The following article was originally published on on 4/6/18.

With its oceanside location and exciting attractions, it’s no surprise that Jacksonville is a top Florida destination. If you’re heading to this city in the First Coast region for the first time, be sure to add these attractions to your itinerary.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

One of the city’s top attractions is Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. With more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant varieties, it has plenty for visitors to explore. The zoo exhibits focus on various regions, including the plains of East Africa and Australian Outback. Jaguars, apes, giraffes, tigers, stingrays, bobcats, and elephants are just some of the many animals you’ll encounter as you explore the zoo.

Consider checking out the calendar of events before you visit. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens often hosts fun activities, like scavenger hunts, after-dark events, and conservation speakers. There are plenty of affordable Jacksonville hotels located nearby if you’re looking for a place to stay.

Jacksonville-Area Beaches

Some of Florida’s best beaches can be found in Jacksonville, so take advantage of the chance to see the gorgeous white sand and clear ocean waters. There are a number of popular beaches in the area, so you have plenty of options when it comes to finding the right fit for your trip.

Atlantic Beach is a great choice if you like a relaxed, laid-back vibe and the opportunity for shelling. Jacksonville Beach is known for its excellent surfing conditions along with plenty of restaurants, shops, and activities available near the water. For jaw-dropping sunsets and sunrises, head to Neptune Beach. Beachfront accommodations can be pricey, but you can save by staying at one of the hotels near the University of North Florida, which is just a short drive inland.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

A trip to Jacksonville wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, one of the 12 flagship breweries this company has in the U.S. And thanks to a number of affordable hotels near the Jacksonville Anheuser-Busch Brewery, you can stay close to this popular attraction.

There are a number of tour options at the brewery, but the Beermaster Tour is highly recommended since it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser; it even includes a sample of beer taken directly from a finishing tank. Another fun option is the Beer School, where you get to learn about beer styles, ingredients, pouring techniques, and food pairings.

Tree Hill Nature Center

Take a day to explore Jacksonville’s exquisite natural surroundings with a visit to the Tree Hill Nature Center. This wilderness preserve covers more than 50 acres and features plenty to keep visitors of all ages entertained. You can explore miles of walking trails, visit the butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and view native animals like turtles, snakes, owls, alligators, and pygmy goats.

The preserve also features the Florida Natural History Museum. Explore the many hands-on displays and check out the Florida Wetland exhibit room. The area surrounding the preserve is especially scenic, so consider staying at one of the hotels near the Tree Hill Nature Center.

If this is your first visit to the area, see the many exciting things Jacksonville has to offer by checking out these attractions.