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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.