Best Jacksonville-area Walks: Top Spots To Get Moving In the River City

Research indicates something as simple as a daily 30-minute brisk walk can help individuals live a longer, healthier life. Further, the benefits of walking are exponential, meaning the more frequently, farther and faster you walk, the greater the benefits.


According to the Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep
  • Improve your balance and coordination
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Reduce stress and tension


With this staggering assortment of mind and body benefits associated with walking, why is it all too common for so many Americans to miss their daily walking goals? Stationary jobs, increased reliance on vehicles, and poorly designed cities are all contributing factors; however, many of us simply see walking as a chore rather than the enjoyable activity it can be when done in the right place or with the right people. 


At Omega Health & Wellness, we recognize the need for a little extra inspiration when deciding whether to head out for a quick walk*, which is why our health experts pulled together a list of the top spots in the Jacksonville area to put foot to pavement (or sand) and get moving. 


Narrowing this list to just a few of our favorite spots was the hardest part. With that said, here are a few picturesque Jacksonville paths we suggest you see for yourself on foot. 


John T. Alsop Jr. Bridge (Main Street Bridge)

This famous 1941 historic steellift bridge sports sweeping vistas of the downtown Jacksonville skyline and is a must-visit for photographers, tourists, or anyone needing a great view. The blue-hued landmark is equipped with four lanes for traffic and two sidewalks on opposing sides of the structure, perfect for bikers, walkers and runners. Best of all, the bridge is surrounded by areas of interest, making extending your walk easy. Make sure to check out The Landing Park on the northern edge of the bridge or Friendship Fountain and The Museum of Science and History at its southern point. 


We recommend those coming here for a hike arrive early in the day to catch one of the city’s famous sunrises and avoid heavy traffic. Not an early bird? Then head out for a walk in the evening to take in the colors of the city’s bright lights.  



Southbank Riverwalk

Stretching along the southern bank of St. Johns River, this top-rated 1.25-mile paved promenade boasts some of the best sights and sounds Jacksonville has to offer, including vibrant art, local restaurants, and unbelievable city views. Walkers strolling the riverwalk are sure to enjoy the tranquility of the river’s lapping water, passing ships, and shaded walkways. While walking along the water’s edge, keep your eyes and ears peeled for surfacing manatees and dolphins. 


We encourage experienced walkers, runners or cyclists who are up for more of a challenge to take on the five-mile loop, which includes the Southbank and adjacent Northbank Riverwalk – connected by the Main St. Bridge and the Acosta Bridge. 



Tree Hill Nature Center

This highly-acclaimed destination east of downtown Jacksonville has something for everyone: mangrove-lined boardwalks, winding trails, lush gardens and a kid-friendly natural history museum. Located on a large 50-acre nature reserve, outdoor lovers can get lost exploring the center’s seven looping walking trails, which are teeming with native wildlife – and even a few free-range goats. 


Every day at Tree Hill Nature Center feels special; however, long-time patrons know not to miss the destination’s signature community butterfly festival. The fan-favorite annual event has animal encounters, live music and games as well as crafts and more, culminating with a live butterfly release. 




Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

Steeped in natural beauty, Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens has long been celebrated as one of the best local spots for a walk or hike. Those venturing here will find ample pathways for wandering and taking in the beauty of Florida’s flora and fauna. Beginners can cruise the relaxing 0.3-mile center lake loop, with paved pathways and railings. Other trails on the site range from moderate to advanced, all lined with a variety of towering trees, like 100-year-old live oaks, pines, poplars and red maples. 


Bonus Tip: During the holiday season, Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens transforms from tranquil woodland to a vibrant winter wonderland as part of the organization’s Dazzling Nights spectacle. The annual celebration, which runs from late November to early January, is the perfect excuse for a festive walking date night. 



Why limit yourself to only a few top options? Jacksonville has so much green space and opportunities to get outside that finding the perfect spot for your lifestyle is easy. We recommend taking a stroll around your neighborhood, local park, beaches or even inside one of the area’s many shopping malls when temperatures are unbearable. At the end of the day – the most important thing is to walk often and enjoy the journey along the way. 


Walk With Us On Your Health Journey

We partner with our patients to help them reclaim their health and get back to doing what they love. Our health and wellness team is currently accepting new patients and is standing by to assist you with medically-proven therapeutic treatment programs to help you reach your wellness goals. Best of all, when walking through our doors, you can expect friendly, knowledgable and compassionate care, plus dependable access to your doctor. Request an appointment today or call us at 904-724-5767. 


*Individuals should speak with their primary care physician to ensure they are healthy enough to engage in strenuous exercise, like running, walking, cycling, swimming or other similar activities. When exercising in public, always remain aware of your surroundings.