Things to Do in Northern Florida & The Panhandle

Northern Florida—home to the state’s capital city—brims with natural and historic attractions. That makes the region’s cities ideal headquarters for remote and bleisure workers seeking outdoor activities amid scenic, lush landscapes and cultural enrichment.

 

In Jacksonville, take a break between meetings to explore one of the city’s many beautiful parks and greens spaces. For a peaceful escape, amble along the 3 miles of hiking trails at Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, a 120-acre oasis filled with shady, leafy trees and colorful flowers and plants. For more beautiful greenery with a scenic backdrop, visit the historic gardens at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, set against the St. Johns River, it holds a perfect blend of art, gardens, and education for all ages. Or take a half day to venture to Amelia Island, a popular beach community about 30 miles northwest of Jacksonville. It’s ideal for visiting on a weekday, when you can beat the crowds of families who flock to the sands on Saturday and Sunday.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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Amelia Island
Amelia Island

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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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Tucked on northeast Florida’s coast, the historical enclave of St. Augustine was founded by the Spaniards in 1565, making it one of the oldest European settlements in the United States. St. George Street—the city’s central pedestrian thoroughfare—is a great place to stretch your legs any time of day. The street is lined with cute boutiques, inviting restaurants, and historic sites like the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a sprawling fort built in the mid-17th century, and the Oldest Wooden School House Historic Museum and Gardens.

St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida

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Archway at Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida
Archway at Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida

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Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine

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St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida

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When it’s time to log off in Tallahassee, take your family to the Railroad Square Art Park, the creative and entertainment hub of the downtown area. There, you can sip craft brews while enjoying seating in the brewery’s “art garden” with the kiddos at Railroad Square Craft House or swap quarters for grin-inducing fun at Flippin’ Great, a cool vintage pinball arcade. On the weekend—or even better, if you have at least three hours to spare on a weekday—explore must-see attractions like the Museum of Florida History or the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

Whether you have an entire evening or just a few hours offline, your time is best spent on Pensacola’s sugar sand beaches, which are flanked by tranquil emerald-green waters. Options include Perdido Key Beach, a prime spot for swimming and sunbathing that’s part of the tranquil Gulf Island National Seashore) and Pensacola Beach, where you can work from your laptop at a waterfront restaurant or bar for a change of scenery. That city’s namesake stretch of sand also encompasses Quietwater Beach, a great place to catch the sunset on the boardwalk.

Tallahassee Florida Skyline
Tallahassee Florida Skyline

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Walking Path in Tallahassee, Florida
Walking Path in Tallahassee, Florida

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Railroad Square Art District
Railroad Square Art District

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Tallahassee Florida Skyline
Tallahassee Florida Skyline

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Post-work activities abound in Daytona Beach, whether you want to catch a high-octane race at Daytona International Speedway; enjoy an evening tee time at one of the more than 15 golf courses in the city or soak up some sun on the city’s eponymous beach, featuring 23 miles of white-sand splendor along the Atlantic. Or scoot over to explore New Smyrna Beach, an area just 15 miles from Daytona that’s home to surfer-friendly waves and the picturesque, palm-tree-lined Canal Street Historic District, an excellent neighborhood to grab dinner or happy hour.

Daytona Beach Florida
Daytona Beach Florida

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Daytona Beach Florida
Daytona Beach Florida

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Flock of Seagulls in Daytona Beach, Florida
Flock of Seagulls in Daytona Beach, Florida

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Daytona Beach Florida
Daytona Beach Florida

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Hotels in Jacksonville/St. Augustine

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Best Western Premier Jacksonville Hotel

4700 Salisbury Road,

Jacksonville,  Florida,  32256

Book ID D7881

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Best Western Historical Inn

2010 N Ponce De Leon Boulevard, St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Book ID 11208

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Best Western Oceanfront

305 1st Street N,  

Jacksonville Beach, Florida  32250

Book ID 96386

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Best Western Mayport Inn & Suites

2389 Mayport Road,

Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233

Book ID 35059

Hotels in the Panhandle

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Best Western Plus Tallahassee North Hotel

2727 Graves Rd,

Tallahassee, FL 32303

Book ID 71537

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Plus Blue Angel Inn

2390 W Detroit Blvd,

Pensacola, FL 32534

Book ID 47141

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BW Fort Walton Beach

380 Santa Rosa Blvd,

Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Book ID 94292

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BW Sugar Sands Inn

4415 Commons Dr E,

Destin, FL 32541

Book ID A7569

 

Hotels in Daytona/New Smyrna Beach

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Best Western Aku Tiki Inn

2225 S Atlantic Ave,

Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Book ID 11227

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Best Western Castillo Del Sol

205 S Atlantic Ave,

Ormond Beach, FL 32176

Book ID 03976

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BW Plus Daytona Inn Seabreeze Oceanfront

730 N Atlantic Avenue

Daytona Beach, Florida 32118

Book ID B2995