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The Top 15 of Hidden Jacksonville

To be clear - it is nearly impossible to limit this list to just 15 as there are so many great things in our area! Also to be clear, the list is in no particular order, just ordered as we wrote it! ;-) These are the top rated spots by Hidden Jacksonville based off of our followers' likes.

Mom’s Park

  • Historically named Yacht Basin Park due to its proximity to Jacksonville’s oldest social organization, the Florida Yacht Club’s former residence here until 1928. There is a plaque dedicating the park in memory of a mother and community volunteer, Patricia Austin, and thus the name “Mom’s Park” was born.

  • Why we love it: We love this park because of the old balustrade along the basin that leads out to the St. Johns River, the majestic oak tree that seems to reach out toward that basin, and the beautiful, enchanting gazebo with wonderful mosaic work that is sure to bring a smile to any face.

  • Address: 2941 St. Johns Ave. (Riverside area)

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Pre-Civil War Wine Cellar

  • Built in 1858 by Doctor Thomas Perley, this is an extremely rare antebellum architectural example still in existence in Jacksonville today. After Perley sold his home that he named “Perley Place”, he was appointed Medical Inspector General of the Union Army under President Abraham Lincoln.

  • Why we love it: This rare place displays a past life of the south that is reminiscent of historical southern port cities like Savannah or Charleston. It’s also well hidden in the side of a small cliff in Marabanong – and we love all things “hidden” here! Plus, who doesn’t love wine! Just imagine having this as your wine cellar!

  • Address: Empire Point (It’s a private residence, so we won't list the address – it is however facing a public street).

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Bird Island Park

  • Designed by Bobby Weed, the park offers a great look into the ecosystems of northeast Florida. There’s a boardwalk encircling the pond that has the “Bird Island” at the center along with a play area for children.

  • Why we love it: The turtle maze, which perhaps is hidden to many who visit until you see a photo from above. There are also many sculptures and art, some hidden throughout the park that makes for a great family day scavenger hunt!

  • Address: 101 Library Blvd.

Photo by: Masterpiece Lifestyles

Inwood Park

  • Perhaps one of the most hidden on our list and for good reason. This park, that thousands pass by everyday without even knowing of its existence, is at the very end of a quiet road named Inwood Terrace. Just under a quarter of a mile away is the always busy local favorite Metro Diner and equally busy Hendricks Avenue.

  • Why we love it: For starters, it’s hidden! But really, it encompasses some of the things we truly love about Jacksonville with art murals encasing awesome views of the river and downtown. This near secret, secluded spot is a nice place to get away to!

  • Address: 801 Inwood Terrace

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Bulls Bay

  • A waterfall in Florida? Let alone right near us in Jacksonville! Yes, it’s true! At the little known Bulls Bay Preserve on Jacksonville’s Westside, a small branch of the Cedar River provides a waterfall. Yep, the same Cedar River that links up with the Ortega River and eventually the St. Johns!

  • Why we love it: Well – it’s a waterfall – in our own backyard! Additionally, the preserve offers several different trails that provide views into what the wild and more untouched side of northeast Florida looked like once upon a time!

  • Address: 8017 Old Plank Rd.

Photo by: Frabrizio Gowdy

Lee & Cates Glass Building + Surroundings

  • Hidden in plain sight, the Lee & Cates Glass Building plus the surrounding area offers a great deal of public art work for viewing that illustrates a wide variety of artists and the historic past of the LaVilla Neighborhood.

  • Why we love it: A part of an ArtRepublicGlobal project, the many paintings surrounding the area here highlight little known history of some greats. The legendary Ray Charles' start, in his teen years, are traced directly to his time in the LaVilla neighborhood of Jacksonville. There are also several other very popular murals surrounding the area, murals by local favorites and other internationally recognized artists!

  • Address: 800 Houston St.

  • Special Note: these are on display for a limited time - so go see them before they are gone!

Photo by: Justin Reed Nedrow

Treaty Oak

  • Greatly overlooked, this massive Southern Live Oak is passed by thousands of locals every day and millions of tourists every year. The simple view point would be this is just a large, old tree. However, the history of the tree and area is extensive, to start with the tree is believed to have been born by Mother Nature around the year 1760. This makes the tree at least 260 years old, by far older than the city of Jacksonville and even the United States! It was once home to a theme park named “Dixieland Park” and received it’s name of “Treaty Oak” out of a fictitious story to help raise its popularity and save the tree. Thanks to Jesse Ball duPont, the Garden Club, and City of Jacksonville the tree was saved.

  • Why we love it: The giant branches that drop down creating an amazing, mythical like canopy over a boardwalk reminds us of something out of a JRR Tolkien novel. Bright sunny days are good to visit, as the sun dapples through the leaves, it will make you appreciate the canopy even more but foggy mornings lend a mystical feel as well!

  • Address: 1207 Prudential Dr.

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Sugar Hill Mosaics

  • The mosaics are hidden well by the I-95 overpass and face away from the road toward the S-Line Trail side of Groundwork Jacksonville’s the Emerald Trail.

  • Why we love it: The mosaics were commissioned by Groundwork Jacksonville and done by well known local mosaic artists Kate & Kenny Rouh with the help of teen art students from local schools! The mosaics are a beautiful reflection of the Jacksonville community with the public’s input inspiring the designs on each of the 6 themed panels.

  • Address: W 13th Street, under I-95 overpass (just north of UF Health).

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Rotary Park (at intercostal)

  • The park, really an island with 2nd Avenue acting as part land bridge and part actual bridge has several elements making it a popular destination, like a boat ramp, picnic tables, fishing pier, and playground.

  • Why we love it: The hidden aspect! The fact that the playground is on an island, which most take very little notice of, is not lost on us! The entire park provides great water views of boats and wildlife in the area.

  • Address: 2293 2ND Ave N

Photo by: Masterpiece Lifestyles

Yates Building Fountain

  • Perhaps due to its location at the Yates Building, home of the Duval County Tax Collectors Office, this beautiful mosaicked fountain is an under-appreciated hidden gem. This Carlos Alves installation has several different beautiful art features throughout.

  • Why we love it: For starters, the colorful mosaic is a wonderful change in scenery at this downtown government building. The sounds of the water falling and splashing over the different tiers makes it a nice departure from the street noise.

  • Address: 231 E. Forsyth St.

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Phoenix Arts District

  • Only two miles north of downtown and just blocks from historic Springfield, the Phoenix Arts District is a 4.5 acre campus with 100,000 square feet of warehouse space that will be converted into workshops, art studios, apartments, event spaces, restaurants, and more.

  • Why we love it: It’s off the beaten path, so less visited than other mural locations. Sandwiched in the middle of two non-descript warehouses are amazing large mural works by various artists. This site is easily missed when travelling by car so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

  • Address: 2336 N Liberty St.

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

San Marco Train Station

  • Tucked away along the railway line and between buildings, the San Marco Train Station is home to a couple popular restaurants and an ice-cream parlor. Many pass it by on their way to the more popular San Marco Square at Balis Park without realizing what they miss here!

  • Why we love it: So many reasons! The hanging colorful umbrellas, the art works along the rail tracks, and the various sculptures throughout make it a great location to hang out for lunch or after dinner dessert.

  • 1440 Hendricks Ave.

Photo by: REimagine Studio

Lilian S. Davin Park

  • The park is small in size, but big on it’s history and feel. This area was once home to a carriage lane and the historically famous Villa Alexandria of the 1870s. The home of palatial scale was known as one of the premier villas of the world.

  • Why we love it: The park lined with trees in purposeful rows, lends the viewer to picture what this area may have looked like 150 years ago. At the south end is an artesian well, that was once used as a watering hole for horses.

  • 2311 River Rd.

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

The Map Room

  • On the top floor of the city main library, The Map Room is the heart of the library’s special collections section.

  • Why we love it: The beautifully designed room is encircled by many historic maps of our area, several that are hundreds of years old and hand made. Some of these maps are literally pieces of artwork that are hidden to a multitude of library patrons because they simply don’t venture to this location.

  • Address: 303 N Laura St.

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

McCoy’s Creek

  • Perhaps downtown’s most hidden creek, the mouth enters the St. Johns River directly underneath the Jacksonville Riverwalk and the old location for the Florida Times Union.

  • Why we love it: It’s an unknown natural resource that should have a bright future thanks to Groundwork Jacksonville. That bright future is opening up this hidden creek to become a beautiful urban creek with parks, wetlands, trails, trees, and promenades.

  • Address: Several points of access one being Brooklyn Park at 1201 Jackson St.

Photo by: Ashdon Mills

Top North: Fort Clinch State Park

  • Although the Castillo in St. Augustine may be more well known, Fort Clinch and it’s park is equally impressive. The park’s website puts it perfect: “nature and history mingle at majestic Fort Clinch.”

  • Why we love it: So many reasons! The wildlife with deer, tortoises, birds, to sea turtles on the beach, to the beautiful tree canopies shading the roads and nature trails. Top it off with the well preserved Pre-Civil War fort that offers many great views and history lessons, this park is a can’t miss!

  • Address: 2601 Atlantic Ave. Fernandina Beach

Photo by: Hidden Jacksonville

Top South: Ravine Gardens State Park

  • The park sits at two naturally formed ravines that were created by spring water that flows to the St. Johns. Over thousands of years these flowing creeks have cut deep ravines.

  • Why we love it: This park is like no other in Florida thanks to the ravines and gardens. There are multiple bridges and wonderful trails through the rich natural forest landscape. There are just so many wonderful elements to this park that make it a must see!

  • Address: 1600 Twigg St. Palatka

Photo by: photos_by_nurse_Jordie

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