Jacksonville is a pretty popular vacation destination during the summer months. In fact, I used to vacation here every summer before moving to Florida. The bright, sunny beaches tend to attract plenty of vacationers; so although this is a cheap option for summer fun, the overcrowding can sometimes be a turn-off for locals.
Check out our list for FREE and cheap summer activities geared toward the kiddos. It is guaranteed to keep all of you busy and exploring Jacksonville all summer long.
- Camp Creativity involves children’s art classes held at Michael’s Craft Stores. Locate your nearest store here to find which classes your children might want to attend. Each class runs two hours long and costs only $5 (or $12 for 3 classes).
- Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse provides $1 children’s movies at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Pay $1 per movie, or get a punch card to watch all 10 for only $5.
- The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens provides Free admission the first Saturday of each month, as well as every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy pieces of art from 2100 BC through to the present. Let your children run through the gardens as you enjoy the reflecting pools and sculptures. The Cummer Museum is located at 829 Riverside Ave.
- FREE Summer Movies in St. Augustine will be found at a new location this year. The Colonial Oak Music Park, located at 27 St. George Street in St. Augustine will host a FREE movie series throughout the summer. Movies will be shown at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings during June and July. FREE shuttle service is available to the parking garage and Ripley’s. The movie lineup is listed here.
- The Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail is located all throughout Florida, including several sections here in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. These locations offer FREE outdoor entertainment for the whole family. There’s even an interactive app which can be downloaded for easy bird identification.
- The Home Depot offers DIY Kids’ workshops for FREE on the first Saturday of every month. By registering online, you and your child actually build a project and get to take it home. All supplies and an apron are included. Check here for your local store.
- Jacksonville Rocks is a unique group of locals who paint rocks with interesting designs and images–then hide them around town for others to find and enjoy. The cost is FREE to hunt for rocks, and you get to keep what you find. Anyone can participate by searching or creating your own to hide for others. Find some spare paint around the house and pick a day to paint rocks with your kids. Have fun leaving them around town to brighten someone else’s day.
- The Junior Ranger Program offered by most Florida state parks is FREE. Numerous activities are available for kids to participate in, earning rewards like pins, patches and badges. The following local state parks participate in the Junior Ranger Program: Fort Clinch State Park, Big Talbot Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, Anastasia State Park, Ichetucknee State Park, O’Leno State Park, Blue Springs State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park. Entrance to the state parks is less than $10, and there is no cost for the ranger program.
- Kids Bowl FREE is a summer program offered to anyone who signs their child up online. Children get two FREE games of bowling per day, all summer long. The only cost is shoe rental. Register your child here.
- Kingsley Plantation is an adventure for any age. Take a tour of the grounds, slave quarters and big house any day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for FREE. Kingsley Plantation is located at 11676 Palmetto Ave.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville offers FREE admission the first Wednesday of each month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bank of America cardholders earn FREE admission the first Saturday and Sunday of the month as well. MOCA Jacksonville is located at 333 North Laura Street.
- The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) provides $5 admission on Fridays, while children under three are FREE. This summer, explore Dinosaurs in Motion: Where Art & Science Meet. The MOSH is located at 1025 Museum Circle.
- Regal Summer Movie Express provides children’s movies for only $1 during the summer. Shows are at 10am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check out the schedule here.
- Theatreworks offers four FREE shows this summer. An online reservation is required and can be completed here. Shows include Casey at the Bat, Rockin’ Red Riding Hood and the Tortoise and the Hare. Theatreworks is located at 630 May Street.
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