Little Talbot Island State Park#8 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
If you've come to northwest Florida to take advantage of the warm weather and Atlantic coast, consider a visit to Little Talbot Island State Park. Catching the ocean waves about 25 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, Little Talbot Island boasts more than 5 miles of shoreline that lacks the crowds of other Florida beach destinations. But don't just come here to lounge along the sand. As one of the few undeveloped barrier islands remaining along the state's northeast coast, Little Talbot Island encompasses a variety of habitats — from salt marshes to sand dunes — that house a wide array of critters. Wildlife-watchers may catch a glimpse of such native species as river otters, marsh rabbits and bobcats.
Recent visitors agree that a visit to Little Talbot Island should include more than an afternoon lying on the sand. "We rented bikes and rode our beach cruisers over the beach all day," one TripAdvisor user said. "Be sure to check out the bone yard — a collection of old trees on the north end of the island." If you're not sure where to start, you can sign up for a guided tour of the island, which are offered by Segway. (To learn more about tour times and prices, visit EcoMotionTours.com.)
Little Talbot Island State Park welcomes visitors every day of the year from 8 a.m. to sundown. Entry costs $2 for pedestrians and cyclists, and $5 for drivers (although single-occupancy vehicles will only be charged $4. To learn more, visit Little Talbot Island's website.
More Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
#1 Amelia Island
About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 miles of beaches, historic attractions and relaxed atmosphere. While here, you can learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park or simply lounge on the sand. Recent guests particularly recommend laying your towel along the shores of Fernandina Beach, a small community that stretches along the northern part of the barrier island. "The beaches are second to none. The water is clean and warm. Downtown is charming and filled with good shops and restaurants," said one TripAdvisor user.
Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are a bit of a hike from downtown Jacksonville, and traffic can be treacherous. If you'd like to make the most out of a visit to these beachside communities, consider setting up camp there — the island is home to some of the area's more opulent accommodations, including The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. You'll also find numerous vacation rentals and condos that can accommodate larger groups. Just be sure to make your reservations well in advance if you're planning to visit in the summer.
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