Little Talbot, Black Rock Beach, Naked Label, Jacksonville, FL

Neighborhood: Little Talbot Island

Discover Little & Big Talbot Islands, Two of Seven Reasons to Pack a Lunch

As an undeveloped barrier island, Little Talbot Island State Park offers maritime forests, desert-like dunes, and undisturbed salt marshes teeming with a symphony of natural sounds and Florida creatures, such as river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats, and migratory birds taking a break from their flyways. Discovering Little Talbot is like taking a walk through nature’s cathedral and learning how to breathe again.

Bring a fishing pole (and license) and hook redfish, striped bass, and flounder in a tidal puddle or shoreline. Bring a picnic in your backpack and take a rest on your reserved beachside picnic pavilion, for a small fee. Check-out the Myrtle Creek Campground or rent a kayak or go on a tour led by the professionals at Kayak Amelia (904) 251.0016.

When you visit Big Talbot Island State Park, bring your camera. It’s a photographer’s dream. A nature preserve, you can hike down Blackrock Trail to the shoreline, walk down Big Pine Trail to the marsh, or take Old Kings Highway and Jones Cut through the maritime forest. Walking through Boneyard Beach is a must. It’s where sunburnt white boney live oaks and cedar trees burst out of the sand. Imagine how it was thousands of years ago when the Timucua Indians harvested oysters, caught fish, and brought generations into this world. Now, bicycles, rollerblades, and strollers are welcome on the 2.9-mile off-road Timucuan Trail, which features interpretive stops along the way for the curious history buff and explorer.

The Lord High Chancellor of England, Charles Baron Talbot, is the islands’ namesake. This land was converted into lucrative plantations in the late 18th century by the Europeans, such as The Spicer and The Houston Plantations. Why the Talbots? Just ask the Friends of the Talbot Islands State Parks. They will whet your appetite for more—and you have seven Florida State Parks to choose from: Little Talbot Island State Park; Big Talbot Island State Park; Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, which welcomes equestrians, hikers and off-road cyclists on more than five miles of multi-use trails (remember, stay on the trails), plus, a canoe/kayak launch; Amelia Island State Park, 200 acres of original Florida wilderness, where you can ride horses and wander along the shore; Fort George Island Cultural State Park; Yellow Bluff Historic State Park, an 1862 Civil War military encampment occupied by the North and the South, where more than 250 soldiers were once housed; and George Crady Fishing Bridge State Park, a one-mile long pedestrian-only fishing bridge over Nassau Sound… here you can even catch a tarpon!

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About Joanelle Mulrain