It seems like everyone dreams of taking a vacation to the Sunshine State, and the Jacksonville area in northeast Florida is popular with visitors from all over the world. However, it’s the suburbs outside of Jacksonville that provide visitors with a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, while still allowing them to be close to the services and world-class attractions located all over the area.
This is where the suburb of Orange Park is located. With a population of only 8400, the town offers visitors a relaxing atmosphere that is only a short drive away from the excitement of the city.
The small area of Orange Park packs in many things to see and do, including golf courses, beaches, shops, and restaurants.
The ethnic diversity of the town means that you can find restaurants serving just about every type of cuisine imaginable.
Orange Park is also home to a number of attractions and adventurous activities. Below are 14 things to do in and around Orange Park, Florida.
1. The Natural Healing Day Spa
After a long drive or flight to your final destination in Orange Park, a day at the spa might seem like the natural thing to do. Sink into a state of inner peace, relaxation, and clarity while you are pampered from top to bottom at The Natural Healing Day Spa.
Return to your previous state of good health with a rejuvenating massage and various bodywork techniques, so you can achieve a restful but energized state of mind to help you enjoy your action-packed vacation.
2. Eagle Landing Golf Club
Designed by Clyde Johnston, Eagle Landing Golf Club in Orange Park is one of the best golf courses in the Orange Park region. With unique challenges, such as the church pew bunker at the 17th hole, golfers can be assured of an exciting day on the greens with something different around every corner.
After a long day in the hot sun, visitors can enjoy snacks and cold beverages at The Landing Bar and Grill.
3. Black Creek Trail
Orange park may be located close to a sprawling urban center, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to slip into nature. If you are looking for an opportunity to immerse yourself in natural surroundings in Orange Park, Black Creek Trail is the perfect place to see a variety of tree and plant species.
Combine your hike with some exercise, as the trail is in perfect condition for walking, jogging, and cycling. There are various paths through the wooded areas, with one ending up in a shopping and restaurant district, and another that goes over the river to another section of the park.
There is a parking area, some washrooms, and several picnic tables on-site for visitors’ convenience.
4. The Clarke House Park
The Clarke House Park provides an entertaining and educational day out, with a decent dose of history thrown into the mix. The Park is home to Clarke House, which was constructed at the start of the 1900s by William Clarke and is on the National Register list of Historic Places.
The outdoor section features stately oak trees and has a fence around it to keep children safely inside, where they can enjoy a huge playground and sand volleyball court.
Other amenities include scenic nature trails, beautiful gardens, outdoor grills, washrooms, a vending machine, a lake, and a water fountain.
5. Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
You never know what you’ll see at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens because new things are being added to the facility all the time.
This well-maintained zoo features a variety of animals surrounded by natural environments similar to their wild habitats.
3D and 4D movies run throughout the day, and there are several places on-site that serve meals, snacks, and beverages. Don’t forget to get some selfies and family portraits with the full-sized animal statues.
6. The Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts
Every seat in the house is a good seat at the Thrasher-Home Center for the Arts. The acoustics are expertly engineered, and the seats are comfortable and angled upward so everyone can see the action on-stage.
The theater also has ample parking and a bar on site.
7. Atlantic Beach
No trip to the Florida Coast is complete without a visit to the spectacular sandy beaches lining the coastline, and Atlantic Beach is a great one to spend an entire day. Swim in the warm waters or simply relax on the soft, white sand while a refreshing breeze blows in.
The beach tends to be less crowded than some of the others in the area, so it’s easy to relax without all the noise. More adventurous visitors can enjoy great surfing and kayaking here.
8. Little Talbot Island State Park
If rugged, undeveloped beaches are more your thing, Little Talbot Island State Park has the shoreline to suit your tastes.
The park consists of several undeveloped barrier islands with over five miles of stunning beaches. The pristine natural surroundings and unique ecosystem make it an interesting place to explore and see local flora and fauna.
There are several miles of biking trails in the park area, and visitors can also enjoy surfing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, bird watching, and camping. A playground, washrooms, and campfire facilities are also on-site.
9. The Jacksonville Riverwalks
A total of 3.25 miles of multi-use trails make up the area of Jacksonville known as The Jacksonville Riverwalks. An easy stroll along this well-maintained trail through a scenic area with both natural and city views is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Spanning in two directions – the longer trail on the north bank of the St. Johns River and the shorter one on the south bank – visitors pass by many well-known landmarks, including the Riverplace Tower, Jacksonville Landing, The Museum of Science and History, and the Friendship Fountain.
Along the way, visitors are also able to grab a bite to eat or a drink at a number of restaurants and bars, or shop for unique souvenirs.
10. On Target Sports
Practice your target shooting at the modern, high-tech, indoor shooting range at On Target Sports. Practice with various scenarios using a computer touch screen to activate the Meggitt XWT Retrieval System.
A comfortable lounge is on-site and features large observation windows designed with safety in mind.
11. The Orange Park Farmers’ & Arts Market
From September to June, visitors to Orange Park can enjoy an array of homemade souvenirs and locally-grown fresh produce at the Orange Park Farmers’ & Arts Market.
Some of the treasures that can be found while browsing the booths include sweet treats, local honey, jewelry, and plants.
12. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
Admire more than six thousand works of art spanning a period of eight thousand years at this beautiful property that was once the residence of Arthur and Ninah Cummer.
Through the beauty of the sprawling gardens combined with the stunning art pieces, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens seeks to inspire and educate the public about the importance of visual art.
13. The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
A number of endangered wild cats species call the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary home. The facility provides them with a safe and secure environment where they are loved and well taken care of.
Visitors come not only to view these majestic creatures in a natural environment, but also to learn about the species’ survival in the wild and the things we are doing to help protect them. Some of the animals that can be seen at the sanctuary include tigers, bobcats, cougars, and lions.
14. The Bealls Outlet Stores Orange Park
Everyone wants to find a bargain while traveling; doing so is even more fun when that bargain happens to be a top brand name.
Visitors of all ages and tastes can find all sorts of deals on clothing, shoes, home decor, outdoor gear, toys, gifts, jewelry, and so much more while shopping at Bealls Outlet Stores in Orange Park.