When thinking of Jacksonville,
you may think of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguar’s,
or the pretty river walk, but you have probably never
heard of Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. This city park consists
of 450 acres of forest, trails, a fresh water lake and
a gorgeous beach.
Who is Kathryn Abbey
Hanna? Born in Chicago on November 5, 1895, Kathryn
had served on the board of Parks and Historical Places.
While she is remembered primarily as an educator and
author of significant historical works, such as “Florida
Golden Sands,” she is recalled today by friends
in Jacksonville as a warm, sincere, outspoken woman
who was a superb hostess with a great sense of humor.
In the 1940’s investor and millionaire Winthrop
Bancroft, donated five acres of beachfront property
to the city of Jacksonville for the purpose of becoming
the nucleus of Hanna Park. He stipulated upon the contribution
that the park be named after Kathryn Abby Hanna. Newspapers
throughout Florida eulogized Kathryn when she died in
Winter Park in 1967.
is plenty to do at the park, including off road biking
trails, walking and hiking, fresh water and salt water
fishing, play grounds, and clean beaches where you can
swim and surf in the ocean. The off road biking is superb,
consisting of 5 miles of well-groomed single-track trails.
After your workout, you can clean your ride at the park’s
bike cleaning station, and jump into the ocean for a
cooling swim. The walking and hiking trails are separate
from the bike trails so hikers have the opportunity
to see some of the splendid nature that surrounds the
beach, without colliding with bikers. Birdwatchers are
catered to as well, with one trail designated just for
bird watching. If you’re not much of a fisherman,
you can sit back and observe as people cast lines in
the fresh water lake. The more ambitious fishermen cast
for bigger game in the ocean. Your children will never
get bored with the activities available at Kathryn Abbey
Hanna Park. When they’re not swimming in the ocean,
or building sand castles, they can swing, slide or climb
forts in the playgrounds adjacent to the beach.
The park is accessible
to all, the young and old, handicapped and special needs,
young children, young adventurous adults, and even older
people who love to fish, walk and hike. You might enjoy
camping in one of the 250 campsites. The park takes
both tent campers and recreational vehicles. The park
also has climate-controlled cabins for the not so adventurous.
Nearby is a Comfort Inn if you would like to stay in
a hotel. I suggest Singleton’s Seafood Shack for
eats. They offer very fresh seafood, right off the boat.
Singleton’s is located off A1A at Mayport (1 block
from the Ferry). Their phone number is 904-246-4442.
A visit to the old section of downtown Jacksonville
is a must if time permits. Its here you can experience
the nostalgia of the magnificent historic Victorian
homes that remain. Have dinner at the reasonably priced
restaurant, Stella’s, 1521 Margaret Street, Jacksonville;
In addition to Kathryn
Abbey Hanna Park, there are other diverse parks to visit
nearby in the bustling city of Jacksonville. If you
have five days, you can visit several of these parks.
Huguenot Memorial Park is only a few miles north of
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. Take the ferry from Mayport,
across the mouth of the St. John’s River. Kingsley
Plantation, an historic civil war park is another great
place to visit. Also north of Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is Little Talbot State Park, an unspoiled island abounding
with nature. Travel down A1A to Guana State Park, a
great place to surf and revel in the rarity of the secluded
beaches. If you go west from Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park,
about 10 miles, you will find yourself in the major
metropolitan city of Jacksonville. Take some time to
explore the river walk area and some of downtown. The
city is clean and quiet after business hours. Within
a few miles around the perimeter of downtown Jacksonville
are numerous attractions, such as the Florida Theater,
Performing Arts Center, Alltel Stadium (where the NFL
team plays), and in the south is Metropolitan Park and
Alexander Brest Planetarium.
Prices to visit Kathryn
Abbey Hanna Park are extremely affordable. Entrance
to the park is $1 per person for those 6 years or older.
Tent camping is $13.56 per night; RV camping is $18.08
per night. They offer a 10 % discount for AARP, disabled,
senior citizens, active duty military, and Florida Campers
Association members. Cozy Cabins are $33.90 a night
and sleep 4. Halls and shelters are available for rental
too if you have a large group.
Getting to Kathryn Abbey
Hanna Park is easy by car, but you should bring a bit
of patience, since the main highway, I-95, can have
be traffic packed. Take I-95 to SOUTHSIDE BLVD./SR-115
exit, exit #340, Continue on SOUTHSIDE BLVD; turn Right
on ATLANTIC BLVD; continue towards MAYPORT NAVAL STATION;
continue on ATLANTIC BLVD; turn Left on FLORIDA BLVD/SR-A1A;
continue on MAYPORT RD/SR-A1A; turn Right on PIONEER
DR; bear Left on SHERRY DR N; turn Right on WONDERWOOD
DR. The exact address is 500 Wonderwood Drive, Jacksonville,
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
is great for all, with activities galore, some unique
places to eat, easy access to other attractions, and
a price that is right. If you have any questions, please
contact the park.
500 Wonderwood Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32233
I hope you enjoy this
park as much as I did. If you visit, I would appreciate
obtaining feedback on your experience.
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