14 Best Things to Do in Green Cove Springs (FL)

Named for the bubbling natural spring water nearby, Green Cove Springs is a city of approximately 7,000 residents in Clay County in northeastern Florida.

Green Cove Springs is located in the middle of the west bank of the St. John River. It’s perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts who would rather experience the area’s natural attractions while avoiding the crowds associated with more tourist destinations.

The city is close to Jacksonville and St. Augustine, so day trips are also popular.

Below are the top 14 things to see and do in the area on many tourist itineraries.

1. North Florida Military Museum

North Florida Military Museum

Located on the grounds of a former World War II-era Naval Air Station, the North Florida Military Museum is dedicated to honoring the men and women who served our nation in times of peace and war.

The museum includes a fascinating range of exhibits covering nearly every war and conflict in the country’s history. Items on display include weapons, uniforms, aircraft and first-hand accounts of service members.

The facility, located on Bunker Avenue in Green Cove Springs, is where most guests stay for an hour or two.

2. Spring Park

Spring Park, Green Bay Hot Springs

Green Cove Springs has several small but charming parks, with Spring Park being one of the most popular.

One of its most-used attractions is the spring pool, which has a steady stream of cool water rushing to the surface, making it the perfect place to relax during the dog days of summer, when Florida’s weather is often downright depressing.

The park is located along the St. Johns River with stunning views, and you’ll find a playground, covered picnic areas and plenty of swing benches.

Admission is inexpensive and can be purchased on a daily or long-term basis.

3. Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festivals

Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festivals

While the plaid kilt isn’t traditional in Florida for most of the year, every February, with the arrival of the Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festivals, the Florida countryside is filled with traditional Scottish clothing. , food and music.

The festival is a perennial favorite of Scottish descent, and it is also popular with people of other races.

As the name suggests, the event features a variety of historic Scottish games, and there’s always plenty to do for the little ones.

This is an all-day event and many visitors end up staying longer than expected, so consider clearing your schedule.

4. Sweet Feeling

Sweet Sensation, Green Bay Spa

Unfortunately for many travelers, caffeine and sugar addictions don’t go on vacation. For those who find themselves in need of a fix at Green Bay Hot Springs, Sweet Sensations will be a great place to indulge.

The Sweet Sensations restaurant offers a large selection of sandwiches, soups and salads, and is probably best known for its coffee and freshly baked goods, with many regulars every week.

Rumor has it that their Cuban sandwiches are to die for, and there’s plenty of kid’s food on the menu.

Located on North Orange Avenue in town, they offer reasonable prices and generous portions.

5. Clinchburg State Park

Clinchburg State Park

With nearly 1,500 acres of pristine natural surroundings and historic attractions, Fort Clinch State Park attracts campers, RV enthusiasts, history buffs and nature lovers.

Located on Atlantic Avenue near Fernandina Beach, the park includes a Civil War-era fort, miles of undeveloped beaches and a visitor center filled with interactive exhibits.

Wildlife viewing is a popular activity, and a variety of animals can be seen from the network of trails that meander through the park.

Consider stopping at the visitor center to pick up a map of the park, peruse the exhibits, and get an overview of the layout and amenities before exploring on your own.

6. Jacksonville Beach Visitor Information Center

Beach Museum and Historical Park

No matter where you are in the world, visitor information centres are usually free to visit, conveniently located and filled with knowledgeable locals, as well as travel-related maps, magazines and free coupon books.

The Jacksonville Beach Visitor Information Center, located on Beach Boulevard, is a great place to stop when arriving in the area, especially for those who haven’t been before.

The center is open 7 days a week, and travelers who take the time to visit often end up leaving with many ideas they may not realize.

It’s also common to find great deals on guides, accommodation and meals.

7. St. John’s River Paddle Trail

St. Johns River Paddle Trail

The St. Johns River is one of Florida’s recreational centers, and boating is a great way to experience and explore it.

Just a short drive from Green Cove Springs, there are nearly a dozen inlets into the river. In addition to offering paddler-friendly views of areas that no one else sees, there are a number of important historical and archaeological sites worth checking out.

The river and surrounding area are home to a wide variety of wildlife. It’s not uncommon to see foxes and bobcats, many birds, and even iconic Florida critters like manatees and alligators.

8. St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

From north to south, from the Atlantic to the Gulf Coast, Florida is full of historic lighthouses. For those visiting Green Bay Hot Springs, nothing is more convenient than the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The site dates back nearly a century and a half, and many previous guests consider their time at the lighthouse and museum to be the most memorable of their trips.

The museum portion of the facility features a fascinating collection of shipwreck memorabilia, and the grounds also include the lighthouse keeper’s house. There’s also a quaint little cafe, so consider staying for lunch or afternoon coffee.

9. Gambling Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area

Gambling Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area

The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, located on the Atlantic coast between the mainland and the Inland Waterway, covers nearly 150 acres and is the most famous turtle nesting area.

Named after a local folk singer, the park is popular with beachgoers, fishermen and hikers. For those looking to spend a night or two in the wild, there are nearly 70 campsites; some near the ocean, some near the river.

Kayak and bike rentals are available on-site, and the park features a network of multi-use trails that meander through a variety of environments.

10. Old Town St. Augustine

Old Town St. Augustine

It’s not widely known outside the Sunshine State, but St. Augustine is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the country. For lovers of history, culture and old world charm, there are few places to like it.

Its cobblestone streets recall another era, and the city’s attractions include historic landmarks, museums, galleries, shops and plenty of dining options.

There are many guided walking tours to choose from, and for those looking for something special, there are options for horses, carriages and carts. Regional accommodation can be expensive, so if you want to save a few bucks, consider visiting during the off-season.

11. Walter Jones Historical Park

Walter Jones Historical Park

The Walter Jones Historical Park in Jacksonville is located in front of the scenic St. Johns River and includes many sites of historic interest.

The park’s main attractions are the Mandarin Pavilion, the barn, and the one-room schoolhouse, all of which give visitors an interesting look at the lives of past residents.

Author and anti-slavery crusader Harriet Beecher Stowe spent the winter at the Mandarin House, a residence and grounds that also played an important role in the Civil War and maritime history.

Guided tours are offered, usually lasting one to two hours, depending on the age and interests of the guests, but must be booked in advance.

12. Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is one of the oldest parks in Florida, covering nearly 2,000 acres and was primarily developed during the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

The park is a short drive from Green Bay Hot Springs. Its inland location offers guests an alternative to the many coastal parks in the area.

The area where the park is located is known for its rolling sand dunes and deep canyons, which are fun to explore and home to a variety of unique wildlife.

The park features extensive multi-use trails, and birds, snakes, turtles and even foxes are often seen, especially in the dimly lit mornings and dusk.

13. Ponce de Leon Youth Fountain Archaeological Park

Youth Archaeological Park Fountain

In the early 16th century, Ponce de Leon landed in what is now St. Augustine, making this quaint coastal town a true historic gem that really shouldn’t be missed in the area.

Attractions in the park include fortifications and coastal batteries. With trails leading to each of the different areas, visitors will have access to abundant seating areas and plenty of historical signs and exhibits describing the significance of what they see.

Previous guests have noticed that the park staff are knowledgeable and welcoming and have so much natural beauty that they decided to wander around and explore the grounds even after they had seen all the historical sights.

14. St. Augustine Pirate Treasure Museum

Pirates and Treasure Museum

For centuries, the waters off the Florida coast have been teeming with pirates and other rude characters who have made life dangerous for sailors and coastal dwellers.

Located on South Castillo Avenue, the St. Augustine Pirates and Treasures Museum is the premier destination on the Atlantic coast for those interested in learning about the area’s past, as well as the main features of pirates, shipwrecks, and lost treasure lore.

The museum houses one of the largest collections of pirate artifacts and memorabilia in the world, and its interactive exhibits are engaging, educational, and popular with young and old alike. The staff offer a variety of special events and programs, so check their website before you travel.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Green Cove Springs, FL (FL)
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