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A short drive north from Downtown Jacksonville, up the picturesque A1A, you will find the Talbot Islands, encountering Little Talbot Island State Park first. It offers a four-mile hike through dune covered woodlands made up of ferns, moss-covered live oaks and tall pine trees. It’s elevation changes are shocking coming from the flat lands of Jacksonville. Little Talbot is home to many wildlife you may be lucky enough to see on your hike. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, marsh rabbits, raccoons, armadillos and even bobcats. Little Talbot is also home to white-sand beaches, with designated parking and facilities. You can sunbathe, surf, go shelling or explore go birding. The beach at Little Talbot is home to shorebirds like Wilson’s Plovers and Black Skimmers.
This State Park also offers bike rentals and camping grounds. It’s one of the few places that offers designated hammock campsites, making it possible to really immerse yourself in the Floridian wilderness. With Kayak Amelia, get a fresh perspective of the Talbot Islands with their tour of Simpson Creek, which connects the two. Both the creek and Fort George Estuary will give you a glimpse into the environment that the wildlife that lives here experiences every day.
The famous Boneyard Beach, is a sight to see in Big Talbot Island State Park. Here, you can climb the bones of bleached live oaks, tumbled onto the shore from years of erosion. Another highlight, Blackrock Beach, (check out the video here) has beautiful black rocks making up the shoreline, these are some of the oldest rock formations in the world made up of decayed leaves and compressed sand. It’s one of the few places in Northeast Florida where you can see nature really take over.
The Talbot Islands State Parks are part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, an impressive park managed by the National Parks Service and showcasing some of the most diverse marshes, wetlands and wildlife in North Florida. To learn more about them explore www.floridastateparks.org/park/Little-Talbot-Island & www.floridastateparks.org/park/Big-Talbot-Island.