When working aboard the Carnival Elation, I spent seven months porting out of Jacksonville, Florida, and I have to tell you, I never realized that there are actually things to do there. One unfortunate thing about porting out of JAX is that everything is so spread out from the port. In order to get anywhere, it’s roughly a 30-minute drive, so taxis at the port don’t waste time taking you to the zoo or downtown. As a crew member you have two options: go to the shopping center that has a Wal-Mart or go to the shopping center with a Target. Most opted for Target because it was in the St. John’s Shopping Center which has a lot more to do.
When I took my two-week road trip around the south to visit friends and family, I stopped in Jacksonville for a few hours to see some friends that were still on the ship. I was determined to have a fun day in the city that didn’t have anything to do with Target or Wal-Mart.
I got to the ship super early so I could spend as much time with my friends as possible. When the crew members started pouring out the door, I saw several familiar faces, exchanged hugs and hellos and even took a few pictures.
With Azamat and Jenn in tow, we made the long drive to a place called Metro Diner that I was convinced I had to try because Guy Fieri recommended it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and it had apparently won a ton of awards. Y’all, this place did not disappoint. I had one of the best eggs benedicts of my life. You know when you have a meal that tastes so good that you get mad at yourself for not being able to finish it? That was me. I wanted nothing more than to just eat everything on my plate, but my stomach decided it was full. #annoying
After breakfast, we of course went to the beach. It was the perfect time and perfect day. It wasn’t crowded, and the sun wasn’t beaming down. We all walked along the beach and talked about life. We stopped to take a few pictures and dip our feet in the water.
Our last stop was downtown where we went to Sweet Pete’s. Y’all, if you’re ever in JAX, please please please promise me you’ll stop at Sweet Pete’s. It’s the most incredible candy store you’ll ever visit in your life. It’s three stories of sweet goodness. They have a huge selection of candy and a little ice-cream area as well. You can even take a tour of the candy factory. Plus, they have classes to make different types of candy. There are so many Instagram worthy picturesque areas there. I didn’t want to stop taking photos. Everything was colorful, and trust me when I say it’s impossible to feel any sort of sadness in this place.
After our trip to the candy store, Azamat and Jenn had to go back to work, but I picked Dann up, and I was so elated (see what I did there?) that #dannfanny was reunited again. We decided to go to the Budweiser Brewery, which I guess is our thing now because we also went to the Bahamian Brewery together in Freeport. We did the free self-guided tour and then stopped in the little seating area to get some meat and cheese trays and catch up on life.
Fun fact: Jacksonville is the largest city in the continental United States. Even though things are a little spread out, you can still fit a lot of fun things into one day. I had the best day catching up with my ship friends and seeing a side of Jacksonville that I never got to see while living on the ship. If I ever find myself there again, I 100% know I’ll be visiting Sweet Pete’s, and maybe I’ll even go crazy and visit the zoo.
Where’s your favorite place to take a day trip?