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For a sweet retreat by the sea, Little Talbot Island State Park is the place where Jacksonville plays at the beach. Straddling A1A north of the St. Johns River, the park runs from the estuaries to the lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean, encompassing one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. It’s a place to play at the beach, including surfing near the mouth of the St. Johns River. There are five miles of pristine oceanfront and nary a condo or house in sight, just surf, sun, sand and a tall stretch of dunes along the shoreline. An expedition on foot along the Little Talbot Hiking Trail starts at the ranger station on ...

For a sweet retreat by the sea, Little Talbot Island State Park is the place where Jacksonville plays at the beach. Straddling A1A north of the St. Johns River, the park runs from the estuaries to the lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean, encompassing one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. It’s a place to play at the beach, including surfing near the mouth of the St. Johns River. There are five miles of pristine oceanfront and nary a condo or house in sight, just surf, sun, sand and a tall stretch of dunes along the shoreline. An expedition on foot along the Little Talbot Hiking Trail starts at the ranger station on a gentle, shaded walk through coastal forests to emerge into the drama of the dunes and, as a finale, reach the beach for a starfish-studded walk back along the coast. On the opposite side of the highway at the campground – a gem among ancient dunes – kayak rentals enable exploration of the tidal estuarine channels, and a nature trail provides a high perch for birding.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in central Florida, 20 miles east of Jacksonville.
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