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LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Jacksonville: Embrace the Rainbow Charm

LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Jacksonville
Photo by Sean Pavone Photo from iStock

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Discover the allure of Jacksonville, Florida, a melting pot of southern charm, pristine beach life, and a diverse cultural milieu. Known for its inclusive atmosphere and LGBTQ+ community, Jacksonville guarantees a warm reception for all travelers. Jacksonville is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers. Beyond its stunning landscapes, the city is home to a thriving arts and cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters to explore. With a bustling downtown area, a wide array of shopping and dining options, Jacksonville truly has something to offer everyone, making it a dynamic destination in Northeast Florida.

How To Get To Jacksonville

Plane: When flying in to Jacksonville, use Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), located 13 miles north of downtown. Numerous domestic and some international flights serve this airport. Ground transportation options like taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are readily available upon arrival.

By Car: You can access Jacksonville by using the main highways. I-95 runs north-south, I-10 runs east-west, and I-295 forms a beltway around the city. Jacksonville connects easily to other Florida cities by car.

How Gay Is Jacksonville?

Jacksonville, Florida, has seen significant growth in its recognition and support for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. The city’s annual River City Pride Parade and Festival, diverse nightlife, including several LGBTQ+ friendly bars and clubs, and the LGBTQ+ Youth Space exemplify this inclusivity. Jacksonville’s embrace of the Human Rights Ordinance, protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, further establishes its commitment to equality. As Jacksonville continues to foster an environment of acceptance and celebration, it is becoming an increasingly welcoming destination for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies.

Jax River City Pride, Inc is a dedicated Nonprofit 501(c)3, All-Volunteer organization committed to creating a lasting positive influence within Jacksonville’s LGBTQA+ Community. River City Pride, celebrated in October, invites everyone to join in and revel in the spirit of unity and celebration.

JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network) plays a vital role in supporting LGBTQIA+ teens in Jacksonville, providing them with a safe and inclusive space to connect, seek guidance, and find a supportive community. Through its dedicated efforts, JASMYN empowers LGBTQIA+ youth to embrace their identities, fostering a more inclusive and accepting future for Jacksonville’s diverse young population.

Jacksonville Florida Black Pride is a social network with a primary goal of fostering unity and camaraderie within the African American LGBTQ community of Jacksonville, Florida. They achieve this mission through various community empowerment activities and initiatives that prioritize education, health, leadership, and a philosophy of inclusivity across all races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

LGBTQ+ Businesses In Jacksonville

The Stout Snug – This LGBTQ+-owned Irish pub offers a welcoming atmosphere, flavorful food, and an extensive beer menu. An embodiment of Jacksonville’s inclusive spirit, The Stout Snug is a must-visit spot in the city.

Hamburger Mary’s Jacksonville – Located in Riverside, Hamburger Mary’s is an LGBTQ+-friendly eatery famed for its gourmet burgers, creative cocktails, and vibrant drag shows. It’s more than just a restaurant; it’s an experience.

Mossfire Grill – Shop unique vintage finds and handmade crafts at Mossfire Grill, an LGBTQ+-owned retail gem. Each visit promises a new discovery, making it a staple in the local shopping scene.

Where To Stay In Jacksonville

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront – For an upscale stay, consider the Hyatt Regency. Its central location, stunning river views, and high-end amenities make it a popular choice among visitors.

One Ocean Resort & Spa – For a serene beachfront experience, book your stay at One Ocean Resort & Spa. This boutique accommodation is known for its elegant rooms and top-tier service.

Gay Nightlife In Jacksonville

InCahoots – Immerse yourself in Jacksonville’s LGBTQ+ nightlife at InCahoots. Known for its energetic drag shows and country-western theme, it’s the perfect place for a fun-filled night.

Park Place Lounge – If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, head to Park Place Lounge. With a welcoming environment and a variety of cocktails, it’s a place where everyone feels at home.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Restaurants In Jacksonville

If you’re a fan of good food, Jacksonville has a lot to offer. You’ll find a wide range of dining options, from fancy restaurants that serve creative dishes to more relaxed places with delicious comfort food. The city’s culinary scene focuses on fresh seafood, Southern flavors, and international influences, making it a great destination for food lovers.

13 Gypsies – Relish authentic Spanish tapas at 13 Gypsies, a restaurant known for its genuine flavors and warm atmosphere.

Orsay – Enjoy a luxurious French dining experience at Orsay. From the refined ambiance to the carefully crafted dishes, every moment at Orsay is unforgettable.

Matthew’s Restaurant – Discover the flavors of Jacksonville at Matthew’s Restaurant, offering fine dining with a creative menu that captures the essence of the city’s culinary scene.

Shopping Experiences in Jacksonville

When it comes to shopping, Jacksonville has plenty of choices too. You can explore trendy boutiques, visit local markets where artisans sell their creations, or check out large shopping centers. Whether you’re looking for unique fashion items, home decorations, or local souvenirs, Jacksonville has something for everyone’s tastes and preferences.

The St. Johns Town Center is a sprawling shopping paradise with a variety of high-end brands and eateries.

5 Points District – Located in Riverside, the quirky 5 Points district is a vibrant hub of independent shops, galleries, and unique eateries.

Riverside Arts Market – Shop local at the Riverside Arts Market, a weekly market featuring local artisans, farmers, and entertainers.

Avonlea Antiques & Interiors – Venture into Avonlea Antiques & Interiors, a haven for antique lovers with a vast selection of unique items from various eras.

Wolf & Cub – If vintage fashion is your passion, Wolf & Cub is your destination. This downtown boutique offers a carefully curated selection of unique vintage clothing and accessories.

Things To Do Around Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a city brimming with cultural attractions that provide a fascinating glimpse into its diverse heritage and rich history. From art museums showcasing a wide range of artistic styles to interactive science and history exhibits, there is something for everyone to explore and appreciate.

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens – Explore a stunning collection of artworks spanning various periods at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) – Feed your creative spirit at MOCA, a cultural resource of UNF, showcasing contemporary and modern art.

Kingsley Plantation – Step back in time at the Kingsley Plantation, a historic site offering a glimpse into Florida’s past.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park – Embrace nature’s beauty at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. It’s a perfect place for outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, camping, and beach fun.

TIAA Bank Field – For sports enthusiasts, catching a Jacksonville Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field is a must. Feel the excitement in the air and the local love for the home team.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens – For a family-friendly day out, visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Home to a wide array of exotic animals and beautiful gardens, it’s a delight for visitors of all ages.

The Florida Theatre – Catch a show at the Florida Theatre, one of the city’s most iconic entertainment venues. From concerts to ballet and comedy shows, the theatre hosts a variety of performances throughout the year.

Riverside/Avondale Historic District – Explore this historic district renowned for its charming architecture, historic homes, and vibrant arts scene. The district is also home to Five Points, a trendy area filled with unique shops and restaurants.

Unwind At Jacksonville’s Beautiful Beaches

Located along the breathtaking coastline of northeastern Florida, Jacksonville beaches offer a perfect retreat for relaxation and enjoyment. With their powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters, the beaches of Jacksonville provide an idyllic setting for sunbathing, swimming, or simply strolling along the shore.

Atlantic Beach – Just east of Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach dazzles visitors with its pristine sandy beaches and vibrant dining scene. The city’s laid-back vibe makes it the perfect place for relaxation.

Neptune Beach – Adjacent to Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach is a coastal suburb known for its quaint charm and tranquil atmosphere. Its clean, uncrowded beach is perfect for a quiet afternoon of sunbathing and swimming.

Jacksonville Beach – As the city’s main beach, Jacksonville Beach offers a lively ambiance with a bustling boardwalk, ample dining options, and various water activities like surfing and paddleboarding.

Outdoor Activities To Enjoy In Jacksonville

From exploring lush parks and gardens to engaging in thrilling water sports, there is no shortage of options to enjoy the great outdoors in Jacksonville.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve – Enjoy Jacksonville’s natural beauty by hiking through the Timucuan Preserve. The preserve offers a multitude of trails and also houses the Fort Caroline National Memorial.

St. Johns River – Rent a kayak and paddle down the St. Johns River for a unique perspective of Jacksonville. You might even spot some local wildlife, like manatees and dolphins!

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park – With over 20 miles of trails, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a haven for biking enthusiasts. The park also offers stunning beach views and a variety of camping facilities.

Explore Nearby Cities

St. Augustine – Just an hour’s drive from Jacksonville, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. Explore its rich history by visiting the Castillo de San Marcos, the Lightner Museum, or simply wandering the charming, narrow streets of the Old City.

Daytona Beach – Famous for the Daytona International Speedway and its beautiful beaches, Daytona Beach is an excellent day trip destination. It’s approximately a 90-minute drive from Jacksonville.

Amelia Island – A small island located just north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is known for its luxury resorts, golf courses, and the Fort Clinch State Park. The island’s quaint downtown area, Fernandina Beach, is filled with charming shops and restaurants.

Plan Your Visit To Jacksonville

In Jacksonville, you will experience a city that takes pride in its diversity and thriving LGBTQ+ scene, making it an excellent choice for all travelers. The city’s unique blend of hospitality, culture, and recreation ensures your visit will be a memorable one.


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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