a day trip to Jacksonville with kids

Ever since our family moved to Florida, we've had the urge to discover all of the fun destinations our state has to offer. Since we've had two babies in our 2 years of living here, travel options have been somewhat limited, so we've been starting with easy day trips to the surrounding cities.

This past weekend we drove to Jacksonville, Florida to get ourselves out of the house and explore. After spending an hour packing up the car with a picnic lunch, the diaper bag, camera, LILLEbaby (affiliate link), sunscreen, hats, water bottles, and the stroller, we hit the road for a day of fun! 

If you're looking to spend a day in Jacksonville with young kids, here is our itinerary! 

Jacksonville Florida with kids

We started the day with a picnic lunch by Friendship Fountain overlooking the St. Johns River. The view was gorgeous, and there was a nice breeze coming off the river to cool us off from the 90 degree temps. Trying to get through a sit-down lunch with three kids ages four and under is a challenge, and we love to travel on a budget, anyway! We found a picnic table in the shade of some palm trees, and enjoyed our sandwiches and apple slices while Lewis snoozed in the stroller. 

Friendship Fountain is right behind the Museum of Science and History, so if our kids were a little older, we probably would have arrived an hour earlier to check it out before having lunch. Parking at the museum was only $5 for the entire day, so we made that our home base and walked everywhere from there.  

 Picnic in the park! 

Picnic in the park! 

 Friendship Fountain

Friendship Fountain

After lunch, we put the big kids in the double stroller, I strapped Lewis in the LILLEbaby, and we strolled the river walk, then crossed the bridge over to the North Bank. It was a fairly easy walk, besides the weight of the giant baby strapped to my chest. From there we wandered around The Jacksonville Landing, a dining and shopping center right on the river. 

I grabbed us a giant tropical smoothie to share while Pippa begged Justin to take her and Teddy to "go on the ride" - literally an escalator. They seemed to think it was fun, though! The smoothie was so refreshing and a welcome escape from the humidity. 

 Pippa hogging the giant strawberry, banana, kiwi smoothie

Pippa hogging the giant strawberry, banana, kiwi smoothie

The last part of our day took us into the downtown area. We had no real plan except to locate some ice cream, and luckily we stumbled upon Sweet Pete's, a candy and ice cream shop. They had the cutest porch with fans and outdoor air conditioning, so we took a seat out there to enjoy our ice cream. 

It's so easy to just stay at home with a preschooler, toddler, and infant. Getting out of the house and spending the day in an unfamiliar city is a ton of work and requires a ton of packing, buckling and unbuckling car seats, applying sunscreen to squirmy kids, and fighting with your spouse about directions. But the thrill of experiencing new places and situations makes it all worth it, along with the pictures and family memories you share for years to come. Pippa hasn't stopped talking about Jacksonville, and begging to see the pictures from our trip over and over. I figure the more we do it, the easier it will become! 

We've already started making a list of other cities we'd like to visit while we live in Florida, and I can't wait to start planning! In the meantime, here's a quick video of our time in Jacksonville: