VIDEO: Explore NE Florida's Huguenot Memorial Park

May 22, 2017

WJCT presents a collaboration between the University of North Florida's Environmental Center and Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida on 19 short videos showcasing the city, state and national parks of the First Coast, produced by Sean Lahav, a project leader in the environmental leadership program.

Huguenot Memorial Park

Huguenot Memorial Park features a wildlife sanctuary with a beach area that invites surfers and off-road motorists. Recently re-opened after months of repairs after Hurricane Matthew, the park attracts a steady stream of visitors.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Description

Huguenot Memorial Park is wedged between the Fort George River, St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. A swath of the park is designated as a critical wildlife area, where terns and shorebirds nestle. Aside from birds, the park teems with coastal and marine animals — from raccoons to foxes to endangered species like dolphins, manatees and turtles.

The park is also a thrill spot for local surfers and is the last beach in Duval County, where vehicles can zip through the sand.

Amenities

  • The park has a nature center, where visitors can learn about the flora and fauna along the beach through games, interactive displays and reference books. The center is open daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Picnic shelters are onsite.
  • Jetty rocks that once guided ships into the mouth of St. Johns River are now accessible to the public for fishing.

Huguenot Memorial Park is one of Northeast Florida's premier surfing locations.
Credit SEAN LAHAV / UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA'S ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER

Trails

  • Huguenot Memorial Park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, which spans the state.
  • A web of roads intersects the beach, snaking around dunes and alluring off-road motorists.

Advice

  • Leave your dog at home. No pets allowed.
  • The park re-opened in January after sustaining damage from Hurricane Matthew. Due to restoration works, some restrictions continue to apply, including a temporary ban on camping and some beach roads remain closed.

Parking 

  • Admission is cash only: $3 for pedestrian and bicycle entry; $5 for vehicles (up to six people). An annual pass costs $99. 

Location

Direction via I-95: Head north of I-95 and take exit 358A for Zoo Parkway/FL-105. Stay on the road as Zoo Parkway becomes Heckscher Drive after crossing I-295. Follow Heckscher Drive/ Highway A1A until it crosses Haulover Creek. Huguenot Memorial Park emerges on the right. 

Dima Vitanova can be reached at dima93vitanova@gmail.com and Vince Kong can be reached at vkong@wjct.org