Spinnaker’s Top five places to watch the sunset in Jacksonville

Morgan Jeremy, Reporter

Image courtesy of Tomis B. and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Sometimes after a long day of classes, there is nothing better than winding down and watching the sunset. Plus, in the time of COVID-19, it provides an excellent opportunity to get outside while staying socially distanced. While Jacksonville is overflowing with plenty of spots to sit back and enjoy the sunset, Spinnaker has narrowed it down to the top five places that are the most spectacular. 


1.) Southbank Riverwalk- 18 min. drive from UNF

Image courtesy of Krazy Diamnd and licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Southbank Riverwalk is one of those places in Jacksonville that is beautiful regardless of what time you are there. Right along the St. Johns River, this approximately 1.2-mile long concrete boardwalk is an ideal spot for sightseeing, jogging, or just a casual stroll. The walk is also complete with plenty of benches overlooking the water, making it a perfect place to watch the sunset over downtown.

More information about the Southbank Riverwalk is available here on their website.


2.) Stockton Park- 29 min. drive from UNF. 

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

While Stockton Park may seem like a long drive just to see a sunset, rest assured, the views make it totally worth it! Directly across the St. Johns River, this hidden spot offers a terrific view of downtown Jacksonville while also providing plenty of benches and grassy areas for sitting. 

More information about Stockton Park is available here on their website.

Insider tip: This spot is an ideal place for a picnic so be encouraged to bring a comfy blanket and some snacks to make your sunset experience even better!


3.) Cummer Museum Gardens – 19 min. drive from UNF

Image courtesy of Mooeena is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is an art lover’s dream, housing over 3,000 pieces, including works by renowned artists such as Mildred Thompson, Peter Paul Rubens, Winslow Homer, and Norman Rockwell. But if art isn’t your thing, the museum is also home to four stunningly unique garden exhibits, each showcasing different landscaping styles, plant species, and architecture. These beautiful gardens are also right on the St. Johns River, making them a perfect sunset destination.

Tickets must be reserved in advance and are available online at the Cummer Museum website.

Insider tip: Many days, the museum offers free admission covered by corporate sponsors! Information about these special days, including dates and times, can be found here on the museum website. Also, college students (with a valid student ID) receive free admission Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m

4.) Memorial Park – 17 min. drive from UNF

Image courtesy of Michel Curi and licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Conveniently located between the St. Johns River and Riverside Avenue, Memorial Park is one of Jacksonville’s more popular parks, well known for its spectacular views. The park was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1924, as a memorial to over 1,220 Florida soldiers who died during World War I. The famed Olmstead brothers are responsible for the park’s overall landscaping which features an original Charles Adrian Pillars sculpture titled “Life.” 

Memorial Park is also within walking distance to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and one of Jacksonville’s freshest eateries, Black Sheep Restaurant

More information about Memorial Park can be found here on their website.


5.) University of North Florida Nature Trails – on the UNF campus!

Image courtesy of UNF’s website.

It’s hard to compile a list of the best sunset spots without including one right outside your door! Located right off UNF Drive, the UNF nature trails take you to some of the most scenic parts of the Sawmill Slough Preserve without even having to leave campus. Currently, the university features four walking trails, each varying in length and scenery, and a boardwalk complete with wheelchair access. Picnic tables are also available nearby where you can comfortably watch the sun sink below the native pine flatwoods.

More information about the UNF nature trails can be found here on the UNF website.

Insider tip: Make sure you keep track of time while on the trails; they close at 6 p.m. for a reason. It can get dark very quickly and you do not want to be stranded in the dark!


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