Jacksonville, Florida, is home to many diverse ecosystems, and one of the best ways to take in the beauty of it all is to go for a run. Hundreds of trails intertwine along the coast and through the woody forests, providing stunning views that are guaranteed to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Olympus at Hawthorne understands the benefits of running, mentally and physically. That’s why we are rewarding our resident joggers this June! Submit a running selfie to be entered to win a $50 First Place Fitness gift card. And check out these 10 trails that will surely make for the perfect running selfie background.
1. Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve
If you’re looking to go for a jog and see wildlife, Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve is a great trail for you. Throughout the 9 miles of shoreline and the 2,031-acre preserve, you just might encounter tortoises, turkey, deer, and bobcat. And if you check out the preserve during the right time of the year, you can see manatees swimming in the creeks.
2. Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens covers 120 acres. Discover 13 distinct ecosystems while exploring seven trails weaving throughout the park, all well-maintained and great for running. A soothing escape, you’ll find lakes, marshlands, hidden pools, boardwalks, a small island, and a ravine. If you need a quick getaway, Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is the Narnia of Florida.
3. Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park
Jacksonville, Florida, is rich with history, and at Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park, you can appreciate the remnants of an old road filled with stories of the past. The road was built before 1917 but was used primarily to train troops stationed at Camp Johnston for World War 1. Along the broken trail, you will stumble upon a watchtower. Although it’s now closed to the public, it’s still quite a sight to see.
4. Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is an abandoned railroad that has been turned into a scenic trail. This flat path goes for 14.5 miles, passing wildlife, plants, and trees. If you need to abandon reality for a little while, go for a run on this former railroadl. You’ll find peace of mind along the tracks.
5. Castaway Island Preserve
Among the many beautiful things about Jacksonville are its marshlands. Castaway Island Preserve is a great place to spot amazing marshland wildlife. As you go for your run on the raised trails and wooden boardwalks, stop for a moment to pause on the observation platform, and take in the views overlooking the water. Once you’re done with your jog, check out the kayak and canoe launch to further explore the marsh.
6. Spanish Pond Trail
The Spanish Pond Trail has a heavy history. As you walk or run along it, keep in mind that 500 Spanish soldiers once traveled that same path. These soldiers marched for four days through the marsh, thick forest, strong winds, and heavy rainfall to make their way to an encampment nearby, before attacking the French and capturing Fort Caroline. Today, this historical area offers peace and tranquility, connecting you to the forest and marshlands.
7. Theodore Roosevelt Area at Timucuan Preserve
Also sprinkled with remnants of the past is the Theodore Roosevelt Area. This 600-acre park is rich in beautiful views and cultural history. As you delve into the wooded forest, wetlands, and vast grassland, you can find ancient fossilized oyster shells – a glimpse into the lives of the Timucuan “People of the Shell Mounds,” who relied on the water for nourishment. Run up to the bird observation tower to get a stunning view of the area and watch the wildlife.
8. Reddie Point Preserve
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to the city with recreational space for several outdoor activities, Reddie Point Preserve is a great option. Not only does this park provide well-maintained nature trails, but you can also find a 700-foot fishing pier with boat docks, a kayak launch, a picnic pavilion, wildlife observation areas, and a recreational field. Go for a run with your family, and pack a post-run picnic to eat as you overlook views of downtown Jacksonville and the lush riverfront.
9. Seaton Creek Preserve
Seaton Creek Preserve is an 840-acre preservation park on the northern side of Jacksonville, Florida. Now boasting beautiful trails and creeks, it was once the site of the southernmost battle of the American Revolution. On May 17, 1777, soldiers filled the area, fighting a battle known today as the American Revolutionary War of Thomas Creek. There are three trails expanding about 5 miles, with three creeks and kayak access to explore the park by land or water. If you love geocaching, you can find it here, as well.
10. Cradle Creek Preserve
If you’re looking for some peace and serenity, check out Cradle Creek Preserve. Explore 43.3 miles of undisturbed land along the Intracoastal Waterway with elevated boardwalks and canoe or kayak access. Run over to the observation deck for panoramic views of the Pablo Creek Estuary. You may be able to get a glimpse of the mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates that call Cradle Creek Preserve their home.
Step out into the sun, and find your perfect running trail in Jacksonville, Florida. Take a running selfie, and be sure to enter it to win $50! Check out more events and blogs at Olympus at Hawthorne.