Miles of beach
Our experiment is over, seven Florida State Parks in about a month’s time. And it was hugely successful, well, sort of. All but one were in the Florida Panhandle. Since we love the beach, we had to finish up at one close to the beaches of Florida. And this State Park has way more to offer than we can ever hope to enjoy.
We came mainly for the solitude and beach walks. It’s best to look at the official website for a little about this unique and very diverse State Park: “With more than five miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches, Little Talbot Island is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. Maritime forests, desert-like dunes and undisturbed salt marshes on the western side of the island allow for hours of nature study and relaxation. The diverse habitats in the park host a wealth of wildlife for viewing, including river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats and a variety of native and migratory birds.”
How I wish I was a birder because this is an excellent location for it: “You can see buntings, and its hammocks are good for migratory songbirds in season. At trail’s end on the north point, loafing Black Skimmers and terns are common. Large numbers of Piping, Wilson’s and an occasional Snowy Plover feed in winter on 5 miles of pristine beach. Other beach birds include seven sandpiper species, four plover species, Red Knots, Dunlins, Marbled Godwits and occasionally Long-billed Curlews.” I tried to get some good photos, but it was too windy and overcast. But the seagulls were out in full force!
As well as for fishermen, more from the official website, in excepts: “With literally miles of beach, Little Talbot is a surf fishing paradise.” “Surrounding surf and tidal streams present excellent fishing for bluefish, striped bass, redfish, flounder, mullet and sheepshead.” “Pick up a copy of the local edition of Fishing Connection at the Ranger Station to get the inside scoop on nearby angling.”
“The coastal salt marsh on the ‘back’ side of the island offers superb light tackle angling. From tailing redfish to bottom hugging flounder, ambushing trout to hard pulling black drum, you are sure to find something to ‘stretch your string.’ Bait fish like mud minnows and finger mullet may be caught using a cast net in the shallows. Shrimp, fiddler crabs and artificial lures are also popular options. For a real experience, try a guided fly fishing or flounder gigging trip.”
“Other popular park activities include hiking, kayaking, beach combing, surfing and picnicking….A campground is located along the eastern salt marshes of Myrtle Creek. Kayak rentals and guided paddle tours are available at Kayak Amelia, (904) 251-0016.” Another opportunity to try to kayak, but again, the weather didn’t cooperate.
As campers, we were welcomed “to visit all seven of the parks which collectively comprise Talbot Islands State Parks: Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Amelia Island State Park, Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, Big Talbot Island State Park and George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park.” Oh so much to do and see and so little time! This was our third visit here and we had no idea what all was available – not until we became registered campers did we learn all this.
The weather for this stay on the island was less than optimal. While our site was very private, it was narrow and began to feel like a “rain forest.” Because it rained on and off during our stay. BUT we didn’t let that ruin our fun, much. And that’s what we love about living in a recreational vehicle. We just can’t let the weather spoil things for us.
Soon after we set up, we set out to explore the campground. While we walked 1.52 miles, it included a .8 mile nature loop. We learned so much about the area on this loop, as it is full of interpretive signs that provide information about the natural surroundings: live-oak hammock, rolling dunes, salt marsh, Myrtle Creek, open vista of the sea islands and shorebirds, red cedar, resurrection fern, rushes. Some people see Great Blue Herons, Ospreys, Opossums, bobcats, raccoons and fiddler crabs. It was so dreary, we think we were the only “animals” out there! Here are some pictures of our site and this fabulous little enchanted nature trail:
Private Campsite # 16
We felt like we were in a rain forest
Our view out to the marsh
Walking the perimeter of the campground
We learned so much!
More info about our Marsh
The terrain was diverse with 3″ roots, steeper grade from 8% to 17%
And looks “enchanted” with the Spanish Moss
My favorite interpretive sign
Resurrections Fern-It’s nearly Easter!
This was our 1 1/2 mile walk around the campground. Small loop is the nature loop
We had a lot of rain our first night. But it seemed to clear up enough for us to head to the beach. But looks like our beach chairs, umbrella and suits will stay at the camper. (I wore jeans and a flannel shirt.) Our first full day here, we took a walk to the north end of the island. It was a great 4.7 mile walk to the northern end of the island. We could see Amelia Island in the far off distance! A few pictures of this walk:
Board walk to the middle of the beach
Miles of beach
20 foot sheer face dunes
Erosion causes the trees to fall which then protect the dunes
Showing size of driftwood!
Walk to the northern tip of beach
Our last long beach walk was at the southern end where we can now say we have walked the entire Atlantic Ocean side of Little Talbot Island. This was our third time to walk this beach, first time in January 2014, second time in January 2015 and now March 2015. Here is a slide show:
From the parking lot to the beach on the southern end
After walking through the shrubs, a bunny rabbit
After the shrubs, path to the beach
Rougher water as Atlantic collides with the river
More shore birds and ???
Surf Kiting at Huegonot County Park
Beach on the southern end
Jetty at the southern tip
3 mile hiking route on the southern end.
We’ve enjoyed great beach walks, enjoyed the campground and ended by eating at Safe Harbor Seafood Market, a fresh seafood market in Mayport, by the Naval Air Station. We don’t eat out much when we travel, we prefer our “kitchen” and Bill prefers his own cooking! But he doesn’t cook seafood much….so it was a real treat.
There is not much else to report other than we were hit with some challenging family news while here. We appreciate prayers for Debbie’s step dad and mom. We are thankful for their great faith and for family, friends and a strong church support system to help carry them through these challenges. And we are so grateful for the Easter Season as we had little reminders of our most holy holiday!
We’d like to share details about the campground in our review on Campendium campground review site.