VIDEO: Exploring Northeast Florida's Little Talbot Island State Park

Jun 19, 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.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island is one of the few remaining barrier islands that have not succumbed to commercial development. Bustling with marine and forest species, the area remains scenic and wild, while offering ample opportunities for beachside recreation.

Hours: 8 a.m. – sunset daily

Parking

Two beachside parking lots provide direct access to the boardwalks that stretch to the shore.

Description

Little Talbot Island flaunts more than 5 miles of beaches, desert-like dunes, salt marshes and maritime forests. A barrier island along the Florida coast, it plays host to plenty of wildlife, including river otters, bobcats, raccoons, red foxes, marsh rabbits, and a variety of fish and migratory birds.

Amenities

  • Ten covered beachside picnic pavilions are available for reservation for a fee. Six additional pavilions, with eight tables each, can be used free of charge.
  • A camp area is located along the eastern salt marshes of Myrtle Creek, which includes a playground and a fishing dock.
  • Kayak Amelia offers kayak rentals, as well as guided paddle tours through the creeks lapping at Little Talbot.
  • A ranger station near the entrance offers an interpretive exhibit of the area’s faunal taxidermy. Weekly ranger programs are offered Saturdays. Group programs can also be requested.
  • A boat ramp is also onsite.

Activities

Little Talbot Island State Park is popular for hiking, nature watching, kayaking, surfing, picnicking and beachcombing. Fishing is often bountiful here with redfish, striped bass, mullet, sheepshead and bluefish gliding in the waters.

Shelling is also a popular activity on Little Talbot Island, where clam, periwinkle, oyster and scallop can be collected.

Trail

Little Talbot Island features a short nature loop – the Campground Nature Trail – that commences at the salt marshes of Myrtle Creek, and winds through the live oak maritime forest and dunes.

The trail hosts a “Hike and Seek” search for kids eager to collect outdoor-themed treasures. The Dune Ridge Trail is a 4-mile hiking trail that traverses through the maritime hammock, beach dune and depression marsh, leading to the beach. The trail passes through the nesting grounds of painted buntings. 

Little Talbot Island State Park is an ideal escape from the city.
Credit SEAN LAHAV / UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA'S ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER

Advice

  • Before embarking on the trails, check in with the ranger station.
  • Bring along sturdy shoes and plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent.
  • During the busy summer months, picnic pavilions book up fast.

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 Fort George River. Little Talbot Island begins here.

Vince Kong can be reached at vkong@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter @teamvincek