EN - Travel

10 Spontaneous Day Trips From Jacksonville You Simply Can't Let Yourself Miss Out On

Ditch the daily grind and go for a spontaneous ride!

Sometimes we just need a break from the daily rise and grind to go on a little adventure. We can't always afford to take a bunch of time off to leave the state; thankfully, there are plenty of things to do that are just a short Florida road trip away and make for a fantastic getaway.

From museums and outer space to hidden themed bars, castles, crystal clear springs, lazy rivers, and miniature rainforests, you'll find a little bit of it all on this list.

Gear up the car, grab your besties or boo, and get those Spotify playlists ready for 10 spontaneous day trips from Jacksonville that you simply cannot miss out on!

Kennedy Space Center

Price: $57 daily admission; additional experiences can be added on for a fee.

Address: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL

Why You Need To Go: Explore interactive exhibits, learn about space, and more at an out-of-this-world museum. They even offer flight simulators and virtual reality astronaut training experiences.

Around Christmas time they're known to host a space-themed holiday event, and you can watch rocket launches here from time to time.

Big Talbot Island State Park

Price: $3 per vehicle entry, $2 to use the fishing pier.

Address: 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year

Why You Need To Go: This dreamy state park made up of multiple smaller parks boasts some of the most stunning coastal views imaginable.

The driftwood covered expanses of beach, yellowish sands, and rock formations offer a surreal backdrop for some amazing shots. Whether you love beachy views, hiking trails, fishing, bird-watching or photography there's something for everyone to enjoy here.

Vault 5421

Price: 💸💸-💸💸💸

Address: 5421 International Drive Orlando, FL

Why You Need To Go: A 21+ only post-apocalyptic Fallout and Mad Max themed bar hidden inside of Gods & Monsters comic shop. Their bartenders even dress up which only adds to the ambiance!

You'll find tons of movie, tv, comic, video game, and pop culture references everywhere, and can even play Super Nintendo and other arcade classics on their arcade table while enjoying deliciously boozy themed drinks.

BONUS: They have an awesome 'Escape the Vault' escape room hosted out of the bar too.

St. Augustine

Address: St. Augustine, FL

Why You Need To Go: Whether you want to ghost hunt at one of the world's most haunted lighthouses or explore the historic St. George Street that will take you back in time, there is no shortage of things to do here that make a trip totally worth it. Foodies will definitely want to stop at this adorable hut for a gourmet meal or snag a sickly sweet massive milkshake while in town.

BONUS: The architecture around town is reminiscent of old Spain, transporting you to another country without ever leaving the Sunshine State.

The Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring

Price: The cost to rent snorkeling equipment if you don't have your own is $10/person on top of admission, which is $15 Mon-Fri or $20 Sat-Sun.

We suggest bringing your own equipment if you have it so you can stay in the water as long as possible. If you rent the equipment, maximum use time of 2 hours will be given.

Address: 5390 NE 180th Ave Williston, FL

Why You Need To Go: Swim, snorkel, and admire insane colorful rock formations in a prehistoric spring hidden underground.

The top opens up to the ground above, creating a dreamy, mossy natural skylight that will take your breath away. Pictures do not do the beauty of this place justice.

Castle Otttis

Price: Will vary depending on your visit. Plan a tour through their contact page.

Address: 103 3rd St, St. Augustine, FL

Why You Need To Go: While this will take a little planning and at least 72 hours notice to plan your tour, it's definitely worth the trip. This massive old gothic style castle is absolutely magical.

Featuring ornate stone and woodwork throughout, it will absolutely take your breath away. Gorgeous for pics, and you can even host the fairy tale princess wedding of your dreams here if you fall in love with the ambiance.

Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run

Price: $3 per vehicle seating 1-2 people; for 3-8 people it's only $5. If your group is larger than 8 people it's $1 per additional person.

Address: 400 E Kelly Park Rd Apopka, FL

Why You Need To Go: A stunning floater's paradise that will make you feel like you're on an Amazon adventure as you float down a natural lazy river.

Crystal clear emerald & turquoise waters, dreamy nature views, affordable, and only a couple hours away from Jax!

Joysticks Arcade Lounge

Price: 💸💸

Address: 69 East Pine St. FL 2, Orlando, FL

Why You Need To Go: Neon blacklight murals, nerdy nods to Star Wars, Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Monopoly, and more can be found in their decor as well as tons of video games and old-school arcade tables to get your game on.

The retro vibes and tunes make this bar a hot spot for geeks and pop-culture fans alike. They're even known to host Nintendo 64 and other video game tourneys that will fill 90s kids with that sweet sweet nostalgia.

Suwannee River Bridge — Abandoned Bridge To Nowhere

Price: FREE

Address: 3061-3077 93rd Dr. Live Oak, FL or coordinates 30°23'43.3"N 82°56'09.2"W

Why You Need To Go: Known as "The Bridge to Nowhere," this is a weirdly beautiful hidden gem. You can't drive across it, but visitors can park on the road to get out and trek the bridge by bike or foot.

The stunning Suwannee River views are the cherry on top of a trippy road trippin' pit stop. If you need a place to stay nearby, this Airbnb lets you glamp with alpacas or stay right on the river in a unique cabin.

The Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

Price: $4 per vehicle that seats up to 8 people, $2 for pedestrians or bicyclists.

Address: 4732 Millhopper Rd., Gainesville, FL

Why You Need To Go: The scenery here will vary season to season, and it's better when the weather's wetter. After rain the tree-filled and canopy-covered sinkhole at the bottom of the boardwalk fills with water, giving it miniature rainforest jungle vibes.

You'll even find waterfalls on your trek. They recently opened a new boardwalk, but if you decide to not walk down into the Devil's Millhopper, the above-ground walking trails are also uniquely beautiful.

So what are you waiting for? Whether you go it alone or hit the road with friends, gear up for the adventure of a lifetime.

If you're looking for more adventures, check out these 12 spontaneous day trips less than a 3-hour road trip from Tampa or save some cash with these 7 incredible free places to visit in Florida.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.