeguard chairs will be decorated in coastal-themed designs and lights for Deck the Chairs in Jacksonville Beach.
Where: Seawalk Pavilion 75 1st St N, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
When: November 24th - January 1st. Kickoff is Wednesday, November 24, with chair decorating, music, hot cocoa, judging, and lighting ceremonies.
Admission Cost: The Event is free and open to the public.
Why We Love It: It brings the community together. Each of the chairs is sponsored by a community partner or business. The location is amazing, just steps from the beach and walking distance to lots of bars and restaurants. The kids loved how many of the chairs were interactive with things like a runway, trains, a basketball hoop, tunnels lit up to run through, and a dancing tree. For more information, check out the Deck the Chairs website. And check out the highlights here.
Zoo Lights Jacksonville FL Tickets
What is it: ZooLights uses a million LED lights to transform a zoo into a dazzling winter wonderland. Some of our favorites included the tunnel of lights, moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees, and animal silhouettes throughout the zoo. They also had Christmas music piping in through the entire zoo with strolling performers and carolers. Don't miss your chance for your kids to get to meet Santa.
Where: Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens 370 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32218
When: Select dates in December from 6:00-9:00 pm
- Zoo Members: $15.00
- Non-Members: $25.00
- Children under 2 are free
Why We Love It: The Jacksonville Zoo is one of the most amazing zoos. We loved it so much we went back the next day so we could see the animals. Wildlife Carousel rides are included in your admission. Our kids loved it and would have ridden it over and over again. Be sure to check the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens website for weather updates, additional experience pricing, and ticket information!
Rent Bikes from Beach Life Rentals
What is it: Did you know that you can ride your bike on the beach in Jacksonville? It is one of my favorite experiences ever. I highlight recommend renting bikes from Beach Life Rentals They are your one-stop shop for all of your beach rental and bike needs. They offer beach cruisers, children's bikes & accessories, stand-up paddle boards, surfboards, kayaks, and boogie boards.
Where: There are 22 miles of beaches in Jacksonville. You can visit them at 102 6th Ave N, Unit 13, in Jacksonville Beach, FL. They also offer free delivery and pickup on Beach and Bicycle Rentals. Call anytime for reservations or come see them on the beach in front of the Casa Marina Hotel, Margaritaville Beach Hotel, Seahorse Oceanfront Inn, and Best Western Oceanfront Hotel
When: This is a great year-round activity.
Why We Love it: Riding bikes on the beach is such a fun family activity. I love riding bikes and spending time on the beach. I never thought about joining the two of them together. It was so much fun. It was Slade's first bike ride and the most memorable.
Tips: Check the tides you want to ride on the beach at low tide so the sand is compact, making it easier to ride. In addition to renting bikes, I recommend getting a basket, so you want to bring a bag with you. Make sure you take some time to get ice cream or lunch in Neptune or Atlantic Beach. If you want to go out at high tide, it is fun to ride through the city as well. Also, rent an umbrella and chairs so you can relax and enjoy the beach.
St. John's River Taxi
What is it: Take a journey down the St. John's River along the banks of downtown Jacksonville. You will explore the past, the present, and the future of Florida's original port city. Discover what makes Jacksonville an important part of Florida's history. See how the brackish waters of St. Johns provide a home for dolphins, manatees, alligators, and more. Boarding at Friendship Fountain. Refreshments are not available for sale on board. You are welcome to bring snacks or drinks.
Where: The taxi leaves from Friendship Fountain
1015 Museum Cir, Jacksonville, FL 32207
When: Check their website for dates and times. Boarding is 15 minutes prior to published departures.
- Adults $18
- Kids $15
What to Bring:
- Jacket for cooler, inclement weather
- Drink and Snacks - you are welcome to bring your own; they do not have any available to purchase.
Why We Love It: It was so much fun to be on the water. We learned so much about Jacksonville and the city's history. I love how much there is to see on the St. John's river, from industry to convert venues to the football stadium.
WINTER DISCLAIMER: While you might get lucky, a dolphin sighting when the temperature is cold is rare!
Sweet Pete’s Candy
What is it: This is the largest candy store in the southeast and is a historic 22,000-square-foot mansion in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. They transform it into a winter wonderland for Christmas with over-the-top trees, decorations, and Santa. Next trip, we will book a candy-making class.
Where: 400 N Hogan St, Jacksonville, FL 32202400 N Hogan St, Jacksonville, FL 32202
When: Check their website for dates and times that they are open.
Admission Cost: It is free to go. Bring your appetite and sweet tooth. They have two floors of candy and a restaurant.
Why We Love it: Who does not love candy. The location is perfect downtown, and the old mansion is especially special at Christmastime.
Blackhawk Bluff Drive Thru Christmas Light Display
What is it: Drive through this incredible neighborhood light display. Even Santa joined in on the fun. Everyone had their windows down, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. It is free, and the lights are up from Thanksgiving to New Year.
Where: Blackhawk Bluff neighborhood
When: Thanksgiving to New Year
Why We Love it: It is so festive and a great way to get into the spirit.
Where to Stay for Christmas Events in Jacksonville FL
The Element by Westin in Jacksonville Beach hosted us. They are an extended-stay pet-friendly hotel with one of the best locations. They are just a 2-minute walk to the beach. We rode our bikes up to the beach every morning for sunrise We loved that our room included a full kitchen and breakfast. The breakfast was so incredible. They have a special hot breakfast every day, like French toast, egg whites, and crepes. Free parking and WiFi was a perk we are not used at so many hotels these days.
We stayed in a beautiful suite with a full kitchen and a bedroom overlooking the ocean.
Weather in Jacksonville in December
According to Weather Spark the average temperatures for Jacksonville in December are Daily high temperatures range from 70°F to 65°F. They rarely fall below 53°F or higher than 79°F. Making it the perfect temperature for this Florida girl.
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