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Note: Visit Jacksonville & The Beaches kindly hosted me for a long weekend in exchange for coverage. As always, all opinions are my own and it’s my main priority to write honestly about my experiences.
Florida is a place that means a great deal to me. As a child, I spent many, many family vacations relaxing in the sunshine of southwest Florida in Marco Island, as well as making my dreams come true in Disney World (of course).
Now that I’m an adult, I want to explore other areas of this large and gorgeous state that I fell in love with in my youth. Solo travel in Florida is always a good idea.
I mean, I’m a huge fan of warm weather and beaches and palm trees (who isn’t?), so Florida is a great destination for me to feel destressed and centered, especially in the winter months when freezing weather patterns sweep through much of the United States.
So, of course, when an opportunity to visit Jacksonville presented itself, I took it, and I am so happy that I decided to make the trip. I actually heard a lot about Jacksonville from my father, who is a huge football fan, and I was already intrigued by the city.
Not to mention, I appreciated the chance to explore Jacksonville alone. Over all, I feel like Florida is super popular for friends and couples, but I rarely hear about solo travel to the state, with perhaps the exception of Miami.
As a reader, you’ve certainly come to the right place if you’re a solo traveler who wants to learn about all the wonderful things to do in Jacksonville alone.
Solo Travel Jacksonville: My Experience
In total, I spent four glorious days exploring Jacksonville and the beaches alone. If only I could stay for a lifetime, haha.
Not even kidding, I seriously want to come back soon to spend more time relaxing on the beach, eating fresh shrimp, talking to local business owners, and practicing my photography skills on murals and other local public art.
I learned on my travels that Jacksonville seriously has something for everyone.
My own Jacksonville trip revolved around the Super Girl Surf Pro event, which was incredibly inspiring as a solo female traveler.
Even though I’m not a huge morning person, I had the best time cheering for the surfers on the beach, because their skills were top-notch. Just … I can’t imagine the amount of training and hard work that comes with professional surfing.
Ultimately, I love supporting women who passionately follow their dreams, even when they are unconventional, and becoming a professional surfer is absolutely a unique career path to take. I try to preach the same bravery to my students.
When I wasn’t cheering for surfers on Jacksonville Beach, I was exploring neighborhoods and eating delicious seafood and admiring all the Spanish Moss in every single park. I felt relaxed and safe in Jacksonville, and even though I was driving myself, I felt like all the roads were clearly marked and never had issues with directions or parking.
At the end of my four days, I knew that I wanted to encourage everyone in my social circle to come to Jacksonville, even if they had to go alone.
15 Things to Do Alone in Jacksonville FL
In this guide, I’ve written about 15 things to do alone in Jacksonville, although you could easily find enough activities to fill up an entire week or more.
Of course, what you decide to see and do on your solo trip entirely depends on your personal interests. I’ve tried to include a mixture of everything, including food experiences, outdoor activities, culture and arts, and more.
Chill Out at Blue Jay Listening Room
If you love music, then you need to visit Blue Jay Listening Room on your solo trip to Jacksonville. The staff is incredibly warm and kind, and I promise that you won’t stand out as a solo traveler at all.
Blue Jay Listening Room is a small, cozy, and spiritual music venue where you can unwind with a drink and listen to local talent perform on stage. As a listening room, no side conversations are permitted, which is even better for a solo traveler who just wants to open their ears and appreciate music.
Blue Jay Listening Room doesn’t have a food menu, but plenty of drink options, which includes an impressive non-alcoholic menu.
You will find Blue Jay Listening Room at 2457 South 3rd Street in Jacksonville Beach.
Discover Amazing Murals
Jacksonville and the Beaches have a lot of incredible murals to see. You will definitely want to take a self-guided mural tour of the different neighborhoods, especially if you’re a photographer who loves street art. For example, I saw plenty of lovely murals in both Jacksonville Beach and Murray Hill. Well worth the time and energy.
If you’re alone, use the guide that I linked to plan your mural tour. A lot of the murals are within walking distance of one another, and you don’t want to have to backtrack.
Eat Lots of Mayport Shrimp
Mayport Shrimp is a Jacksonville classic. If you like seafood, then don’t skip on a delicious platter of these delicious shrimps. Most restaurants in Jacksonville and surrounding beaches are “solo traveler” friendly with casual picnic tables or expansive bar seating.
Mayport Shrimp Recommendations
- Dockside Seafood Restaurant: Without a doubt, Dockside is one of my favorite places to eat as a solo traveler in Jacksonville. I loved the relaxed vibe outside, and the shrimp here are to die for. I seriously could live off a diet of Mayport Shrimp platters at Dockside.
- Palms Fish Camp: Palms Fish Camp is a little “off the beaten track,” but it’s the perfect lunch spot if you’re headed to Boneyard Beach. The fried shrimp were absolutely delicious!
Enjoy Fresh Air on Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier
The Atlantic Ocean is (obviously) one of the biggest attractions in Jacksonville Beach. For those of you who want to go deep into the waves, without any safety risks or soaking your clothes, I personally suggest a leisurely walk on Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier.
Even if you’re not fishing, this pier is perfect for a morning stroll and for snapping scenic photographs. Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier is almost a quarter of a mile long (impressive, huh?), which allows you to see close-up views of the rolling waves.
I loved walking the length of this pier in the early morning.
Explore Boneyard Beach to Escape the World
As a destination, gorgeous and spell-binding Boneyard Beach is a bit of a drive (approximately 50 minutes) from Jacksonville Beach, but totally worth the effort, especially if you having your own rental car.
Boneyard Beach is located at Big Talbot Island State Park, which offers an amazing escape for solo travelers who want to connect with nature in a quiet and other worldly environment.
Massive driftwood trees cover the sands of Boneyard Beach. These trees create amazing photographs, as well as inspire a sense of appreciation for nature’s power.
Boneyard Beach has nearby parking and a small fee box (cash only), and make sure to use the bathroom before heading to the beach. It’s a bit of a hike, albeit a non-challenging one.
Jacksonville Beach is perfect for travelers who want to get outside and partake in some physical fitness. Whether its hiking the park trails or taking surfing lessons, Jacksonville has activities available for every type of fitness level.
You’ll also want to see if any festivals (more on that below) are taking place on your visit, too.
At the Super Girl Surf Pro event, for example, visitors could take free classes on Zumba, self-defense, and so much more! These classes are not only wonderful for your health, but provide a way to connect with locals and other visitors alike.
Go to a Festival
Once you pick travel dates, make sure to double-check and see if any events or festivals are happening. I love festivals as a solo traveler.
My own trip to Jacksonville is proof that traveling for a festival is well worth the time and effort. I was in town for Super Girl Surf Pro when the world’s best female surfers flock to Jacksonville Beach for some epic competitions and concerts and more.
Oh my gosh, seeing Smash Mouth in concert was so much fun, and as I danced around to old classics, I felt as if I had been teleported back to my favorite decade of all time, aka the 1990s.
Now I know some of you might feel weird going to a festival alone. Please don’t be!
At the Super Girl Surf Pro Festival, no one judged me to dancing like a crazy person at the concerts, or eating tons of ice cream for dinner. I also felt super safe with all the security presence. Seriously, I didn’t feel uncomfortable once at the festival.
So do your research for any special events on your solo trip. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Hike Through Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Hikers (as well as fishers and campers) will find a green escape in Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. This 450 acre park has an abundance of trails, and a very scenic 60 acre freshwater lake.
I saw a lot of families on my visit to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, so I felt super comfortable walking around alone. The dripping Spanish Moss was enticing, and I also saw many unique birds walking around the lake with me.
On sunnier days, solo travelers can even take advantage of some kayaking and canoeing, and see Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park’s beautiful nature even closer.
Hit Up Lots of Great Breweries
Jacksonville is home to several independently owned breweries. And boy, are they awesome.
As the craft beer scene continues to flourish, solo travelers will definitely want to explore the Jax Ale Trail to discover new favorite brews.
On my trip, I had a chance to go to Green Room Brewing, and it was a great place to unwind. I always find that craft breweries are super welcoming places, which garner less unwanted attention than traditional bars, and I had a great time at Green Room. I even met a few dogs!
See the Sunrise on Jacksonville Beach
Okay, Jacksonville Beach had one of the most gorgeous sunrises that I have ever seen in my entire life. I actually woke up early two mornings in a row just so I could catch the sunrise.
The best part? Solo travelers don’t have to worry about safety by visiting the beach at sunrise. So many other photographers, joggers, and beach-lovers are out early in the morning to enjoy the stunning oranges, pinks, blues, illuminating the sky over the ocean.
Jacksonville Beach is a true treasure. Go admire the waves and sand. Feel the fresh air on your face. And ogle at the sunrise. It’s a beautiful experience that you’ll cherish forever.
Shop and Eat at Beaches Town Center
Beaches Town Center is located in nearby Neptune Beach. This open air shopping center has fantastic boutiques and restaurants that a solo traveler would feel very comfortable exploring, especially since the area is well-lit and well-populated. I went alone to dinner here and felt super safe and welcome.
At Beaches Town Center, I personally recommend shopping for yourself or for friends and family. For example, I thought The BookMark was an absolute gem packed with cool books and literature-based merchandise. As an English teacher, I’m always partial to independent bookstores, and this one has been open for since 1990.
In addition, I loved visiting Peterbrooke Chocolatier, which was splendidly decorated for Christmas and made my inner child very happy. The chocolate covered mint Oeros were such a treat.
Like I said, Beaches Town Center is wonderful place to grab a delicious meal. I personally loved Southern Grounds & Co. for breakfast. They had such a spectacular pumpkin spice latte that kept me energized throughout the day. Solo travelers will feel comfortable sitting at the tables outside.
Lastly, if you want to come to Beaches Town Center for dinner, I suggest checking out The Flying Iguana, because not only is the food great, but the large and well-decorated bar is the perfect place for a single diner to grab some tacos and a drink.
Without a doubt, Beaches Town Center is one of the best things to do in Jacksonville alone.
Support Local Artists at Riverside Arts Market
If you’re a reader of this blog, then you already know that I’m all about supporting artists and entrepreneurs whenever I possibly can. In Jacksonville, you don’t want to miss Riverside Arts Market which takes place on Saturdays.
Solo travelers will love sampling treats at the food trucks, as well as allllll the shopping opportunities. I found a super cool print from my favorite movie (Pulp Fiction, haha) that I cannot wait to hang in my apartment.
By traveling alone, you can take your time shopping and eating without another person bothering you. Without a doubt, Riverside Arts Market is another one of the cool things to do alone in Jacksonville.
Wander Trendy Murray Hill
Murray Hill is a cool neighborhood in Jacksonville that offers more of an urban experience (rather than sun and sand). As a solo traveler, it’s fun to immerse yourself in neighborhoods, because it gives you a chance to enjoy a local coffee shop or buy from an independent shop.
In Murray Hill, you’ll definitely want to see even more murals in addition to checking out the food scene. For example, Community Loaves is an exquisite local bakery with lots of cozy picnic tables, making it the perfect place for a solo traveler to grab breakfast.
Solo travelers would also feel welcome at the flamingo (lack of capitals intentional). The interior is sooooo cool, and the staff is awesome. I wish I didn’t have a flight to catch because I had so much fun talking to them!
Murray Hill has a lot of free street parking, so you’ll have no problems exploring with your own rental car.
Walk Through Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens
Want even more nature? Never fear! Our last stop on our solo trip is Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens where you will discover a variety of scenic trails in a safe and contained area.
This hidden gem is home to seven natural trails that weave through a sweeping 120 acres. No matter what time of year you visit, you will appreciate the diverse botany that surrounds you.
As a solo traveler, I especially loved Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, because this green space gave me a quiet chance to unwind and reflect without the hustle and bustle of a big city crowding my thoughts.
Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a short drive from both the downtown neighborhoods and Jacksonville Beach. Never fear, though, you’ll find plenty of parking.
Solo Travel Jacksonville Tips
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to write a couple of tips to make your solo trip in Jacksonville (and the surrounding beaches) a success. These tips cover necessities, such as where to stay and how to get around, but as always, it’s important to supplement with your own research.
Getting Around Jacksonville & The Beaches
Honestly, Jacksonville is one of the most spread out cities that I have ever visited in the United States. Some attractions are thirty minutes (or more) apart from one another.
So, while I generally advocate for rideshare apps in most cities, I honestly don’t know if using Uber or Lyft makes much sense in Jacksonville, especially if you’re staying here for several days and want to see everything. To be honest, I don’t even know if you could get an Uber near Boneyard Beach, for example, given how rural the area is.
Personally, I suggest renting a car as a solo traveler in Jacksonville. You’ll have so, so, so much more freedom, and will be able to see all the gorgeous nature in the northeast Florida area. Not to mention, Jacksonville has plenty of parking, so you honestly shouldn’t have many issues with that.
Of course, if you’re only staying in Jacksonville Beach, then ride sharing is fine. You can even take advantage of free rides using the Beachside Buggies app.
Solo Travel Safety in Jacksonville
Truthfully, I felt very safe in Jacksonville and the nearby beaches, including Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach. I chatted with people at the concerts and breweries, and everyone was super welcoming and kind.
As always, you will want to be aware of your surroundings as a solo traveler (just like you would at home), and take extra care if you’re staying out late.
Your biggest safety concerns have to do with Florida’s beautiful nature rather than opportunistic crime. For example, respect the flags on the beaches. If the lifeguards don’t want you swimming in the Atlantic, then respect the ocean and don’t dive into the waves, especially if the beach is deserted.
Additionally, always wear sunscreen on hot days, and for the love of god, don’t try and feed random alligators. Florida’s wildlife is gorgeous, but at the same time, these animals are not pets. Keep your distance.
Common sense goes a long way, and over all, solo travelers will be just fine in Jacksonville.
Where to Stay
Personally, I loved staying in Jacksonville Beach for my solo long weekend in northeast Florida. Walking to the beach to see the sunrise was a dream come true.
On my visit, I stayed at the Element Jacksonville Beach and loved it! This hotel is located within walking distance to the beach, but I thought the prices were very reasonable compared to other hotels in the area. The free coffee and breakfast was an awesome perk, too.
And the best part? Element Jacksonville Beach has so much parking available. Seriously, I get massive parking anxiety when driving alone, and I never worried about finding a space in the Element’s parking lot, even during the festival.
The hotel staff is super sweet too!
I hope you enjoyed reading about all the wonderful things to do in Jacksonville alone. Is Jacksonville and the beaches on your travel radar? As always, feel free to reach out with any questions about your upcoming trip! Jacksonville is a lovely place, and I know you will have an amazing adventure.