Your Hiking Day Itinerary in Jax

Northeast Florida hiking is unique in that it’s coastal, but wooded, and the best place to go to see that is along the Intracoastal Waterway on A1A.

Here, there are six state parks within 15 miles of each other with unique hiking trails, making it easy to park hop and get the full Old Florida experience!

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve

Begin the day at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve. 12 miles North of Downtown Jacksonville. This State Park offers free parking plus a 3-mile hiking loop, and more than 12-miles of multi-use trails. You will explore ecosystems of sandhill and scrubby flatwoods, basin swamps and salt marsh creeks, all in just a few hours. Enjoy a breakfast picnic under the tree canopies. The best part of hiking this park is that its trails connect to other adjacent City of Jacksonville parks including Betz Tiger Point, Cedar Point and the Jim Wingate Preserve.

Fort George Island State Park

A few miles north on A1A, Fort George Island State Park offers a fantastic quick hike. The park is built on an old golf course, slowly turning back into a maritime forest. The three-mile trail in this park is dog friendly, with good views of Fort George River and the shorebirds that inhabit it. This trail will probably take you around two to three hours, a good warm up for a full day of coastal hiking.

Little (& Big) Talbot Island State Park

Next up the road is Little Talbot Island State Park, which has a four-mile hiking trail full of hills, caused by huge packed in sand dunes and rooted by oaks and pine trees. A two-mile section of the trail takes you on the beach. There are no concession stands in this park, so be sure to pack snacks and lunch before leaving for your day hike. By the time you finish this trail, it’ll probably be close to sunset, making Big Talbot Island State Park’s famous driftwood beach the perfect place to end.

driftwood at Little Talbot Island

Boneyard and Black Rock Beaches

Boneyard Beach and Black Rock Beach, another gem on this park, are accessible with a short half mile walk from a pull-off spot on A1A. Bleached live oaks cover the “rocky” shoreline (the rocks are compressed sand and decayed leaves from the bluffs above the shore). A lot of people take pictures among the skeletons of the trees, a sight that only exists where the environment and erosion is just right. Cool off from your hiking day by dipping your toes into the cool waters of the Nassau Sound.

Learn more top hiking spots in Jacksonville!

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